October ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

17 Books

5773 Pages

2.97 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

Dust of Dreams (existential excrement by the boatload) – 1.5 Stars

Fail Harder (irresponsible jackasses who should die) – 1.5 Stars

Wizard’s First Rule (clunky writing that destroyed my memories) – 2 Stars

 

The Good:

A Thousand Words for Stranger (Telepathic Jane Austen in Space!) – 4 Stars

 

Manga:

Tore through four volumes of Shaman King. Now that the setup is pretty much done, it’s shonen battles, which means some long slugging matches are coming up. Might end up slowing down my pace just a tad.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

While I read a bit more this month, it was ALL crap. My average was below 3stars for goodness sake. I am thankful for at least one 4star book.

Got Sick and kind of whimpered on for the last 10 days of the month. Didn’t read anyones posts, didn’t even reply to comments. Thankfully, that seems to be passing and I’m hoping to spring back into pure unadulterated Bookstooge Action this weekend with a Survival Saturday Post.

Did a Tag and a 6Degrees post. It was good to write some non-review stuff. Especially considering all the crap books I plowed through and then had to write about.

Surviving a Bad Book got some good numbers since I mentioned a book that a lot of people know. Always helps to stir the pot if everyone already has an opinion.

Other than that, this was a rainy blah month that crept along like a whipped cur and then threw up in my shoes. I am so thankful October is OVER WITH.

 

Cover Love

Once again, just like last month, no cover grabbed me and said “Worship me!”. I am including the Harpist in the Wind cover because I feel it really shows Darrell K. Sweet’s style. He did so many covers over the years and once you learn what his stuff looks like, you simply can’t miss it.

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Stomach Flu

gastro_enteritis

I have been out of commission this week due to having gastroenteritis.  It started Monday morning about 4am and I ended up in the ER by Tuesday.  I’m on 2 antibiotics that make me sick to my stomach and I can pretty much only handle rice and applesauce in small quantities. I don’t feel any better than I did Tuesday so I’m giving it until Monday (when the antibiotics run out) and then I’ll make another appointment with my doctor.

Thankfully, I’m not throwing up or other nasty symptoms, just not hungry and a slight pain in my lower left abdomen.  Do you have any idea how boring it is to eat white rice multiple days in a row? And we’re talking about 1/4cup or less of the stuff, just enough to help make me not feel nauseous when taking the meds? It is BORING!

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On the plus side, I’ve lost about 5lbs and gotten some quality reading time. But I won’t be real active here online, as you might have noticed.

 

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The “I’m Bored so I’m going to make everyone Else suffer too” Tag

Found this over at Britchy’s.  Not a book review site and yet I haven’t stopped following.  The creative juices still aren’t flowing, so I figured I’d try something like this to jumpstart them. We’ll see if it works.
1. Do you like blue cheese? 
Absolutely.  Well, I like blue cheese dressing. The best place for blue cheese is on a burger. A local Mex-American restaurant has a killer bluecheese burger and that is what I get every time we go there.  We’ve been going there, sporadically mind you, for about 5 years and so far, no exploration for this one!

 

2. Coke or Pepsi? 
But diet, I can handle either.  I’m pretty open and accepting that way. Just call me a Soda Justice Warrior.
3. Do you own a gun? 
Two in fact. My first gun was/is a 22 rifle. Great for getting rid of squirrels in the backyard back in the 90’s.
This year I bought my first pistol. A Sig Sauer P938.  It’s a sub-compact,  technically might even be a micro-compact, but it fits my hands perfectly. I can shoot through 50-100 rounds at the range and have zero hand and arm fatigue. That’s the way it should be!
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Sig P938 Combat model with the extended magazine in 9mm.  A dream to handle.

4. What flavor of Kool-aid?  
Fruit Punch. Me and the Koolaid Man, busting down those walls, yo.
5. Hot dogs? 
Hebrew National kosher beef dogs. If I’m going to eat the leftovers of a cow, I want to know its the best of the worst 🙂
conagra-hebrew-national-hotdogs
6. Favorite TV show? 
Don’t have one.
7. Do you believe in ghosts? 
Demons masquerading as spirits of the deceased yes. Actual deceased people in incorporeal form, no.
8. What do you drink in the morning? 
A Bang Energy drink.  7 days a week.
9. Can you do a push-up? 
I used to do 100 every day back in the day. Then I got “frozen shoulder” in both my shoulders and now not so much.
10. Favorite Jewelry?
My wedding ring. The only piece of jewelry I own.
11. Favorite Hobby? 
Reading, come on!
Then, playing Magic the Gathering.
Magic_card_back
12. Do you have ADD? 
No.
13. Do you wear glasses? 
Yes.
14. Favorite cartoon character? 
Nothing springs to mind. Maybe Yugioh if you include anime?
15. Three things you did today? 
Wake up at 0630.
Drink a Pina Colada Bang.
Write this post.
16. Three drinks you drink regularly? 
Water.
Bang.
Water.
17. Current movies?
Antman & the Wasp. Liked it enough that I’ll be putting it on my Christmas wish list this year. It was almost as good as the original Antman and I loved that movie.
antmanwasp
18. Do you believe in magic?
Technically, yes.
19. Favorite place to be? 
On the couch reading.
20. How did you ring in the New Year? 
2300 hits and I’m fast asleep. Forget midnight anymore.
21. Travel? Where would you go?  
That is Mrs B’s department. I’d be happy to never leave my town.
22. Name five people who will most likely read this?  
Ronald Reagan
Larry Correia
You
Beyonce
That squirrel I have sworn blood vengeance against (he likes to know where I am so he can live another day)
23. Favorite movie?  
Die Hard
Matrix
John Wick
24. Favorite color?  
Forest Green
forest_green_fgr_vinyl_outdoor_patio_furniture_sets_594_large_0
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?  
In the summer yes. In the winter, it’s flannel all the way!
26. Can you whistle? 
Not even a sleazy wolf whistle 😦
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Mrs B is pretty devastated that I can’t wolf whistle at her. The trials that poor woman has to endure.

