PSA: DNF – The Divisive Issue of Our Day

PSA

 

 

Last month I spoke up about Book Reviewers and the lack of integrity and honesty I found and how I thought most reviewers were crooks, swindlers, liars, cheaters and general all around ne’erdowells. I obviously didn’t include myself when thinking of those terms, as I am a Paragon of Virtue and the Rock upon which this Blog stands.

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Virtue doesn’t desert me because I tied it to a chair in my living room!

 

 

This month, I feel like discussing something with a little more nuance, something not so cut and dried. Did Not Finish.

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This subject is so open for discussion that I am getting primed just thinking about it. DNF’ing is the working out of each person’s philosophy behind their book reading. While not everyone is going to dive into the nitty gritty of all the why’s and wherefores, everyone at leasts thinks about DNF’ing and if it is for them or not. Once you’ve made the right choice and do DNF a book, then so many factors come into play that it is a veritable paradise of reasonings. I love complicated subjects like this because it shows the inside of a person on so many levels. On to the Bookstooge Philosophy of DNF’ing a book.

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What generally happens when I score a point in any debate

 

Now, my general Rule of Thumb is the Nancy Pearl Rule of 50 Pages or 10%. She summarizes it as such:

I live by what I call ‘the rule of fifty,’ which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you’re fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you’re over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100. The result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.

As a “rule of thumb”, that works out pretty well. However, I don’t subscribe to it as a “Law”. While there might be the Laws of Thermodynamics, there is no Law of 50. For good reason.

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Spongebob and I are in complete agreement on this issue. There is no Law of 50. 

Triggers, or the suchlike, are another good reason to DNF a book. Triggers can run the gamut from the emotional to the intellectual. Something that you’ve experienced in the past and can absolutely destroy you when reading about a like instance in a book, like rape for instance, is an emotional response that causes you do stop reading that book. Or perhaps the author starts espousing views about Aliens and Humans, ala Scientology and suddenly, nothing else they can say matters as your mind can’t accept such thinking (by the by, I’d dismiss any non-fiction author who started down that particular path). But the thing is, everyone has something that they hold inviolate, even if they don’t think long and hard about it.

For me, I’ve definitely got some DNF triggers that cause me to pull the plug like that

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  1. Blasphemy is top of the list. Similarly, the denial of Christ’s divinity (ie, His Godhood).

  2. Another one is the inclusion of sexual perversions. In this day and in our culture, that tends to be the one I have to deal with the most. It’s like a minefield now.

  3. Another one is rape or gruesome violence against women and/or children. My soul revolts against such a thing and I won’t tolerate it in my entertainment.

Those tend to be The Big Three for me.

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Other reason I have for DNF’ing a book can be summed up like this:

  • I hate every single character and wish they were dead. They have to be REALLY bad though for me to DNF because of that. Most likely I just won’t read any more by the author.

  • I’m bored. If I go into a book expecting to be entertained and I’m not, forget it. I read for fun and my reading time is as precious as gold to me. If an author wastes that, I’ll cut them off at the knees and enjoy doing it. But again, I have to be REALLY bored.

  • Social Justice bullshit. I have very little tolerance for that nonsense. The people who think that way and participate in such things are fools and I want nothing to do with them or their silly ideas. Mainly because there is no thinking involved and when you can’t even talk rationally to someone, there is no point in talking. Proverbs 23 says this: Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

And really, I think those additional 3 items wrap it up. I don’t DNF very much, even if I will rate a book extremely low and rake it over the coals.

Now, on to the part I’ve actually wanted to write. I don’t usually ASK for your opinions, as I’m almost always telling you MY opinions, but in this case, I actually DO want to know your thoughts on this issue. A lot. Write a comment, please. A short one, a long one, a post length one, a post with a linkback. Just something. If you don’t normally comment, take this time to carefully considering commenting for the first time. Do you DNF? If so, what causes that? There are as many permutations for DNF’ing as there are readers and I want to hear about them.

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August ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

14 Books

4828 Pages

3.25 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

A Path to Coldness of Heart – 2 Stars (for the Pedophile wizard)

Critical Failures – 2 Stars (profanity and not one likeable character)

The Dead Town – 2 Stars (zero tension and not much plot)

 

The Good:

War Masters Gate – 5 Stars

Play the Man – 4 Stars (non-fiction. First one of the year!)

Heir of Sea and Fire – 4 Stars (Mckillip. ’nuff said)

Queen Bitch – 4 Stars (pure fun despite the rather appalling title)

 

Graphic Novels and Manga:

Path of Doom was the only visual medium for this month. While I enjoyed reading about a Superman who was a real Super Man, this graphic novel also drove home that my comic times are mostly behind me. I don’t plan on buying any more comics and any reading of my own will probably have some other purpose. For example, I am planning on re-reading Frank Miller’s Daredevil: Man Without Fear next month and try to get a VERSUS post out of it the month after that.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Oh man, where to start. Let’s get the bad out of the way I guess. My boss’s son passed away in July so my boss was MIA for all of July but started the recovery process in August. Unfortunately, he was still pretty out of it (as you can imagine) and this led to some pretty big math errors in the office, which had real world results, which were bad. I was caught in the middle, as I was the guy the contractors saw doing the work. Having to go back to a site and change things which put off their schedule by a week and a lot of money was not fun. Plus it was a bloody hot August so 3-4 liters of water a day while at work was just normal. It made for long days where I’d just come home, clean up, sack out and be in bed by 9pm.  I think we’re on the other side of that whole situation though and I think it was a wake up call to my boss about how he’s still being affected so now he just won’t brush it off.

