Comic Book Review – Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

Sabrina

Sabrina is a 2018 fiction graphic novel by Nick Drnaso, and the first ever graphic novel to make it to the longlist for the Man Booker prize. A young woman named Sabrina Gallo goes missing in Chicago, leaving her family and boyfriend, Teddy, distraught. After a month with no sign of Sabrina, her sister Sandra struggles to cope, while a grieving Teddy goes to stay with his friend Calvin in Colorado. Not long after this, VHS tapes are released to the media depicting Sabrina’s murder. The killer is identified as Timmy Yancey, who is found to have killed himself in his home after sending out the tapes. As the atrocity goes through the 24-hour news cycle and the video surfaces online the situation devolves into rampant speculation about what really happened and harassment of those associated with the victim.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 17, 2019

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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 Buying of Lot 37I’m still making my way through The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, but with it being the only book I’m currently reading I think I’m going to give it greater attention before I move on to anything else. It’s time this got finished. The funny thing I realized while reading further is, while the arc in this volume concerns the use of Lot 37, the actual buying took place many episodes ago. Episode 37, in fact. This collection starts with episode 50, so as it turns out they waited a fair bit before starting to make good on this subplot. I just find it funny that the actual buying of Lot 37 does not take place in the book The Buying of Lot 37. How about that.


Recently Finished

RemasteredOver the weekend I decided it was high time I continue the Doctor Aphra series of Star Wars comic books with the third volume Remastered by Kieron Gillen et al. I actually thought this volume was where Simon Spurrier would be taking over as writer, but it turns out that’s not until the next volume. Spurrier only wrote one issue here. I thought this volume was excellent, in any case. 0-0-0, the psychotic murder-droid, has Aphra at his beck and call, forcing her to bring together a delightful menagerie of questionable characters to uncover the secrets of where his programming came from and what his life before his software was quarantined was.

PhasmaI also finished reading Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson just yesterday, which I’m happy to add to my finished pile of new Star Wars novels. I should have a review up for it soon. The reading experience for this book was a little bizarre for me. I appreciated how it tried to tell a different sort of story in this universe, but the bulk of the novel stumbled a bit for me. There was something missing in the telling that left the narrative’s hold on me a little flimsy. The final chapters, however, were actually excellent. Most of the book is essentially a flashback, told by a spy being interrogated. Once the revelations of this tale effects the present I was way more engrossed in what happened next. It’s given me such mixed feelings.


Reading Next

The Catastrophe ConI still have every intention of reading Exit West by Mohsin Hamid next, but I want to finish Lot 37 first. In the meantime, I will be reading volume four of Doctor Aphra soon too: The Catastrophe Con by Simon Spurrier et al. I suppose this is the real test if Spurrier has legs with this character or not. His addition to the previous volume was seamless, so I’m hopeful. I wish I was better at making up my mind about what comics to read next. I’ve got plenty left unread, I’m just picky if it’s not Star Wars or Hellboy for some reason. I vex myself.

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

I Have A Good Feeling About This (Part One)

For the most part this is a book blog, but I do occasionally review movies and those of you who have read my posts with any regularity will know that I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan. Episode IX is on the horizon, the intended finale in the soon to be nine-film Skywalker saga, and I am really dang excited for it.

As a matter of personal preference, I decided to stop reviewing the films a couple of years ago. I get too swept away by hype and the experience. I’d rather just reflect at my leisure without having to worry about putting my thoughts together for wider consumption.

That being said, I do have some very specific thoughts and feelings about this new trilogy, as well as some predictions about the final installment, that I decided I’ll throw out into the aether instead of juggling around in my head. If you’re gracious enough to check this out it’s longer than what I normally post, even as part one of two, and I’m operating on the assumption that you know what Star Wars is and what’s going on in the new films. Spoilers are ahead as well.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 10, 2019

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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 Buying of Lot 37Progress on The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor is slow but steady. I think I got through a small handful of episodes this past week. Since this is more of a supplemental read I’m satisfied with that. Once again I’m really enjoying the nuggets of information the little preface toward each episode provides. In one, Jeffrey Cranor discusses how in one of the earliest episodes two random characters are said to have gone on a date after a harrowing experience. These two characters crop up again in a much later episode, in this collection, where we get a brief update on their lives. I really like these little Easter Eggs they’ve added in the story, things that are easy to miss if you’re not going back and re-listening to episodes.

