PSA: DNF – The Divisive Issue of Our Day

PSA

 

 

Last month I spoke up about Book Reviewers and the lack of integrity and honesty I found and how I thought most reviewers were crooks, swindlers, liars, cheaters and general all around ne’erdowells. I obviously didn’t include myself when thinking of those terms, as I am a Paragon of Virtue and the Rock upon which this Blog stands.

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Virtue doesn’t desert me because I tied it to a chair in my living room!

 

 

This month, I feel like discussing something with a little more nuance, something not so cut and dried. Did Not Finish.

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This subject is so open for discussion that I am getting primed just thinking about it. DNF’ing is the working out of each person’s philosophy behind their book reading. While not everyone is going to dive into the nitty gritty of all the why’s and wherefores, everyone at leasts thinks about DNF’ing and if it is for them or not. Once you’ve made the right choice and do DNF a book, then so many factors come into play that it is a veritable paradise of reasonings. I love complicated subjects like this because it shows the inside of a person on so many levels. On to the Bookstooge Philosophy of DNF’ing a book.

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What generally happens when I score a point in any debate

 

Now, my general Rule of Thumb is the Nancy Pearl Rule of 50 Pages or 10%. She summarizes it as such:

I live by what I call ‘the rule of fifty,’ which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you’re fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you’re over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100. The result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.

As a “rule of thumb”, that works out pretty well. However, I don’t subscribe to it as a “Law”. While there might be the Laws of Thermodynamics, there is no Law of 50. For good reason.

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Spongebob and I are in complete agreement on this issue. There is no Law of 50. 

Triggers, or the suchlike, are another good reason to DNF a book. Triggers can run the gamut from the emotional to the intellectual. Something that you’ve experienced in the past and can absolutely destroy you when reading about a like instance in a book, like rape for instance, is an emotional response that causes you do stop reading that book. Or perhaps the author starts espousing views about Aliens and Humans, ala Scientology and suddenly, nothing else they can say matters as your mind can’t accept such thinking (by the by, I’d dismiss any non-fiction author who started down that particular path). But the thing is, everyone has something that they hold inviolate, even if they don’t think long and hard about it.

For me, I’ve definitely got some DNF triggers that cause me to pull the plug like that

* snaps fingers *

  1. Blasphemy is top of the list. Similarly, the denial of Christ’s divinity (ie, His Godhood).

  2. Another one is the inclusion of sexual perversions. In this day and in our culture, that tends to be the one I have to deal with the most. It’s like a minefield now.

  3. Another one is rape or gruesome violence against women and/or children. My soul revolts against such a thing and I won’t tolerate it in my entertainment.

Those tend to be The Big Three for me.

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Other reason I have for DNF’ing a book can be summed up like this:

  • I hate every single character and wish they were dead. They have to be REALLY bad though for me to DNF because of that. Most likely I just won’t read any more by the author.

  • I’m bored. If I go into a book expecting to be entertained and I’m not, forget it. I read for fun and my reading time is as precious as gold to me. If an author wastes that, I’ll cut them off at the knees and enjoy doing it. But again, I have to be REALLY bored.

  • Social Justice bullshit. I have very little tolerance for that nonsense. The people who think that way and participate in such things are fools and I want nothing to do with them or their silly ideas. Mainly because there is no thinking involved and when you can’t even talk rationally to someone, there is no point in talking. Proverbs 23 says this: Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

And really, I think those additional 3 items wrap it up. I don’t DNF very much, even if I will rate a book extremely low and rake it over the coals.

Now, on to the part I’ve actually wanted to write. I don’t usually ASK for your opinions, as I’m almost always telling you MY opinions, but in this case, I actually DO want to know your thoughts on this issue. A lot. Write a comment, please. A short one, a long one, a post length one, a post with a linkback. Just something. If you don’t normally comment, take this time to carefully considering commenting for the first time. Do you DNF? If so, what causes that? There are as many permutations for DNF’ing as there are readers and I want to hear about them.

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bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

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PSA: Honesty and Book Reviewing

PSA

I was browsing WordPress the other day and one of the blogs featured had a Tag, so I figured I’d read through it to see if there was any questions I liked that I could twist for my own fun.

Well, one of the questions was “What was your last 1star book” and the young lady answering it wrote something like “Oh, probably never. If a book is that bad, I just DNF it”, with the assumption being that it doesn’t get rated and I’m guessing, not reviewed. BVT also recently did a post where she talks about Negative Reviews and how she appreciates them.

