The Life & Times of Bookstooge

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Today has been a great day so far. Up at 5am, starting writing out posts and by 1pm had written 2 reviews, 2 tag posts, one quote post, gone on a walk and had a half of an italian sub for breakfast.

Mrs B is happily watching hamster and gerbil videos. She is currently chortling away at a hamster dressed up as a rhinoceros. As well as other things.

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And the day is only half over. What other wonderful things will I write today? I don’t know but the words are flowing like the Spice!

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Attacko ofo theo Spamo Boto’s!

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My “spanisho” is at the same level as Hayden’s acting!

Recently, the last week to be precise, I have received over 200 spam comments, in Spanish. It’s all been on my Quickbeam for World Book Czar post. I forgot to check my spam comments for a day and had over 67 on Sunday. After that I’ve been keeping up with it a bit better.

Thankfully, Akismet has been doing a great job of filtering them, but I still have to deal with them in bulk. Talk about an annoyance of little things.

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Of course, it is sickeningly ironic after my little post about how many comments I’ve gotten overall. I guess maybe this is keep me humble? Hahahahaa, yeah right, like that is going to happen.

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And I think I’m done for this post. I’ve got words running out of my fingertips like a bleeding river though, so I’m fully expecting to be posting more ridiculousness over the rest of the month.  You’ve been warned.

 

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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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PSA: When is Big, Big Enough?

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I’ve often wondered what is the metric to define what a “Big” blogger is. Is it the number of followers they have? The number of average likes they get on a post? The number of comments they get on a post? The number of social media sites they are active on? Is it the  number of views their blog gets in a month? Is it the number of writers for the blog and the number of posts they write in a month?

Obviously there is no One Size Fits All answer, as everyone seems to define what a “Big Blog” differently.

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Before I go any further, I would like to include this inspirational saying that the Inestimable Inspirobot made just for me.  We can all use a dose of inspiration once in awhile.

 

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Now that you are in the proper frame of mind and just brimming with hope and bright dreams for tomorrow, I’d like to get one thing out of the way. Being a big blog has NOTHING to do with a “state of mind”. You are a big blog or you are not a big blog depending on some numerical criteria and your state of mind and happiness about your blog has nothing to do with it. Wipe that nonsensical thinking from your mind please, you’re only making yourself look foolish. In conjunction with that, you also have to realize that not every blog can be big, should be big or even necessarily wants to be big.

I also have to posit that there is a “big” difference between a Big Blog and a Successful Blog. A Successful Blog is one that meets or exceeds the expectations of the blog creator/content creator. Now, the two ideas can intersect, or even be intertwined, making one dependent on the other and I’m afraid that many people equate being a Big Blog with being a Successful Blog.

As a concrete example, take me and my blog. I am a successful blog. I write posts that fulfill my goal of having a book blog and I also write posts that fill the need I have to write.  I have people who read my posts, like my posts and comment on my posts.  Those are my goals for this blog and I have met those goals. I am satisfied with how my blog operates and the general interaction I get on it.  On the other hand, I do not qualify as a big blog by any of my own self-imposed metrics. So lets move on to the main course since I’ve wandered all over before actually getting here.

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Bookstooge’s Big Blog Metrics:

  1. Should have at least 1000 followers
  2. Should have at least a 10% Like to Follower Ratio
  3. Should have at least a 5% Comment to Follower Ratio
  4. Should post a minimum of 3 times per week
  5. Multiple Content Creators (semi-optional)
  6. Active on at least 3 Social Media sites (optional)

 

The first 3 items are pretty non-negotiable in my mind for what qualifies a big blog.  Item 4 skirts the line depending while 5 and 6 are optional and I wouldn’t consider them if the first 4 items are exceeded.

And that is why defining what a Big Blog is can be so nebulous. I doubt many of you would have chosen the same 6 items for a Big Blog and as you can tell, even my own metrics are pretty squishy.

That is all I have to say. Do any of you ever think about this subject? If so, what is your opinion? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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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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January ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 9

Pages – 4403

Words – 1158.9K

Average Rating – 3.33

 

The Bad:

The Dusk Watchmen – 2.5 Stars

Flight of the Fox – 2.5 Stars

 

The Good:

Knight of Stars – 4 Stars

Eye of the World – 4 Stars

 

Movie:

Alien vs Predator was 10,000% worse than my memory of it. My very sensibilities felt violated by all the brainless stupidity. Thankfully, I’m going to be watching Pixar’s UP for February so I know I’m getting a good one.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

I’ve realized that 2 books a week is my new baseline. So if I get more than that I’ll take it and be happy about it, but I’m not expecting that. Expectations are the key to staying happy.

