Surviving a Bad Book – Catch-22


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

1 Star







This book is the classic example of where humor is NOT universal. As I was reading this I could almost SEE Heller trying to squeeze in the humor but for me, it came across as the vampire bite of satire rather than the bonhomie satire.  It has been almost 9 years since I read this and I’ve never been tempted to re-read it to see if my opinion has changed or to search out any other works by Heller. In fact, this book makes me feel like this:


Yep, this book made me wish Heller was dead. Oh wait…


I know nothing about Heller’s real life experience in the war. I only know this was written 8+ years after the war had ended and wasn’t published until 1961.  I just know that I found the mocking, the bitterness and the complete degradation through humor of the men who served in WWII to to be completely unpalatable. I couldn’t find the situations humorous. It is kind of like me making jokes about dead squirrels, or running them over or something. I find that uproariously hilarious but Mrs B will burst into tears, so I have learned to not tell those kind of jokes around her.


Make Your Own Squirrel Joke.  Kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure, but different.

Another reason I was disappointed was that I was expecting the humor to be right down my alley.  Making fun of a situation and the people involved because of stupidity. Yessir, sign me up! And like I said, it just didn’t work for me.

I guess this was more of a bittersweet Survival Story than anything. I am glad I read this so I have it in my reading repertoire, but really, I almost wish I could un-read this so as to not have this huge black hole of disappointment where this book resides in my mind.



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Site Update


I have decided that it is time to clean this dump up. While my book reviews number in the 1000’s (currently just under 3000), they aren’t all nicely posted one book to a post. From 2000 until 2009 I did monthly posts where I just lumped them all together. It makes searching here on WordPress a nightmare and linking to previous reads or mentions of older books? Forget about it!!!  Matt’s Post about him working on his blog inspired me to get my backside in gear and to begin making this place workable.



I’ve got two main phases of construction that need to happen.



First, posts from Mid-2012 through the present need to be cleaned of all links to my old GR account that no longer exists or has covers & links to Booklikes, which I can’t count on staying alive much longer. I then need to add updated data. This includes covers, series information, maybe links and appropriate tags.  This is the easiest as each book is still its own post. For the most part, this level of work won’t affect what you see here at all, even if you are email subscribed, unless I come across a discrepancy between wordpress and Calibre. I’m hoping this should be all taken care of by the end of this year.

The second phase is going to be the most intensive and will affect anyone who subscribes to “new” posts by email. I’ll have to go through each monthly post from 2000 through 2012 and write a separate post for each entry in the monthly post. So anywhere from 10-20+ new posts for each month. That is a phracking lot of writing. I’m guessing this phase of construction is going to take years. I won’t be bothering with adding covers to those posts, but there will still be all the prerequisite data that needs to be entered. So once again, series, rating, tags, links, etc.  This is the main reason for this post. Any of you who subscribe by email will be getting inundated with emails once this starts up. Obviously, that time is a ways off, but if you have it in the back of your mind, it won’t come as a complete surprise.

I’ve been working on Phase 1 for about 2 weeks now.  I can do a couple of months worth of the Phase 1 work each weekend.  I pushed it last weekend and did almost 9 months worth of data. That caused me to just be completely “worded” out.  This weekend I’m limiting myself to a month each evening, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Seems to be working out ok without burning me out.




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PSA: Bookstooge Speaks Out….On Narcissism


Before we get into the really deep parts of this post, we here at Bookstooge would like to reassure our readers that we in no way support Narcissism. Depending on how long you have been following us, we are sure you realize our selfless dedication to the eradication of Narcissism. In our eyes, nothing is worse than that yahoo who just keeps blabbing and blabbing about how great and wonderful they are. This post today, with the typical Bookstooge logic, clear sighted analysis and calm, cool & collected proficiency of a true expert, will totally debunk any argument that any narcissist might bring against us.



Y’all better listen to that Bookstooge fella. He done know what he’s talking about!