This led me to think about this whole subject beyond my little comment on BVT’s post. It still comes down to Trust so while I’ll be talking about that, I’d like to talk about some of the other components too.

So, Trust first.

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If a book reviewer deliberately with-holds a review because it doesn’t get a particular rating, that is dishonest. Lying by omission is still lying.  A blogger might write completely honest reviews about all the fantastic books they read  but if they don’t publish the reviews about the crappy books, that is like someone doing their checkbook and showing only the credits  and not the debits. It’s honest, but it’s not the real picture. Just ask your bank.

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Another reason that I won’t follow people who state they won’t do negative reviews is because it shows a paucity of character and a lack of integrity. If you don’t believe me, this picture from the INTERNET will show you the truth!

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Now, there is a difference between being a dick online and calling a piece of garbage a piece of garbage. Exactly where that line is though, that’s a very tough question.  It’s also tangential to this discussion so I won’t discuss it further.

Another reason to write negative reviews is to help out other readers.  For the record, I want to state that reviews are NEVER for the author. N-E-V-E-R!!!!! They might get something out of them but it was never meant to be for them. Reviews are for other readers. If you are going review books, it is your duty to not only steer your followers towards the books you love, but to also steer them clear from the disasters, the broken bridges and the just plain bad books.  If you drive off that bridge, put up a freaking warning sign.  Its pure negligence if you don’t. Friends don’t let friends read bad books without warning them.

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Another reason that negative reviews are a reviewers duty is that unlike in Magic the Gathering, you don’t get extra turns in your reading life. You read that bad book, that time is GONE! Don’t let others repeat your mistakes. Let them learn from you.

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Finally, a book blogger may feel virtuous for not having any negative content on their blog. That shows a lack of understanding of what is virtuous, what is right and is a paving stone far along the path to hell. Yeah, I’m not going to pull any punches here and nothing funny like the ending of the PSA post from last month. I don’t want to follow someone with that lack of understanding, it is just plain dangerous to be around them.

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This fairy is about to burn up in the fire. Good intentions not withstanding.

 

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Bookstooge brings the FIRE!

 

The Bourne Identity: Movie vs Book vs TV Miniseries

I recently watched the Bourne Identity tv miniseries.  I then proceeded to watch the Matt Damon movie immediately after it and decided to write up my thoughts. When I remembered that I had read the book everything was based on, I figured why not do a 3way brawl and see which comes out on top?

 

The Movie:

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Bad Will Hunting. Haha

This was my first introduction to Jason Bourne and when I originally watched this, I had NO idea it was based on a book or had been made before, or anything. An amnesiac with super special forces training on the run across Europe, outwitting other assassins, governments and falling in love with a euro-chick. The deal clincher that pushed this into awesome territory for me was the closing credit song, Extreme Ways by Moby.  It was a techno-beat song that fit the movie, with its fast, furious and brutal fight scenes.

Speaking of fight scenes. The pen fight versus the first assassin in the apartment building in Paris, awesome. It was understated, limited and yet showed the utter ferociousness of trained killers.

Still like this movie and still love the ending song.

 

The Book:

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Should have been a hollowpoint!

Here’s my review from ’09:

The Bourne Identity

The long and short is that it was quite different from the movie in that it was set back in 70’s or 80’s, dealt with an international assassin (Carlos the Jackal) and Bourne was an undercover agent deliberately run amuck to attract his attention to bring Carlos to ground. Much more political, global and thriller than just an action fight book.

I was glad to have read it, but never had any desire to read it again. I read the next 2 books and the movies shared nothing with them besides the title and both books rather bored me.

This trilogy was the first, and last, Ludlum that I ever read.

 

The TV Miniseries:

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Jaclyn Smith. I miss the Big Hair days 😦

Here’s the wiki link:

1988 Bourne Miniseries

Richard Chamberlin stars as Jason Bourne and it’s easy to spot that this was made in a different era than the movie. It’s not just the clothes, but even the fighting style. Most of the fight scenes were more like bar brawls with lots of gut punches and gripping of throats and slamming of hands against door frames. It is painfully obvious that “fighting” wasn’t an art like it is today.  Their idea of “martial arts” was throwing an arm up to block a punch. Sigh. Also, he’s a rather thin, gentlemanly looking fellow, not what I picture as a special special special forces kind of guy. Of course, to be honest, Matt Damon didn’t look like it either in the movie, so call it a draw for that.

