WWW Wednesday – April 17, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

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

SmashedOver the weekend I started reading Smashed by Junji Ito, the newest English translation collection of some of the author’s horror manga stories. I’ve only read three of the stories so far, and I’m finding myself notably struck by how ridiculous Ito’s writing can be sometimes. I’ve sung his praises many times before, and I stand by all that I’ve said before, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me how hit-or-miss his short stories can be. The opener, which involves dieting and vampire bats, was more perplexing than it was horrific or creepy, and I hope the tone that it has set for the collection is not maintained.


Recently Finished

Fragile ThingsI finally finished Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman last night. Even though it’s only been a little over a month, I’m disappointed with how long this actually took me. I could have finished it in a much shorter amount of time had I put my mind to it. Oh well. The book closed with the story “The Monarch of the Glen,” which takes place after American Gods, catching up with Shadow Moon two years after the conclusion of that novel. I really enjoyed reading about that character and world again, especially with the surprise appearance by two other characters from another story in this collection. I went back and read the introduction after I’d finished too, which as I expected was a lot more meaningful that reading it as an actual introduction to the collection.


Reading Next

On Earth as it is in HellAs I’ve been saying for a few weeks now I’m going to start reading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, since all the prose I’ve been reading has been finished up. I feel like I ought to pick something else up to read concurrently as well though. I’ve been a few books behind schedule for a while and would love to catch back up. With an apparently not-very-good Hellboy movie in theatres now, perhaps I will pick up On Earth as it is in Hell by Brian Hodge, the next of the Hellboy novels I need to read. We shall see.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Comic Book Review – Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy

Batman White Knight

Written and illustrated by Sean Murphy, Batman: White Knight is a standalone miniseries outside of the mainline DC comics continuity. Following a destructive chase through the streets of Gotham, Batman is filmed brutalizing the Joker while dozens of GCPD officers look on. The footage goes viral, casting the caped crusader and the complacent police force in a negative light. Following this, the Joker has begun taking an unknown medication that “cures” him of his insanity, making him Jack Napier once again. While not blind to his crimes committed as the Joker, Jack sees Batman as the real villain plaguing Gotham City, his vigilante crusade doing more harm than good. He sets out to make the city a better place by exposing all the bad that comes with how Batman operates, leading the public to no longer tolerate their dark knight.Read More »

Movie Review – Us

UsPoster

Us is a 2019 horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele. As a child, Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) had a traumatic experience after wandering off from her parents at a boardwalk carnival. Wandering into a house of mirrors, where the power cuts out, she encounters another little girl who appears to be her exact double. Years later, still haunted by her childhood experience, Adelaide, her husband, and her two kids take a summer vacation to Adelaide’s family home in Santa Cruz, California, where she first had her harrowing experience. Their vacation is fraught with tension, but takes a turn for the horrifying when they are besieged by their doppelgangers, who suddenly outside their door in the middle of the night.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – April 10, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

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

Fragile ThingsYep, still in the midst of Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, though it’s not from lack of enjoyment, just lack of focus on it. I did manage to read a few stories since last week though, one of them being “The Problem of Susan,” which was nice to revisit. I first read it online soon after I read all of the Narnia books years ago. I appreciate how Gaiman’s approach to the subject is a short narrative that both tries to reckon with the unfair treatment Susan received by that series’ end while also giving a warped representation of Narnia that is open to interpretation. I really enjoyed “Locks,” a little poem about a father reading stories to his daughter at bedtime.


Recently Finished

LXGvol.2Over the weekend I read through volume two of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. Oh my goodness, I’ve wound up with a lot of mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I thought the graphic novel itself was outstanding. I do wish the war against the Martians was a tad more involved with the main plot, but the directions the characters were taken in was excellent, especially developments around Mr. Hyde. On the other hand, an epilogue section called “The New Traveler’s Almanac” is jam packed with literary references, giving a prose Atlas of the bizarre world they inhabit, telling further story along the way. Despite my enjoyment of it conceptually, it was so densely packed with walls of text that it took FOREVER to get through and more than once I wanted to scream at it.

