Bookstooge Reviews 2022


Annual Blog Stats

Posts – 380 (↑61)

Words written – 185.5K (↓10.1K)

Views – 28.3K (↑1.1K)

Visitors – 7.5K (↓2K)

Followers – 400 (↓19)

Comments – 9.3K(↓1.5K)

Book Stats

Books read – 247 (↑ 54)

Pages read – 52769 (↑3.3K)

words read – 16487K (↑ 1.1K)

average rating – 3.23 (↓0.15)


General Life Thoughts:

The year in general sailed along for both Mrs B and me. We both ended up working more than usual (I think our average weekly was 42 or 43 hrs). Those extra hours made a big difference. Student loans are finished! So now we’re using that money to pay down extra on our mortgage. I’m hoping we can shave off 5-6 years off the loan life. That’s my next big life goal, to get that mortgage out of the way.

We helped out each month with super church (sunday school) and live streaming (so 2 sunday’s a month) and I’m finding my tolerance for the kids is waning. There is one parent who pretty much brings her kids to be babysat and they’re not disciplined at home so they’re not model kids. Thankfully, after having used the “nuclear option” once, (take them out of class and march them up the middle of the aisle and drop them back off to their mom in the middle of the sermon) they’re learning I mean business. They’re not bad kids, just unruly and undisciplined. But it’s exhausting and those Sunday’s I come home and flop on the couch. Streaming is easier but mainly because I refuse to treat it like a show. I use 4 camera angles and that’s it. I don’t zoom around, I don’t focus on people playing special music, etc, etc.

This year was just a blur. Not that good things didn’t happen, or bad things, but overall it went so fast that it was over before I realized what was going on. Which is fine when you’re concerned about who is elected to political offices, but not so fine when it comes to paying bills. Actually had one bill go to a bill collector because I completely forgot to pay it. Sigh, life moving faster isn’t necessarily a good thing.

One of the kids at church expressed interest in Magic earlier this year so I’ve been getting together with his Dad and him once or twice a month and turning him into a life long addict. Someone’s gotta do it, so it might as well be me 😀 Speaking of Magic, I began collecting the Mirage set from 1996. Along with 4th Edition, those cards are some of the iconic visual memories of my late teen years. Plus, collecting cards doesn’t take up nearly as much space as collecting books does, hahahahaa!

General Bookish Thoughts:

Looking at those numbers, man, did my book numbers go up! Part of that is because I was reading individual issues of comics all year (whereas I had only started doing that in July of 2021), but even that only accounts for about an extra 25, so I simply read MORE this year. The Pages and Words metric fully back that up. It didn’t “feel” like I had read more, but with not picking up any other new hobby, Reading picked up the slack.

The rating is down only a little bit from last year, but 2021’s rating was down from 2020’s, so I’m on a downward slide, albeit a very slight one. I think that is because I’m reading more. There are more crap books than fantastic books out there, so the more I read, the greater my chance of a getting a crap book. All it takes is ONE one star book in a month to drag the whole year down. And since I am so picky about handing out 5stars, well, it doesn’t surprise me. But as long as I stay above a 3star average, that means I’m enjoying the majority of what I read. I’ll try to be content with that.

With all of that being said, I only had FOUR 5star reads this year and all of them were re-reads. I had NINE 4.5star reads as well. On the other side, I only had TWO half star reads and NINE 1star reads. So I feel that I balanced everything out in the end.

With around 57 of the reads being re-reads (including ALL of the Bone comics), I’m still sticking around the 25% mark. I have a feeling that number is going to drop in ’23 as I am becoming more leery of re-reading my “old favorites” as I move into the phase of life (fully middle aged now) and all of my manga will be new to me as well. I am ok with this change.

Well, despite my issues with in 2021, I still came crawling back for more in 2022. To the point where I have a paid plan and Dotblog Site, sigh. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced some of the problems that I did last year, but I never count out of the problem fight. If they can’t make one problem get you, they’ll invent a whole new one, the wretches.

