New Books & Novel Discoveries (September 2020)

So here’s September come and gone already (pretty much). It’s been another lowkey sort of month for new books—not sure the last time that’s happened—but I suppose it’s a welcome change for the moment. I keep feeling like I bought more, but it’s only because I meant to if they were in the shop, but they weren’t, so I didn’t. You follow?

Enough meandering. On to the books!Read More »

Book Review – Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

Interesting Times is the 17th novel in Terry Pratchett’s comic fantasy Discworld series and the 5th novel in the “Rincewind” sub-series. The Patrician of the city of Ankh-Morpork has received a vexing message from the reclusive Agatean Empire, simply reading “Send Us Instantly The Great Wizzard.” Tasking Archchancellor Ridcully of the Unseen University with finding him, he and his faculty deduce that this “wizzard” can only be one man: the infamously hapless Rincewind. They retrieve him from his life as a castaway, goading him into visiting the mysterious Agatean Empire to see what it is they want. Magically transporting him there, Rincewind is placed smack in the middle of a polite rebel uprising, a barbarian invasion, and the schemes of an ambitious Grand Vizier who is pulling the strings.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – September 23, 2020

www_wednesdays

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

I’ve started reading Thermopylae by Paul Cartledge, though I’ve read very little of it so far; just the preface and the prologue, in fact. Getting to this point involved skipping over a fair amount of front-matter too, as I realized that out of a sense of obligation I could read through a timeline of significant dates that revolve around the history I’ll be told about, but I won’t really be able to retain that info in a meaningful way. It was oddly freeing to just admit that to myself and move on. Cartledge’s writing style is good so far, not too inaccessible, but just as with the science books I occasionally read, I can already tell it will require a little more mental legwork. I just hope I won’t be stuck on it too long despite its relatively short page count.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I finished reading Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett, the 17th Discworld novel. I meant to have a review up yesterday, but life happened and I didn’t have the review finished in time. Just a minor bump in the road, I’m sure. I should have it up by Friday. I didn’t like this novel as much as I wanted to, but I’m still coming away from it pretty satisfied, especially for how it reintroduced Rincewind as a character to the series. It did a good job of tying events to what happened in the very first books too, which was appreciable. I was surprised to find it ended by setting up his next book, which takes him to yet another strange locale. I’m intrigued to see how that will play out, if only for the fact that he wound up there by chance this time.


Reading Next

I hopefully won’t be on Thermopylae long, but in typical form for me I haven’t actually decided which novel I’ll be reading next. What I do know, is I’m definitely going to read through Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh as soon as I can. The author is known for her Hyperbole and a Half webcomics and book, which came out a number of years ago now. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this book to release, the date of which had been unknown for a while. All of a sudden I learned the date and found it was coming quite soon, so I preordered it and now it’s finally in my grasp.

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

WWW Wednesday – September 16, 2020

www_wednesdays

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?

Goodness, I am running behind today.


Currently Reading

I didn’t make as much progress with Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett as I would have liked, but I’m right smack in the middle with hope that I can get it finished by next week. Since arriving in a strange land, Rincewind’s travails have amounted to a lot of running away and being put on a pedestal as something he’s not. It’s been amusing character stuff, but I’m waiting to see what it’s all building toward. I had higher hopes at the beginning, and so far I’m not sure if he’s just going to bumble his way to success or if he’s going to develop into a somewhat better version of himself. It has still been an enjoyable read, at any rate, Pratchett is nothing if not consistent, so I’m just waiting to see if this novel is among the higher pedigree.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I read Fangs by Sarah Andersen, the author better known for her Sarah’s Scribbles webcomic. This book was another collection of strips, though of a different style and tone about a vampire and a werewolf in a relationship. I had read a lot of these online as they were coming out, but when I found out such a gorgeous hardcover was going to published, I decided to wait until I had it in my hands before I finished them. They’re cute, funny, and more adult that her usual strips, so much so that I was actually craving a plot line. There is a continuity, but story developments are typically contained within a strip. It’s a wholesome, macabre little collection worth checking out if it strikes a chord with you.


Reading Next

I’m still planning to read Thermopylae by Paul Cartledge next, it’s just a matter of finishing up Interesting Times. I’m also considering starting The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht as a little supplemental read, though that will invariably become something I have to power through so it’s not hanging around forever. It just looks cute and funny and I want to actually read it rather than occasionally peak at a page or two.

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

Stuck At Home Book Tag

Though I cannot work from home due to the nature of my job, I saw this tag completed by Sammie over at The Bookwyrm’s Den and decided to take her up on her open invitation for others to participate. I’d like to thank her for sharing her post, be sure to check out hers as well.

I may not be stuck at home as much as others, but the fact is we can’t really go out and do whatever we wish like the way we used to until the pandemic is over, so it feels an appropriate tag to fill out nonetheless.

