Category Archives: The Bookshelf Battle Cast

Bookshelf Battle Cast – Ep. 005 – Which Classic Book Should BQB Read Next?

Hey 3.5 listeners.

Sorry to disappoint.  I really left things to the last minute this month, barely getting a brief, bare bones episode of the Bookshelf Battle Cast out for May.  Nothing much to it other than a brief shout out and a request for suggestions for classic, public domain books I can read on the show.

I’ll be back in June to read Chapter 2 of the Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

 

 

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Bookshelf Battle Cast – Ep. 004 – “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Chapter 1 – “Mr. Sherlock Holmes”

BQB almost missed podcasting this month because he was enjoying a vacation in sunny Orlando, Florida, hobnobbing with Mickey Mouse and eating pineapples under palm trees and such.

But he came back just in time to entertain his 3.5 listeners.

Here, the world renowned poindexter reads the first chapter of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

Who would think that a simple stick left in a waiting room would lead to so many deductions?  We learn Holmes’ investigatory process, namely, how he can observe an item and find details and information everywhere, where others would not notice anything.  Simple little clues about the stick tell Holmes so much about its owner.

Watson believes he has received a compliment from Holmes, i.e. that the great investigator has applauded the good doctor’s observations about the stick but rather, as the chapter moves on, we learn that Holmes says that Watson is not a genius, he is not a source of light but rather, a “conductor of light.”

So…that’s a really nice way of telling Holmes that he was wrong but by being so wrong he helped Holmes figure out what was right.

Talk about backhanded compliments.

https://soundcloud.com/user-957435932/ep-004-the-hound-of-the-baskervilles-by-sir-arthur-conan-doyle-chapter-1

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Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 003 – How to Start a Blog

Bookshelf Q. Battler is changing up the format of his podcast, and that’s ok, because only 3.5 people listen to this podcast anyway.  BQB wants to share with the world what he has learned in four years of being the owner and proprietor of bookshelfbattle.com, a site that coincidentally, is only ever viewed by 3.5 readers.

Picking a blogging idea, snappy title, company to work with, search engine optimization, attracting followers, promotion on social media, legal stuff like worrying about copyright, libel, where to get photos and art for your site and more.

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Bookshelf Battle Cast Episode 002 – The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe – Analysis and Discussion

A good glass of wine is supposed to be relaxing, unless you’re sharing a bottle with a Montressor.  Damn, that family of dicks won’t let anything good.

But there’s a lesson in this dickishness, 3.5 listeners, for if you act like a dick, you never know how badly your dickish ways have upset someone – so much, in fact that this person might lay in wait, plotting an intricate, fiendish plan of revenge against you…muah ha ha!

And you’d never know it because if you’re as obtuse as Fortunato, you’d probably think whatever dumbass thing you said to your pal Montressor is all water under the bridge by now.

We’re never told what the slight was that turned Montressor into a homicidal mad man.  Then again, it’s doubtful that Fortunato could have done anything that merited being walled off in a tomb and left to suffer and rot while still alive.

Is there a method to Poe’s madness?  Montressor avenges his family against Fortunato’s slight.  Worse, the evil narrator accomplishes his goals – a) he Fortunato, but makes Fortunato suffer and makes him aware that he, Montressor did him in b) Montressor is not caught c) fifty years later, Montressor, as an old man, has lived a full life and now he can make the world aware of his supposed genius, how he masterfully killed Fortunato without getting caught.  One assumes the narrator is so old now that jail would matter little to him.  He’s lived most of his life as a free man so now he can boast of the evil deed he is most proud of to the world.

We see a lot of foreshadowing and ways in which Montressor plays on Fortunato’s ignorance and pride.  Montressor gets Fortunato liquored up, lulls his victim into assuming safety by asking him to leave the dumb under feigned fears of the old man’s health and insults Fortunate’s pride by suggesting Luchesi, Fortunato’s rival in the world of wine tasting, be the one who give the thumbs up or down to the amontillado.

Was there even a cask of amontillado to begin with?  Oh Monty, you devious prick.