I have also realized that despite all of my complaining and grumbling, that I have nailed myself to The finishing up of construction on The Hotel Bookstooge pretty much saw to that and the continued work on the Author Index is like putting up shutters on the windows. You only do that if you think you’re going to stay in the place for a while.

Between the paid plan’s upgrade to my storage, Dropbox and Caesium, space is not an issue for me.

The Churn continues apace with other bloggers slowing down, stopping or just moving on to other hobbies. I have also done my own share of unfollowing this year and finding new bloggers to follow. If I could have one blogging wish for 2023, I wish that things would stay stable in that regards. That’s a vain wish though, knowing how unstable the world in general is right now.

So the long and short? I’m here, I’m standing tall (well, kind of) and I’m not planning on leaving. But I’ll still be complaining.

Blogspot continues to be my review backup. Not in any meaningful way, as I didn’t do any work on the old reviews, so it’s as big a mess as my WordPress used to be. But it’s there for me when does something truly stupendously stupid (like they seem to do 3-4 times a year) and is a good safety valve so I don’t feel that is my only option.

Partway through the year (July to be particular) I stopped crossposting my reviews to Librarything. I had given up on the platform as a social site in 2021 and thus it was pretty inevitable that I stopped using them all together. Guess I’m more surprised it took me as long as it did than anything.

Calibre continues to putter along offline just fine. It is what I now use to check up on anything in particular. Now that it has full database searching abilities, I can look for almost anything and with enough patience, find it. I am currently using version 6.9 and will be updating as the creator puts up new updates.


Best Book of the Year:

Without a question, A Christmas Carol read by Patrick Stewart. This is now my favorite version of this story and I suspect it will be an annual tradition.

Worst Book of the Year:

Definitely Flashman. He lies, murders and rapes his way through the book and we’re supposed to find it amusing. I definitely did not.



The Self-Study for my Level3 Certification didn’t work out at all in ’22. I think that really needs to be a top priority for this year. I’m just afraid that I’ll slack off again though and “do it next month” all year long.

The potential move to Georgia is now indefinitely put off. It’s going to take an emergency to get us down there and even then we’d have to think about it. It is going into a closet shelf in the very back of my mind for now.

Trying not to make many, if any, plans. Because situations are easier to handle when you don’t have expectations about them.

Drink a lot of Rockstar energy drinks. Because I can.


Continue working on my author index. Continue my Magic cards each Monday. So it’s going to be business as usual. I haven’t had a creative idea for some time about a long running series of blog posts, so I might end up not trying to do any. Which is too bad because long running series of posts is always easier to write and schedule than anything else.

I am going to try to do some more “arty” stuff but we’ll see how that pans out. I would like it to work but the logistics might be greater than anticipated.

Movies are still completely up in the air. There are so many movie reviewers out there. Besides, I don’t watch new stuff and even when I do watch stuff, I don’t really watch it that well. More like “listening to it” with glances up at the tv when there’s no dialogue to tell me what’s going on.

This might end up being a very sloggy blog year :-/

TOP 5:

Book Review Posts:

Non-Review Posts:

Commentors + Runner Up:


Hall of Shame (5 least viewed posts)

December ’22 Roundup & Rambling

Raw Data:

Novels – 12 ⭤

Graphic Novels – 4 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.27 ↑

Pages – 3723 ↑

Words – 1259.5K ↑

The Bad:

Unsouled – 1.5stars of disgusting web novel disguised as a real book

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12 – 1.5stars of utter ignorance on the subjects being written about

The Good:

A Christmas Carol read by Patrick Stewart – 5 stars of pure audio goodness!

In the Best Families – 4.5stars of Nero Wolfe NOT being Nero Wolfe


Event Horizon was a great horror space movie that could have been better.

Miscellaneous Posts:


Mrs B and I got sick near the beginning of the month but it wasn’t covid and it wasn’t serious. A couple of days out of work and we were good to go again.

Life was just busy from Thanksgiving til now. I think that contributed towards the sickness actually. One Saturday I slept for almost 12hrs.

I spent a lot of the month getting Mrs B’s Christmas present ready. It was a collaboration so I had to coordinate with some other people and one of them I had to collaborate through a 3rd party, so it was a lot of work to get things done that would have taken half the time and effort if I could have had direct contact. Oh well. It’s done now and turned out very well.

