Bookstooge Reviews 2017

 

 

 

LONG POST AHEAD  – NOT KIDDING – NO REALLY – VERY LONG!!!

 

2017 was quite a different year from 2016 for me, not bad, just very different. Before I run down the differences, I’ll do some quick stats, as I LOVE stats. These stats are only for 2017 unless otherwise stated.

 

Blog  Stats:

Total Posts: 321

Total Views: 15.8K  +/-

Followers: 166 (subject to culling)

 

Book Stats:

Books Read:  194

Pages Read: 67,400 +/-

 

Star Stats: 

 

 

Average Rating –  3.47

 

 

 

General Thoughts’ish:

Here’s my 2016 In Review from last year.  My overall Book and Pages numbers are down but my average rating went up almost 1/4 of a star from 3.25 to 3.47.  Probably because I did a lot of re-reading of excellent books.

 

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Stopped being active on Booklikes in April. Wrote my Final Booklikes Post then and haven’t looked back since.

 

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Made the move to WordPress fulltime. That led to me perusing WP a lot more and hence cut into my reading time. I follow about 60 people and most of them are pretty constant posters. So I’ve spent a lot more time reading blogs than in previous years and that’s ok. People are worth investing in. Plus, now I don’t have to read all those books because I’ve already read the reviews 😉

 

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Using Librarything as my catalogue site and while I post reviews and try to be somewhat active on the forums, I find that the forum format is limiting to how I like to communicate. I can be found at  Bookstooge on LT.

 

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I’ve also fully moved over to Calibre for keeping track of my reviews offline. While it is actually an ebook manager, it works just as well for managing my reviews. Just like a spreadsheet in terms of data but with pretty covers so I can make it a visual experience! That and I can copy it, back it up and not have to worry about losing 17-18 years worth of data.

 

I’ve started doing some varied series of posts.  Some of My Favorite Things came to an end. It was a good time of listing off all of my favorite books and authors. Of course, I then went in the other direction and started the Surviving a Bad Book series which allows me to vent about some of the really bad stuff I’ve read. I’ll continue that this year for sure.  Survival Saturday took me into the dangerous world of food. It also led to a lot of followers who are willing to follow me for just one post a month. Kudos to you, kind folk!

I’ve also created the Movie Category as I’ve found that reviewing a movie here and there allows me cleanse my mind since most movies now are almost all brainless fluff. Action’y, explosion’y fluff mind you, but fluff nonetheless.

My manga reading went well and I loved my time with Eyeshield 21. That was a great sports manga. Now I’m diving into the RomCom Oh My Goddess! and that is a big series that I actually own. Time to make a large dent in it this year!

 

THE BOOKS

Best book of the Year:

This actually is going to get split into 2 categories, as I did a lot of re-reading this year and most of those re-reads were really good books to begin with.

Deadhouse Landing Dancer’s Lament tied for Best New Book. Nothing deep, nothing of real substance but so much fun and worth buying in hardcover.

Gardens of the Moon definitely took the spot for Best Re-read. However, that wasn’t an easy choice for me to make, as I had some seriously other enjoyable books that I Re-Read.

But the world of Malaz took my reading by storm this year.

 

Worst Book of the Year:

I didn’t start using this tag until October, so I just perused my 1/2 star and 1 star books in Calibre. Most of my half-star books this year were because of (im)Moral Content and not necessarily because I hated the book.

The Midden gets this dubious honor. It just left me in a bad mood for 24hrs after I was done. Books have to be extremely bad to do that to me.

A VERY close contender was Light. That piece of excrescence was a boil on my literary butt. Disgusting.

Night Parade is the runner up because it was just so trashy. Poorly written book that gives the Forgotten Realms series the bad rap that it has.

 

Plans for 2018

Not a lot actually. I’ll keep on with the couple of series of posts that I mentioned above.

I want to do a Robin Read in January. Basically, I have 4 Graphic Novels dealing with various Robins [Batman’s sidekick] that I want to read. Lashaan spurred me on in this endeavor when he reviewed Under the Red Hood I plan on reading A Death in the Family, A Hero Reborn, Tragedy & Triumph and finally Under the Red Hood. 

I also plan on reading, and watching Murder on the Orient Express and doing some sort of Buddy Read/Watch with Read, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. A month or so after the dvd for the latest movie comes out. If any of you want to do a Buddy Read at some point, shoot me an email and we can work out details.

Also, since I’m pretty much making WP my home on the web now, I’ll be creating individual posts for all of my old reviews, since I only have them in monthly clumps. So if you follow by email, I apologize ahead of time. Just going to try to work on entries that I’m re-reading though. Not like I’m going to go through and do all 3000+.

