For the last couple of years my ability to comment on the WordPress.com Forums has been curtailed because I said some things about staff and called them shills, etc when the block editor was forced down our throats and many blogging options that had been available in the old editor were removed. I regret nothing! While the staff are not the creators of the block editor, nor implementers of it, they WERE the public face of WordPress and they sang it’s praises like it had a hold of certain delicate parts of their anatomy and they deserved every word that I wrote.
So this past week I was perusing the forum (you can learn a lot by reading stupid peoples’ mistakes and questions) and realized my ability to comment was back on. What a waste. The flipping Pro Plan and rapacious Starter Plan are already fully integrated into their business model so it’s pointless to go raging after that. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next dumb move by WordPress.com to get banned again.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post entitled “Bookstooge | A Reviewer of One” and I thought it was high time to either repost it or update it. Reading through it I realized I needed an update style post instead of a repost. While some of the info in that post has changed (I’ll be touching on that later, especially in regards to other people), my own motivations and personal quirks have changed a bit too. And I wouldn’t want ANYONE to miss out knowing all about that kind of stuff.
So first off, other people. In the post previous mentioned, I had listed out 4 blogs where co-bloggers had really seemed to work out, even when life circumstances had changed. Well, those blogs have fallen victim to the usual outcome of co-blogging, which is what I was worried about back then. The Bibliosanctum is now carried on the capable shoulders of Mogsy alone. PCBushi is on life support and I haven’t seen the other Bushi’s in years. Lashaan valiantly tried to keep Bookidote going but eventually had to start his own site. And the Reading over the Shoulders brothers? Life priorities took them away from blogging completely. Nobody did anything wrong, it’s just that when you add another person to the blogging mix, you end up with 4 times the pressure, not just 2 times. I feel like my decision to stay solitary on the blogging journey has been fully justified.
What has changed however is me. I still fully stand behind myself as a Reviewer of One. But I have come to realize that I simply cannot go it a lone. I could not write into a void any more. I am ALSO not a spur of the moment writer any more. In fact,, as I type this, it is actually 3 weeks in the past. Hello citizens of the future! * waves * If I write 2 posts a month spur of the moment, or even the night before, that’s about as close to the edge as I get now.
Everything else stands though. I don’t want to share my blog with anyone. I only want posts that glorify me. I still want to be top dog and not have to worry about a co-blogger stealing all my awesomeness. In the words of the famous visionary Matrix Lincoln “I have a dream! That every blogger can write just as they want to and be totally awesome at it, dude.”
I have realized that over the last 5 years I have stayed A Loner in terms of writing but when it comes to blogging, I cannot do it Alone. (see, that right there is pure blogging gold!) That is part of why it feels personal every time a blogger stops blogging even though I know it isn’t. Sometimes how things are all mixed up inside of us really leaves me scratching my head wondering how we all survive getting out bed in the morning, much less function in a group.
Be that as it may. I stand here a testament to the power of sheer willpower and stubbornness of the dedicated but casual blogger. I am a Loner but I am NOT ALONE.
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Wings of the Dove Authors: Henry James Rating: 1 of 5 Stars DNF Genre: Literature Pages: 544 / 347 Words: 195K / 124K
There I was, reading a lengthy, wordy, utterly pointless and despicably worthless book. I’d been trapped in this book since January of 2021. I would take lunch and when I felt up to it, I’d read 1-5 pages. The author’s determination to make everything as complicated, opaque and difficult as possible made me want to beat him over the head with this tome. But I didn’t stop.
I was obviously a sick and addicted man. But it wasn’t MY fault. I HAD to read this book to prove to all those Literature People that I was just as intelligent as them! Without this book, how could I show my face in public and discuss the principles of Historical Victorianism Viewed Through a Lens of Ironic Byronism? I NEEDED this book. I really needed a DNF but I hid my problem so well that nobody suspected, not even my closest friends. Without knowing I even had a problem, there was no way they could stage an intervention and get me the help I so desperately needed. So I was stuck in a self-destructive loop of Modern Literature and Pride.