27. Where are you now?  
My “Favorite Place”
29. Favorite food?  
It’s a real tossup between homemade chicken potpie and pizza.
Of course, 4 cups of Cap’n Crunch has its own appeal in the summer.
30. Least favorite chore?  
All of them.
31. Best job you can think of?  
Being the lead model for Ultra Sexy Hairy Man dot com.
It’s a dream come true for me.
32. What’s in your pockets?  
Hahahaha, jokes on you.
I’m not wearing any pants so no pockets!
33. Last thing that made you laugh?  
The fact that I didn’t buy a lottery ticket (mega millions) and nobody won last night, so the prize is now 1.6 BILLION (or 900 million cash up front). Obviously, it is a sign that I am the Chosen Won (I am so freaking clever in the morning!), meant to win this prize beyond mortal comprehension.
34. Favorite animal?  
All the dead ones.
scisource_be5061
35. What’s your most recent injury? 
Walked through some thorns the other day and scored a 4inch long gash on my hand and forearm. Good times.
36. How many TVs are in your house?  
TV’s are an abomination unto Bookstooge. They are conduits of pure evil and mindless drivel. They destroy brain matter and warp reality itself.
So, we only have one.
37. Worst pain ever?  
When I had the frozen shoulder and was pulling a dead tree out of the way. It snapped, which snapped my arm back and it felt like lightning going through my shoulder.  I just lay on the ground for about 10min until I could think again. That’s when I finally went to the doctors and started in on physical therapy.
38. Do you like to dance? 
No.
39. Are your parents still alive? 
Well, they’re supposed to come up here for Christmas, so I sure hope so. Fighting zombie parents on Christmas is just about the worst ever.
2010-04-161
40. Do you enjoy camping? 
Yes.
Nothing makes me more excited than to sleep on the hard ground, skip a nice warm shower and eat food that is only technically “food”. Oh, and putting up a tent, totally within my skillset as a male model.
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Edited:
PS
Sorry about the lack of spacing. That is what happens when you copy/paste from a source you don’t know. )Not Britchy by the way)  I’d probably have to redo the whole post to get it right and that’s just not happening.
My apologies.

#6degrees – from The Outsiders to His Sombre Rivals

Bookwyrm Knits did this association thing this month and I figured I’d try my hand at it. It was pretty fun making the connections.

 

 

I read the Outsiders, along with Rumblefish, back in my middleschool days. I don’t remember much about the books except thinking what a bunch of sad people the stories revolved around.  The local library, where I volunteered in highschool had several of her books.

The local library was where I found Way-Farer, one of my favorite books of all time and one I still rave about today. That cover, with that sword, that was just pure teen boy magnet. I’ve written quite a few posts on Way-Farer, so no need to go on here.

A sword on the cover leads to the next book, King’s Dragon by Kate Elliott. That was the first of seven in her Crown of Stars series. A 7  books series was not the longest series I had read, nor would it be the last, but it was the one that I realized that a long series isn’t always a good series. I finished it but ended up selling the hardcovers soon afterwards.

The opposite of a long series is not a short series. No, the opposite is the Standalone. A standalone that I really enjoyed in 2006 was Tim Powers’ The Anubis Gates.  Dealing with time travel, history and time paradoxes that aren’t time paradoxes, The Anubis Gates was fun, interesting  and had just enough history to show that Powers was a fan of history but not afraid to play around behind the scenes. He’s writing like history isn’t real.

What is real though, is war. What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes was one of the few non-fiction books I read in 2011, if not the ONLY non-fiction book of that year.  Getting a soldier’s perspective is a good thing for civilians, as we just don’t know jack-squat about what they are dealing with. Marlantes being a Rhodes scholar as well as a Vietnam vet upped his credibility in my eyes.

The American Civil War was vastly different from the Vietnam War. His Sombre Rivals by Edward Payson Roe is set during that time.  A bromance where 2 guys both love the same woman but the unsuccessful one doesn’t whine or allow his feelings to destroy the friendship he has with both his friend and the woman. True Manliness. Probably the best book I read in 2015.

