WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/27

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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 want to say that I’m currently reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, but the busyness of the holiday season has prevented me from getting a start on it. Now that I’m back home, however, I plan to power through it over the next few days.

Recently Finished

Smoke&MirrorsLast week I finished reading Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, which you can read my review of here. It was a great collection of dark and beautiful stories, often twists on unrequited love in some way, that had me hooked throughout. I especially liked the stories that played around with the world of H. P. Lovecraft’s weird tales, as well as the numerous retellings of fairy tales.

 

HellboyTheMidnightCircusI also read Hellboy: The Midnight Circus by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo over the weekend. It was much shorter than a typical comic book trade, but it was an enjoyable little story about a boy running away to see the circus, except it is a young Hellboy and this is no earthly circus. This book is also the story that introduces Hellboy’s sister Gamori, who only appears again in the second volume of Hellboy in Hell.

Reading Next

HellboyIntoTheSilentSeaI still plan to read Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea by Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, and Dave Stewart, as it is another short Hellboy book. I want to get The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed by Mike Mignola read as well, but it has moved to the bottom of my list of priorities.

With some end of year posts still needing to go up, I haven’t really had the week or so to just take a breather from all of the reading, so I may doing that the first week of January instead. As a result I have no immediate plans for what I’m reading next in the new year.

Book Review – Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Summary

In the deft hands of Neil Gaiman, magic is no mere illusion . . . and anything is possible. In Smoke and Mirrors, Gaiman’s imagination and supreme artistry transform a mundane world into a place of terrible wonders—where an old woman can purchase the Holy Grail at a thrift store, where assassins advertise their services in the Yellow Pages under “Pest Control,” and where a frightened young boy must barter for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks. Explore a new reality, obscured by smoke and darkness yet brilliantly tangible, in this extraordinary collection of short works by a master prestidigitator. It will dazzle your senses, touch your heart, and haunt your dreams.

Smoke&Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman is a collection of “short fiction and illusions,” originally published in 1998. From what I gathered reading it, most if not all of these stories had been published before as part of different collections or anthologies. I’ve been a rather big fan of Gaiman for a number of years now, but admittedly this is the first time I’ve read any of his short fiction outside of comic books. I was interested to see just how much a departure in format would change his style of writing, as I have recently been noticing common trends in his novels. As it turns out, his short fiction varies quite widely in terms of subject matter.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/20

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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

Smoke&MirrorsI’m still in the middle of Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, with just about 100 pages left to go. This is the first time I’ve really gotten into any of his short fiction outside of comic books, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I have such pleasant mental associations with Gaiman as a public figure that I often forget how dark and messed up his fiction can get, especially, as it turns out, his short fiction. It really goes to show how much range he has as a writer too. I’m a fan of his, and yet even I feel like I haven’t been giving him enough credit. I’ll hopefully have this book finished and reviewed later this week.

Recently Finished

TheButtonSince last week I’ve only read Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition written by Joshua Williamson and Tom King and illustrated by Jason Fabok and Howard Porter. It was the last comic book I wanted to make sure I read before started Doomsday Clock, which admittedly I still haven’t gotten around to. It was an enjoyable enough story, though even as someone who doesn’t regularly read any DC Comics titles I could see this book could have been skipped. I don’t regret reading it, regardless.

Reading Next

TheVisitorCoverI still plan to read Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, though it’s more than likely I won’t have a review up for it until the new year. As far as comic books are concerned, I want get through some digital Hellboy volumes, by Mike Mignola and various, that I’ve gotten over the last few months: The Midnight Circus, Into the Silent Sea, and The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed. The last one is of particular interest to me, as it promises insight into a character that, if memory serves, first appeared in volume five of the main series. He and his peoples’ oversight over Hellboy’s life was left largely obscure.

Book Review – The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson

Summary

Ever since his girlfriend ended their relationship, Thomas Rosanoff’s life has been on a downward spiral. A gifted med student, he has spent his entire adulthood struggling to escape the legacy of his father, an esteemed psychiatrist who used him as a test subject when he was a boy. Thomas lived his entire young life as the “Boy in the Box,” watched by researchers behind two-way glass.

But now the tables have turned. Thomas is the researcher, and his subjects are three homeless men, all of whom claim to be messiahs—but no three people can be the one and only saviour of the world. Thomas is determined to “cure” the three men of their delusions, and in so doing save his career—and maybe even his love life. But when Thomas’s father intervenes in the experiment, events spin out of control, and Thomas must confront the voices he hears in the labyrinth of his own mind.

TheShoeOnTheRoof

Disclosure: I won this novel in a Goodreads giveaway. Copy was provided by the publisher.