Plans for Next Month:

Well, just like always, I STILL have to deal with my upcoming Year in Review Post. I always leave it til last minute, always bemoan the fact in this final Roundup post and never actually do anything to change that. If I wasn’t so awesome, I’d be disgusted with myself 😉

I do plan on adding Manga back into my reading mix so that “open day” disappears. Might end up leaving Saturdays open for last minute silliness, we’ll see. I had talked about something, with somebody, sometime, for my next movie idea but I didn’t write it down and so have completely forgotten all the details. If that was you, would you mind saying what it was in the comments? Thanks. Otherwise, I might just let movies slide for a couple of months while I flail around looking for something suitable. Magic on Mondays will go on as usual.

Work continues apace on the Author Index and I’m in the P’s now. If I can keep up this momentum, I should be able to wrap this project up in 2023. Or I might stall out. It’s a tossup at this point.

See you tomorrow as I blab about the whole of ’22 then.

Uncle Fred in the Springtime (Blandings Castle #7) ★★★★☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Uncle Fred in the Springtime
Series: Blandings Castle #7
Authors: PG Wodehouse
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 224
Words: 73K

I am not sure what it was about this book, or if it was this book in and of itself, that caused me to give it this 4star rating. Maybe it was because it’s been 2 months since I read a Blandings Castle story? Maybe I was extra tired that night and so “everything” seemed funnier? I don’t know why, but this hit my humor spot perfectly this time around.

The main protagonist is an Uncle Fred and he and his get down to Blandings Castle with the usual reasons (money, matrimony, pigs) and the typical chaos ensues. Thankfully, Uncle Fred isn’t as dimwitted as many of Wodehouse’s male protagonists are and thus, while he’s no Einstein, he doesn’t do stupid things, like try to steal his own pig (that’s for Lord Emsworth, the master of Blandings Castle, to do).

When I originally read this in ‘02, my main impression was how stupid everyone was. 20 years later I realize that was youth talking and thinking. Ahhh, callow youth. I’ve come to realize that just because I don’t like something, or how something is done, doesn’t make it stupid. It simply makes those who do things differently from me stupid, the actual action isn’t 😉 All of the various characters had their own reasons for doing what they did in this story and while none of it would have been what I would have done (and hopefully, nobody of sound mind), it wasn’t necessarily stupid.

It had also been long enough that I didn’t remember a single thing from my ‘02 read so it was like I was reading this for the very first time 😀 Sometimes knowing you’ve read something doesn’t trigger ANY memories. Isn’t that weird? Some things are crystal clear (like how I’ve mentioned things from when I read my old journals) and others (like this book) are a complete blank. That doesn’t frustrate me though, it simply intrigues me. I like seeing how my own brain works but I don’t want to deep dive and become a neuro-specialist. All I need to know is that my brain is awesome and I’m good to go.

You want more than that? Then I’m afraid your life is going to be filled with frustrations and break downs. Be content. Like Lord Emsworth, hahhaahahaaa. Give that man a pig and he’s completely satisfied. Not trying to say that my brain is a pig, mind you. Because I don’t even eat bacon.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12 ★✬☆☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #12
Authors: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 39
Words: 2K

Everyone in the group is out having a picnic when some random student stumbles across them. He escaped from ‘hardcore survivalists who made him build them an atom bomb” so they could cleanse America. Said student is then shot by the leader, one Skonk, from 600 yards away using what appears to be an M16 machine gun. Casey and April take the super genius student to a hospital while Splinter and the boys take on the Good Ol’ Boys with names like Jess, Bubba and Skonk. Who want to set off a nuclear bomb (in case you’d forgotten). Donatello removes the plutonium from the bomb without any safety gear and suffers no harm and Kronk remote detonates it thinking it is still a nuclear bomb. In the middle of the woods. In their “bunker”, which is nothing more than a ramshackle old cottage with a dilapidated garage.