Only wrote a couple of non-review posts but I have to admit, I was proud of the reception that my Honesty & Book Reviewing post received. It led to almost 100 comments (Whoo!!!) and gave me the perfect setup for another in September about DNF’s. It is also now my second most “liked” post, tied with A History of…Reading and only beat out by my rant on that execrable piece of trash, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I guess honesty  still pays dividends in the  book world!

While I gave up on Culling those who follow me, I had to stop following a couple of people who hadn’t posted in over a month. That is my cutoff point. If someone just disappears without warning for a month, best of luck but I won’t be sticking around to see what happened. Now, on the other hand, if you let your followers know you’re going to be MIA, then heck,  I’ll gladly stick around. But I just hate having my chain yanked all over. You are not the center of the Universe.

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Because that would be ME!

 

I managed to write about another trilogy of books that I loved in Thriving on a Good Book – Grimnoir Chronicles.  It really shouldn’t be so difficult to write about the books I love but talking about them years after the fact is surprisingly not easy.  I need to keep practicing so I get better at it.

My Side Project is done. I’m hoping to put the results, 50 books I have hated and 50 books I have loved, up tomorrow in a single post.

 

Cover Love

If the book Fortress in Orion  had been half as awesome as this cover suggests, it would have been fantastic.  At least I got an awesome picture out of it.

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Robert J. Sawyer is a liar!!!

 

 

 

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Thriving on a Good Book – The Grimnoir Chronicles

 

Yep, the Grimnoir Chronicles, consisting of 3 novels, one prequel short story and one sequel short story. I feel like I’m almost cheating by using a series, but considering they are a true trilogy telling one story it would just drag things out too long to do each book as its own post.

On the surface, these would appear to be everything I hate. Hard boiled Noir, Urban fantasy, 1930’s or ’40’s. I don’t like any of those categories and yet Correia tells a story that absolutely sucked me in and convinced me to buy these in hardcover. In fact, I like them enough that I pre-ordered some Limited Edition Hardcovers from Vault Books back in 2017.  Once I actually get the books I’ll be posting pix and telling THAT particular cock up of a story.  But the here and now is that I LIKE these books a LOT.

I added this to my Thrive list because of the main character. Jake Sullivan is a heavy, someone who can make themselves wicked heavy or light, basically playing around with how gravity affects them. He’s considered a thug but has a very smart mind,  a bull dog’s determination and a very strong moral compass. He is just the kind of main character I like to read about.  It also helps that Correia throws in some great bad guys and even a “frenemy” that works too. Add a dash of Eldrich Horror and wham, you have a series that I can eat up with a spoon.

I read these back in 2012-13 and while Correia has written that he’ll eventually do another trilogy set in this universe, I don’t expect anything remotely soon. That being the case, I’ll just have to settle for a re-read and bump up the star rating. Some things do get better over time.

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Thriving baby!

 

 

A Side Project

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Back in April I ran across this post about 100 Books. I’ve finally started working on my own version, which I’ve divided into books I hate and books I love. I’ll be linking each title to it’s review here on wordpress.  As such, I’ll be having to create whole new posts for about half the books as they were simply in my monthly posts from years ago.

What this means is that those of you who are subscribed to get an email every time I put up a new post will be getting a small flood of emails over the next few weeks. You might have experienced it already this past weekend.  Thankfully, this still advances my overall Site Update plans, so I don’t feel this is taking away from that project. That is already going slow enough, sigh.

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Just wanted to give you all the heads up. Once the Project is done, I plan on making the list one of the static pages here on WP, along with “About”, “Star Ratings” and “Review Policy”.

 

Carry on.

 

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Shooter VERSUS Point of Impact

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Shooter is a 2007 movie starring Mark Wahlberg about a sniper hired by the United States Government to prevent any chance of an attack by another sniper on a meeting between some politician and a religious figure.  He is actually used to plan the attack and double crossed and blamed. He goes on the run, hooks up with a dead marine’s wife who helps him out and turns the tables on the slimeball politician who set the whole thing up.

 

 

 

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Point of Impact is the first book in the Bob Lee Swagger book series by Stephen Hunter. Bob Lee is a sniper, hired to prevent the assassination of the president or vice president, double crossed, runs all over the country and eventually proves his innocence.