Did my Yearly Review right at the beginning of the month and felt pretty good about how ’19 had gone. We’ll see how ’20 goes in comparison.

I also joined up with Devilreads (for about the umpteenth time). Just for the pretty year-end stats though. I’ve only been rating books and putting them on shelves, no reviews. Feel free to friend/follow/whatever but I really have zero plans to interact, too many bad memories for that.

Survival Saturday was Stroganoff. It was a complete tie, as I disliked it and Mrs B liked it enough to save it for work.

Part way through the month our router died and we had issues getting another one to work. With only 1 hardwired connection available for a time, our internet time dropped considerably. I was not a fan of that. It did allow me to write up a bunch of posts for February though so that month is looking like a cake walk already. Thankfully, by donning my super secret hero identity of Dr. Lord Bookstooge, with the help of the Greater Power of IT, I was able to get back online before the end of the month. One week and it was harrowing enough.

I also found out that Christopher Tolkien had passed away. Makes me wonder what is on the horizon now that the strict gate keeper is gone.  I have to admit I have a bad feeling. I’m guessing cash cows and greedy 4th generation Tolkiens. I’d love to be wrong though.

 

Book Give-Away:

Started up my giveaways again. Put a bunch of small stuff together for the Hodgepodge Edition.  This give-away is running until February 8th, so feel free to enter until then.

 

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Bookstooge Reviews 2019

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THE STATS

 

Annual Blog Stats:

Total Posts: 225

Total Words Written: 125.2K

Total Views: 17.9K

Total Visitors: 7.2K

Followers: 275’ish

 

Book Stats:

Books Read:  135

Pages Read: 45,814

Average Rating:  3.28

 

 

General Thoughts:

 

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I’ve changed my presence here on WP due to the new job change back in October.  Not following nearly so many people and not reading or reviewing as much.  Considering that some of the main people I used to follow have also dropped off the radar or severely curtailed their own online presence, it seems that I am caught up in one of the waves. It has also made me really appreciate those bloggers who have kept on blogging on a regular schedule. While I am affected by those coming and going, I don’t want to take for granted those who just keep on going. More power to you!

 

 

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Blogger is simply a backup in case of some catastrophic event. I don’t really even take it into account any more.

 

 

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Librarything just rattled along this year. I interact with 2-3 people on a regular basis there and that is about it. LT has been touting some changes coming in 2020 but I don’t use the site enough for it to matter to me.

 

THE BOOKS

 

Best Book(s) of the Year:

There was some severely stiff competition for this title this year, so I gave up and I’ll list the top 3.

  1. The Black Pearl by Scott O’Dell
  2. Death Wish by Brian Garfield
  3. The Burning White by Brent Weeks

 

Worst Book(s) of the Year:

Once again, I read some stinkers, so I’ll post the top 3.

  1. Torchship Captain by Karl Gallagher
  2. Valor by John Gwynne
  3. The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

 

 

Plans for 2020:

The only “change” is that I am going to start including a word count for the books I read. I’ve been using Page Numbers as an additional metric besides just straight up number of books, but I am finding huge variations even with using the same format (ebook to ebook for example) depending on WHO I get my info from.  I am going to start using Kobo.com (a book seller) which has both page and word count for books. Accurate data just makes my metrics that much more relevant the longer I read.

I do plan on keep doing the Give-Aways, #6 Degree series and Survival Saturday’s when I can and a movie a month. Beyond doing a re-read of the Wheel of Time, I have almost no plans for 2020. I’ll be satisfied if I can do a post every other day on a consistent basis.

 

Personal:

The job change has really buggered my non-work life up. My reading has dropped over 50% and my overall life satisfaction is much lower. This is not what I was expecting. The problem is if I had stayed where I was, I might be happier but I’d be so much poorer that it would bring about its own set of worries and stress. So since I have to stress, I’ll take this.  But I don’t have to like it! And in all fairness, I am getting exactly what I asked for (office experience and full time help in the field). I also talked to a relative who works in HR for another company and she said that 6 months is how long it takes to fully integrate into a new job. So while it annoys me that I’ve still got 3 months to go, it also encourages me that maybe I don’t hate the new job so much as I think, I just hate the change 😀

Thankfully, almost every other part of life IS going well.  I am thankful for that.

