WWW Wednesday – May 20, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

OtherMindsLast night I started reading Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith, a science and philosophy book about the emergence of consciousness, with a specific focus on the minds of octopuses. I only got a couple of chapters in, but I’m rather enjoying it so far. There was a fear that it would make for a dry nonfiction read, but fortunately that hasn’t been the case so far. I do noticeably have to work harder while reading it, though. So far it has been exploring the origins of the mind itself in life on Earth, considering the earliest animals and when they started sensing the world and other creatures around them, and how complex this sense was. It has made for a lot of new terms to learn, since I’m not exactly familiar with life that existed before the Cambrian era.

I’m still technically reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, but I haven’t made any progress in the last week.


Recently Finished

Soul MusicOver the weekend I finished reading Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th novel in the Discworld series. I may be disappointed Death didn’t have a more active role in this story, but darn it this book was just so just solidly enjoyable that it didn’t matter too much. What was most surprising was how much I warmed to the story of “The Band With Rocks In” and their explosion onto the music scene of Ankh-Morpork. While the music itself was a more typical invasive force affecting the Discworld in a way that mirrors something about our own modern world, I appreciated how it was used more as a vehicle to explore the effects and costs of sudden fame. I posted a full review yesterday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

Shucks, I haven’t made up my mind about this just yet. I’ve only just started Other Minds after finishing Soul Music. I did just buy a bunch of Star Wars graphic novels a couple of weeks ago, though, I’ll probably be checking out some more of those.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Soul Music

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett is the 16th novel in the author’s Discworld series and the third in the Death sub-series. After a tragic carriage accident kills his adopted daughter Ysabel and his son-in-law/former apprentice Mort, Death becomes distraught and bemoans his inability to forget anything, wishing to quell his grief. Death wanders off into the world, leaving his vocation unfulfilled. It is soon foisted upon his bewildered granddaughter Susan, who was kept away from him for the sake of living a normal life. She struggles with the duties of the vocation, however, feeling she ought to use it to make the world a fairer place. Meanwhile, a young musician named Imp has traveled from his distant home in the mountains to make a name for himself in the city of Ankh-Morpork. Unbeknownst to him, something powerful and ancient has set its sights on him, shifting reality to make his dreams comes true…on its own terms.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 13, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Soul MusicI’m close to half way through Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th Discworld novel, and I’m continuing to enjoy it a lot. I do wish  we’d get more time reading about Death himself, as he’s clearly going through some stuff, but Susan and Buddy are making for more than worthy perspective characters in their respective story lines too. I’ve especially warmed to the latter, which is where the musical focus of the story comes from. Pratchett is clearly using this plot line as a vehicle to tell as many Rock industry jokes and references that he can, and I can sense the glee coming from it in a way that makes me smile. It’s yet another story about a force invading the Discworld too, but I’m finding it better told than the previous ones I’ve read.

The Rise of SkywalkerI also started reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, the novelization of Episode IX. I’m only about 40 pages in, but already I’m appreciating the better insight into the story that it’s providing. Especially missed from the film, which couldn’t be helped, was a deeper look at the relationship between Leia and Rey as master and apprentice. Carson does a really good job of faithfully capturing the voices of the characters as well, which markedly contrasts with something else I finished this past week. More on that later. I’d prefer the film were more fleshed out, to be sure, but as a lover of the universe and characters I’m feeling rather satisfied with what this book is providing so far.


Recently Finished

Star Wars AllegianceOver the weekend I read through a single graphic novel, Star Wars: Allegiance by Ethan Sacks et al, and it was an unfortunately rough read. It’s a four issue miniseries collected into one volume and it tries to to somehow tell two separate story lines under such limitations. One was about Finn and Poe trying to secure weapons for the Resistance, with bounty hunters in pursuit, and the other was Leia, Rey, and the rest traveling to Mon Cala to try and get the king there to pledge ships to their cause. They weren’t the worst ideas, but they were thin and played out like filler. It would have benefited much more from focus on a single story. Much of the dialogue felt forced and awkward too. I was a little interested in what he was trying to go for with Rey, but for the most part came off as a little out of character.


Reading Next

OtherMindsSince it’s likely I’ll be finished with Soul Music by next week, I suppose I ought to finally choose what book I’m going to read next from my to-read list. As I write this, I really haven’t made up my mind yet. I guess I will go with…Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Things are a little fantasy-heavy at the moment, I really ought to vary things a bit by reading some science nonfiction. I do hope that the writing style doesn’t slow my reading progress to a crawl; that’s always a slight concern with nonfiction. We shall see.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – May 6, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Soul MusicI’m just over a hundred pages into Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th novel in the Discworld series, which I started over the weekend. I’m excited to finally dig into the third Death novel, though disappointingly he is once again sharing the spotlight with others. Well, mildly disappointing. I just really like him. It’s partly about his granddaughter Susan too, so in her discovering her connection with him and the memories she’s forgotten, it is very much about him even when he’s not on the page. The anthropomorphic personification actively dealing with grief over the deaths of his daughter and son-in-law has me most interested, though, so I hope there’s a good amount of that. Not sure how I feel about all the rock music stuff yet. It’s the odd man out in a trio of plot lines.