This had me rolling my eyes so hard. I was all prepared to show some righteous review anger but man, this was so bad that I ended up just laughing at it. 600 yards is about 900ft, or 600 meters. You don’t shot ANYTHING through the woods that far. It is mainly in urban environments or treeless areas that that is even possible. And you certainly don’t do it with an M16. Sniper rifles are precision tools with wicked long barrels and you pretty much carry them in a case, not dangling over your shoulder on a strap like a man purse. Then you have the “genius” student who builds an a-bomb. I am not even sure where to start in dissecting how stupid that is. Those plans are highly classified and no mere student is going to have the know-how to do any such thing. And then Donatello “simply” removing the plutonium. Awwwwwwwww come on! Seriously? That’s where I simply gave up and just laughed my head off. Next, you have Skonk setting off what he thinks is the a-bomb. In the middle of the woods, with no viable target and no plans for what comes next. That’s not hardcore, that’s just stupid, hahahahaa.

And here’s a picture of the deadly A-bomb. In the garage. Up on saw horses. How can you not laugh at that?

This was a prime example of how to tell a bad story within a framework of the readers already suspending their belief (mutant turtles that are ninjas, for goodness sake). I couldn’t suspend my belief because I happen to know a little bit about guns, about militias and about nuclear bombs. How things were presented simply don’t work the way it was shown. What it shows is that the author knew as much about those things as I do about alien triceratop warriors. Guns, militias and bombs were as real to the author as alien dinosaurs, so he just makes up whatever crap he feels like and runs with it. That’s exactly what bad story telling does. If the authors had talked to even 2 hunters, they could have corrected all of their ideas about guns. If they’d gone to the library and read up on militias (this was done in ‘86 I think?) they’d know that militia groups have to be organized and skilled to survive and are not just cults with guns. If while they were at the library they’d read up on nuclear weapons, they’d know about radiation poisoning or how almost impossible it is to obtain fissionable material. But nope, they sat in their little room and made crap up.

I had no idea going into this issue that I’d be going off on a rant like this. But come on, what else am I supposed to do? Just let it slide?

This was also the issue where Eastman and Laird decided to kind of split and each would do an alternate issue, thus allowing them to focus on other comic ideas they had. I’m going to just keep on listing both their names in my reviews and even when guest authors come in, simply ignore that. Keeping track of the whims of the Artistic Type is more than I want to deal with when reading a bleeding comic book.

I’ve also realized that several of the covers I have for these issues are the complete spread, encompassing the front cover and the back, which forms a complete whole. Instead of chopping them up like I have been doing and making the “usual” sized cover, I’m going to be using the full version. So the first part of the review will have all the data under the cover instead of beside it like is normal. And this review is now approaching 900 words, so it is beyond time to quit before I lose myself here.


Slay Ride ★★★☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Slay Ride
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Weird Fiction
Pages: 213
Words: 86K

There were 7 short stories and then a full length novel (by the standards of yesteryear, today jackasses call it a novella) by John Wyndham, best known for his novel Day of the Triffids. I was not a fan of that novel and so wasn’t expecting much from this one. I was not disappointed. Wyndham’s novel is boring and blasé and as snobby as you can expect from a London is the Center of the World jackass.

Thankfully, a few of the short stories really carried the collection. Unfortunately, they came before the novel so the book as a whole was dragged down. But looking back, overall things were weird. Every once in a while an Alfred Hitchcock collection includes a story that outright disturbs me and makes me wonder what am I thinking in reading his stuff. This collection had one of those stories.

Party Games by James Burke is about a childrens birthday party where the local social outcast comes uninvited and the story ends with him murdering the birthday boy’s father because the boys locked the outcast in a closet during one game. It was just horrific, not because it was graphic but because the writer did a fantastic job of creating this aura of dread that hung over every paragraph. It was simply unsettling. I think as long as I keep finding stories like this disturbing that I am ok. It will be once I stop being made uncomfortable that I have something to worry about.


Merry Christmas!!! (2022 Edition)


Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 1-20

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

God is not some remote dictator who doesn’t care about you. He sent His son Jesus to be one of us, God Incarnate in human flesh. He was born 2000 years ago and He wants you today. He is calling you, please listen.