Is it better to seek revenge, or as Jesus would advise, to turn the other cheek?  Alas, Montressor doesn’t seem to suffer for his revenge, though he might suffer in reputation as you, the reader, end up fearing and hopefully looking down at him, right?  Honestly, if you walked away from this story think Montressor is a good role model to emulate, you might need some counseling my friend.

Keep in mind that Fortunato isn’t just dressed as a fool, he is one.  He’s prideful and into himself and easily manipulated by appeals to his narcissism.  The idea that his rival wine taster might be consulted him makes him lose his senses.

Sometimes people are dicks…and sometimes these dicks will insult you.  They act like fools when they do, they have already damaged their reputations by being rude to you.  Often, when a person insults you, it is less about you and more about them, about their need to prop themselves up by dragging you down, feeling better by giving you a verbal kick to the ribs.

Montressor would tell you to get revenge but I mean, yeah we aren’t in Montessor’s day so you’ll totally get caught and even if you don’t get caught, you’ll be torn apart inside over the horror you committed and if you are like Montressor and don’t feel bad about it then yeah, again, seeking counseling for your screws are loose.

What say you, 3.5 listeners?

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Bookshelf Battlecast Episode 001 – “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley – Analysis and Discussion

I’ve made a resolution to podcast once a month in 2018 and seeing as it’s very late on January 31, I’m really squeaking by.  In fact, I’m cutting it so close that WordPress will probably date this post as February 1 but oh well.  Like I can tame the WordPress gremlins who screw with my fine blog.

The text (and my notes.)

“Invictus”

By: William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
BQB NOTE: Shit happens and while Henley isn’t sure exactly what god or gods may be out there, he thanks them for the fact that he can control his reactions to the shit coming his way.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
 My head is bloody, but unbowed.
BQB NOTE:  We are caught in “the clutch of circumstance.”  Life throws shit our way and often we can’t control many things.  All it takes is one major shit storm to ruin all the work we put in towards a goal and suffer a major setback.  Henley feels like the constant stream of unexpected, unrequested shit is knocking him over the head and leaving his head bloody, but he’s not going to cave into the shit.  He’s not going to bow down and be all like, “OK shit, you got me!”
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
 Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
 Finds and shall find me unafraid.
BQB NOTE:  Life sucks and then you die.  Don’t like life and all the unfair shit that happens.  Sorry.  Guess what happens next?  You’re worm food, bitch, so start trying to find whatever little joy you can amidst the shit because soon you’ll be in the shit.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
BQB NOTE:  I can’t control life but I can control myself.  Am I going to fall apart when life doesn’t go my way?  No, I’m going to be a straight up baller, son, and I’m gonna keep doing me and all the shit in life can go suck a D.
Your thoughts?  Share in the comments.  Did you like my podcast?  Leave a review.  Didn’t like it?  Did you know there are many interesting cat videos on the Internet to watch?
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Matthew McConaughey Impersonation

Alright, alright, alright.

3.5 readers, all I can say is I love being alive in a time when you can get a dude to impersonate Matthew McConaughey for you for a reasonable price.  Would that this technology had existed when I was 20.  I would have taken over the world.

This is so funny, and the impressionist sounds just like him:

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Bookshelf Battle Cast – Episode 003 – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens – Stave 3 – The Second of the Three Spirits – Analysis and Discussion Questions

vintage-1705170_1280Scrooge’s reckoning with his crusty ways continues, though his ghostly visitor is more pleasant this time.  The Ghost of Christmas Present is a big ass baller, a giant of a man, full of food and drink, joviality and laughter, tooling around in a fine robe with a wreath on his head, hardly a care in the world.

Yes, the present is the best time to be in.  The past is unchangeable and thus to think of it can lead to regret.  The future is unknown.  The only time we can be effective in is now…right now…before right now becomes the past…oh no, now just became the past, oh no it happened again, but wait the next moment is in the future, it’s in the present and oh, crap, it’s in the past again.

