TV Series Review – Orange is the New Black Season Five

This review contains spoilers for events prior to this season.

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Leaving us with the nail-biting cliffhanger that was the finale of the last season, season five of Orange is the New Black was going to be a different sort of beast. This isn’t something I’d put together leading into the new season, but once it started it quickly became apparent that the developments at Litchfield were not going to blow over in an episode or two. Even by the conclusion of this season, Poussey Washington has only been dead for about four days. The events are that condensed.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/06/28

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

Having just cleaned up my slate on Sunday, I’ve taken a break of a couple days before starting reading again. I know that’s not particularly interesting, but sometimes a lull can be good for reinvigorating one’s interest.

Recently Finished

TheftByFindingCoverI finally finished David Sedaris’s Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes collecting his personal diaries (review here). It provided some fascinating insight into the life of the author, as well as the influences on his writing recorded from his daily life. His observations are stark, humorous, and very human. At times, it was unfortunately a bit of a chore to get through a lot of it at once. I never really found a happy medium regarding how much to read in a sitting and how often. I am nevertheless happy I read it and look forward to volume two.

Reading Next

ReflectionsOne book I’ve decided to start soon that I haven’t brought up already is Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones, which I picked up a few months ago at a Dollar Tree of all places. I’ve enjoyed her work in the past and would love to read what she has to say about the craft and her experience writing. Since it’s a collection of essays and anecdotes, I think it will make a great supplemental read.

Like I said last week, I’m set on starting Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff any day now as my reading main focus. I’m hoping to hit a faster pace with books again after the unfortunately slow month that was June, especially compared to how much I got done in May.

Book Review – Theft by Finding by David Sedaris

Summary from Goodreads

David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

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Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) is the first of two volumes collecting the diaries of David Sedaris, curated by the author himself. This book is specifically his edit. Of all the entries written in this 25 year span he only included a fraction of what he wrote, selected by himself. He edited some of them for clarity, altered names and appearances where appropriate, and reformatted them for presentation and readability.Read More »

Movie Review – It Comes At Night

IMDB Summary

Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.

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It Comes At Night is a 2017 psychological horror film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. It was a movie I’d heard little about going in, other than a trailer and the look of the poster. It was the title along with the poster (above) that particularly enticed me. What I got from the movie wasn’t what I expected.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/06/21

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

TheftByFindingCoverI’ve finally put my energy back into reading Theft By Finding by David Sedaris; I’m a couple more hundred pages in now. I’m still a little disappointed I haven’t finished it yet, but for some reason I’m just finding it harder to get through as quickly as a straightforward novel. I’m really enjoying it now, regardless. The diary entries are curated, so we’re only seeing what Sedaris wants us to see rather than the whole raw thing, but it’s still surreal to see the years of a life summarized and pass by so quickly. It’s making me a little self-conscious about how I’m spending my own time, though optimism is among the resulting feelings.

Recently Finished

WyrdSistersCoverOver the weekend I finished reading Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (review here). It was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed the characters, as well as the use of theatre to explore how words and stories can effect truth. It shows how a story with the right spin can effectively change reality by warping people’s perception of something until it’s no longer what it once was, as far as public opinion is concerned. I was a little disappointed, however, simply because I think it was a little too built up for me. It was good, consistent with Pratchett’s work, but not especially captivating.

HellboyWeirdTalesVol1I also read Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 1, which is a collection of stories written and drawn by other artists who wanted an opportunity to portray Mignola’s iconic character. Some of the stories were really great, giving glimpses into Hellboy’s relationships with other members of the B.P.R.D. that we don’t really see in the main series. A good number of others were very cartoony, though, which is not what I read Hellboy for. They were cute and fun, but not to my taste for the character.

Reading Next

LovecraftCountryCoverI’m pretty much dead set on reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff once I’ve cleared by current slate. I really ought to look into other new books coming out, but as of yet I have nothing on my radar. I’ve been meaning to get to Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein this year too, which should be a quick read, so I may tackle that soon as well.

Book Review – Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Summary

Three witches gathered on a lonely heath. A king cruelly murdered, his throne usurped by his ambitious cousin. A child heir and the crown of the kingdom both missing…

Witches don’t’ have these kind of dynastic problems themselves – in fact, they don’t have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have. But even she found that meddling in royal politics was a lot more complicated than certain playwrights would have you believe, particularly when the blood on your hands just won’t wash off and you’re facing a future with knives in it…

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Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett is the sixth book in the Discworld series. It is also the second book to focus on the Witches, reintroducing Granny Weatherwax, who first appeared in Equal Rites. She is part of a coven with her old friend Nanny Ogg and a younger witch Magrat, the trio serving as a parody of the three witches from Macbeth, as well as a play on the archetype of the Crone, the Mother, and the Maiden. The works of Shakespeare are a particular subject in this novel, with a traveling theatre troupe playing a huge role, and story elements from the plays Macbeth, Hamlet, and King Lear being adapted as well.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/06/14

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

Unfortunately I have not made any progress on Theft By Finding by David Sedaris since last week. I’ve been a little out of whack. I’m a little disappointed in myself, since I feel getting a review up for it should be more urgent, but I just don’t feel a huge drive to get through it.