Have a Merry Christmas!

‘This Is Your Story’ Book Tag

Was tagged by the Orangutan Librarian


The Bookstooge doesn’t need no stinkin’ rules! YOU follow the rules….



I used to think it was myself. But since I get to choose for this tag, I’m going with Charles Dickens. That way I KNOW I am either getting a happy ending or a heroic and romantic ending. I can deal with either of those two outcomes.


Monster Hunter International. The Bookstooge is Agent Franks nightmare and I’m what really keeps him in line for the MCB.


Mrs B has graciously consented to take this role. She said she wanted to be an artistic language student who is also a vet. Now is that talented or what? AND she puts up with me every day. For those of you who have followed me on this blog for any length of time, you know what a heroic effort that is


Nobody sees my face, not even fictionally.


I’m going to need someone that won’t out-cool me but will emphasize everything that is great about me and also mitigate my one or two teensy weensy weak points. Superman should do nicely.


Totally Good. I am going to be so Good that Gandalf will look like Evil Incarnate in comparison.


I will Identify as Saint Bookstooge, The First Bear Pope


Kermit, under the mind control of Disney+, turns evil and goes on a murderous rampage. Only I am tough enough and smart enough to outmaneuver him at every turn.


It was a double bluff by Kermit and Me all along. Mickey had gone Evil soon after Walt died and created the Evil Empire. Only someone on the inside could get the info that was needed. Superman tried to get the info by brute force but Evil Mickey killed him. It was very sad. Jim Henson also died, but he was able to bring the data to Kermit, who in turn got it to me. Kermit, in his undercover role of Jigsaw, trapped Evil Mickey in an electric chair. Unfortunately, that had no effect on Evil Mickey, so I had to gather up every single Disney movie and tv show ever made or even financed and destroy them. The sympathetic connections between the films and Evil Mickey meant the destruction of one was the destruction of the other.

Good triumphed over evil and the World was Free at last! Hurray.

Unsouled (Cradle #1) ★✬☆☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Unsouled
Series: Cradle #1
Author: Will Wight
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 243
Words: 89K

This novel starts with a dedication “To Devin, who reads as many web novels as I do”. That right there is a big fat warning sign that I should have given more weight to. If you don’t know, web novels tend to be written by chinese authors, chapter at a time centered around the most tropey of tropes that you can possibly think of. It would be like if 1000 authors suddenly started writing like David Eddings about castles and princes and princesses and wizards and stuff. It’s not necessarily bad, but it is by no means good quality stuff.

The writing is just fine but I want nothing to do with web novel inspired trash. Call me a snob, but that’s what it is. And I don’t want to support it in any way. If a place like Royal Road is your jam, then this novel and this series might be right up your alley. But for heavens sake, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know that I helped anyone in this regards :-/


Asterix in Switzerland (Asterix #16) ★★★☆☆

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 by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Asterix in Switzerland
Series: Asterix #16
Authors: Goscinny & Uderzo
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 53
Words: 3K

The governor of Gaul is short changing the books and so Caesar sends an accountant to find out what’s what. The governor poisons the accountant who then asks Getafix for help. The only cure is a small flower found in the mountains of Helvetia (Switzerland), so of course off Asterix and Obelix go.

Goscinny and Uderzo (the artists) have a great time skewering the Swiss for being neat freaks who eat nothing but cheese fondues. It was quite amusing. While the pirates aren’t given any actual panel time, they are mentioned by the romans and appear to have ended up sinking their own ship, haahahahaa.

I might have pointed this out before, but several times there are a mix of panel sizes and it’s not obvious which direction you are supposed to read them in, so the authors kindly inserted big black arrows to show where you were supposed to go next. Why can’t American comics do that? It was super helpful and done in such a way that the arrows didn’t detract from the panels at all. It was done with skill. Today’s artists could take a lesson, and should.

I am giving this 3stars instead of 3.5 though, because at the beginning of the story the Chief fires his shield bearers and uses Asterix and Obelix and it’s strictly used to make a lot of bad puns and word plays. If that’s your kind of thing, then you’ll probably laugh your head off. I just groaned.