WWW Wednesday – January 30, 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

fire & bloodDang it Martin has done it again. I’m still in the middle of Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, but I’ve turned around a lot on my feelings toward it. Sure, I want Winds of Winter a lot more than this book, but even as a fictional history book he continues to be an excellent storyteller. The laundry list of names does get to be a bit much at times, but the most important characters really stick out. It may not be as intimate as a standard novel, but you really do get to know a lot about these important figures in the history of Westeros. The reign of Jaehaerys Targaryen has been especially interesting with all he has accomplished, as well as the tragedies that have befallen his family along the way. One incident was a horror show that glued my eyes to the book.


Recently Finished

Age of Reptiles Omnibus 1I finished Age of Reptiles by Ricardo Delgado et al over the weekend, which I posted a review of yesterday. I loved this book and I wish physical editions weren’t so hard to find. The art and visual storytelling are simply wonderful and I wish I had a physical copy to keep and appreciate. Before this weekend I’d only read one third of the stories contained within this omnibus, and the latter offered some nice variance in storytelling without abandoning the idea that this is more nature than narrative. I’m surprised at how invested I got in the drama that unfolded. There’s another, newer book out, though not an omnibus, that is for some reason seemingly just as hard to find. I’ll likely pick that up digitally as soon as I can.

berserk 18I also read through Berserk Vol. 18 by Kentaro Miura. The main character Guts was not as heavily featured in this volume, but we got a much greater look at the refugee crisis convening at the Tower of Conviction, the brutal methods of the Church, and the very real heretical presence hiding in their midst. This series has a parental advisory on it generally, but this volume really pushed the limits with horrific two-page spreads of human torture, as well as heretical revelry including a grotesquely massive orgy and cannibalism. The whole situation feels like a powder keg about to go off and I really cannot wait to pick up the next volume to see what happens next.


Reading Next

berserk 19Nearly all my reading time is going to be dedicated to Fire & Blood for the near future so that I can hopefully have it done for early February. I don’t want to be spending too much time on this book, but I’m still not half way yet, so we’ll see. However, I will continue to read comic books and I have the next volume of Berserk on the way, so I’ll certainly have that read soon after I get my hands on it.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Comic Book Review – Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado

Age of Reptiles Omnibus 1

Age of Reptiles by Ricardo Delgado is a series of comic books set in the Mesozoic era telling tales of dinosaurs and the violent lives they lead. This omnibus collects the first three story arcs of this series, which were original published separately: Tribal Warfare (1993), The Hunt (1997), and The Journey (2009). The first tells of a feud between a pack of Deinonychus and Tyrannosaurus after the latter steals a well-earned meal from the former. The second is about an Allosaurus who survives an attack from a pack of Ceratosaurus that kill his mother who grows up and seeks revenge against his assailants. The final story tells of a mass migration of various dinosaurs to warmer and more lively lands and the obstacles they face along the way, focusing on both the herd and a mother Tyrannosaur with her young who follow.Read More »

Book Review – Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker

star wars aliens

Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens is a collection of short stories by Landry Q. Walker set in the Star Wars universe, targeted at a younger reading audience aged 8 to 12. Contained within are six stories about some of the aliens that make up the background characters of the film The Force Awakens, some more conspicuously than others. The book is labeled “volume one,” but whether or not another book is in the works is unknown to me. I don’t typically read books written more directly for children, but as a fan of the franchise I was drawn to it for the promises of stories more lighthearted as well as outside of the norm by focusing more on aliens than humans.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – January 23, 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

fire & bloodI’m a little over 100 pages into Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin now and it is starting to grow on me a bit. I still would have preferred it be a novel, but a fictional history is not terrible since the world of Westeros is quite compelling even in this context. The only drag I’m having with it is it takes a lot longer to make a dent in reading it. When I would have gotten through a lot more pages with another book I find I get through only a miniscule amount reading this. It is broken up into manageable chaptrs that do make it more digestible though, which I’m hoping will help me make more progress as I dedicate time more closely to it.

I’m still reading the Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado et al as well, but I regrettably haven’t touched it since my post last week. I’ll get back to it soon.


Recently Finished

star wars aliensOver the weekend I finished reading Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker, which I should have a review up for by the end of the week. This was a fun little Star Wars collection that I’m glad I set aside time for. The stories were a lot more straightforward due to the younger target audience, but this didn’t stop Walker from getting a little weird with each story and I enjoyed that. I especially liked the finale story, which was essentially a Mad Max-style race through a sandstorm between a bunch of different pirate factions trying to find the lost treasure of Count Dooku. This tale ended up tying itself more closely with greater franchise lore too, which I really enjoyed.


