November ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 16

Pages – 5964

Words – 2117.5K (2.1million)

Average Rating – 3.37

The Bad:

Rosemary & Rue – 1Star

Blackwing – 1Star

The Good:

The Private Life of Elder Things – 4Stars

King John – 4Stars

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

This month was all over the place. Blogwise, stats were fantastic. This was the best month I’ve ever had in terms of views, likes, comments, etc.

Of course, WordPress ruins it by forcing me to double dip in terms of liking people’s comments. Then today I just started having issues with controlling my spam comments. I had one phrase that would throw any comment straight into the trash. Well, WP deleted that and now whenever I try to add it back, my settings won’t save. I’ve cleared my cache and tried Chrome, Edge AND firefox. Since I’m still banned on the forums, I can’t ask for help. I swear, I’m this close to calling it quits, good numbers or not!

Then you had the real life side of things. From bad work weeks to all the political crap flooding everything to escalation of the covid scare, it felt like this month was all about “killing, stealing and destroying”. That was overwhelming.

Cover Love:

I have to admit, when I saw the cover for the Copper Assassin, I was sure that was going to be the Cover Love choice of the month. And I was NOT wrong! Yum, yum, yum!

Plans for Next Month:

Having skipped the movie review for this month, I want to make sure to get one in for December. I’m about 99% sure it will be The Muppets Christmas Carol. That seems about the level of “Movieocracy” that I can take right now.

Other than that, it should be business as usual. I suspect a lot of my time in December will be spent planning and writing up stuff for the Year in Review post and seeing what I want to do for 2021.

October ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 3662

Words – 1125K

Average Rating – 3.75

The Bad:

Cold Fire – 1 Star

The Master and Margarita – 1.5 stars

The Good:

Dombey and Son – 5 Stars

Yotsuba Vol’s 1 & 2 – 5 stars

Movie:

Howl’s Moving Castle was a good movie without any scariness to bother me. I don’t care if it’s Halloween this month, no scariness for me!

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

This was a pretty good month overall. Reading wise, another out of the ballpark average! Unbelievable!!! Helps that Yotsuba is just about guaranteed to be 5 stars each read. Plus I had several other 5 star reads. The end of year has been pretty generous to me with all the 5stars I’ve been reading recently. Thankfully, the lower rated books have pretty much slid off my back like water and it’s not bothered me one bit. Used to be, a 1 star book would get me into the doldrums or downright depressed. With these, eh, whatever. I rather like that to be honest.

Of course, that week in the middle of the month with sickness, car problems and everything sucked the joy out of the month but both Mrs B and me are at the stage of life where we just put our heads down and keep on trucking, knowing things will get better. Or we’ll die, which is the best case scenario we could ask for!

The best performing post this month was the “When Do You Stop Following” post. That got a LOT of comments and warmed the cockles of my heart. The one I had the most fun writing was “Psychic Grandma & the T200”. I just let all the silly loose and it felt like the old days of blogging, back in my 20’s. You know, when I had a full head of hair, boundless energy and dreams of becoming the Emperor of Mars? Of course you don’t know that, none you read my blogs back then. And you can’t now either, because I’ve deleted them over the years, hahahahaa! I wouldn’t be the Mysterious Doctor Lord Bookstooge now would I?

Plans for Next Month:

Besides the usual #6degrees and movie, I’m hoping to do another crossover post with Masters of Ironing, to truly promote the art of Ironing. A true Master of Ironing doesn’t need an iron OR even know how to iron. Remember, There Is No Iron, Neo.

Also going to try to do some Currently Reading & Quote posts to talk about the books I’m reading in a non-review way. Sometimes it’s fun to just talk about a book WHILE you’re reading it.

Oh, I will probably start thinking about End of Year stuff. That stuff always takes me forever to get together and the sooner I start, the less I’ll have to deal with as New Years approaches.

Other than that, I’ll try to keep things unstructured so if I feel like writing something out of the blue, I can. Us creative types needs our space. So BACK OFF buster, and let me be creative! Or I’ll cry, I swear, I will. I’m warning you right now….

September ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 17

Pages – 5087

Words – 1708K

Average Rating – 3.82!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bad:

Awakenings – 1 Star DNF

Breakout – 2.5 Stars of Utter Mediocrity

The Good:

Howl’s Moving Castle – 5 Stars of Awesomesauce

Little Dorrit – 5 Stars of Dickens’ Awesomesauce

Movie:

Voices of a Distant Star was a great anime, for a teenager and angsty 20something. Not for me anymore :-/

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Wow! What a great month of reading! I had FIVE 5star reads and FIVE 4star reads. I think this is my highest average monthly rating, ever? I would kill for more months of reading like this.

It was also a high point for all my blog stats. Best views ever since I started in ’13. I guess posting every day pays dividends.

Of course, the stress of using the new editor while blogger was also introducing a new editor got to me and just created some constant, low level stress for the whole month. Playing around with various photo storage/hosting options didn’t help either. I did decide to go back to using wordpress to host my pix until I get close to that 3bg limit. I have options with Dropbox, so I feel ok.

Also had stress due to seeing a couple of people leave either wordpress or blogger due to editor issues. Throw in some sleep and caffeine issues and spam comments and low level stress was the name of the game for the whole month. It really began to affect me mid-month and honestly, I’m not convinced I’m out of the bushes yet. And that infernal Akismet telling me my comments going into the spam folder is my fault, not theirs, didn’t help my blood pressure any either. Thankfully, it was resolved, but still, stress.

So, hobby stress. It’s a thing, as odd as it sounds. Other than that though, the month was good.

Plans for Next Month:

Manga Monday’s are coming back, so be warned. I’m also warning myself, as the numbers show.

Going to do my usual Movie and a #6degree post, which leaves me with 2 Sundays open. At the moment, I have no idea what I’ll fill them with.

I won’t be reading as much so I don’t think I’ll be posting as much. This month was just chockful and I can’t keep that kind of posting pace up. Of course, I’ve said that in years/months past and then wrote so much that I was appalled at myself. So while plans are nice, they’re more like “guidelines” 😉

Going to do my best to kick the stress to the curb though and not let it affect me in October. New month, new Bookstooge, new Ideas and whole new levels of silliness. I’ve already had 2 ideas while typing this post up. That’s usually a bad sign 😀

August ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 16

Pages – 3968

Words – 895.5K

Average Rating – 3.0 Stars

The Bad:

The Big O Manga: The Whole Series

The Good:

The Fires of Heaven – 5 Stars

The Screwtape Letters – 4.5 stars

Movie:

Spriggan was a more successful foray into my anime collection. Next month will either be Place Promised in Our Early Days or Voices of a Distant Star. More anime, but of such a different tone from Spriggan that you might as well call John Wick the same as Casablanca because they’re both “movies”.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Didn’t write nearly as much as I thought I would.

Personal:

While the title of my Vacation post might have led some to believe that there would be other King & Queen posts to follow, I was just too lazy. The vacation went as perfectly as I could have asked for. I didn’t blog or work on my blog or do anything, as much as I thought I would. I spent a lot of time simply sitting and doing nothing, barely thinking. I didn’t even realize I needed that until I found myself at my sister’s pool one day looking at the sky for about an hour without having thought a thing. Of course, I had to get back to reality once we got home, but that is the darkside of Vacations that we all know about but don’t discuss. Both of us survived the weather just fine, so a possible move in the future isn’t out of the question any more. Pretty much spent the rest of the month wishing we were back on vacation. Sad but true.

Took a short break from interacting online near the end of the month. Sensory overload was just too much. Thankfully, pizza and books helped me cope and Mrs B and I had some more good “connection” times. During that week I did a lot of work on the blog and got a lot of old reviews posted.

Plans for Next Month:

Tomorrow I plan to blog about how this month of using the block editor went. #Blockeditorsucks ! (hint, it isn’t good)

Read BETTER books! I can’t believe my average for this month was a paltry 3 stars. The blame is squarely all on Big O but that DNF for The Well at World’s End didn’t help either, sigh.

I feel kind of overdosed on manga, as Big O was just such a disappointment. As such, I’m going to start the Yotsuba&! series. I’m going to take a break from manga in September though and start it back up in October.

I’m going to try to bulk up my numbers in terms of books read, so be prepared for a few extra book reviews and a few less non-review posts. End of the year is fast approaching.

See you tomorrow.

July ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 4658

Words – 1673K

Average Rating – 3.13 Stars

The Bad:

Kingdom Come – 1 Star Graphic Novel

The Kingdom – 1 Star Graphic Novel

The Good:

The Jupiter War – 5 Stars of Ultra- (Space) -Violence, In Space!