The WonderI also finished The Wonder by Emma Donoghue last night, which I wound up enjoying quite a lot despite my mixed feelings last week, when I was wondering the direction the story would take. I must say, the ultimate narrative became very compelling indeed, as it becomes apparent that there really isn’t anything miraculous about the girl’s purportedly long fast, yet the situation is a lot more complicated than a family conning their community. The mounting sense of anxiety and urgency was exceptionally palpable and the length was just right for the story being told. My desire to finish this book was actually why I got so mad at volume two of The League. I expected that to be a brief departure, but I stubbornly didn’t want to sideline it when the almanac got too long.


Reading Next

SmashedMy preorder for Smashed by Junji Ito arrived for me on Monday, though it’s still a little while yet before it officially releases. It’s the newest collection of Junji Ito horror manga translated into English and I’m quite eager to read more of grotesque, macabre tales. Other that, I still fully intend to start Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett as my next novel, but I’m going to make sure I finish Fragile Things first. It’s hung around the periphery long enough. It’s time to go home.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Five Year Anniversary

This is a little awkward because April 4th doesn’t actually hold any significance for this blog, but life got in the way of things a tad so here we are. That being said, the anniversary for this blog/site is a little muddy anyway. I first registered it on March 27th, 2014, but I did not put up my first post until April 1st. I didn’t really feel great about having this tied to April Fool’s Day anyway.

Five years is a significant milestone and it honestly feels a little uncanny that I’ve had this going for that long now. I look back on my first few years posting with a lot of mixed feelings. There are some posts I continue to be quite happy with, but I kept too rigidly to a limited schedule and was far too all over the place in terms of what content I posted or what I wrote about. Not great for grabbing a reading audience’s attention and keeping it, but I’m pleased I cemented a writing habit all the same.

I’ve become a lot more focused since then, both on how often I write and being more consistent on what I write about. I’m pretty regularly happy with the posts that I write, while maintaining that oh-so important mindset that I could always improve. In keeping with the immortal words of Bob Ross (whom I often have playing in the background while I write):

“I hope you’re plagued with dissatisfaction your whole life, that way you’ll always strive to do better.”

Readership has been on the rise the last couple of years since my shift in how I post, and while the numbers are still quite modest I’m endlessly grateful to everyone who has come here to check out my writing. Ultimately, that’s what this is all about. I’m happy I’ve been able to make it this far and I wanted to put out a thank you to anyone and everyone who reads this blog, whether you randomly stumble upon it once, check in every now and again, or read on the regular. I will always be grateful to you.

Here’s to even more years to come.

WWW Wednesday – April 3, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

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

Fragile ThingsI’m still chipping away at Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. Reading has been consistently enjoyable, but admittedly some of the stories have been apparently forgettable. I say “apparently” because I just had to flip back through all the stories I read in the last week to fully refresh myself on what exactly I had read. Only one actually did little for me, so this is more indicative of the problem short story collections can have sometimes. Some stories just stand out a lot more than others. That being said, I do really like when he implies that a story has happened to him. It’s preposterous to seriously consider some events as having actually happened, but I do like the blending of reality with fiction.

The WonderI’ve also begun reading The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, just as I promised last week. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it and so far I’m intrigued but not completely drawn in. The writing is good, I just don’t quite have a good sense of the story being told yet. A nurse from England in the 1800s is called to Ireland to watch over a young girl who has gone four months without eating, a supposed miracle. The story is so grounded so far that I feel like making the girl’s condition authentic is unlikely, yet the main character is already so confident that it’s a con that I’m wondering what may happen to change her mind. I’m actually quite excited to not know going in which direction the story will take, not that I think on it.