I have to admit, my main “selfish” goal is to have that first post that breaks the 100 view mark. I’ve got a couple that are pretty close, but I’m hoping that something I post in 2018 will be the first. That is about the limit of my personal ambition 😀

 

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Other than that, I’ll continue on with my regular reading schedule. Here’s what that looks like as of now:

Books by Patricia McKillip

Shadows of the Apt

Sacketts

High Priority (currently 5 books in this collection)

Books by Charles Dickens

Warhammer: Thanquol & Boneripper

Polity

Omega Force

Wayward Pines

Brother Cadfael

Dread Empire

Dread Empire’s Fall (not related to the above series AT ALL)

The Complete Shakespeare

Malaz Empire

Monstrumologist

Bookburners

Misc (currently 6 books in this collection)

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein

Thraxas

Maradaine

Malazan Book of the Fallen

Forgotten Realms: Year of Rogue Dragons

Dune Chronicles

Culture Novels

As I finish one series, I’ll roll another one in from my Calibre Library.

 

Personal: 

Life continues. We got a new pastor in March. His focus appears to be on the churches that he’s in charge of (all 4 of them) and not on climbing up the corporate ladder of the SDA business side of things. That has meant that both me and Mrs B. have spent more time at church doing stuff as we feel that our contributions are actually wanted.

I don’t have any grand plans to expand my blog or to try to grow it any more. I feel comfortable with the number of people I follow and while I’m always glad to welcome new followers (and hopefully new commentors!) I have no desire to become the next rival to Emily May on Goodreads (may she rot for betraying Leafmarks!). I actually stopped posting on Tumblr so I’m back to crossposting just on WordPress, Blogspot and Librarything. I’m finding that is just about the right size of community for me.

I’d really like to thank all of you who follow me and who do like and comment. For all my protestations of blogging for myself and not caring what others think, that’s only somewhat true.  Being an inveterate introvert, I still find myself beset by that weakness of humanity, the need for others. So thank you all for putting up with my rants, my silliness, my stomping around like a 2 year old.  I know none of you has to stick around but you still are here, so thanks for that. At the same time I hope no one ever sticks around if they don’t feel comfortable with any of my content. Don’t be a guilt-ridden follower, please!

I have updated my About Me post and I recommend any relatively new people check it out. Always good to know who you are following.

 

 

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TOP 5’s:

 

– Book Review Posts –

Night of Knives

Moon Over Soho

Way of Shadows

Dune

The Kantovan Vault

These reviews really surprised me. I know part of it is that by the end of the year those reviews got more views because of a bigger audience, but still, Night of Knives? That went up in March and stayed on top all year. Weird…

 

– Non-Review Posts – 

Mr Mercedes – I’ve Read 3%

A Milestone

Survival Saturday – The Intro Post

I Will Make Them Cry

Bookstooge & the Invisible Reader

Mr Mercedes  post got top billing because of the smiley face picture I used, I think. Turns up in a lot of google searches. If it isn’t that, then I’m super confused. The Invisible Reader post rocketed up the rankings making it into the top 5 in less than a week.  Either my whining was super annoying effective or it resonated with a lot of readers.

 

– Commentors – + Bonus Commentors

OrangutanLibrarian

Lashaan

Manuel

Space and Sorcery

Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum

Mr and Mrs NW

DragonsandZombies

While I do bite peoples’ heads off when the occasion calls for it,  I do try to be nice to first time commentors; unless you are a troll/sjw, an author peddling your book or some random blogger trying to guilt me into following you. Other than that, you’re more than welcome to comment away. And as the above people prove, you can comment on multiple posts and live to tell your grandchildren about it! Well, except that one guy. But I buried him pretty deep and am sure no one will ever find the body. See, you’re totally safe here!

 

– Movies –

Since I reviewed less than 10 movies this year, and the Death Note franchise took up 4 of those places, I’m going to wait until  next year to list a Top 5 for these. That being said,  I will list my top 2. Cause you have to have more than one to truly have “A List”, right?

Doctor Strange

John Wick 2

 

 

I think that wraps up the year. Whether it actually does or not, I’m plumb out of words, so there’s the end.

Hope you all as good a 2017 as I’ve had and I hope that 2018 will be even better!

 

bookstooge

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Double Digit Victory!

Ever since Leafmarks folded in 2016, I have been working on my own personal, offline library of reviews using a free program called Calibre.  I started with roughly 2400 entries and by May of this year had whittled that down to Triple Digits. Victory was within my Grasp!

