Bookstooge & The Robinverse

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My Robin Read:

I bought 2 Robin graphic novels back in the early 90’s. One was A Hero Reborn and the other was Tragedy & Triumph. They made me a huge fan of Tim Drake who I knew was the third Robin. Dick Grayson was just a name to me and I knew that Robin2, as I thought of him, had died. You couldn’t be into comics and not know that. But Drake, he WAS Robin. But beyond those 2 GN’s, I’ve never explored the Robinverse very much.

Fast forward 20 years and suddenly I’m hearing that there’s a new Vigilante in town, Red Hood. He’s bad, he’s mean, he’ll hand Batman’s butt to him on a platter. And what do you know, he’s Jason Todd, resurrected from 30 years of death because writers are so darn lazy that they can’t come up with any NEW & GOOD ideas on their own. I had no interest in checking this guy out. He wasn’t Tim Drake. Then last year Lashaan reviewed the graphic novel for Under the Red Hood and surprisingly, to me, it sounded intriguing.

I’ve been wanting to re-read my 2 Robin books ever since I read that horrible Robin 3000 Part I and Part II last year, just to wash the taste out of my mouth. Since Under the Red Hood was now on my radar I thought I’d throw it into the mix. Why read 2 Robin books when you can read 3? Then I realized I need to actually read where it all began, with A Death in the Family, which chronicled Todd’s demise and set the stage for the Red Hood so many years later. I also decided on reading A Lonely Place of Dying,which bridges the time between Todd dying and Drake getting on Batman’s radar.

While these 5 graphic novels are not tied together as a publisher certified “Series”, they are tied through the characters of Jason Todd and Tim Drake as Robin. If I really like all these, I might go on and investigate the world of Red Robin, which is the Hero identity that Tim Drake took on at some point in the future. I know NOTHING about that.

Well, this little Intro Post went a bit longer than I expected. But there you go, my plans for some graphic novel reading in the Robinverse in the next couple of weeks and/or months.

 

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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

December ’17 Roundup & Ramblings

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I trust you notice the clever use of snowtopped letters and the candycane color motif. I feel that I really let loose my inner artist with this collage.

 

This month is dedicated to Mrs. B’s dead grandmother. Her passing away allowed me to take some vacation time and while Mrs B went to a funeral, I read books. Lots and lots and LOTS of books. 20 of them to be exact and 7665 pages.  * stifles really inappropriate comments* ….hahahahaaa…ahem…. I also got sick with bronchitis and had to take off from work on the doctor’s orders, so that helped my reading time as well.

My average for the month was 3.28. That was DOWN quite a bit from last month. Not that I had a bunch of bad reads, more of just a lot of middle of the roaders.

 

The Bad:

Light by M. John Harrison. 1star. This book stank worse than all of the vomit scenes that were in it.

Crossover by Joel Shepher.  1/2star, never good.

 

The Good:

Skinner by Neal Asher, which was 5stars.

The Sea Watch by Adrian Tchaikovksy. Also 5stars. Two 5stars in one month, whoo!

Orb Sceptre Throne by Ian Esslemont came in at 4.5stars.

 

 

Manga:

Put away 2 more Oh My Goddess! volumes. Only 44 more to go *wink*

 

Survival Saturday:

The Breakfast Edition was a good chance for me to try out granola and whey milk.  I didn’t do a separate post for when I used the whey milk later that week for some cooking but I ended up tossing the Hamburger Helper mix I made with it.  So while ok for cereal, I’ll never use it in cooking again. Too strong an odor.

 

Surviving a Bad Book:

An Enemy Reborn was more an introspective look at an author making a bad choice than a really bad book.

 

Non-review Posts:

The Invisible Reader was definitely my most commented and viewed post this month.

Subverting the Sunshine Blogger Award was the most fun to write.

Merry Shelfmas was a close runner up for comments and also allowed me to show off in true Bookworm style.

 

Cover Love:

A Fortress in Shadow: With Mercy Towards None won the cover love mainly because of its atrocious older cover. Compare for yourselves.

 

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Not sure what this exactly screams, but it sure isn’t “Read Me!”

 

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Now that tells you to Read It, Or Else!

 

 

Going to be spending most of today finishing up my Year in Review post and getting that ready to drop at 0001hrs on Janurary 1st.