PhasmaI’ve given Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson more attention this past week, but I do wish I was further along with it. I am enjoying it just fine, but I do need to pick up the pace if I want to get through my personal to-read list for the year. Phasma has already crossed paths with the First Order on her destitute native planet, though it is only General Hux Sr. and a trio of stormtroopers who have crashed on it. They’re currently on a journey to find the crashed ship, taking them across areas on the planet left unexplored for generations. I’m really liking the more intimate look at one planet’s history that this book is providing. One of the more intriguing things about the Star Wars universe is how old space-faring civilization is in the galaxy. The idea of a world that fell and is left behind is really interesting to me.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, but I’m working on it. Believe you me.


Reading Next

Exit WestI’m sitting here looking at my little to-read list and I need to make a decision. I can’t hum and haw as much; it’s time for action. So, I’m going to read Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I won a copy of it at a book mixer a year or so ago and have been meaning to read it for a while now. Sam spoke quite well of it in her WWW posts and subsequent review a few months ago and I’d like to finally read it for myself. I really ought to pick up another comic book volume to read too, but I can’t make up my mind on that front yet. I find that less urgent anyway.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to link to your own post bolow.

Book Review – The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

The Midwich Cuckoos

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham is a 1957 science fiction novel about an alien invasion of a different kind. One morning, the unremarkable village of Midwich in Britain inexplicably cannot be entered. Anybody trying to get in is suddenly knocked unconscious by unknown means. Every living thing within this radius of influence, which encompasses Midwich, is in this state. Military Intelligence, in trying to get a handle on the situation, notice through aerial photos the presence of an otherworldly, silver object at the centre of it all in the village.

A day after this begins, however, it is over. The object is gone, and most of the residents of Midwich awaken unharmed. The event becomes known as the “Dayout,” and begins to recede from memory as nothing more than a bad dream. That is, until all the women of childbearing age in Midwich discover they have somehow become pregnant, and that their ordeal is only just beginning. They eventually give birth to pale, golden-eyed children that appear to be human, but are in fact something else altogether.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 3, 2019

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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! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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 Buying of Lot 37I’m still making my way through The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, which I’m continuing to enjoy. The most recent episode I read through was great because it was the first episode to ever mention the character of Jackie Fierro, one of the protagonists of the Welcome to Night Vale novel that did not come out until another year after the episode in question was originally released. A wonderful insight was provided in the introduction to the episode, where Fink talks about how they’d already written hundreds of pages about Jackie for the novel before her introduction here, but it was still a year away from being published. It was a peak behind the curtain I really enjoyed.

PhasmaSo, last week we all wondered together what novel I’d pick up next. I hadn’t even decided yet myself. Well surprise! It is a Star Wars book. I’ve been reading Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson, a novel that gives an origin story to a character who stands out yet remains mysterious and unfortunately underused in the new Star Wars trilogy. I’m actually loving how different of a story is being presented here. The frame narrative is about a rival Captain in the First Order named Cardinal interrogating a Resistance spy for information he can use against Phasma. This spy, in turn, tells tales of Phasma’s life on the harsh planet she grew up on. I love how intimate the frame setting is, as well as the presentation of the distinct society that Phasma was a part of.


Recently Finished

The Midwich CuckoosOver the weekend I finished reading The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I really loved this novel. A lot of classic science fiction is respectable for the ideas they introduced, by a bit of a letdown for me when I actually read them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, however, which presents an alien invasion as more of a moral dilemma and less clear-cut. While certain developments feel inevitable, one cannot help but be left with the sense that a great failing in human (and perhaps inhuman) nature led to such things. I couldn’t help but imagine how the Doctor (Doctor Who) might have sorted that problem. She’d have know what to do. I should have a review up before the end of the week.

SabrinaI also read Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, which I borrowed from my local library. When I first heard about the book it was in a video discussing how the book is, broadly speaking, a hard look at what life in our time is like, especially with the rise of social media and the notion of “fake news” infecting the discourse about daily events. More specifically put, this book is titled after a fictional young woman who gets abducted and murdered, a video tape of her execution being sent to various media sources soon after. It was a powerfully evocative read that I won’t soon forget. It was the first graphic novel to ever make it onto the longlist for the Man Booker prize.


Reading Next

With as much as I have on my plate with reading right now I don’t have any plans for what to read next. The future is but a track being freshly laid before a train already in motion. I also struggle for consciousness; night shifts can be rough, my friends.

Until next week, thank you for reading. Feel free to share your posts below.

Mid-Year Check-In

So here we are, halfway through 2019 already. Where does the time go? Seriously, it could stay a while longer. Doesn’t need to pass by so quickly.

At the beginning of the year I posted about my scrappy to-read list, which I make every year for the satisfaction of literally crossing books off of the list. I’ve never actually completed one of these lists though, so this is the year I’m really going for it.