This was a 3hr special divided into 2 parts and that allows for a much more nuanced story. It follows the book a LOT more closely than the movie. But maybe because of that, it’s definitely a Cold War style movie and if that’s not your thing, this will definitely be a watch once and move on kind thing.

That’s what it is for me. Glad to have seen it, but not impressed nor does it tempt me to watch it again.

 

The Winner:

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Well, just in case you couldn’t tell from the descriptions, the Matt Damon movie wins hands down.  The ending song simply made any other choice impossible.

(Of course, you have to pretend that the latest Bourne franchise movie, Jason Bourne, doesn’t exist. Really, that’s one of those “they never made that movie” kind of movie, just like the supposed sequels to the Matrix.  They don’t EXIST!)

 

And just so I can stick this in the Food category as well, I was eating Gimbal’s Scottie Dogs Licorice. Getting to bite off little dogs’ heads, that’s just bonus, because nothing beats Black Licorice!

 

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Yes, I proudly bit off Toto’s head

 

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Double Digit Victory!

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Info, info everywhere! Sortable, exportable, backupable.

 

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Having the option for half stars within Calibre is great.

 

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

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

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

 

Bookstooge Lawyers Up!

First, apologies to Bookwraiths, as I’m sure I’ll say something unpleasant about lawyers. But he’s still a really good guy. Honest!

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Bookwraiths is a real 1%’er

Second, thanks to PC Bushi for his email question, which while I answered, gave me some grist for a post. I’m always on the lookout for postable material. And don’t confuse PC with his cohorts, Kaijubushi and Gitabushi. It makes for some confusing times if you do 🙂

You have probably noticed that I start every review of mine with a legalese spcheill that invokes the Mighty Power of the GPL 4.0 License. Of course, you probably glance over it and ignore it now, as it should be. But did you ever wonder WHY it was there in the first place? Is Bookstooge, who is now referring to himself in the 3rd person, such a narcissist that he believes every word he writes is more valuable than pure gold? Or perhaps there is a tragic tale of woe from ages past which has left him scarred and forever broken? Such a Man of Mystery! Now I’m intrigued, aren’t you?!?

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Gather around kiddies and I’ll spin you a yarn of heartbreak, courage, devotion to principle and so much violence that even John Wick would blanch.

It all started long ago when I first joined Librarything for the first time. I was a young, naive book blogger with little public exposure and much belief in the innate goodness of other bloggers and the sites that hosted them. Any site that was ALL about books had to be good, right? Being naive, when I joined LT I didn’t read all the fine print NOR did I go through the extensive options for almost everything. Thus, I unwittingly sold my soul to the devil and my reviews could be shared with “corporate affiliates” of LT. Thus, parts of my reviews ended up on sites like Russian Babooshkas with Big Boo…ks and other places that charged monthly fees for unlimited downloading of ebooks. It made it appear that I, along with other LT members, had joined up at Russian Babooshkas and then written our reviews of the books. At this same time Google was in full on scrape mode and I found several paragraphs of my reviews gracing Google books, without me having giving any sort of permission. I was a VICTIM!!!!

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So I started putting some made up stuff at the beginning of my reviews, so THAT would get scraped. Then I saw that Calibre had a gpl license, 2 or 3 and really liked the language. GPL actually deals with software and mainly free software, so my appropriation of the language is complete horse puckey. That’s actually why I now use a 4.0 license, as no such thing exists. Since the kind of person, or vanity publishing company, that would take your review without permission is also the kind of person who doesn’t know jack squat about GPL licenses,  then it all works good. And it ended the scraping.

So there you have it, the time that I personally “liberated” 100 rocket launchers and destroyed Google for a day because they stole a review of mine. Now wasn’t that a great story?

 

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I Will Make Them Cry – Indie Rant

Comment I recently read online:

“As an author of *redacted* book, I really appreciate your thoughts in this post. I wrote a post once entitled “Tips for writing fair book reviews that don’t make the author cry.” I’m fine with kind, diplomatic, constructive criticism – but some seem unable to write a critical review that is also kind and diplomatic. In can be done.
One review of my book crushed me and upset me for months. (Yeah, I need a thicker skin!) But the reason I was upset was that the reviewer expected my book to be something that I NEVER intended it to be, therefore I found the review unfair. Now, it could be I failed to properly describe my book on the back cover or my title wasn’t ideal, and it gave a wrong impression. It can be hard to “capture” a book with a proper title and back cover description, especially with minimal funds with a self or hybrid published book! But the reviewer could have noted that. Another reviewer, in fact, did such. They wrote that they expected “x” and instead found the book to be “y” and then wrote a positive and glowing review. I was appreciative.
I once read this: “A good book review appreciates and critiques the book that is written, not the book that the reviewer thinks should have been written.” Keeping an authors credentials and experience in mind can also help a review be kinder. Is this their first book? C’mon, it may be quite good for a first attempt and the author’s future capabilities evident. A new author with genuine potential could be crushed and not try again, if they only receive harsh reviews that failed to see the quality of their first attempt. Etc.”

