Near the beginning of October (my goodness, it feels like that was forever ago) I was Banned Again from the wordpress forums for infractions unknown. I of course did not let this deter me from haunting the forums and making smart remarks in my head about both the people asking for help and the supposed staff.
But I couldn’t have endured these cold, cruel months without my good friend and Food of the Gods, Silent Smartfood Popcorn.
Every weekend when my voice was silenced by the tyrannical powers of WordPress (boo! hiss!), Smartfood helped me to go on. He reminded me that he never had a voice to lose in the first place and that I was still his friend. He also had no artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives so he was good for me.
I just hope that someday each and every one of you can find a friend like Silent Smartfood Popcorn was to me. While it lasted, he was the best bag of popcorn a guy could want. So long Smartfood, you’ve left your mark on my life. You are not forgotten. (and neither are your 10,000 cousins still in the grocery stores!)
I was “exploring” on WordPress the other month and came across Ahaquir and his blog, Books of Brilliance. He had done a post on how many books an average person in the UK or the US read and I found it interesting. I left a comment, as I usually do and he asked me if I would be interested in writing a guest post detailing how I manage to read 100-150 books a year. If you follow me (and if you don’t, here’s a Quick Primer on Me) you know I have been able to keep this kind of reading pace up for years. I was looking at my Calibre Library (which is a great way to manage your reviews offline if you are so inclined) and noticed that I started reading 100 books in 2006 and haven’t looked back since.
In the interest of “fairness”, because there are people out there who are picky and will be quick to discredit anyone, anytime over any issue for any reason, I must note that I include individual short stories if I read them as standalones and not part of a collection (say from a writer’s website) as well as manga and individual comic books. To compensate for this, I also track the number of pages read as well as the number of words read. So that gives me 3 metrics to measure by, That’s a lot of work and not something most people are going to do, but I wanted you to know how I do things 😀
My method is Simple, but it is not Easy. It is not for everyone and if it is not for you, then you need to be strong enough to admit it. Otherwise you will beat your head against the wall and cause yourself nothing but frustration and possibly anger and that defeats the whole purpose of reading for fun. So without further ado, here is my magic list of how to Read 100+ Books in a Year.
Make Time For Reading -You can do this by the following:
Turn off the tv -seriously. If you watch movies or shows on your laptop, turn that off too. Or your phone.
Delete your Social Media accounts -not just don’t use them, but delete them. If you have trained yourself to go watch kitty videos on Communist-tok or Youtube, that temptation will be too great to overcome. You will have to go cold turkey and it will take time to re-train your brain to accept activities in chunks of time greater than 5 minutes. This is not a diss to those who do such things, but a cold reality.
Reduce time spent on your other hobbies -Do you knit? Play video games? Play card or board games? Cook? Realize that you have to juggle all of them and if reading is the most important hobby to you, give it the time it needs
ALWAYS carry reading material with you -In the spring through fall, I carry my kindle Oasis everywhere I go. When I walk out the door, I check that I have my wallet, my keys, my phone, my insulin pump/meter and my kindle. For the 6 months of winter we have here in New England, I make sure I have a paper book that I can read at a moment’s notice anywhere, anytime.
When in a social situation, always choose reading over people. -People come and go but you only have that year to read those 100 books. Priorities, priorities, priorities.
Finally, hang out with readers -You are influenced, for good or bad, by those you spend time with. Choose people, whether online or in real life, who will help you towards that 100+ goal and not hinder you.
Now, while this has all been slightly tongue in cheek, reading 100+ books a year is completely up to you and within your power. It is not for everyone though. Some people are just too social and they NEED more interaction with people. I have been blessed with an introspective misanthropy, so that’s not a problem for me. But maybe you are one of those poor benighted people who is just full of sunshine and rainbows and loves being around and interacting with people. Then you need to admit that weakness to yourself and accept it. Just like I accept that when I go grocery shopping, I can’t reach the top shelf. There is no shame as long as you accept responsibility for your own shortcomings.
Whether this post helps you to read more or not, I hope it has opened your eyes to the fact that reading is completely within your grasp. There is no magic short cut. You have to put in the time. But you can do it. So go forth and read!
And a big thankyou again to Ahaquir for giving me the shove needed to write this out.
Ye have heard it said “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” but I bring a new Rule for ye to follow.
If ye would be healthy, wealthy and wise, prepare for thyself a libation. Measure out in equal portions milk, golden eggnog and the ground remains of one fruit of the vanilla met-rx tree. No more, no less lest my wrath fall upon all the congregation and ye suffer a plague for thy willful disobedience.
Blend together at high speed in ye olden blender and thusly pour out the libation into ye olde thyme’y mug. Drink to the health of thyself, thy neighbors and thy nation, that it shall go well with ye and ye shall live long and prosper in the land I have given ye.
But if this seem too hard for ye, then stick ye head in a bucket.