The first thing is actually identifying a Narcissist. Now, most definitions are of a person who is obsessed with themselves. We deny that statement. A narcissist is someone who is wrongly obsessed with themselves. They think they are handsome/pretty when they’re just average. They think they are smart, when they aren’t even near to Einstein. They think they are clever, when they are actually boring and banal.

Basically, a narcissist is someone who thinks they are right when they are just plain wrong.  That is one of the few reasons that we here at Bookstooge know we’re not narcissists. We are never wrong.  It also doesn’t hurt that we are even more humble than Moses, the “most meek man on the face of the earth”. (Numbers 12:3).

And this is why we wish to speak out on this issue. People often conflate the idea of self-obsession with just plain pigheaded wrongness and this makes them wrong, leading to a vicious downward spiral of self-destruction and recriminations that is almost impossible to escape from. We here at Bookstooge realize that most people cannot break this cycle themselves.  We not only wish to highlight this problem, but would also like to offer a solution.




Seriously, how hard is that? I, errr,  WE do it all the time. Day in and day out. Week after week, month after month, as the years pile up. And you don’t see us with a swelled head or massive ego, oh no!

We do realize that people aren’t just going to stop being wrong all by themselves. After a lifetime’s habit built up, they simply can’t stop cold turkey. So besides our patent pending “Stop Being Wrong” solution, we also offer, for a VERY slight fee, our personalized Bookstooge Opinionator.  Join us and if you ever feel like you “might” be wrong, just send your personal Bookstooge Helper an email with your opinion. All Bookstooge Helpers are trained to the highest degree to detect right and wrong opinions. They will get back to you within 24hrs, often even sooner(!!!!), letting you know if your opinion is indeed right or wrong.


The Bookstooge Opinionator Team: We make sure YOU are always Right!


Studies have shown that those who use this tool experience elation and the complete disappearance of fear in their online lives. This online experience often sublimates into the real world. You’d be surprised how many sports and movie stars, politicians and talkshow hosts have used and benefited from The Bookstooge Opinionator.  Admit it, you probably thought those talking heads on tv were just well informed, intelligent people. But nope, it is all thanks to our wonderful program.

To end this most beneficial of posts, if someone you love, or perhaps even yourself, might suffer, in the slightest, from that most dreaded ailment of Narcissism, it’s ok. We are here to solve your problems and get you back on track of Being Right, All the Time! (trademark pending)


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April Roundup & Ramblings



Raw Data:

12 Books

4046 Pages

2.88 Average Star Rating (Ouch!)


The Bad:

The Last Town  1/2 Star book that I DNF’ddishonor1


Gods of the Mountain 1 1/2 Star novel where the author asked for a bad review .  He got it.  dishonor




The Good:

Assail  4 Stars and the longest book at just under 800 pages this month

Thank You, Jeeves  4 Stars and the humor is what upped this.


Graphic Novels & Manga

Finished up the Robinverse series of graphic novels I was reading with Under the Red Hood. This burned me out on graphic novels for a bit, so I don’t know when I’ll read another.

Oh My Goddess! plateaued as I was only able to read one volume this month. I just couldn’t bring myself to try a second. This does not bode well for the series as a whole. If I didn’t already own the whole dang thing, I’d definitely be tossing this for something more interesting.


Miscellaneous And Personal:

Survival Saturday was more comfort than survival this month. Breakfast Burritos bigger than my fist, yes please!

Surviving a Bad Book allowed the readers a quick glimpse into what helped turn Bookstooge into the battered and psychologically scarred creature of vengeance that he is today. Luckily for the world at large, he’s not a billionaire, so you should be safe.

The month started well with Resurrection Day, then quickly devolved with some twit being an Idiot on Twitter and ended up just being Plain Silly.

Most of the reason for the smaller numbers this month was that I was heavily invested, timewise that is, in the newest Magic the Gathering release entitled Dominaria. It sucked me in and I ended up creating a personalized Commander / EDH deck that is white and black and based on the Knight type. Just creating the Deck List and then Trimming it Down was quite the chore! I found out that I had some rewards from Amazon through our credit card, so I was able to get most of the more expensive cards all in one fell swoop instead of having to scrimp all year long.  I’m hoping this will allow me to play it by June, July at the latest.