The Shoe on the Roof, published October 17, 2017, is the newest novel by Will Ferguson, author of the Giller Prize winning novel 419. I’ve read a couple of Ferguson’s books before, though neither of the two were fiction. I really enjoyed his previous work, however, so I was immediately interested once I learned he had a new book coming out this year. Without actually looking much into the synopsis, my brain took the title and created vague notions of what to expect, all of which were not at all like the journey into love, neuroscience, and mental health that I embarked upon.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/13

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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

Smoke&MirrorsI’ve only just started reading Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. This is the first of his short story collections that I’ve gotten around to reading, despite the amount of his other work I have read before. I’ve only read the introduction so far, but as it turns out that made up about 30 pages of the book and he hid a story within it. Amusingly, he remarked before the start of the story that some people skip introductions, making it a treat for those who do not. Curiously, he also included background information on every story in the collection, which I feel would be more valuable at the end rather than the beginning. Perhaps there is a method to this I’ve yet to see.

Recently Finished

TheShoeOnTheRoofThe other day I finished reading The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson, which I will post a review of soon. It’s a book I have needed some time to mentally digest. I’m appreciating it as a challenge to review in this respect, though I’m eager to get a review finished as soon as possible. The plot took a lot of twists and turns, some expected and others not so much, and I’m worried I’m not seeing the forest for the trees. I’m not sure if I’m giving it too much credit or not enough in my consideration of it.

Reading Next

StarshipTroopersCoverLikely the last novel I will get to this year will be Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. It’s a book that’s been on my to-read shortlist all year — I’ve even had it under my “Reading Next” heading before — but I really want to make sure I get it done before the new year. The only thing that might hold this back is my desire for a week or so at the end of December to just set all books aside for a little breather. I’m planning to get through even more books in 2018, as well as refocusing myself in terms of other writing, so I could use a little time to just not worry about it all.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/06

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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

TheShoeOnTheRoofRight now I’m reading The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson, which is so far making for a rather interesting read. I didn’t know anything about it going in other than vague notions my mind had conjured based on the title. It’s not what I had conjured, which is a good thing. After a bad break up, a med student begins an experiment to cure three men of their delusions: each believes they are Jesus Christ. The writing has been insightful, funny, and gripping so far, though it is taking its time in ramping things up. It takes a rather poignant look at relationships too, and the narrator’s interaction with the reader is interesting in what Ferguson chooses to have revealed.

Recently Finished

DCRebirthI read DC Universe: Rebirth by Geoff Johns et al the other day, starting me off on my journey to the new series Doomsday Clock. I wish I knew more about the various DC characters within to have a better connection with the references in this book, but I still knew enough about the basic goings-on over the last several years to appreciate the gravity of the story. It also does a good job of contextualizing things so that less familiar readers are not completely lost as well. I especially appreciated the art work, which in certain cases mimicked the panel composition of Watchmen.

Reading Next

Smoke&MirrorsThe year is winding down, so I really have to think carefully about what I’m reading next. I’m a stickler for books not carrying over to a new year, so I have to make sure what I pick up will be finished in time. One book I want to push myself to read is Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, a collection of short stories. It’s yet another book I wrote into a list on a scrap of paper late last year that I wanted to get through in 2017. Hopefully I can make good on at least one more on that list this month.

Movie Review – Justice League

Summary

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

JusticeLeaguePoster

Justice League is the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), following the release of Wonder Woman this past summer. The film was directed by Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg. I didn’t have much hype for this movie going in; it felt more like an obligatory viewing. With the exception of Wonder Woman, the DCEU has had a hard time, with films produced that had some interesting ideas and performances, but ultimately fell flat in a lot of ways. I was also skeptical of how well this film could be pulled off without the lead-up that The Avengers got. Fairly recently someone made the point that just because that’s one way of going about it successfully doesn’t mean that’s the only way of doing it, however, which opened my mind up a little.Read More »

Book Review – Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston

Summary

Ahsoka Tano, once a loyal Jedi apprenticed to Anakin Skywalker, planned to spend the rest of her life serving the Jedi Order. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, she left the Order and forged her own path. Anakin and the other Jedi were still there for her, though, whenever she needed them—or they needed her.

Then the Emperor took over the galaxy, and the Jedi were ruthlessly murdered. Now Ahsoka is truly on her own, unsure she can be part of something larger ever again. She takes refuge on a remote farming planet, where she befriends a young woman named Kaeden and begins to carve out a simple life for herself. But Ahsoka cannot escape her past, or the reach of the Empire. When Imperial forces occupy the planet, she must decide whether to become involved—even if it means exposing her identity. Her choices with have devastating effects for those around he…and lead her to a new hope for the galaxy.

Ahsoka

Star Wars: Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston follows the titular character and former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, a popular character from the Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars and later Rebels. This is a novel that exists specifically to fill a gap, as she is a character that disappeared from the storyline before the ending of the former series, only to appear again in the latter, much more grown and experienced. I was interested in reading this as a fan of the series, wanting to know more about an impactful character who unfortunately was not originally conjured as part of the prequel trilogy of films.Read More »