I needed a Hero. Someone to rescue me. Someone to bash Henry James in the face while simultaneously shoving all 544 pages of this book down his scrawny throat. But in this Age of Grimdark Villains and Anti-Heroes, where would I even begin looking for such a Hero as I needed? Even when I asked Shrek to use this book as toilet paper, he read one sentence and simply ran away. Where Oh Where was my Hero!?
♪I need a hero♪
♪I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night♪
♪He’s gotta be strong♪
♪And he’s gotta be fast♪
♪And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight♪
♪I need a hero♪
♪I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light♪
♪He’s gotta be sure♪
♪And it’s gotta be soon♪
♪And he’s gotta be larger than life♪
♪Larger than life♪
It turns out, My Hero was right next to me this whole time and I never even realized it until it was too late. My good friend, mild mannered energy drink, Mr Silver Ice came to work with me one day. Little did I know that HE was the Super Hero known as The Rockstar. When The Rockstar saw what was going on he realized only one thing could save me. That day, The Rockstar poured his life out for me and destroyed that book because I was unable to do it myself. I stand here before you all today ONLY because The Rockstar was a true, selfless and self-sacrificing hero. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about. When I opened my bag at lunch and saw the sacrifice The Rockstar had made for me, the chains of bondage to that terrible book were broken and I DNF’d it right on the spot.
Friends, I hope my experience can help some of you. I know the addiction of being a completist, the siren call to just finish the book, no matter how terrible it is. The agony, the pain, the deception as you avoid your friends’ eyes and tell them everything is fine. I KNOW. And I sympathize. But you have to accept that you can’t do this alone. DNF’ing is a matter that can cut to the soul and most times we simply can’t do it. While not everyone has a friend like The Rockstar to help them like I had, I vow, here and now, to help everyone I come across who is struggling with this issue. Do you need help DNF’ing a book? Then I will help you.
I will carry on the Legacy that The Rockstar started in my life. Bad Books and Jackass Authors will tremble at the mere sight of my shadow. The sound of my fingers typing will send them into paroxysms of terror. The Righteous Flames of Wrath will be so expressive from my eyes that their souls will writhe and shrivel to bother us no more.
So fear not, mortals, for this day, in your very sight, a New Defender has arisen. The Bookstooge will be the scourge of the Space Ways, protecting all who may need it (and even those who don’t, sometimes anyway).
Here we go. Not going to link to the creator, per usual. Thankfully, there don’t appear to be any silly rules that I need to ignore either. That’s a good way to start a book tag
1.)You wake up in The Room, who wakes up with you?
Someone You Choose – The Brains – Tyrus Rechs from Galaxy’s Edge. Took a nuke to kill that guy. If he could escape the Savages, Jigsaw should present no problem The Brawn – Spawn. He might be stupid as a brick, but his superdevil powers make him a force to be reckoned with.
Someone Jigsaw Would Choose – Little Dorrit. Because no one would ever suspect a little girl in a room full of big strong men, never!
Someone On The Outside Looking For You – Thraxas. Promise him a beer and he’s a detective you can count on!
2.) You’re starting the game and the first puzzle takes someone out; who dies first?
Thraxas. The beer was poisoned, just in case the hidden Mastermind got thirsty and wanted to chug it. It was worth a shot, right?
3.) You’ve made it to the steam room. You need a partner to go through the maze while you switch a lever to shoot hot steam for them to make it through. Who is your partner?
Tyrus Rechs. His armor will allow him to navigate even if he can’t see. Plus, we’ve come up with a clever plan to hunt the hunter.
4.) Oops, your partner died! Now you are strapped to the Shotgun Carousel. Who do you shoot in the face?
It’s all going according to plan. Little Dorrit gets a face full of lead. Because if movies have taught me anything, it’s that innocent looking little girls are usually what kill you in the end.