On the blogside of personal things, I ended up doing some culling of people I used to follow but for one reason or another have fallen by the wayside.  I have tried to follow a couple of new people by using the WordPress Search for some of my favorite authors. I did follow 2 new people, but neither has updated in over 2 weeks. That doesn’t bode well. If any of you are just itching to suggest anyone, feel free. My main caveats are that they must post at least once a week, have very few YA reviews and finally, they must actually do reviews. When I was looking for book bloggers, I was amazed at how many bloggers participate more in some “Meme Theme” than in actually reviewing.  If someone doesn’t have a minimum 1 to 1 ratio for Reviews and Non-Review posts, I probably won’t follow them long term.  Ok, enough Grumpy Old Man’ing from me.


Cover Love:

Jackaby takes it this month. A YA book that didn’t make me throw up and I’ll be continuing the series. I’m as surprised as anyone about that!


In the words of the immortal alien, Dick Solomon: “I’m Gorgeous!!!”




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Life Advice…w/ Dr. Bookstooge



It’s one of those kind of days.  I’ve got diarrhea of the brain and fingers, so I’ve got a ton of nonsense just waiting to explode onto the screen.


My first piece of advice, to anyone, male, female, tall, short, smart or stupid, is to not have parents. Any problem you might have, it can be avoided by simply not having parents.  Now, if you’re reading this, you’ve obviously ignored this piece of advice. Don’t worry, 100% of people who come to me for advice have ALSO ignored this advice. You are not alone in this.


(Of course, if you’re listening to that song by Michael Jackson, well, you get what you deserve, in my professional medical opinion)


Most people, when they come to me for Parental Pod advice, ask me what they can “do” about their problem.  The thing is, as I shake my wisely visage and appear sympathetic, is to deconstruct the thinking behind that “do”.  Most people don’t realize that Parental Pods (will be referred to as PP’s from hereon in) are also people too. Yes, you heard that right. Most other doctors don’t subscribe to this idea, but if you carefully examine the evidence, you’ll see that I, Doctor Bookstooge, am right. Not just a little bit right, but COMPLETELY right. I call this groundbreaking theory, Parental Pods are People Too, or PPaPT to keep things snappy. My clients like it when I use acronyms. Lets them know that I’m hip with the jiving lingo that the kids use today. Now, if those same kids would just stay off my lawn, we’d be all set.

The second thing to realize is since PPaPT applies, this means that every mood, feeling and thought you have, they also apply to the PP in question. Are you a stubborn jackass sometimes? Are you an opinionated, hotheaded loudmouth? Well, I hate to break it to you, but your PP were those things first. This makes them much more experienced in such things.  Accept the fact that you can’t be more “X” than your PP.


Yes, this post applies to you too, you stubborn, hotheaded, opinionated, loudmouthed jackass.


My final advice to most patients suffering from one form of PP or another, is that they can’t actually do anything about it.  It once again comes down to our PPaPT philosophy here at Dr McBookstooges Inc.  We believe that most cases of PP just need to run their course, kind of like the man-flu.



And I believe that is probably all the medical advice that needs to be packed into one post. Any more and readers would start losing their minds and begin worshipping me as a veritable dynamo of divine wisdom.


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MTG: Good Knight to You Sirrah! Part II

Magic_card_backI know, I said I wouldn’t do multiple posts about this deck. Too bad.  Here’s the original card pool:

Good Knight Part I

Trying to create a Black and White Knight deck for EDH / Commander has been a bit more labor intensive than I thought.  It is also a LOT more expensive than buying one of the $35 precons and modifying it.  If I’m lucky I’ll have this constructed by the end of the year.  They don’t call Magic the Gathering cardboard crack for nothing!