 

 

There you have it, 6 book associations from the early 90’s up until 2015.  You can see all the rules and blabberywhatnot the creators/hosters of this association thing put up (seems like almost everyone who starts something like this can’t resist making everyone else goosestep to their tune). I’ll probably check in at the original place every couple of months and see what another starting book is. It is fun to make these links 🙂

 

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Surviving a Bad Book – Prince of Thorns

cover

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

2 Stars

 

 

Back in 2011 I kept hearing about this new up and coming author, Mark Lawrence and what a wunderkind he was. He was on the forefront of this new fantasy sub-genre, something called “grim dark”. I figured I had nothing to lose and dived into it.

Oh my goodness.  I was shocked, to say the least. Jorg was a 13 year old psychopath who raped and murdered his way through the book. There wasn’t a single good thing I could point to and it left me feeling betrayed and angry at Lawrence.  I don’t even remember any details about the plot, as Jorg dominated everything in my mind.

If I wanted that kind of entertainment, I can turn on the news. Seriously, there is enough horrible stuff in the real world, every single minute, of rape, of abuse, of neglect, of despair and of death for any sicko to get their rocks off. So why someone voluntarily reads this for fun is beyond me. What amazes me even more (in a bad way) is that someone wrote this. It boggles my mind that such filth was given the light of day. How does Lawrence go out in public knowing he penned, for any and all to read,  such things?

cigptrwweaajaya

 

And those strong feelings are why I’ve never read another Lawrence book since.  In the last couple of years I have heard good things about his Red Sister trilogy. Once the final book is out and if it doesn’t stoop to frenzied levels of despairing violence, I’ll probably give Lawrence another chance. But even if I like it, I’ll always remember that this guy wrote someone like Jorg.

 

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September ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

15 Books

4677 Pages

3.27 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

Ghostly Echoes – ½ Star (Blatant Social Justice lies denying Biological Fact)

The Deaths of Tao – 2 Stars (Didn’t like Main Characters)

Empire – Unrated (definitely all me. Just didn’t care about the Warhammer Universe any more)

 

The Good:

The Pickwick Papers – 6 Stars (Perfect in Every Way)

Revelation Space – 4 Stars (Great Space Opera)

Hilldiggers – 4 Stars (Polity just keeps getting better and better)

 

Graphic Novels and Manga:

Started in on the Shaman King manga and read the first 2 volumes. I REALLY enjoyed them and am having to consider how much I want to read next month. Do I stick with 2 volumes and kind of ration my enjoyment or do I just dive on in and read a volume every week? I enjoyed it enough that a volume a week would not be a problem. It feels good to feel good about reading manga again 🙂

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

This month FELT wicked busy even though every single blog number says otherwise. My book numbers were the same as last month, my page numbers were actually down almost 150 pages, my post numbers were about the same, the comments section was down and a couple of the more active people I follow were either MIA or on a much reduced schedule.

The reason it felt so busy is because of work and real life. During the first week of this month my coworker gave his notice on Monday and was gone by Friday. This has left me as the sole full time Field Tech. It means I’m working by myself a LOT more and that means a lot more walking and not being nearly as efficient as a two man crew. I come home exhausted. I’ve also noticed some white in my goatee this month. I suspect the old salt-n-pepper look is only a year or so away.

The scheduling thing continues just fine but one unlooked for side effect is that it has effectively killed my desire for spontaneous writing. I used to write my reviews when I needed a post and if I needed a post or had verbal diarrhea, out came a non-review post. Now that I type on command for the book reviews, I just don’t feel like writing for fun. Kind of like jogging for a hobby versus training for a marathon. I’m going to give it to the end of the year and if it makes me continue feeling like blogging is work, then I’m going to ditch the scheduling and go back to the hodge podge of whenever I feel the heck like it. While scheduling is great, I prefer to fill my writing needs so it feels fun. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Ok, onto some of the posts. PSA: DNF was a decent one and I’m glad I got it out there. It also had the decency to generate a bunch of comments and I found out more about you all than I was expecting. It also was the top viewed post of the month (no surprise there!).

My 100 Book List post helped me continue my work on this blog and to be a good counterpart to my About Me section. I’ve stickied it to the side of my homepage so new people can easily find it when deciding to follow me or not. Preferably “not” so I don’t have to argue with them and show them how they are pretty much wrong about everything. It’s really tough being Mr Right.

And speaking of Mr Right, I’ve been Mr Right for 10 years this month. Mrs B and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary and we think we’ve got this whole marriage thing licked. Hahahahaa. Now that I’ve said that, watch, the next 10 years will be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before.

Not much else really. Didn’t have the urge to write beyond what I had to. Really hoping I can be more engaging in October, here and on others blogs.

 

Cover Love

None of this months crop really appealed to me. I think from a purely visual standpoint, A Shaman in Tokyo was the most striking, just like a manga should be.

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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.

virtue

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.

dnf

 

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.

ruleof50

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

* snaps fingers *

  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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