 

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Folks, you are never going to get a review from me that is dictated by a Special Snowflake. I’ll write what I want and if it makes someone cry, boohoo. That just goes to show the wisdom of writers NOT reading reviews of their books. That is a special kind of Narcissism and I’ll not be party to it. I’ll hack and cut and slash and put that book out of its misery.

 

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Bookstooge | A Reviewer of One

 

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In 2001 the United States of America’s Army changed their official slogan from Be All You Can Be to the rebel macho, yet still working for The Man, An Army of One.  I have to admit, I never understood why they changed it. I’ve got mentors, friends and proteges [at least in my mind] who have all been in one branch or another of the Armed Forces so I have a passing familiarity with the military beyond what I read in SF. The overwhelming impression that I’ve gotten is one of teamwork and cogs in a huge machine that just can’t be stopped. There are specialized parts, ie, the Special Forces for various branches, but even they just don’t go out and shoot people willy nilly because they can. Or even if I want them to. Which is kind of sad, because I have to tell you folks, I would make a GREAT military dictator.

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In fact, if you decode the picture above, it actually says “Bookstooge would be a Great Dictator”. I guess Charlie was just ahead of his time.

Now, all of that just to introduce what I actually want to talk about. Co-Blogging.

I was talking about this very lightly with Miss Abigail on one of her posts where she mentioned it and I was decrying how I could never do that, etc, etc. Afterwards, I started thinking about it a bit more seriously. Here on WP I follow several sites that have 2 or more writers and from what I can see, it works out pretty well:

  1. The Ladies from Bibliosanctum
  2. PcBushi and his various Bushi’s
  3. Lashaan & Trang at Bookidote
  4. Brothers Robert & Jared at Reading over the Shoulder

 

I was realizing that it is more than the fact that I am a control freak, must have things on a schedule and only want “Yes sir, yes sir” posts that push me away from Co-blogging. The first, and biggest, is the fact that I initially set this blog up to simply record what I read. I actually started on Blogger in ’05 and that was a carry over from a paper notebook from ’00. I copied my blogspot to wordpress just as a backup [you’ll soon get the idea that I’m pretty paranoid about info disappearing] and in the last couple of years have started blogging socially right along with my book reviews. But everything is geared specifically towards me, Bookstooge.

Mrs Bookstooge is a big reader as well, but she tends to read fan translated chinese/korean/japanese stories, what I’d classify as “light novels”. She has NO interest in reviewing. I got her to join Booklikes in ’14 and that lasted for about a month before she just let it lapse. I don’t think I could let her into my blog here because my expectations would be a weekly post and she just isn’t geared that way. This is literally “my” blog.

With that in mind, I started thinking of scenarios where I would be comfortable co-blogging. Honestly, I got lost after about 30 seconds of thinking. I wouldn’t want someone who is JUST like me because that would be wicked boring for the readers. I wouldn’t want someone who is so different that I’m constantly consigning them to the stygian infernal pits. ‘Cause man, that gets very stress inducing very fast.

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Also, for all that I like schedules and order, I get pretty stressed out if I feel like I “have to” do something. I never review, or blog, when I don’t want to. I just have enough words bubbling out of me that I want to write several times a week. But put me on a schedule and poof, I’d dry right up. And what happens if I get in a fight with my co-blogger? Because I get in tiffs with everyone online. That is one of the reasons I limit the number of people I follow.

So for me to do co-blogging I’d have to start a new “project co-blog” blog, find someone who I get along with 99% of the time and most importantly, find someone who isn’t quite as brilliant as me because I can get insanely jealous and if their posts got more likes than mine, I’d go into sulks and probably quit. Really, I’m just a big baby.

And that sums up pretty well why Bookstooge will probably always be a Reviewer of One. Thanks for putting up with my ramblings.

*this message approved by Abraham Lincoln*

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