I hope to have a post up tomorrow with pictures of some of the more interesting and valuable cards that I get from the new Dominaria set. I have half a box and 2 pre-release kits so out of 30 packs I’m hoping for at least one good card to help pay for all of this.  This also serves as fair warning to those of you who aren’t into Magic the Gathering so you don’t expect something else come Monday.


I did a fine darn job with my gut instinct of “on the edge”.  I suspect money is going to play a part of the chosen cards. I’ll be including the TCG midrange price here. Planeswalkers might be swapped out for creatures if the price is too exhorbitant for the overall deck. Totals are rounded up so to give a bit of a worst case scenario.

The next step after this post is to check each card’s edition and see if I already own it. That’ll help with the overall pricing issue too. If I already own a higher card or two, that will make buying the others that much easier.


The Goal now is:

4 Planeswalkers

30 Creatures

5 Enchantments

6 Instants

6 Sorceries

8 Artifacts

40 Lands



Commander: 1

Athreos, God of Passage  – $11


Planeswalkers: 4

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion-$11

Gideon, ally of zendikar-$10

Sorin, Grim Nemesis-$5

Sorin Lord of Innistrad-$8  Iffy


Total: $45


Knights/Creatures:  30 and 26 Alternates

Elenda the Duskrose -$5

Ravos Soultender -$8

Auriok Steelshaper-$1.50

Deathbringer Liege-$12

Eastern Paladin-$0.25

Fiendslayer Paladin-$1

Kabira Vindicator-$0.10

Kinsbaile Cavalier-$1.25

Knight Exemplar-$2.75

Knight of Dawn-$0.25

Knight of Dusk-$0.25

Knight of Meadowgrain-$1.50

Leonin Skyhunter-$0.10

Markov Dreadknight-$0.20

Northern Paladin-$0.40

Paragon of New Dawns-$0.10

Paragon of Open Graves-$0.10

Pentarch Paladin-$1

Southern Paladin-$0.40


Thalia’s Lancers-$0.40

Vona, Butcher of Magan-$2.50

Western Paladin-$0.30

Aryel Knight of Windgrace-$0.80

Benalish Marshall-$1.50

Danitha Capashan, Paragon-$0.40

Josu Vess, Lich Knight-$1.80

Knight of Grace-$0.10

Knight of Malice-$0.10

Kwende, Pride of Femeref-$0.10


Total: $45


Plover Knight – Alternate for Sorin Planeswalker – $0.20

Black Knight -on the edge

Crusading Knight -on the edge

Fortified Rampart -on the edge

Lightwielder Paladin -on the edge

Marauding Knight -on the edge

Mirran Crusader -on the edge

Shimmering Barrier -on the edge

Silver Knight -on the edge

Silverblade Paladin -on the edge

Steel Wall -on the edge

White Knight -on the edge

Arvad the cursed -on the edge

Benalish Honor Guard-on the edge

Cabal Paladin-on the edge

Ageless Sentinels -flying wall

Angelic Wall -flying wall

Wall of Omens

Wall of Reverence

Wall of Swords

Knight of the Pilgrim’s Road

Knight-captain of Eos

Mirror Entity

Student of Warfare

Teysa, Orzhov Scion

Dauntless Bodyguard


Enchantmants: 5 and 5 Alternates

Cathar’s Crusade-$5 Own?

Dictate of Heliod-$0.25 Own?

Shared Triumph-$3

The Eldest Reborn-$0.25

True Conviction-$3.20


Total: $12


Anointed Procession-on the edge

Honor of the Pure-on the edge

Knighthood-on the edge

Lich’s Mastery-on the edge

Marshal’s Anthem-on the edge


Instants/Sorceries: 12 and 8 Alternates

Call the Gatewatch-$0.25 Own?

Cast Down-$0.90

Diabolic Tutor-$0.25


Enlightened Tutor-Own. buy alternate at $6

Gideon’s Phalanx-$0.25 Own?

Invoke the Divine-$0.20

Pacifism-$0.10 Own?

