New Books & Novel Discoveries (June 2018)

June has been another rather light month. A few things have caught my eye, which I’ll get in to, but I decided to hold off on the temptation to pick them up. With The Lord of the Rings finally finished I’m wanting to get back into the swing of reading through more books, rather than picking up more new ones.

It’s also been a while since I put out a Writing Report, which I’m going to fix soon. I do have some updates to share, though nothing major. I really need to motivate myself to finish writing my short horror story too, so I can start submitting it places.

Anyway, on to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/06/27

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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

JourneyToTheCentreOfTheEarthI’m still getting through Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne, though I’m a fair amount past the halfway point in the story. I’m a little disappointed I’m not finished with it, but I’m not going to dwell on that too much. It won’t be much longer. I’m enjoying the book well enough, though I’m finding it a little odd as far as adventure fiction goes. This really is more the journey to the centre, rather than time spent in the centre itself. Much of it has been the Professor bullishly pushing forward and his nephew Axel, our narrator, complaining about how much he doesn’t want to be there.

Recently Finished

GyoNot long after last week’s post I finished reading Gyo by Junji Ito. I’ve written a review of it, please check it out here! It was a heck of a strange trip by the end, which I actually had to reckon with for a little while. I’m still a little disappointed with the way it turned out (I just really prefer supernatural sources for horror), but the more I look back on it the more positively I consider it. It’s not one of my favourites of his regardless. There are still a few things I raise my eyebrows at, but it’s more fun to view as a “B movie” type of story that I shouldn’t scrutinize too heavily. It did have some great visual and conceptual moments of body horror too, context notwithstanding.

Reading Next

ZeldaEncyclopediaI still have every intention of continuing with the Discworld series next, but as a supplemental read I think I will start gradually making my way through The Legend of Zelda: Encyclopedia, which I got my copy of late last week. Apparently this has some information that contradicts the timeline established for the games in Hyrule Historia, which I’m both intrigued and irritated by.

Until next time!

Comic Book Review – Gyo by Junji Ito

Gyo

Something is rotten in Okinawa… The floating smell of death hangs over the island. What is it? A strange, legged fish appears on the scene… So begins Tadashi and Kaori’s spiral into the horror and stench of the sea.

Gyo is a horror manga series by renowned writer and artist Junji Ito. It was originally published serially in the weekly manga magazine Big Comic Spirits from 2001 to 2002, before being collected into two volumes that were released the same year. The edition I’m reviewing is an English deluxe edition published in 2015, collecting the entire story into one hardcover along with two bonus short stories. It had been a while since I read any of the Ito books I’d picked up this year and it was nice to read one of his longer works again.Read More »

Book Review – Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Circe is the newest novel by Madeline Miller, published on April 10 of this year. Though not a sequel, this is her second novel exploring the world of Ancient Greek mythology following her first novel The Song of Achilles, which I have yet to have the pleasure of reading myself. I have heard many great things about that book, but being a greater fan of The Odyssey than The Iliad I jumped at the chance to read an in-depth tale about Circe, the alluring goddess and sorceress of Aiaia.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/06/20

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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

JourneyToTheCentreOfTheEarthI’m only about 25 pages in, but I recently started Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne as a lighter read to sure up the numbers for my reading goals this year. I’ve still got a lot of catch-up to do. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the older science fiction and/or adventure fiction I’ve read before, though I believe this is my first time reading one of the “lost world” genre. Since it’s a book first published in the mid 1800s I’m really interested to see how they interpreted worlds like this straight from the source.

GyoI’ve also started reading Gyo by Junji Ito, one of his books that I picked up a few months ago now. I’ve been meaning to get back to reading through those and a friend having read it herself inspired me to pick it up off the shelf. It’s honestly a lot different than what I was expecting, and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I need to see it through to the end first, but some of the nature of the threat is vastly different than what I thought it would be in a way I find less appealing so far.

Recently Finished

CirceOver the weekend I powered through and finished Circe by Madeline Miller. I should have a review up within the next couple of days. I’ve got a few issues with it, but overall I liked the book a lot. Miller is exceptionally talented at faithfully adapting mythology into fiction. I feel like a lot of other media gets really indulgent with the source material, but this I believed as existing in the realm of classical myths through and through. Circe herself was a thoroughly interesting character too, and the changes Miller did make to expand her history and character worked really well.