Recently Finished

Batman White KnightLast night I finished reading Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy. Though pulling from familiar continuity, this Batman graphic novel is its own self-contained world. The Joker has been cured of his insanity, becoming a very sane Jack Napier once again, who sets his sights on Batman and the brutal vigilantism that has been allowed to run amok in Gotham City for far too long. Though it sounded gimmicky on its surface, it was a surprisingly poignant story that examines the characters of both Batman and the Joker through a critical yet fair lens. I’m especially fond of how many references there are to the 90s animated series. I don’t usually review superhero comics, but since it’s a standalone volume I will likely write one up for this soon.


Reading Next

Witches AbroadHaving balanced out genres with The Wonder—and not sticking with Fantasy constantly—I think I will start the next Discworld book I need to get to once I’ve cleaned up what I’m currently read. That book is Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, which is the third book in the “Witches” subseries. I love Granny Weatherwax, so I’m excited to see what it’s all about. I do hope the story is a little more focused on her in this book however. I thought the focus was a little too split in Wyrd Sisters.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

New Books & Novel Discoveries (March 2019)

So it would seem March has finally been the fabled light month that I often think is going to happen but rarely actually does. It was honestly very close to being a month where I didn’t buy a single physical book at all, but impulses got the better of me as a walk turned into a trip to the bookstore just to browse, which turned into buying a book. I guess that’s just how it goes.

Anyway, on to the books!Read More »

Book Review – Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Lost Stars

Released as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series of media, Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is a standalone Young Adult Star Wars novel with a largely original cast of characters. It follows the lives of two childhood friends, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, starting when they are only children on the day their home planet of Jelucan is annexed by the Galactic Empire. Growing up with aspirations of joining the Imperial Academy and one day becoming pilots, the pair are inseparable as they work to achieve their dreams. But war looms on the horizon as rebel forces become more and more prominent, thrusting them into a conflict that forces them down opposing paths and challenges whether bonds of loyalty and love for each other can survive the ravages of war.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 27, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

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

Fragile ThingsI’ve admittedly not made a whole lot of progress on Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, though I have read a few stories since last week. I’m starting to notice an intriguing trend in the last few stories I’ve read in this book, which revolve around a young person having a haunting experience with abandoned property/houses. Each story was effective in their own way, while also having a number of elements in common. I wonder if this is happenstance, or will continue in some way throughout this book. I know most of these stories were published before being collected here, but I think it’ll be interesting to keep an eye out nonetheless.


Recently Finished

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1The first book I finished over the weekend was volume one of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, which I posted a review for yesterday. This is my second time reading the book after many years, and while a lot of the story was familiar I didn’t realize just how deep some of the literary cuts were in this book. There were some obvious ones I was ignorant to the first time around—I had no knowledge of the plot of Dracula so had no idea who Mina Murray was—but this book is positively packed with references. By all accounts nearly every named character is somebody from literature.

Lost StarsI also finished Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, which I should have a review up for soon. This book was intensely sentimental and melodramatic in certain ways and I am not ashamed to say I ate it right up. Romance isn’t typically a particular draw for me, but set in the galaxy far, far away against the backdrop of the Galactic Civil War I enjoyed it immensely. It helps that Gray did an excellent job of crafting both characters, with opposing viewpoints, who are both sympathetic and likable in their own right. I hope we get a follow-up story for these characters some day.


Reading Next

The WonderPart of me wants to focus my energy on reading Fragile Things now, but I always meant it to be a supplementary read. That being the case, I think I will start The Wonder by Emma Donahue soon, another book from my scrappy little list. It’s a book I remember little about, but I think that’ll be a nice change of pace to what I’ve been reading recently, with events of Star Wars so well known to me and League volume one being a re-read.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Comic Book Review – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1

In this first volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O’Neill introduce a reimagined Victorian England of 1898, a world wherein characters and events from Western literature of that period and into the 20th century exist. The titular League is formed by Mina Murray, corresponding with MI5 agent Campion Bond (007’s ancestor), who brings together a menagerie of people with exceptional powers and abilities to help combat threats to Britain. After being assembled, their first task is to recover cavorite, a remarkable material with anti-gravity capabilities, that has been stolen by Chinese crime lord The Doctor for his own nefarious purposes.Read More »