Righteous confluence-$0.20


Wretched Confluence-$0.75

Yawgmauth’s Vile Offering-$1.10


Total: $11


Allied Reinforcements-on the edge

Annihilate-on the edge

Aura Blast-on the edge

Cruel Tutor-on the edge  running roughly $25-30

Infernal Tutor – on the edge – running around $15-20

Primeval’s Glorious Rebirth-on the edge Only if get in my dominaria box

Settle the Score-on the edge

Utter End-on the edge


Artifacts/Equipments: 8 and 4 Alternates

Door of Destinies-$4

Helm of the Host-$2.30

Herald’s Horn-$6.50

Orzhov Signet-$0.25

Sol Ring-$3

Spear of Heliod-$1 Own?

Staff of Nin-$0.50

Vanquisher’s Banner-$2.50


Total: $20


Akroma’s Memorial-on the edge

Blackblade Reforged-on the edge

Executioner’s Capsule-on the edge

Kormus Bell-on the edge


Lands: 40 and 2 Alternates

Command Tower-$1.25

Concealed Courtyard-$6


Fetid Heath-$10

Forsaken Sanctuary-$0.25

Godless Shrine-$13 Real Iffy

Isolated Chapel-$3


Mortuary Mire-$0.20 Own

New Benalia-$0.10

Orzhov Basillica-$0.25 Own

Orzhov Guildgate-$0.10

Scoured Barrens-$0.10

Shambling Vent-$2 Own?

Tainted Field-$0.10

Temple of Silence-$2

Temple of the False god-$0.40 Own?

Unclaimed Territory-$2.50

Vault of the Archangel-$3

Zhalfirin Void-$0.50

Plains x9-$4 a piece for full art from lethix. or use my own

Swamps x9-$4 a piece for full art from lethix. or use my own

Evolving Wilds-Own already

Terramorphic Expanse-Own already


Total: $43


Maze of Ith-on the edge $11

Sandstone Bridge-on the edge


Grand Total: $180 w/ a $20 possible downturn.


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Surviving a Bad Book – The Swords of the Sultan!

coverThe Swords of the Sultan! by J. Erik Booker

1 Star

Book 1 of The Elysian Dynasty






I like to put up these SaBB posts if the book is not only bad, in some shape, way or form but also has an interesting story to go along with it.  This book performs admirably on all accounts.

First off, it is the epitome of indie trash.  If you read my original review, I didn’t really hate on it, just pointed out what I couldn’t stomach and considered it a waste of time. A one star book on Goodreads, no big deal, right? Hahahaahahahahahahaa.


Attack of the Rabid Fan Girl

A fan of the author, who had written a 5star review, came over to my review and started lambasting me for what I had written.  Mind you, I hadn’t gone over to her review or had any interaction with her or the author. This was someone sticking their nose into my review and trying to roast me. I was fast approaching maximum fed up’ness with Goodreads at the time and was fully invested (very unwisely I’m afraid to say) in the Authors Behaving Badly Group. I just let loose on that stupid woman and told her exactly what I thought.

Then the author got involved. Now, let me be clear. I fully respect the members of our Armed Services. They have put their lives on the line so that I can go to work every day and not have to worry if some yahoo is going to blow up a school bus full of children. They’ve also gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to being taken care of for what they’ve gone through.  So when the author told me, once again on my review that the other person was insulting me in, that I was insulting her and that he, as a Marine, was calling me out, anywhere, any time, well, this is kind of what I pictured in my mind:




I reported him to GR, took some screenshots and then deleted all the comments.  I mean, how was I even supposed to take what he said seriously? The whole situation was just ludicrous. Here I am, writing a review for a book and suddenly a “Marine” wants to have fisticuffs with me? Five years later and I couldn’t even remember the name of the book or the author when I went looking for this. Obviously, I was terrified out of my mind by the brutish thug 😉



Thus, another piece of the puzzle that is Bookstooge is revealed. And you wonder why I’m so bitter about indies sometimes. Only unadulterated determination and pure stubborn cussedness has kept me going in the face of such odds.



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