HAPPY NEW YEARS! (in case I don’t see you until after then)

 

bookstooge

 

Bookstooge & the Invisible Reader

 

RANT AHEAD

 

2 1/2 years ago I wrote a post on Booklikes where I lamented the Invisible Reader. Said post was entitled “Why Do You Follow Me?”. Moving over to WordPress this year hasn’t really changed those questions very much.

I mentally understand that there exist people who follow others but don’t like or comment. But I don’t know why they do it. Just like I mentally understand that pressing a button on my magic box allow me to talk to my folks who are 1000miles away, but I sure as heck don’t know the mechanics of how my phone actually works. It is that gap between knowing and understanding that continues to fascinate me.

Personally, when I follow someone, I don’t expect them to follow me back. I am following them because I am interested in what they are writing AND how they are writing it. I won’t follow someone who regularly posts things that I am against. Also, if I find out something about someone I follow that I don’t really care for, I have no compunctions about not following them. I also try to give the same liberties to anyone who follows me. That is one reason why I really recommend people read the About Me section. I have no problems if people stop following me because of things I write. That is their choice and since they’re adults, I give them the right to make up their own minds. I just expect the same in return 🙂

Back to the Invisible Reader.  The whole idea fascinates me, mainly because on a place like WordPress, where everything worthwhile is expressed through Words [gifs aren’t worthwhile but that is another whole post unto itself], I would have thought that the very process of being on here would weed out people who make up the Invisible Reader.  My blog isn’t a magazine with 10,000 faceless people who read it. It is followed by fellow bloggers who also write their own blogs. In other words, by people who know how to use their words. I certainly don’t expect every person who follows me to comment on every post. Not even I do that on the people who I follow.

But that gap between the Likes and the number of Views per post is big enough that I can’t get over it. It comes down to the fact that there are people who follow me, read what I post but don’t interact with me. I have to admit, I simply do not Understand it.  It really bugs me when I can’t understand people.  It isn’t about a numbers game, a popularity conquest, even while it may sound like that.  A blog is not a forum. I don’t write my posts JUST for you to read them. But that is what people DO.

I am writing all this because I’m just frustrated about not really understanding. The other thing is that I’ve recently had a couple of followers who blatantly followed me and commented on a post just to try to get me to follow them to boost their numbers. THAT pisses me off. Those kind of lowlifes I can actually understand. I despise them, would gladly consign them to a death in an arena with hungry jackalopes, heck I’d probably be ok with kneecapping them, but I understand them. They are the shallow, vacuous pond scum floating on the top of the ocean with no depth to them. But the Invisible Reader is the deep strong current running through the ocean that you don’t see and you don’t see their presence except in a small area, ie, views.

All right, got that out of my system. I should be ok for a year or two now. Thank you for reading. Thankfully, Grumpy Cat is my Co-pilot * wink *

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Merry Shelfmas!

While I am not a fan of selfies, as they glorify narcissistic self, I am a HUGE fan of shelfies. I find that it says a lot about someone what books they have on their shelves and in what order, if any.  I find shelfies to be little snapshots into someone’s soul. All Shelfies should be clickable for bigger versions. Using my phone so I’m not sure how clear individual titles would be.

But here’s my favorite Christmas present this year. Mrs Bookstooge got it for me and we read it aloud while sipping hot cocoa sitting on our couch watching the snow come down through our sliding door window.

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LET THE SHELFIES BEGIN!

 

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This first shelfie is completely doublestacked, so it is missing almost half the books. The majority of them are Terry Brooks though, so you’re not missing out on anything :-/

 

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There are a lot of books on this shelf I wouldn’t mind not having any more. I used to buy books whenever, unlike my now maturer and wiser self. Now I only buy books if I think I’ll read them again.

 

 

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The two books lying down are the Space Trilogy by Lewis and Through Wolf’s Eyes by Lindskold. They are simply too tall to stand up on these shelves.

 

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While I’ve read a lot of Classics, that top shelf is about all I actually own. Probably not even 1/20th of my collection 😦  If only the Government would hand out free, leather bound hardcover editions of Dickens, Austen, etc.  Then I’d be a Socialist for sure!