In the days before recorded history, a time of mystery, of barbarians roaming wild landscapes, surviving as best they could without the internet or able to even write on simple blogs, of derring-do and deeds that modern man cannot even fathom as possible, there arose 2 great tribes. Both the Canucks and the Yanks were descended from a much older people, people that time had forgotten except in the myths and legends of their breakfast cereals (All Hail the Lucky Charms!). The Canucks were docile servants of the savage Elder Race and came to serve them as many others had throughout the ages. The Yanks, on the other hand, were hardy warriors who bowed the knee to no man and defied all would-be conquerors.
As these tribal brothers grew and expanded, their traditions began their own separate paths. One such tradition was Thanksgiving, a day given over to thanking God for the blessings of the previous year. One of the tribes tried to outdo the other tribe by celebrating their Thanksgiving early.
This became known as Fakesgiving, a day that only fakers observed and that no civilized person wanted anything to do with. Sadly the Canucks, easily deluded and led astray by their politeness, began celebrating Fakesgiving like it was a real holiday. Tofurkey became the food of choice and tears were wept the world over. Like a blind beggar holding onto his last scrap of filthy, lice-ridden clothing, so do the Canucks of today hold onto Fakesgiving.
In opposition to such a sickening display of fakery, the Yanks tribe began their own tradition. Better known as Yanksgiving, this holiday celebrated just how cheap they could be. Take an old boot, throw it in the oven with some gravy and after a couple of hours no one could tell it isn’t a turkey! That’s how you celebrate Yanksgiving! Even today, awesome feats of mastication are to be seen at such gatherings, where cheapness abounds like the dew on the grass (because dew is free after all)
And that is how the Eternal War between Dark and Light, Evil and Good, Fakesgiving and Yanksgiving began. A hidden war in the shadows between two eternally opposed forces. A monumental tide ripping unseen through humanity itself.
So choose today, which will you serve. As for me and my house, we will serve Yanksgiving!
As is my daily custom, I partook of some carbonated caffeine early friday morning before work. Sadly, having partaken on Thursday and on Wednesday as well, my body decided to let me know that it didn’t appreciate having ghosts put into it. Since the ghost busters aren’t real, the only option it gave me was to put on my Pope Hat several times and go pretend to be a bear in the woods.
That is never a fun experience. People who talk about getting close to nature have obviously never had to use nature or they’d change their tune pronto. But because I’m such a manly man, I can use nature, complain about it vociferously and then move on. But even I draw the line at trying to MAKE myself use nature.
So this is a fond farewell to what could have been. A dewey eyed glance at a past that had no future. A gentle thought of inspiration that I COULD HAVE BEEN THE FIRST BEARPOPE EVER, except it wasn’t my destiny. ahhhh, destiny is such a fickle thing.
So go forth, most kind and beneficent of readers and thank your lucky stars you didn’t have to give up the ghost this past day.
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
Mr Fox is an anthropomorphic, tricky, and clever fox who lives underground beside a tree with his wife and four children. To feed his family, he makes nightly visits to local farms owned by three cruel, rude, wicked and dim-witted farmers named Boggis, Bunce and Bean, whereupon he seizes the livestock available on each man’s farm; chickens from Boggis, ducks or geese from Bunce, and turkeys from Bean. Tired of being outsmarted by Mr Fox, the triumvirate devise a plan to ambush him as he leaves his burrow, but they succeed only in shooting off his tail.
The three farmers then dig up the Foxes’ burrow using spades and then excavators. The Foxes manage to escape by burrowing further beneath the ground to safety. The farmers are ridiculed for their persistence, but they refuse to give up and vow not to return to their farms until they have caught Mr Fox. They then choose to lay siege to the fox, surrounding Mr Fox’s hole and waiting until he is hungry enough to come out. Cornered by their enemies, Mr Fox and his family, and all the other underground creatures that live around the hill, begin to starve.
After three days trapped underground, Mr Fox devises a plot to acquire food. Working from his memory of the routes he has taken above ground, he and his children tunnel through the ground and wind up burrowing to one of Boggis’s four chicken houses. Mr Fox kills several chickens and sends his son to carry the animals back home to Mrs Fox. On the way to their next destination, Mr Fox runs into his friend Badger and asks him to accompany him on his mission, as well as to extend an invitation to the feast to the other burrowing animals – Badger and his family, as well as the Moles, the Rabbits and the Weasels – to apologize for getting them caught up in the farmers’ hunt. Aided by Badger, the animals tunnel to Bunce’s storehouse for ducks, geese, hams, bacon and carrots, and then to Bean’s secret cider cellar. Here, they are nearly caught by the Beans’ servant Mabel and have an unpleasant confrontation with the cellar’s resident, Rat. They carry their loot back home, where Mrs Fox has prepared a great celebratory banquet for the starving underground animals and their families.
At the table, Mr Fox invites everyone to live in a secret underground neighbourhood with him and his family, where he will hunt on their behalf daily and where none of them will need to worry about the farmers anymore. Everyone joyfully cheers for this idea, while Boggis, Bunce, and Bean are left waiting in vain for the fox to emerge from his hole.