David Copperfield – 5 Stars of Dickens.

Movie:

Instead of watching one movie, I decided to watch four anime series. I won’t be doing that again. With each series being 5-6hrs long, it simply required too much of my time. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I enjoyed myself, but that was seriously dedicated time that I’d rather be able to spend on other things, even if it’s nothing but goofing off.

This month I watched:
1) Big O, Season 1
2) Tenchi Muyo, OVA
3) Big O, Season 2
4) Record of Lodoss War OVA

Miscellaneous Posts:

With all of my anime posts, I didn’t write nearly so many non-review posts this month. Here’s the short list:

Personal:

While my average rating was way down and I had three sub-2 star reads, I actually felt like I enjoyed my reading just as much as the previous month. No idea why, but I’m thankful for that because sometimes 1stars can just suck the very life out of one’s bookish existence.

Most of the month I was focused on getting ready for our vacation. It is amazing what you can plan even with lots of things being restricted. Throw in the fact that I haven’t gone on a week long vacation in I don’t know how many years and there is a lot of shopping that needed to be done.

Cover Love:

Come on, we all knew this was coming. Even with a McKillip/Craft in the running, Lime Light, another Arcane Casebook entry, takes this hands down. Whatever money Dan Willis spent to hire Mihaela Voicu has been totally worth it in my opinion!

Plans for August: (LOTS)

I am hoping to read the Big O manga. Fill up those Manga Monday slots and possibly some extra as there are 6 volumes.

Watch ONE anime movie. Movie, not a series. I need a break from that much screen time.

Do two #6Degree posts. The one I missed in July and then the one for August.

Some Vacation Pictures and probably a Vacation Post or two.

Master the Insidious Block Editor and write every post for the month using it. And blog about it. What’s the point if I can’t complain like a baby?

Work on the blog. So if you get posts emailed to you, expect a potential flood of incoming old reviews. You have been warned.

June ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 11

Pages – 4912

Words – 1337.5K

Average Rating – 3.64

 

The Less Good:

In all honesty, I can’t even call these mediocre, because they weren’t. They just weren’t as good as the rest of the books I read this month.  Which is a fantastic problem to have!

Harrigan – 3 Stars

Sabbat Martyr – 3 Stars

 

The Good:

Princeps’ Fury – 5 Stars

Gulag Archipelago – 4 Stars

 

Movie:

Karas left me reeling like an amnesiac drunk in a hurricane. I simply had no clue what was going on in that anime and had to wonder why I ever picked it up back in the day.  Not a good experience.

 

Miscellaneous Posts:

Once again, I’ll just bullet point these if you happened to miss any during the month.

 

Personal:

Summer is here.  Which means it has been getting into the 90’s. All I can say is thank goodness for central air and air conditioning!

Church is back open but I’d estimate about half the people aren’t comfortable coming back yet and so have still been watching on facebook livestream.

Our bluray player got stuck in an on/off cycle that put the kibosh on using it. Thankfully, it was cheap enough to pick up another one at Target, so my anime watching plans didn’t go off the rails.

WordPress has pulled back from forcing everyone to switch to the new block editor until at least 2021.  I remain pessimistic though 😦

 

Plans for Next Month:

Hoping to take a vacation at the end of July, beginning of August,  so not exactly sure how that will impact the blog.  Probably hardly at all for July. I suspect August will be where things might get off the rails. Or I end up doing such an excellent job of scheduling things that nobody ever notices. But who believes in best case scenarios?

I am planning on making Sundays all about anime that I really hope turn out better than Karas. If it works out well for me, I might try to do more in future months. Problem is, anime series are just that, series. Consisting of 6-26 episodes, they are much more of a time commitment than a single movie. So I guess July will be another experiment on my part. If it ends up impinging on my reading time, then forget about it. But if I can fit it in where I would normally watch amazon prime or something, then sure.

See you all tomorrow!

 

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May ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books — 11

Pages — 4505

Words — 1215K

Average Rating — 3.55 Stars

The Mediocre:

Pericles, Prince of Tyre — 3 Stars

The Sword-Edged Blonde — 3 Stars

 

The Good:

Captain’s Fury — 5 Stars

Kingfisher — 4 1/2 stars

 

Movie:

The 10th Kingdom ended on a rather meh note and I know I won’t be watching it again any time soon. June’s options are either Karas or The Returner. So far, Karas has all the votes.

