I was reading Another Blogger’s Post and he mentioned he had hit the 1000 post mark. He threw it out as a little one liner instead of making a big deal about it but numbers like that are really worth celebrating. It got me wondering how many posts I currently have on wordpress. With writing as much as I do currently, and a big back catalog of reviews (that I am ALMOST finished with by the way! Another reason to celebrate), I haven’t even tried to keep track. Thankfully, wordpress has kept track of that data for me.
While I am not a tv, I am a blogger with 4000 posts under my belt. I must admit to scamming the system and posting some old reviews so this post would be number 4000 at the time it is published. But oh yeah, it feels good! So celebrate with me!
If you have just recently started following you, you might feel this post is chock full of braggadocio, possibly arrogant and completely egotistical. If you’ve been following for some time, you’ll know it IS all that. You’ll also know that I’ve been doing this since 2000 on one platform or another, so forgive me as I toot my own horn for one post (ok, you got me. I am always tooting my own horn. But we can all pretend I’m usually humble and self-effacing, can’t we? I know I can).
Milestones are important. Whether it is getting tagged for some blog award, or noting how long you’ve been blogging, or reaching a number of posts or having reviewed a certain number of books/movies, big fat round numbers are easy to remember and help encourage you when the blogging journey gets rough.
So rejoice with me and think about what you might be able to rejoice about yourself. I’d love to celebrate some good things with any of you all.
I have touched on this subject tangentially when I talked about my History of Journaling and Reading but have not done a “A History of ….” post for this specific subject. After some digging it would appear that I did write on this back in ’16 when I was still at Booklikes.com. That post, “16 Years of Book Recording” had as much to do with my journey to finding Booklikes as anything. A lot of the contents from that post will be included here but since many of you weren’t around then, it will be all new. And if you were around, do you REALLY remember one single post of mine from 5 years ago? I didn’t even remember it for goodness sake! So without further ado, the next entry in Bookstooge’s A History of …… Series.
In April 2000 I began tracking what I read. I started with a little Mead 3×5 spiral notebook, much like one of these:
In it, I simply noted the date/day, title, author and genre. Mind you, this was before Goodreads was even a thought [that I’m aware of] and reviews tended to be either word of mouth or by professionals in a newspaper. I wasn’t reviewing but simply recording what I’d read, so that I wouldn’t spend “precious” reading time reading the same thing over by mistake. That had happened several times in Bible School. As my mortality was now within my gaze (I did a lot of growing up during those 3 years], I realized that I didn’t have time to accidentally re-read books, and this was before the plague of indie dreck inundated the reading world. It was also a natural outgrowth of my journaling every day during those 3 years.
In 2004-5, blogging hit my social group and we all began our own blogs and for about a year it was an explosion of words. Things began to wind down and I thought about how else I might make use of blogger. It was also at this point that my notebook began falling apart and I realized I needed to replace it. The thought of writing it all down, AGAIN, was not a nice prospect. So I decided to start typing it, at least that way it would stay online. Thus began a journey that was messy and that I’m still cleaning up today. I ended up doing one big monthly post and then at the end of the year combined them all into one ginormous annual post. Separating them into individual posts is what my Under Construction project here at WP has been all about (aye yi yi, the things you learn as you go along!)
In 2007 I joined Devilreads but didn’t really start utilizing it until 2009. Even then, I never made more than a literal handful of friends and I think it stayed in the single digits. In 2012 I actually stopped Recording my books at Blogspot and started using Devilreads exclusively. I had some real adventures while on that platform, like an author calling me out to fisticuffs and a fan telling me to stick my hand in a blender, plus some other crap. However, in ’13, with the free speech ban, I left GR. No platform that is about book reviewing gets to tell its users what must or must not be in their reviews.
When I left Devilreads, I found a new place called Booklikes.com. Having learned my lesson however, I also joined up with WordPress, Librarything, Leafmarks and began recording my reviews at blogspot again. WP, LT and Blogger were all backups and I didn’t actually interact on those sites. Booklikes was a combination of Book Reviews with a Database and Blogging all rolled into one place. It was absolutely great, until it wasn’t. Over the next couple of years the owners pretty much abandoned the site and it began to become non-functional and taken over by spam accounts. A lot of devoted fans poured their heart and energy into trying to make it viable but by late ’16 I’d had enough. Leafmarks had Folded by June 2016 as well. By November I made the Jump to WordPress full time.
I began using LT in 2013 as a backup and when Booklikes and Leafmarks folded, I began trying to be social on LT. Over the years I tried time and again to make LT my social site but its socialness is based on groups and I do not interact well with groups. It has culminated in me simply giving up on LT for any sort of social interaction. The one good thing about LT is that because it is a book database (unlike WordPress), you can export/import reviews as CSV files. I did that in ’16 which led me to yet another backup plan, but this time offline.