See how quickly life moves?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

#1 – The Ghost of Christmas Present states that all sorts of things happen “in his name” i.e. hatred, bigotry and so on but urges Scrooge to charge these wrongdoings to those who would perpetrate them, not the ghost.  What does the ghost mean by this?

#2 – Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present visit the Cratchitts and see how happy this poor, not very handsome family is, despite the fact that they all live lives of hard labor, meager wages and little ability to improve their situation.  Scrooge is then taken on a tour where he finds miners, light house keepers and others working dismal jobs in the worst locales are all having a grand time.  Scrooge has fat stacks of cash yet he is miserable, whereas there are so many carefree poor people.  What gives?  What is the message Dickens is trying to tell us?

#3 – Tiny Tim is the epitome of man’s ability to change the future by acting in the present…before an ill fate becomes written into the past.  Scrooge must act now in the present to help Tiny Tim, to provide the family with the money needed to get Tim extra care, medicine, and help.  If Scrooge does not act now, Tiny Tim will die, and all that will remain is a memorialized little crutch in the corner of his family’s home.

Are there any warning signs in your life of a dismal future if swift, decisive action is not taken now?  Consider what negative fates might befall you or those you love if a negative situation is not change.  Do you foresee a way in which change is possible?  What steps will you take to make positive change happen?

#4 – The Ghost of Christmas Present reveals that two “children” have been clinging to him all this time – “Ignorance” and “Want.”  These two children or rather, states, mess up the present something awful.  When people are ignorant, i.e., stupid they make bad decisions that lead to a destroyed future.  Often, bad decisions are made in the name of “want,” i.e. people who covet material possessions over positive life experiences.

What will you do to rid your life of ignorance and want?

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Rate the Bookshelf Battle Cast!

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

CHECK OUT MY PODCAST HERE

So…I don’t have a big interest in becoming a podcaster at this time.  My voice sucks, my improv skills stink, my main talent lies in writing so that’s what I need to focus on.

But I’ve been toying with the idea here, learning Garageband when I could…I figured it couldn’t hurt to read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and see how it goes.  Sadly, I have found all sorts of errors and all around shittyness just after listening to the two episodes, but each time I make one I learn how to improve for next time.

Should I take them down and fix them?  Probably.  But I think for now it’s just a learning exercise and getting them produced and up there.  I’d like to finish “A Christmas Carol” reading and then get back to my writing and not worry about podcasting for awhile.

It’s water I’d like to dip my toe in but isn’t really my forte.

I do think if I could improve there would be some service i.e. you could listen to me read public domain fiction rather than pay for audio books.  On the other hand, I’m a shitty reader who coughs a lot and sounds like I have a mouthful of farts so you get what you pay for.

It’s on iTunes.  It’s on Soundcloud.  The link above is for iTunes.

Follow me on Soundcloud here.

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The Funniest Parts of the Bookshelf Battle Cast…

…are these talents I hired from Fiverr.  I wrote the scripts.  They brought my words to life with their talents.

I just wish I had as much voice talent…or any.

Please play these all.  I know you’ll laugh.  Each one is but a mere 1 or 2 minutes tops.  You won’t lose that much of your life.

Best of all, a “Movie Trailer Guy Impressionist” informs my readers that I am, quote, “Such a macho bastard I can grate cheese with my chest hair.”  It’s true, ladies.  How much cheese do you want?  Just grab a brick of cheddar and rub it on my chest.

“In a world where you want to click that play button…”

 

Not Arnold Schwarzenegger compares my waistline to that of a humpback whale:

 

Not Donald Trump calls me a low energy loser who is selling us out to China:

 

Not Al Pacino goes all “Scent of a Woman” on me:

Not Morgan Freeman insults me with a potty mouth:

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Impression

Hey 3.5 readers.

Will you please drop what you are doing and listen to “Not Arnold Schwarzenegger” make fun of me, my fat flabbiness, my lack of muscles and love of pizza and so on?

Hey by the way, “The Bookshelf Battle Cast” is on iTunes so, yeah, go listen, subscribe, vote, leave a review.

This little soundbite is short, and is hilarious so, check it out:

 

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