 

Miscellaneous Posts:

This was a very wordy month and while I didn’t write a post every day,  my total (including this one) was 26. With 11 reviews, that means I pushed out 15 non-review posts.  Never felt burnt out even while some of the posts bordered on the simply ridiculous.

So without further ado, here’s the bullet list:

 

Personal:

Work has gone back to a regular 5 days now, so I was a bit too busy to let small things get any notice.  Work is fine, cars are fine, condo is fine, so it’s all fine.  Not going to complain about that!

 

Plans for Next Month:

With work going back to a normal schedule, I suspect my reading numbers will drop back into the single digits and that my output of non-review posts be less numerous as well. I am planning to read & review some manga and to have some more Gulag quotes, as well as the old standbyes of movie &  #6degree. Trying to scrounge up some tag post material as well. Might be another rant post about the calendar/scheduling if that continues to annoy me.

 

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April ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 14

Pages – 4845

Words – 1420.9K

Average Rating – 3.39 stars

 

The Bad:

Entrepreneurship – 1 Star

Two Noble Kinsmen – 1 1/2 Star

 

The Good:

The Bell at Sealey Head – 5 Stars

Cursor’s Fury – 5 Stars

Zero Point – 5 Stars

 

Movie:

Managed to make it through the Second Disc of the 10th Kingdom, but man, was it a slog. Only 1 more to go and it should be shorter and hence easier to deal with.

 

Miscellaneous Posts:

I deliberately cut down on the non-review posts this month as I was just feeling word burn out from last month. So only a couple this time around:

 

Personal:

With the whole covid19 thing, I was only working 3 days a week the whole month. I felt blessed to be working at all though, so that was good. It meant I was able to read a few more books than I was counting on, always a good thing.

While I was working less, Mrs B was working more, as the big box store she works for was doing gang-buster business and they needed all hands on deck. That meant that a lot of the things she normally takes care I ended up doing so I wouldn’t go stir crazy or waste the day watching tv all day. Whenever I wasn’t working, we would make up a list of Things To Do. That really helped me from spiraling downward or getting into an emotional funk.

We know of several people at our church who have lost their jobs because the companies they worked for just decided to go belly up due to the shutdowns. We’re already hunkering down (with saving up money now and decreasing spending) and are planning on a year long time of riding things out. We’d love to be wrong though.

 

Cover Love:

This was a real toss up, as usually a McKillip book with Kinuko Craft cover is auto-win for this category. But overall, I was feeling a bit darker and Zero Point just hit my fancy a bit better. Brutal SF Space Mayhem, yes please!

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Plans for Next Month:

Originally I was going to make May a Gulag Archipelago month. Lots of quotes and little data bits, etc with one big review of the first volume at the end of the month. However, my current speed of reading is considerably slower than anticipated and so while I’ll have several quotes, I don’t think I’ll be able to get the review done by the end of May. Therefore I’m going to fall back on my typical routine and hope it pans out.

 

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March ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 6228

Words – 1753.6K (ie, 1.75 Million words)

Average Rating – 3.75 Stars

 

The Mediocre:

SF Hall of Fame, Vol. 2A – 2 Stars

NPC’S – 3 Stars

 

The Good:

The Great Hunt – 5 Stars

Academ’s Fury – 5 Stars

The Arcane Casebook Series – 4 Star Average!

 

Movie:

Started the 10th Kingdom mini-series by Hallmark and had a blast.

 

Ramblings & Miscellaneous Posts:

I read some real Chunksters this month and as a result my page and word count were pretty impressive. Or I messed up my count. I’m going with “Impressive” 😀

I wrote a lot this month, so I’m just going to bullet point them all, sorry. 

 

Personal:

March was something else, for sure. Work stress, car stress and Wuhan-chan stress.  I ended up stress writing and that gave me a whopping 24 posts this month (including this one I believe). 