Today, I am proud to announce that I have succeeded into whittling that number down into the double digits!!!! I’ve been lazy but the last couple of weeks Booklikes, where I have all my reviews as separate entries, has been giving me a lot of 502’s. I’m really hoping to get this job done by years end. It’s my unofficial book project.

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I’ve included a couple more screen captures from Calibre in hopes of enticing at least one of you to start using it for your offline data keeping. Well, ok, it’s more about me showing off my numbers. I admit, I’m vain about it.

 

 

 

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Info, info everywhere! Sortable, exportable, backupable.

 

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Having the option for half stars within Calibre is great.

 

I realize that most of you won’t care or need this level of personal data entry.  But since I use Calibre already to manage my ebooks, and it has all these great capabilities, why not make the most of it? It’s free, constantly being updated and has a whole forum of people who want to help others use it.  It fits my needs.

Of course, once this project is done, I have to pick another. I have NO idea what I’ll do for that. Maybe undertake the gargantuan task of putting all my reviews into separate entries here at wordpress? I don’t know if I can do that, as I did that at Booklikes, then Leafmarks and now in Calibre.  It would be nice to have a fully functioning, fully searchable and fully linkable site, but honestly, I’ve got a small enough audience (no offense to any of you!) and no plans to “go big”, so why bother? We’ll see though. I might do it just for something book related to do!

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As an aside, I’m going to be working in a remote location monday, with no wifi. Going to be on small island quite a ways away from the office, so my coworker and I will be spending the night there. So after Sunday night, I’ll be gone until Tuesday night. See you all then.

 

Surviving A Bad Book – The Space Vampires

the-space-vampires-1976_origAs I am currently updating my off-line book review database in Calibre, I come across some of the jewels that I’ve read over the years. Those books I try to include in my Some of my Favorite Things posts. Of course, there are times that I’ve come across some real pooper scooper books.

One such book that I read back in ’07 was The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson.  Sadly, since this was back in ’07, my review lacks somewhat in the verve and rip & gut that I find myself occasionally dabbling in these days. Kino also reviewed the book back in ’16. He wasn’t any more impressed than I had been.

I realize this isn’t an actual review even while I’m linking to an older review. But it amused me when I came across this and figured I could write something.  Now if you go to various social booksites and look at reviews, you’ll see how some people are praising this book. I think those people should be committed.

It was all about Sex is a Metaphor for Everything and Everything is Actually Sex. Goodness, I hate a lot of writings from the 70’s. Bloody Freud. And there was a movie but I’m not providing any links, as the few I saw convinced me it was softcore porn.

It didn’t help that I read the edition with the above cover. I felt very misled. Now, if I’d seen the covers below, I’d have had a better idea of just what I was getting into and maybe avoided it altogether.

 

I might have to go through my library and see what other 1 star or less atrocities I’ve read.  Sometimes it is good to be reminded of just what you’ve survived.

 

bookstooge

Victory is Within My Grasp!

When Leafmarks folded last year [Leafmarks was a Goodreads type site but without the censorship] I was able to export all of my book data to that date.  It was becoming apparent to me that Booklikes wasn’t cutting it [and with no Export function, what’s the point?] and I couldn’t really go back to GR [as an aside, I did briefly join up, for the 3rd time with GR only to quit when they started sending me those “You’ve just read a book. Congrats!” emails which I had not signed up for. So instead of opting out of the emails, I opted out of GR. And it just reinforced my bitter dislike of the incompetence of those running the place]. I spent a month checking out all sorts of various places.

I checked:

  • Librarything [ended up crossposting there and getting a free lifetime membership]
  • aAnobi [which was an italian site and just as dead as Booklikes]
  • The ReadingRoom [was just a huge advertisement]
  • Some other sites that were so small I don’t even remember them.

Nothing was what I was looking for. Eventually, I chose WP as my social site. But what to do for my reviews? I wanted to be able to search them by as wide a variety as possible but putting them just into a Word document wasn’t enough. So I started using Calibre, which is an ebook manager. It can also manage empty books, so this was perfect for me. I had something like 2400 entries in a CSV file from Leafmarks that I imported.  Then it just became a job of polishing everything up, ie, adding ratings, covers, splitting re-reads into their separate entries, etc.  Today, I will get my Working Library under the 1000 mark. Going from 4digits down to 3digits is a significant morale booster for me.

 

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Working Library: Where the Magic Happens

 

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The Review Library: What the Magic Looks Like

*smiley face*

I am pretty happy today. Thank you for your time.

bookstooge