5.) You and the last character are about to escape. Then Billy the Puppet strolls in and tells you it’s up to a coin toss to see who survives. Heads you survive, tails the other character survives.
Surprise! Tyrus pops out of a hatch and shoots Billy with a lazer gun. Spawn teleports away to where the Mastermind is hiding and brings him back to the torture chamber. We tie him in front of a tv and put on My Little Ponies: The Power of Friendship, ON LOOP, and slow-motion walk away. Yeah, we’re that bad ass.
Way back when, many moons ago, I went DotCom to get rid of the ads on my site and to see if the ego boost was worth it. Sadly, I had so many unsolved problems with following myself and some other people that I gave up. It only took me Six Months to Decide to Un-Dotcom 😦
I’d heard about Site Scalpers, jackasses who buy up recently unused site names and jack the price up for those idiots who have remorse and want their site back. Well, I kept an eye out to see if any jackasses did that to bookstooge.com. Of course they did, because they’re jackasses. When I first checked Bookstooge.com was being offered for $3,000. what a bunch of idiots. Over the months it has steadily dropped until recently it was available for just under $700. What a deal, eh? I just had to roll my eyes. What do these jackasses take me for, some jamoke right off the turnip truck?
Anyway, that’s pretty much the end. I just needed to get some words out and I found this whole situation amusing. Kind of. Because I hate speculators and I’d gladly take Jimbo the Desperado’s hatchet to appropriate parts of their anatomy, virtual or otherwise.
Here are some things to know about me that might make your interactions a tiny bit easier. If you still have questions, you can always email me:
Bookstoog eat proto nmail do tcom
1) I am a pretty devout Christian. Weird personal mix of Baptist and 7th Day Adventist. To over-simplify it, that means I believe in the Bible literally and I go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday. It also means that it influences what I read, how I read and how I review.
2) I am a Man. I cannot state this boldly enough or enough times. Be prepared. Mancakes Ahead!
3) I like Science fiction, Fantasy, Classics [1900’s and earlier] and manga. As I’ve gotten older, my tastes have broadened though, so chances are pretty good you’ll see more than what I listed there..
4) I tend to read 100+ books a year.
5) Of the 5 Love Languages, [quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch] my main one is Words of affirmation. Or just words 🙂 Which means that I tend to post and comment quite a bit. I am NOT a once a week poster.
6) To go along with #1, I graduated from a non-accredited Bible school, so I’ve got a working man’s knowledge of how to be a Pastor, just not the actual degree. Or the temperament.
7) I am NOT a people person. People wear me out, even online. Then I say things that later I sometimes regret. Then I need chicken fingers to recover!
8) I am happily married to Mrs Bookstooge. So I’m sorry ladies, but I am not on the market.
9) If you disagree with something in my posts or reviews, feel free to say so; IF you want to actually have a conversation with someone who disagrees with you. Most times I will try to move such conversations to email.
10) I am a land surveyor. I work outdoors year round in New England. The picture below is of me. It typifies why I like being a surveyor.
11) I went dotcom in 2021 with WordPress.com for just over half a year. Their service was horrible and so I went back to the free plan. That means there is a swathe of links that are dead or don’t work from that time period. I apologize and if you come across any, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll add it my work list of things to do on the blog. Thank you!
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:
“It seems that you’ve been living two lives. One life, you’re Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number, pay your taxes, and you… help your landlady carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias “Neo” and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.”
Agent Smith to Neo ~ The Matrix
Your book does not have a future in the Bookstooge world. So take that blue pill and wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe about your book, because if you took the red pill, I’d rip your book to shreds and make you wish you’d never entered Wonderland. So for your sake, there is no red pill.
While the above might seem a bit harsh, especially considering that I follow several authors and some authors follow me, I have found that a scorched earth policy is the best policy. The one time I didn’t adhere to this rule it turned out just as bad as I feared.