Car stuff. We’re a two car family and I’ve known since last year that the car I drive wasn’t going to pass inspection this year. The mechanic barely passed it last year and he told me he wouldn’t do that again. It was rusting out all over the place so I knew I needed a replacement by the first week of April.  I began scanning craigslist (we can’t buy a new car outright and won’t go into debt for one) and eventually found one.  Coordinating schedules was stressful enough, but then my car just outright died about 3 days before we could pick up the new car.  And then dealing with the town offices as they all were preparing to shut down due to Wuhan-chan.  It just made for an incredible amount of stress over something that really shouldn’t have been. 42c

Then of course, right at the end of the month joining the rest of the World in shutting down until May. Thankfully, both Mrs B and I work in “Essential Businesses” but for me, work is now on a day by day basis. A lot of uncertainty swirling around, that is for sure.

Thankfully, the reading was great. The Arcane Casebook series was a delight to read and I looked forward to a new book every week. That was a nice feeling. Highly recommend the series.

 

Book Give-Away:

Doing a Hardcover Michael Crichton book giveaway this month. It is open until April 11 and I’ll contact the winner April 12. Due to the uncertainty of just about everything, I think I’m going to be holding off doing any more Give-Aways until we’re in a more settled place.

 

Cover Love:

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I talked about this cover in my review of Ghost of a Chance, but my goodness, is that cover spiffy looking or what!?!? Best of the bunch in my opinion.

 

Plans for Next Month:

I don’t know if this will be a regular new feature for my Roundups, but I’ve seen other bloggers do them as a separate post and I like the idea. It also works well to help me construct the narrative for the blog for the coming month. I realize most of you are never going to notice something like that, but it helps me as the content creator.

Even though I only wrote a tiny bit more than I did in January,  March just felt like I wrote and wrote and wrote. So I’m going to use April to re-charge. I’ll be doing my book reviews and the next 10th Kingdom movie review, but I suspect that will be about it.

Oh, Mrs B says she’d be interested in showcasing some more artwork so maybe you’ll see some of her drawings on random weekends. I should probably come up with a clever series title for them but nothing immediately springs to mind. Suggestions are welcome.

And with work being so uncertain, I don’t know if I’ll be stuck inside reading, whatever. So I might end up needing to write to vent and blow all of the above right out the window.  Things are changing so fast that planning for an entire month is almost impossible now.

 

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February ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 11

Pages – 4232

Words – 1071.9K

Average Rating – 3.82 stars (that has GOT to be a record!!!!!)

 

The “Bad”:

For Love of Distant Shores – 3 Stars

Two Gentlemen of Verona – 3 Stars

 

The Good:

Great Expectations – 5 Stars

Target Rich Environment, Vol. 2 – 4.5 Stars

 

Movie:

UP was a great movie even while ripping my emotional guts out at the beginning. I did ask everyone to vote for the next 3 months of movies, as the choice was between the Lord of the Rings extended editions or the mini-series The 10th Kingdom. Something resonated with you all because I got more input on that than I have had in a while. Made me happy.  It looks like The 10th Kingdom squeaked ahead by 1 vote, so be prepared for that in the coming months. There are 3 discs so I’ll do a disc a month with however many episodes are on each disc.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Algebra is dead in the water. I’ve realized I don’t want my survey license with all the attendant “people stuff” that comes with it. I do want to move onto the next level of Field Certification though, so I’ll probably try to deal with Geometry this summer. Jefferson,  we’ll talk 😉

Weight Watchers is going ok. I’ve reached the point where I just need to lose the final few pounds but it is going really hard.  I continue to persevere though and I’m pretty happy with the program and how it is working for me.

I’ve come to realize that the Pages/Word count is guestimating at its most basic level. I need to get past that hangup and just realize it is rough metric. It is hard to accept that it isn’t spot on though.

Here’s a bullet list of some of my other random posts:

Overall, I’m content with this month. When the “worst” books I read were both 3 stars, you know it was a good month. Please do check out the “I Need Help” post if you have any advice about interviewing authors, I need all the help I can get.

 

Book Give-Away:

Ichabod won last month’s  give-away.  The Current Give-Away is a bunch of paperbacks and is open until March 7, so only a week to get your entry in.

 

Cover Love:

This month I chose Galactic Outlaws for the cover. I mean, come on. Lonestar is on there, right along with Princess Vespa 😉    Hahahaa.  All kidding aside, that is some serious Star Wars vibes going on and I like it.

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Plans for Next Month:

I have decided to throw caution to the wind in March and read whatever the frell I feel like. I’m wondering if this is the start of my mid-life crisis? Don’t try to stop me! I’m a desperate man and desperate men do desperate things!

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