 

 

 

 

 

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I actually saw the movie before I was even aware of the book series. I saw it on an airplane either on my to California or on my way back from California. I don’t think I watched the whole thing, but I watched enough to know that I enjoyed it. I got it from the library and watched the whole thing and really did enjoy it. It wasn’t until ’13 that I actually got around to reading the book and comparing the two.

If it is JUST the book versus the movie, I like the book more but the movie had more action. However, the series of books devolved and I ended up stopping several books in and wished I’d just stuck with the first. The later books kind of ruined the first book for me, to the point where I’d rather own the movie instead of the book.

I found the book deeper, better plotted and much more interesting in terms of character in Bob Lee Swagger. He’s a Vietnam sniper who is just about the only guy in the world who can shoot “X” number of yards with some sort of rifle. He’s a gimp, in his mid 50’s or so and lives alone in the Appalachian Mountains.  He’s very smart and is smart enough to know when to get the help of people who know more about something than him. Such as a lawyer. Some big wig lawyer who knew his daddy also plays a big part and watching everything come together to prove Bob Lee’s innocence is a great thing.  The book is almost as much a legal thriller as anything else.

That being said, he’s not running around shooting off machine guns or hiding in the Antarctic or blowing up scumbag politicians’ houses. That is where the movie kicks butt. It is an action movie and makes no bones about being one. Mark Wahlberg does a great job of portraying a modern Vet with modern tools at his command.  The romance in the movie is upped quite a bit from the book and the character in the movie is almost portrayed as white trailer trash, where as in the book she’s a pretty upper crust woman. I think that was my only real bone of contention for story/plot change.

Honestly, it’s a tossup which is better in my opinion. I think it comes down to what you are looking for.

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Culling – An Exercise in Futility

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The Cull Master is Tired

 

I have been in the habit of culling, on a regular basis, all the “people” who follow me here on WordPress.  It’s a habit I’ve had to get rid of all the dead wood and scum bags that accumulate. Recently, I’ve been getting flippity flopping tired of it.  I am especially tired of dirtbag writers who follow me but who have nothing in common with my blog. And when I remove them and they follow me AGAIN within 24hrs, well, that tells me they’re just looking for attention because of what awful people they are.

And don’t even get me started on those “companies”, like Hastings Services. I removed those miserable sad sacks 15 times before they stopped trying.

But I’m done with that now. It is like counting the sands on a beach, never ending. So follow away you pieces of algorithms, you attention whores, you scammers. I simply don’t care any more.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

PSA: Honesty and Book Reviewing

PSA

I was browsing WordPress the other day and one of the blogs featured had a Tag, so I figured I’d read through it to see if there was any questions I liked that I could twist for my own fun.

Well, one of the questions was “What was your last 1star book” and the young lady answering it wrote something like “Oh, probably never. If a book is that bad, I just DNF it”, with the assumption being that it doesn’t get rated and I’m guessing, not reviewed. BVT also recently did a post where she talks about Negative Reviews and how she appreciates them.

This led me to think about this whole subject beyond my little comment on BVT’s post. It still comes down to Trust so while I’ll be talking about that, I’d like to talk about some of the other components too.

So, Trust first.

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If a book reviewer deliberately with-holds a review because it doesn’t get a particular rating, that is dishonest. Lying by omission is still lying.  A blogger might write completely honest reviews about all the fantastic books they read  but if they don’t publish the reviews about the crappy books, that is like someone doing their checkbook and showing only the credits  and not the debits. It’s honest, but it’s not the real picture. Just ask your bank.

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Another reason that I won’t follow people who state they won’t do negative reviews is because it shows a paucity of character and a lack of integrity. If you don’t believe me, this picture from the INTERNET will show you the truth!

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Now, there is a difference between being a dick online and calling a piece of garbage a piece of garbage. Exactly where that line is though, that’s a very tough question.  It’s also tangential to this discussion so I won’t discuss it further.

Another reason to write negative reviews is to help out other readers.  For the record, I want to state that reviews are NEVER for the author. N-E-V-E-R!!!!! They might get something out of them but it was never meant to be for them. Reviews are for other readers. If you are going review books, it is your duty to not only steer your followers towards the books you love, but to also steer them clear from the disasters, the broken bridges and the just plain bad books.  If you drive off that bridge, put up a freaking warning sign.  Its pure negligence if you don’t. Friends don’t let friends read bad books without warning them.

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Another reason that negative reviews are a reviewers duty is that unlike in Magic the Gathering, you don’t get extra turns in your reading life. You read that bad book, that time is GONE! Don’t let others repeat your mistakes. Let them learn from you.

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Finally, a book blogger may feel virtuous for not having any negative content on their blog. That shows a lack of understanding of what is virtuous, what is right and is a paving stone far along the path to hell. Yeah, I’m not going to pull any punches here and nothing funny like the ending of the PSA post from last month. I don’t want to follow someone with that lack of understanding, it is just plain dangerous to be around them.

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This fairy is about to burn up in the fire. Good intentions not withstanding.

 

bookstooge

Bookstooge brings the FIRE!