Calibre. An offline ebook manager which I had been using for years. Turns out, I could re-purpose it to store my reviews and back them up. Because it is a database, I can search it so much easier than any of my online places. And it has a cover grid so I can simply look at covers and jog my memory that way too. I use it a LOT when searching for specific books or authors or date data. It is a wonderful utility to have under my belt. No way I could reference books the way I do without it.
I created my WP account in 2013 and mirrored my reviews from Booklikes. In late 2016 I moved and began blogging here full time. It soon became evident that the foundation of my blog, the reviews, were in a real right mess. I began Working on the Site in 2018. Since then I have cleaned up and edited my reviews from the present all the way back to 2003. Just a couple of more years worth of data to manage and then I can think about some other blog and book related project.
Just in case you were wondering how an old review looks compared to a new one, here’s a link to the first book I recorded reading back in 2000 and one for the latest that I posted at the beginning of this month:
I use a free program called Calibreto manage all my ebooks. Not only does it manage my ebooks, but I also use it to store my reviews offline so I’m not dependent on the internet. The developer is a fantastic guy from India who is active, my age and has been going since 2008 or so. Which means there is very little chance of the program just suddenly stopping (barring him dying of course). Even then, I could export everything into a csv file and export it into a spreadsheet, so I’m covered even that way.
Not only does Kovid Goyal maintain the program, but it is open sourced and a lot of other fantastic people have written plugins that can enhance what Calibre can do. I use several plugins, one of them being the Page/Word count plugin. I’ve only been using the Page Count part of the plugin, to keep my numbers consistent but since I decided to start keeping track of words as well, I was using a combination of Kobo.com and Readinglength.com, completely forgetting that the second half of the Page Count Plugin was for WORDS.
Now there will be some internal consistency to my page and word count numbers. I highly doubt any of you will notice a change in my reviews but this is mainly for me anyway. Instead of some of the highly questionable “guestimates” based on audiobook length, etc, etc, I will have the same formula so when I compare Book A to Book B they are using the same metric and it has actual meaning. That “means” something to me, hahahaha.
If you use ebooks a lot, I highly recommend Calibre. It has its own Support Forum on Mobileread which is a great place, barring one person from Massachusetts. Don’t expect to babied along and spoon fed though. You are expected to have done your own homework and to DO the work yourself. I lurked there for years before joining and learned alot. I still visit daily just to keep up. It is amazing what people can do with Calibre, even while I have no need of whatever it is they are doing.
I guess this was just a huge Calibre plug (in), hahahahaa. But I tell you, I use it so much that I’ve donated to show my appreciation. Free program, free help (and let me tell you, sometimes the threads for help get wicked involved and go on for pages and pages), and it does what I want it to. I couldn’t ask for more.
If you have any curiosity or need, go lurk at the forums and see. However, the best way to learn about Calibre is to USE Calibre.
I through out a whole range off the top of my head but once I was done I realized, this was a subject worthy of a serious blog post. Food is serious business and so is rating books. And considering that I’m Mister Serious, it all fit together, like a toe in a sock in a steel toe’d boot!
So without further ado, I present My Ratings as Sandwiches!
1) Anchovies and (your favorite) Cheese on Toast
This is a picture of ricotta cheese (not my favorite btw) and anchovies on toast. The mere sight turns my stomach!
2) Peanutbutter and Jelly
I ate this from 2000 until almost 2010 everyday for lunch. It was economical, easy to change up (different jelly every week) and I loved crunch peanutbutter. Now however, I will go hungry rather than eat one of these. I burned myself out on them and I’ve never recovered from it.
3) Turkey bologna and cheese
I use wheat bread instead of white bread (because I’m not a racist!) but this pretty much looks like a bologna sandwich I’d make. Relatively cheap, not for every occasion but giving my body all the fuel it needs during a work day.
4) Toasted tomato sandwich
Toast, mayo, salt and pepper and then sliced up summer tomatoes. Yummmy!
5) Reuben on rye but with turkey bacon instead of sauerkraut
I don’t have a reuben very often. 2-3 times a year at most but I savor them when I do have them. Something about the rye bread just hits my tastebuds square on.
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.
This month, I feel like discussing something with a little more nuance, something not so cut and dried. Did Not Finish.
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.
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.
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 *
Blasphemy is top of the list. Similarly, the denial of Christ’s divinity (ie, His Godhood).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
First, apologies to Bookwraiths, as I’m sure I’ll say something unpleasant about lawyers. But he’s still a really good guy. Honest!
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?!?
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!!!!
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?
“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.”
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.