I decided to focus the majority of my energy on Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett, which I’m over 200 pages into now. It’s an odd tale that puts an interesting spin on Macbeth story, if Macbeth were wracked by his crimes for himself and his wife. It feels like the plotline is more of a frame to flesh out the witches and their place in the world than it is the focus of the book. I’m quite fine with this though, as the three have a good dynamic between them. For the most part they’ve reacted to what is thrown at them, so to speak, rather than being more active, but that is changing in the book’s final third.

Recently Finished

I read Darth Vader: The Shu-Torun War over the weekend, the third volume in Marvel’s Darth Vader series that ran from 2015-2016. Though it does involve Vader combating some of his rivals, challenging him to become the Emperor’s new enforcer, this volume felt a lot more like a side-story than I would have liked. This was following the crossover event Vader Down, however, so I do understand  a desire to let things settle a little before ramping back up.

The story concerns a conflict on a planetary level — a change in scale I appreciate in Star Wars when I can get it — and shows the kind of measures the Empire takes to keep certain worlds in line, as well as what they shape out of impressionable young leaders in the process.  I liked seeing both Vader’s influence in political matters and his being made to reign himself in (out of necessity) by the rulers otherwise under his heel.

Reading Next

Hard to say what novel I’ll read next, though I am still eyeing Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Since the New Year I’ve had a list of books I wanted to read this year, though, and there are a couple of Neil Gaiman books on there I ought to crack open as well. Otherwise, I’m definitely going to read Darth Vader: End of Games soon to finish off that series, and will probably read the first volume of Hellboy: Weird Tales as well.

Movie Review – Wonder Woman

IMDB Summary

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when a pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers and her true destiny.

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Wonder Woman is the latest DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman. Though the latest in this cinematic universe, this film chronologically takes place much longer before the others, almost entirely detached from the modern day concerns of the films we’ve seen thus far.Read More »

Movie Review – Alien: Covenant

IMDB Summary

The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

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Alien: Covenant is a new sci-fi horror film directed by Ridley Scott. It is the follow-up to his 2012 film Prometheus, and is a part of the Alien franchise. Like many other fans of the franchise I was excited to see that this film would once again star the iconic creature we’ve come to fear and love. The alien was a little missed in Prometheus, but there was still a lingering concern for me that the xenomorph’s involvement would be largely superficial. It was looking like this film would explore the origin of the creature too, which had promise thanks to the groundwork laid in the previous film, but was also a risky prospect.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/06/07

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

I’m currently 105 pages into Theft by Finding by David Sedaris. I wanted to have a lot more of it done by now, but I spent last Thursday to Monday visiting with family and attending my brother’s wedding, so I did not have as much time for reading as I normally would have.

Things were off to a bit of a shaky start with this book, as it’s a lot different from what Sedaris normally writes. Though hand-picked and edited, these are his raw diary entries from these points in his life, so they lack the refinement of his anecdotal essays. As I’ve gone through it my interest has been continuously sated anyway; the glimpses into his life, while at first vague and feeling without context, have grown into something more as I get deeper and learn.

I’m afraid I haven’t made any progress on Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett due to the already-stated busyness. I’ll push myself to get further along soon, though. I plan on making myself get through it before I finish Theft By Finding, if I can.

Recently Finished

The only thing I managed to finish in the last week was Frankenstein Underground by Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck. It is about Mignola’s version of Frankenstein’s Monster, who previously appeared in Hellboy in Mexico. This book immediately follows the Creature’s parting ways with Hellboy from that book. The story goes to some strange places, incorporating the Hollow Earth hypothesis with established Hellboy mythology to explore how a creature such as he could come to be, all the while remaining pretty faithful to the original characterization of the Creature. It’s a wonderfully weird tale that fleshes out an otherwise brief appearance into a meaningful addition to Hellboy canon.

Reading Next

While in the middle of two books already it’s hard to say what novel I will get to next. I’ve been meaning to get to Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, but I really can’t say what I’ll go for when the time to grab another book comes.

Otherwise, I’ve been able to snag The Shu-Torun War and End of Games, the last two volumes of Star Wars: Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen et al. There was a big sale on Kindle editions for Marvel books last week, so I got them for only a couple dollars each. These I will definitely get through soon, then I can move on to the Doctor Aphra spîn-off series that followed.