Recently Finished

The Strings of MurderOver the weekend I finished reading The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel, the first book in the Frey & McGray series of mystery novels. I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It was an entertaining read much of the time, and when the characters are actively engaged with trying to solve the mystery I was pretty invested, but they were both just so exaggerated as characters. The writing leaned into their “odd couple” roles to a fault, and it just got grating by the end. I may need some assurances that these characteristics are dialed back in further books if I’m going to continue this series. I liked the book enough that I’m still curious, but we’ll see. I posted a full review on Monday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

The Rise of SkywalkerI still haven’t made up my mind about what to move on to from my to-read list for the year, but I have made a resolution to read the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, which I purchased a copy of on Star Wars day. Since I don’t want it to cut into getting through my list, I’ve decided to make sure I commit free time I would otherwise spend on hobbies like video games or TV shows to reading this book. Though it didn’t stick the landing in a lot of ways, I still really liked the film and want to learn the finer details that were for some reason left on the cutting-room floor.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel

The Strings of Murder

The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel is a 2015 mystery novel, the first in the “Frey & McGray” series of books. Set in 1880s, the story follows Ian Frey, an inspector for London’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID). After a series of personal disgraces largely outside of his control, Frey is sent by Scotland Yard to Edinburgh, Scotland, where they fear a copycat Jack the Ripper has made his first murder. With the Ripper still eluding apprehension in London, the pressure is on to solve the case quickly and quietly. This will not be easy however, as the violinist victim was somehow butchered in his own sealed bedroom, after taking all of the keys inside with him. There’s no clear evidence of how the murderer got in or out, and the presence of occult symbols at the crime scene only serves to excite the interest of Adolphus “Nine-Nails” McGray, the head of the paranormal subdivision leading the investigation, much to Frey’s chagrin.Read More »

New Books & Novel Discoveries (April 2020)

Somehow April felt like another very long month, yet I’m surprised that it’s already over. Time sure is funny sometimes. I hope everybody is staying safe out there. I ended up getting a few more books than I expected I would this month, which is always nice. Can’t wait to share it with you.

Without further ado, on to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – April 29, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Strings of MurderI’m still in the midst of The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel, just a little over halfway through. I’ve warmed to the book some more since last week, though admittedly it has more to do with how much the mystery has captured by interest, rather than the characters. They’re still their trope-y selves: Frey is a prim jerk with a conscience and McGray is boorish yet intelligent. I’m still waiting for the penny to drop on them learning to like one another. I find I’m most interested in how much the novel will commit to it’s implied supernatural elements. Frey is the perspective character and sees it all as nonsense, whereas McGray is a believer, so I wonder if it will be debunked, left vague so neither loses, or if Frey’s worldview will be turned upside down.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week. That’s what I get for neglecting comic book volumes. My Goodreads challenge has suffered a tad too. I’ll have to fix that.


Reading Next

Soul MusicWhile a potential comic book read is a flurry of possibilities, I still have the adamant intention to pick up Soul Music by Terry Pratchett as the next novel I read. That will get me halfway through the Discworld novels I’ve allotted for the year. After that, I’m not certain what I will pull from my to-read list for 2020, but I’ve narrowed it down to Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith or White Tears by Hari Kunzru. The former is a nonfiction look into the intelligence of cephalopods, especially octopuses, and the latter is a novel centred around music that is partly ghost story, partly murder mystery. I don’t remember a lot about the second book, to be honest, but I’d like to keep it that way. I guess I’ll have to see which I’m in the mood for when the time comes, at any rate.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – April 22, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Strings of MurderOver the weekend I started reading The Strings of Murder, a locked-room mystery by Oscar de Muriel set in Edinburgh, Scotland in the late Victorian era. I’m finding my impressions to be a lot more mixed than is normal for me. On the one hand, I am enjoying reading it; the writing style is fun and easy to get into and I’ve made surprising progress considering my usual pace as of late. I really like the setting too, which highlights the dirtier sides of the era. On the other hand, I’ve not completely invested in the duo of characters yet, inspectors Frey and McGray. They’re a fairly trope-y duo, the typical sort of odd couple, and I’ve found them a tad forced so far. I’ve been steadily warming to them, but I feel like after nearly 150 pages I should well be beyond that.


Recently Finished

The Crocodile HunterOn Sunday I finished reading The Crocodile Hunter by Steve & Terri Irwin, making it officially my second reread of the year (a rarity for me). Reflecting on it all, it’s kind of surprising to me how the actual Crocodile Hunter show is treated as more happenstance than the focus of the book, considering the title. It is, appropriately, much more concerned with sharing the nitty gritty of how Steve performs crocodile capture and relocation, alongside the more personal history of the authors. You really do get a clear sense of just how passionate they are about wildlife. I considered writing a review, but decided not to. I’m happy to share here, but beyond that this reread was more for me, I suppose.


Reading Next

I mean to focus more on my to-read list for the year, and in that vein I think I’m going to crack open Soul Music by Terry Pratchett next, the 16th Discworld novel. I feel a little guilty falling back to this typical fictional haunt for me so soon, but it’s the next book in the Death sub-series. Who could honestly resist?

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Comic Book Review – Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians by Ricardo Delgado

Age of Reptiles Ancient Egyptians

Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians by Ricardo Delgado is the fourth book in the author’s graphic novel series fictionalizing the lives of the great behemoths that once dominated our world: the dinosaurs. Set in the swamps of Cretaceous Africa, a region that would become Egypt millions of years later, the story follows a lone Spinosaurus (Spinosaurus Aegypticus) who wanders into a territory teeming with hungry scavengers, vicious predators, and vindictive herbivores who don’t take being prey without a fight. Serving as a sort of prehistoric anti-hero, the Spinosaurus is a force to be reckoned with and his arrival in the environment brings the conflict between these feuding parties violently to a head.Read More »