The book ends with the words “And so far as I know, they are still waiting.”
This was a very short story but much like any of Dahl’s stuff, it is just chockful of children’y goodness. If you smoke cigars, wear a monocle and wonder when Queen Victoria is going to get off her duff and kick some sense into little Charlie and his progeny, well, this might not be the story for you.
On the other hand, if talking foxes and badgers raiding chicken farmers makes perfect sense to you, then I’d say you’d better read this without delay. Get cracking slackers, I know you haven’t read this!
Because if you had, you’d be lamenting the fact that I haven’t even mentioned the existential crisis exhibited by Mrs Fox or the symbolic suffering represented by the Fox children who are starving to death. The dehumanizing representation of Boggis, Bunce and Bean is one the most clever ever shown in literature but at the same time falls prey to most representations’s common problem, ie, the Jungian ideals fall flat upon their backsides when examined in the light of chaos theory. Yep, you can’t beat Scyenze for figuring out how to make other people do what you want. Dahl was obviously a great Scyenzetist! Bow low you plebes before your lord and master!!!!!!!!!!
Back in 2017, those olden and mythic days when men were men and women were women (oh, how that phrase has changed in meaning 😦 ), I had discovered Vanilla Coke Zero. In 2019 I discovered Vanilla Orange Coke Zero. Sadly, Vanilla Orange has been discontinued and even Vanilla Zero was very hard to find in the last 2 years. In the last 2 months however Vanilla Zero (now rebranded Zero Sugar for some nonsensical reason) is back on the shelves and I’m doing my part to drink as much of it as I can.
Now, I am not a huge fan of this tan brown look. It’s not horrible, but it says to me “Drink me only if you’ve got nothing better to do. In fact, try water”. It does taste just as good though, which is why I’m doing my part to help keep that Mom & Pop company, little ol’ Coca Cola, afloat.
Just a little update on the doings of the Great and Powerful Bookstooge. I wanted to share because I know the Little People are always interested in what their betters are doing and they can vicariously share in the thrill. Never say I wasn’t a great humanitarian!
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).
Before we get into the really deep parts of this post, we here at Bookstooge would like to reassure our readers that we in no way support Narcissism. Depending on how long you have been following us, we are sure you realize our selfless dedication to the eradication of Narcissism. In our eyes, nothing is worse than that yahoo who just keeps blabbing and blabbing about how great and wonderful they are. This post today, with the typical Bookstooge logic, clear sighted analysis and calm, cool & collected proficiency of a true expert, will totally debunk any argument that any narcissist might bring against us.
The first thing is actually identifying a Narcissist. Now, most definitions are of a person who is obsessed with themselves. We deny that statement. A narcissist is someone who is wrongly obsessed with themselves. They think they are handsome/pretty when they’re just average. They think they are smart, when they aren’t even near to Einstein. They think they are clever, when they are actually boring and banal.
Basically, a narcissist is someone who thinks they are right when they are just plain wrong. That is one of the few reasons that we here at Bookstooge know we’re not narcissists. We are never wrong. It also doesn’t hurt that we are even more humble than Moses, the “most meek man on the face of the earth”. (Numbers 12:3).
And this is why we wish to speak out on this issue. People often conflate the idea of self-obsession with just plain pigheaded wrongness and this makes them wrong, leading to a vicious downward spiral of self-destruction and recriminations that is almost impossible to escape from. We here at Bookstooge realize that most people cannot break this cycle themselves. We not only wish to highlight this problem, but would also like to offer a solution.
STOP BEING WRONG
Seriously, how hard is that? I, errr, WE do it all the time. Day in and day out. Week after week, month after month, as the years pile up. And you don’t see us with a swelled head or massive ego, oh no!
We do realize that people aren’t just going to stop being wrong all by themselves. After a lifetime’s habit built up, they simply can’t stop cold turkey. So besides our patent pending “Stop Being Wrong” solution, we also offer, for a VERY slight fee, our personalized Bookstooge Opinionator. Join us and if you ever feel like you “might” be wrong, just send your personal Bookstooge Helper an email with your opinion. All Bookstooge Helpers are trained to the highest degree to detect right and wrong opinions. They will get back to you within 24hrs, often even sooner(!!!!), letting you know if your opinion is indeed right or wrong.
Studies have shown that those who use this tool experience elation and the complete disappearance of fear in their online lives. This online experience often sublimates into the real world. You’d be surprised how many sports and movie stars, politicians and talkshow hosts have used and benefited from The Bookstooge Opinionator. Admit it, you probably thought those talking heads on tv were just well informed, intelligent people. But nope, it is all thanks to our wonderful program.
To end this most beneficial of posts, if someone you love, or perhaps even yourself, might suffer, in the slightest, from that most dreaded ailment of Narcissism, it’s ok. We are here to solve your problems and get you back on track of Being Right, All the Time! (trademark pending)