 

 

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This is kind of our catch-all, misc shelf. The books on the bottom row are ones I have on Paperbackswap, but to be honest, I’m just about ready to throw them out instead of spending money on mailing them to other people.

 

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Mainly Manga. Just about all doubleshelved too. All 38 volumes of Yugioh are behind other books as well as all of XxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles. And Graphic Novels on the bottom row.

 

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From when I USED to be a Star Wars fan. Then my collection of Wheel of Time books. I bought them all through the SFBC and am now slowly trying to find them in first edition hardcovers. I’m in no hurry. Then mostly paperbacks classics and middlegrade books.

 

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College books and papers, reference books and our very small selection of theology related books. On par with my Classics.

 

 

There you go. I hope you enjoyed looking at those as much as I did. Feel free to oooh and ahh, ask questions, or even simply give me money.

 

bookstooge

 

November ’17 Roundup & Ramblings

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Ok, this month I managed 11 “Books” and 3248 pages (I forgot to add the Spiderman 2099 comic cover to the collage).  Most of those small numbers are due to the busy’ness and blahness of the beginning of the month.  The First Full Week of November just sucked, plain and simple. While things got better with a Mountain Climb, that still ate away some serious reading time. The month was just busy with lots of non-reading things but I’m hoping that December will be better. Of course, Friday, December 1st, we’re heading over to a social gathering at my bro and sister-n-laws new house with several other friends. So I’m not holding real hope that I’ll manage much more in the way of book numbers.

Average book rating was 3.54. That is up significantly from last month.

 

The Bad:

The Voice of Mars 1/2 Star

 

The Good:

Deadhouse Landing 4.5 Stars

The Cygnet and the Firebird 4.5 Stars

Heretics of Dune 4 Stars

 

Manga:

I did manage to start the Oh My Goddess manga and knocked down Volumes 1 and 2.  Enjoyed both and am looking forward to another volume or two in December.

 

Survival Saturday:

Pasta Alfredo   I was pretty meh about it but Mrs Bookstooge really enjoyed it. A complete role reversal from the previous month.

 

Surviving a Bad Book:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies  By the time I was done writing about this, I’d come to the conclusion that I really hadn’t survived this book. Still frothing with righteous indignation after all these years.

 

Non-review Posts:

Along with  the posts I listed at the beginning of this post, I also did the Brotherhood of the World Tag and celebrated one more big step forward in my Offline Review Library.   Winter is here but thankfully I bought some Good Books to stave off cabin fever.

 

Cover Love:

To end these posts, I usually have Cover Love where I showcase a cover that I really liked from one of the books I read this month. None of them really stood out to me, so I’m going to include the Spiderman 2099 cover that I forgot to include in the ipiccy collage.

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Kind of how I feel November went. Busy and so full that it was kind of tough to tell what was going on.

The colors alone should mesmorize you into a brainless state of stupified acceptance.

 

bookstooge

 

Book Haul … ♪In a Winter♪ Wonderland♪

Well, it is a good thing I climbed that mountain on Sunday. I got in to work today and this is what I saw:

 

 

Winter is no longer coming. It is HERE!

 

Thankfully, today was also the release of Deadhouse Landing by Ian Esslemont. I loved Dancer’s Lament so much and read a couple of reviews that put Deadhouse Landing on the same level that I pulled the trigger and bought them both at our local bookstore after work today.

 

 

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These are going to look good on my shelf with all the other Malazan books I own.

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In the running for Best Book of the Year. 

 

 

Yep. Helping keep our local book store in business. Which brings up another story. Have patience if you’d heard me ramble about this store. The employees at this bookstore ACT like they want to go out of business. Every time I go in there I feel like I’m a bother and a nuisance. When I ordered these 2 books last week, the lady at the register actually had the gall to ask me for the isbn of the books when I asked her if she wanted the author or titles. Next time I go in, I swear I’m going to ask for “That red cover book about that famous guy. You know, the one everyone is talking about? Maybe it had a green cover and was about a women? But you know, that famous one I saw on The View 2 months ago”. Serve them right if I did that.  Same place that told me to go look on amazon for a specific hard cover edition of a book. But anyway….

Always glad to plunk down some hard cash, or plastic as the case may be, for some quality story in a dead tree.

 

bookstooge