 

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Here are the top 5 viewed posts in each of the various categories. It isn’t quite equal, as posts from November and December just don’t have the time to accumulate the views.

 

Book Review Posts

The Hobbit

The Scarlet Letter

The Hatching

Fellowship of the Ring

The Silmarillion

 

 

Non-Review Posts

Book Blogger Insider Tag

PSA: The Etiquette of Commenting on Comments

Ratings as Sandwiches

Rage Against the Whiny Pants Momma’s Babies!

Seven Deadly Sins Tag

 

Commentors + Runner Up

Nicole Bookwyrm

Lashaan

Ola G

Savage Dave

Orangutan Librarian

+Maddalena

 

Movies

Despicable Me

Elektra

John Hobo

RED

Penelope

 

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December ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 8

Pages – 3823

Average Rating – 3.69

 

The Bad:

It’s Hell to Choose – 1 Star

 

The Good:

The Burning White – 5 Stars

Furies of Calderon – 5 Stars

 

Movie:

Superman IV: the Quest for Peace was bad enough that it made me embarrassed for everyone involved in it.

January I’ll either be watching Alien vs Predator or King Kong. Feel free to chime in if you have an opinion.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Between having Thanksgiving off at the end of November and a conference right at the beginning of December, I had a lot of time to read, which is reflected in my page numbers even if not my book numbers.  I was pretty happy with how everything turned out.

My non-review posts went kind of like this:

I plan on doing my Year in Review on January 1st, which is only 2 days way, aye yi yi! so I’m kind of mailing this month’s Roundup in.

 

Book Give-Away:

Announced the Winner for the Dragon Jouster series and decided to hold off until January to do the next one. Christmas time is just so busy that I didn’t need one more thing on my plate.  Hoping to have the next one up January 12th.

 

See you all next year!

 

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November ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 7

Pages – 3070

Average Rating – 4.14

 

The Mediocre:

Last of the Plainsmen – 2 1/2 Stars

 

The Good:

Bleak House – 5 Stars

The Two Towers – 5 Stars

 

Movie:

Superman III was campy and yet still quite enjoyable. Reeve did an excellent acting job and made the movie work despite itself. I’ve been warned that Superman IV is pretty bad though, so we’ll see how that turns out for December.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

This month has held a lot for me. I’ve been a full month, full time, at my new job and I must say, I don’t enjoy it. However, they are giving me what I asked for in terms of people and office training. I just have to hold on until the training/learning curve evens out a bit and I’ve got to learn to deal with different personalities in the office. THAT is probably my biggest issue. Which is why I’ve always stayed out in the field until now. People suck.

I’ve “graduated” to Progressive lenses in my glasses, so the end of the month was me getting used to using those instead of the single vision lenses that I’ve had ever since 5th grade.  I didn’t have the motion sickness as bad as some people I know but it was still there and did affect me for a day or three.

Here is the list of some non-review posts for the month:

In regards to the book side of things, even though I only read 7 books,  my page numbers were up almost 900 pages (thank you Bleakhouse!) and my rating skyrocketed to over 4. To put that in perspective, last month I was under 3. I didn’t have a bad book this month and I had several 5 stars. That is how it is supposed to be, even while rarely turning out that way. It made me happy and it is yet another reason to do these Roundup posts. Looking at the month as a whole gives me a different perspective than just the day in and day out view that I normally live in.

December is looking busy with me diving into the Burning White. I’ve got a few other books already read to schedule reviews for, but I suspect I’ll be padding things out with some manga. I’m going to try another series I own and hope like crazy it turns out better than Oh My Goddess! did. I’ve chosen Kare Kano, known as His and Her Circumstances, in English. Highschool drama, so wish me luck.

 

Book Give-Away:

This month I am giving away Mercede Lackey’s Dragon Jousters tetralogy in hardcover. We have an interesting situation already. Ichabod made a very public claim in the comments section and Lashaan followed that up asking if he could bribe me to let Icky win. The thing is, several other people have entered as well and to complicate it even further, I know one of them in real life and he’s a very good friend.  I might end up letting Mrs B roll the die to determine the winner so I don’t have to 😀

Of course, no where in the rules does it say that if you win that I have to send it to you.  Just saying…

 

Cover Love:

With a McKillip book, do you even need to ask?

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