Read More »

WWW Wednesday – September 9, 2020

www_wednesdays

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 other day I started reading Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett, the 17th Discworld novel. I’m just over 20% of the way in, and so far it’s feeling like it might be above average in the series. After 16 books patterns do emerge, so it’s good to see things mixed up. It’s kind of dizzying how long it’s been since Rincewind was a lead character. The faculty of the Wizard’s College has been so well-defined for so many books, but here it dawned on me that Rincewind had never interacted with Archchancellor Ridcully. That was quite enjoyable. There is a good balance between Rincewind acting exactly like his old self, while still giving the sense of all the development he’s had in the past. He is a seasoned adventurer, after all, even if he’s always running away.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I finished reading Kong Unbound, a collection of essays about the 1933 King Kong film, and I was simply elated to get it finished. It wasn’t awful, but the fluff problem persisted throughout most of the book. Also, if I ever have to read about what someone thinks of Kong ripping off Ann’s dress again it’ll be too soon. One essay by Joe DeVito started like many others, just an old guy reflecting on his childhood love of the film, but fortunately developed into talking about a Kong book series he made that I’d never heard of before. I’d certainly like to check those out, so the experience isn’t a total loss if I come away with some new books. Alan Dean Foster had a good essay too, but I’m still pretty adamant about not reviewing this. I have little else to say.


Reading Next

I want to stay on top of things better, with time being of the essence for completing my reading list, so I’ve decided I’m going to try and quickly read Thermopylae by Paul Cartledge, a history book about the titular battle between Greece and Persia, known by many for the famous 300 Spartans who held the position for so long, despite the odds. I read another book about Spartan history by the author many years ago. I meant this to be a companion read to that, but I didn’t actually crack it open in a timely fashion. Better late than never.

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

Book Review – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a science fiction novel by Becky Chambers, the first in the author’s Wayfarers series. Rosemary Harper is a young woman with a troubled past that she is all too eager to get away from. She finds the escape she’s looking for aboard the Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days. The crew have an important job, however, as the ship can create the hyperspace tunnels that make long-distance space travel safer and time-saving. As the ship’s new clerk, she seems to find exactly the peace and quiet she was looking for, albeit alongside the Wayfarer’s chaotic yet affable crew made up of a mishmash of different species. Their relative comfort in close quarters is put to the test, however, as they take on a riskier, more lucrative job: creating the first tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll have to take the long way to get there first, however, contending with each other’s secrets and whatever the galaxy can throw at them along the way.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – September 2, 2020

www_wednesdays

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

I’m just over 40% of the way through Kong Unbound, a collection of essays by a number of writers. Have you ever started reading a book and just known in your heart that you have zero desire to review it? It’s rare for me, but I feel it so strongly with this book. It’s interesting enough, but it’s a lot of fluff. Perhaps it’s easy to see why, since this book came out specifically in time for Peter Jackson’s King Kong back in 2005. It even has an emblem that says “Official Movie Merchandise” on the cover. As a result, it has amounted to a lot of repeated information between the different essayists, really just talking about why they like the original film so much. It’s fine, but it doesn’t inspire critical assessment.


Recently Finished

Last week I finished reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I continued to enjoy this novel a lot, though I must admit that it could have used a stronger plot thread throughout. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I guess it comes down to wanting a continual sense of conflict; that something concrete and apparent throughout the book need be resolved. That’s not to say there weren’t some great story branches with their own unique tribulations, but something underlining it all, you know? I’ll get more in depth with this when I review it, I’m sure. The character stuff was absolutely golden, though. So much so, that I actually reread that section I gushed a little about last week. I never do that, which says a lot.


Reading Next

To keep up properly with at least some of my goals for the year, I need to finish a Discworld novel before this quarter of the year is over. So, I will be reading Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett next. Looking at this being the 17th novel in the series it’s just sunk in how many of these I have read. Goodness. It’s been a while since a book has featured the wizard Rincewind as well, and even longer since it was a full-length novel. I’m excited to see if and how his return from almost certain death back in Sourcery will be addressed.

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

WWW Wednesday – August 26, 2020

www_wednesdays

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

I’ve made a lot of nice progress in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers since last week; I’m 69% of the way through. I was hoping to have it done, but aren’t I always? The novel is really character driven, almost to a fault sometimes with how much time Chambers spends building people and places instead of plot, but I’m really enjoying the almost episodic travails of the crew as they make their journey. Evidently all of Chambers’s hard work has paid off too, as last night two crew members became involved with one another, which I had foreseen to an extent, yet I was embarrassingly flustered and giddy about it. I wouldn’t mind a stronger plot, but goodness am I invested in these people.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I read through Venus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito, which you can read my full review for here. I’m always excited to dive into a newly released Ito collection, but I was regrettably a little disappointed with this one. It didn’t exactly live up to its claim of being a “best of”, though it certainly does include one of my favourite stories of his. It did have the odd effect of having me utterly fixate on one story that didn’t resonate with me the way I’d hoped, though. I just couldn’t stop trying to puzzle it out after the fact. It even became a major focus in my review, as both a point of criticism and praise. Worth checking out, at any rate, just not among my favourites.


Reading Next

I expect I’ll be finished with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet soon, so I suppose I ought to have my next book lined up and ready, which I of course do not as I write this. So, eyeballing my to-read list to see what jumps out at me, I have settled on Kong Unbound, which is a collection of essays from a plethora of writers about the iconic behemoth of the silver screen. I’ve owned this book for many years, having bought it at an HMV for about $3, so it’s high time I actually read it. I’m hoping I can plough through it relatively quickly so I can strike yet another book from my list soon too—I’m still sweating about getting that done.

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