So, let’s see how I’m doing on that front…

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So here’s the good news first. In 2018 I only struck off 13 books from that year’s list by the end of last year. This year I have already struck off 11. So that’s great. I’ve nearly caught up with what I manged last year.

However, percentages are working against me a little here. I’ve only finished 33% of the books on that list. I’m going to have to double the amount of books I finish from the list over the same span of time if I want to actually clear it. On top of this, I know I’m going to read books that are not listed there. It’s just going to happen. It’s happening right now, in fact. This will certainly be a challenge, but I’m still going to push for it.

Speaking of challenges, I’ve always got my Goodreads Challenge looming over me too, though I’m honestly putting a little less stock in that (if only I could stop caring about how many books behind it says I am).

2019 Challenge Progress (July 2)

At least in this case I’m very nearly halfway, so it certainly appears a lot more reachable from this vantage point. I take some solace in the fact that I could always finish some graphic novels relatively quickly and be back on track too.

Hope you enjoyed my little update. Thank you for reading!

New Books & Novel Discoveries (June 2019)

The urge to buy new books this month was so suppressed it’s almost uncanny for me. I did end up getting something, of course, but even what I did pick up barely needed budgeting for at all. I suppose a lull is a good thing; it’s not as if I need to buy lots of books each month. I just enjoy doing it so much part of me cannot help but be a little put out by the lack of it, foolish though that may sound.

Anyway, on to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – June 26, 2019

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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! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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 Midwich CuckoosI finished reading Part One of The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham over the weekend. I continue to be surprised by how progressive the book is in dealing with the subject of mass unwanted pregnancies. There’s a rather effective moment where Angela, the woman helping to hold the community together, vents to her husband about how his support is all well and good, but it’s all too easy for him because it’s impossible for him to ever have to deal with what the women are dealing with. The nature of the alien offspring they birth is much more fascinating than I expected too. While there are about 60 children, split almost evenly between male and female, they seem to be two distinct male and female hive-minds.

The Buying of Lot 37I’m also a few chapters into The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the third volume collecting the scripts of episodes for the podcast series Welcome to Night Vale. It’s been nearly three years since I read volume two, and that was the last time I went through those episodes, so it was actually a little jarring to be thrown back into the mix. I am slowly recalling where everything is at for the characters at this point in the story though. I am enjoying revisiting them nonetheless, especially with Jessica Hayworth’s illustrations added to the mix. The pacing does feel a little off, however, since it was originally dictated like a radio show and now is formatted like standard prose. This is a small gripe though.


Recently Finished

Eating the DinosaurOver the weekend I finished reading Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman and you can check out my full review here. This really was a refreshing read thanks to the randomness involved in my deciding to pick it up. I especially enjoyed the final two essays, the penultimate one dealing with our society’s fixation on irony/sarcasm and how we often completely misunderstand artists and other figures who are very literal. The last was a deeper look at the effect the internet has had on our society, through the controversial lens of the Unabomber’s manifesto (whom the author dismisses for the radical murderer he is, but nonetheless is intrigued by what he wrote). I may have to pick up more of Klosterman’s books in the future.

A Study in EmeraldI also read through A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone. It was a wonderful adaptation of the story, bringing it to life visually almost perfectly. I especially liked the way Queen “Victoria” was represented as a Lovecraftian horror that is standing as monarch over Britain. I am happy I managed to secure an inexpensive digital copy of this book, however, as it is quite directly a retelling of the short story with little to no alteration from what I could notice. The art work has it’s merit of course, but I do feel I’ve just bought the same story again. I think I’d have been a little beside myself if I bought a physical edition for the same price as the entirety of Fragile Things.


Reading Next

With Midwich still unfinished I haven’t settled upon another novel to read next. I should have it finished before June is over, though, so expect to see something new in the Currently Reading section next week. Isn’t this exciting? I wonder what it’ll be.

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

Book Review – Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

Eating the Dinosaur

I’ve found trying to succinctly describe Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman a little challenging. In some ways it’s easy because it is (a) a book of essays, (b) a work of nonfiction, and (c) concerned with popular culture. This isn’t especially helpful though, since that describes a lot of books. A number of the essays revolve around sports and music, that’s for sure. One is so deeply entrenched in football history, in fact, that he advises some readers to skip it (though this is an outlier).

In a broad way, I suppose, I’d say this book questions facets of the reality in our society and how we come to interpret this reality through very specific examples of celebrity and popular culture. Maybe that’s still too vague, but this book has essays about the concept of time travel, Road movies, why we answer interview questions, and ABBA. Connective threads are bound to look a little tenuous from the outside.Read More »