DoctorAphraAndTheEnormousProfitI also finished reading Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by Kieron Gillen et al, which was a worthy send off for the writer and character’s creator. Aphra organizes a giant auction for the crystal she obtained, which contains the mind of an insane ancient Jedi, and as expected things go awry in spectacular fashion. Something I really love about this series is how little Aphra and her “companions” actually care for one another. When it comes down to it they’re truly out for themselves and I appreciate the commitment to their villainous sides. Darth Vader becomes involved in an awesomely satisfying way as well.

Reading Next

MovingPicturesI don’t intend to take very long with Journey to the Centre of the Earth, so hopefully I will be starting Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett soon, so I can finally continue with the Discworld series. I’m really disappointed with how much I’ve neglected it in 2018 thus far. I’m pretty sure this time last year I had completed two of them already.

Until next time!

Movie Review – A Ghost Story

Summary

In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.

AGhostStoryPoster

A Ghost Story is a 2017 supernatural drama written and directed by David Lowery. It stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as a couple living in a suburban Texas home who are making plans to move. They are awoken one night by a noise they cannot explain and shortly afterwards Affleck’s character (simply credited as “C”) dies in a car accident. His spirit, appearing as a bedsheet ghost, returns home, a place he becomes anchored to.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/06/13

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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

CirceI am currently about 40 pages into Circe by Madeline Miller and already I can see what a lot of the fuss is about. Part of me was admittedly a bit leery about how the mythology would be adapted, because usually when it is the author or other person with creative control takes a lot of liberties with the material. Reading this so far feels like a direct attempt to try to more closely capture the lives of these godly figures in  prose. It’s especially interesting to me because the myths are literally full of nymphs and I hadn’t really considered what their daily life would look like. Miller gives a really interesting interpretation of that thus far.

Recently Finished

TheLordoftheRingsI finally finished all of The Lord of the Rings! You can read my review of The Return of the King, my third and final review covering the book, here. My status with this book is to blame for the absence of one of these posts last week. I had to travel that weekend, which really threw off my reading plans. I had actually finished the story itself, but I was intent on reading at least most of the appendices, which were full of extended lore. I refused to count to book as finished until I’d read all of it. As a result my post last week would have been pretty much identical to the week before. I’m relieved to finally have it done and moved on to other books, but I did sincerely enjoy the experience.

Reading Next

DoctorAphraAndTheEnormousProfitI’ve listed Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by  Kieron Gillen et al on my currently-reading list on Goodreads, but I haven’t actually started it yet, so I’m definitely picking that up next. I’m only about three volumes away from catching up with the current Star Wars comic books I’m following, which has me pretty excited. I’m just now realizing that this is the last book in the Doctor Aphra series written by the character’s creator. I do hope that Simon Spurrier’s take is faithful.

Book Review – The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Summary

The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the Ents. Gandalf returned, miraculously, and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo progressed towards Mordor to destroy the Ring, accompanied by Smeagol–Gollum, still obsessed by his ‘precious’. After a battle with the giant spider, Shelob, Sam left his master for dead; but Frodo is still alive–in the hands of the Orcs. And all the time the armies of the Dark Lord are massing.

TheLordoftheRings

Finally, I have finished reading all of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It took much longer than I anticipated, but I’m thrilled to finally have it completed. At first, I was going to finish at the conclusion of the story, but after realizing just how deep into the lore the appendices go I felt obligated to read most of that as well. Once again, while this story is typically divided into three separate books I read through a singular copy, but I split my review of the book into three respective reviews for each volume. So, this is my review of The Return of the King, being the third and final part of my review of The Lord of the Rings.Read More »

Short Story Review – Laurie by Stephen King

Laurie

“Laurie” is a new short story by Stephen King, published for free via direct download on the author’s website this past May 17th. You can access the story in PDF form here.

The story follows Lloyd Sunderland, an old man whose wife Marian has passed away after 40 years of marriage. With no children and lacking immediate companionship, his retired life has diminished to monotony and grieving depression. He doesn’t get out much, nor does he eat often or well. Six months after Marian’s passing his older sister Beth pays him a visit, bringing with her a dark gray puppy. Beth pretty much forces the puppy on Lloyd, saying it will be for his own good, and a reluctant relationship begins between master and pup.Read More »