Reading Next

if on a winter's night a travelerShucks, I don’t now what I’ll be reading next. Fire & Blood is going to consume a lot of my reading time if I’m going to get it done sooner rather than later. With how heavy the snow has been here, however, I have been thinking more and more about finally reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino. I don’t know much about it other than that it plays with framing narrative and story structure in interesting, if disorienting, ways. Apparently it’s actually ten novels in one, though it’s not long in terms of page count, so I’m curious to see how that unfolds.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 16, 2019

www_wednesdays

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

Age of Reptiles Omnibus 1I’ve taken it upon myself to read more books concurrently than is normal for me at the moment. The first, and lightest, of these is the Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado et al. It is an omnibus collection of stories about dinosaurs told completely visually. No word bubbles, narrative boxes, or even text sound effects grace the pages whatsoever. It is all completely visual storytelling and so far I think it’s done very well. The style is very evocative, perhaps giving these colossal creatures more expression than they were capable of, but it’s artistic license I can more than accept. The only place I’ve stumbled with it so far is that some packs of dinosaurs, with members who are at times distinct, can also be hard to tell apart.

star wars aliensI also started Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker. It is a collection of short stories written for younger audiences about some of the aliens that appear as background characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I wanted to start this as a supplemental read to my primary book, and so far I am finding it a fair breeze to get through. While the writing definitely reads easier, I’m surprised at some of the content considering the intended audience. The second story involved a sous chef being found butchered and strung up in a meat locker. I enjoyed it fine, but that’s a bit dark for a “kids” book isn’t it?

fire & bloodLastly, I decided to start Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, the latest book published related to the Song of Ice and Fire series. I forgot to put this on my scrappy list for the year, but since I’ve made better progress than I thought I would I decided to take the plunge with it now. I knew it was an account of the past in this narrative world, but I did not know that it was written like an in-universe historical text. This had made the prose a lot more dry than I was expecting. Martin’s writing is still strong, but I was hoping for more of a narrative. I really hope another big red book doesn’t slow down my reading progress this year. 2019’s only just started!


Recently Finished

lost at seaOver the weekend I finished two books, the first being Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Despite being a fan of the author/artist’s work for a long time, I’ve never gotten around to this one, his first ever graphic novel. The blurb says the main character Raleigh believes she has no soul—that it was stolen by a cat—it’s a much more grounded story than this suggests, intimately exploring the character’s state of mind as she takes part in a road trip from California to British Columbia. She’s at a turning point in her life, confused and with no sense of direction. I loved the way that O’Malley captured this in his quirky style without diminishing the weight of her emotional situation.

The Saturday Night Ghost ClubI also finished The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson, which I posted a review of yesterday. I enjoyed this novel a lot, though it was much more of a coming-of-age story than I expected going in. The mystery around Uncle Calvin became too predictable for me, but it was still effective in the end. I simply loved the characters in this novel; Davidson crafted them into such living, breathing people that the familiar formulas at play hardly mattered. I especially found that I could relate to the main character, finding a lot in common with myself when I was that age. I think this has become my favourite of his novels that I’ve read.


Reading Next

With as many books as I’ve got on my plate at the moment I really don’t know what’s next, except I definitely want to veer back onto my scrappy list so I can continue getting it done. I started strong getting two books crossed off, but now I’ve picked up two deviations from the plan, so more fool me.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

The Saturday Night Ghost Club

The Saturday Night Ghost Club is the latest fiction novel by Canadian author Craig Davidson. Neurosurgeon Jake Baker knows that the brain is a much more complex organ than we realize. He even paints himself as nothing more than a glorified mechanic; he can help treat a physical malady like a tumour, but the deeper workings of the mind and memory are a mystery even to him. In this novel Jake recounts when he was twelve years old living in his home town of Niagara Falls—or Cataract City, as the locals called it—and the summer of the Saturday Night Ghost Club. It was organised by his eccentric uncle Calvin to explore the supposedly haunted places of the city. During this life-changing summer Jake discovers that this club is unearthing something more horrible buried in his uncle’s past, something that has been kept from him all his life.Read More »

Book Review – I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

I, Robot

I, Robot is a “fixup” novel of short stories by Isaac Asimov, telling stories about positronic robots, their interactions with humans, and the way the author’s famous “Three Laws of Robotics” influences robot psychology and behaviour. A “fixup” novel is a novel collecting stories that were previously published separately, not initially intended to be a part of a collection. A positronic brain is the technological device conceived by Asimov that gives a robot consciousness similar to that of a human being. The framing device around these stories is an interview between a reporter and Dr. Susan Calvin, who has led a long and storied career as the chief robopsychologist for U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. Though not all of these stories are directly about her, she recounts each to the reporter (our narrator) as particular points of interest in the history of robot development.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – January 9, 2019

www_wednesdays

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

The Saturday Night Ghost ClubLast night I started reading The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson, a favourite Canadian author of mine. It wasn’t long ago that I first heard about this new book of his and after having picked it up on Boxing Day I decided to get started on it now. I’m only about 30 pages in, but I feel I’ve gotten a good introduction of the characters and setting thus far, though I’m sure more groundwork will still be laid. So far it’s playing a lot with the role of memory in our lives, as well as the narrator’s childhood belief in monsters and urban legends, the latter of which I relate to to a certain extent. I’m excited to see where things go, but wary of what the early examples of extreme bullying forebodes for the characters. I don’t dislike it, it’s just having its intended effect on me.


Recently Finished

I, RobotOver the weekend I started and finished I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, a collection of science fiction short stories centred around the author’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. Sometimes older science fiction is a little dated but this was a breezier read than expected. Asimov’s view of robots, AI, and their integration into human society is far more optimistic than most, so these stories centre more around social issues related to robots and/or the performative hiccups with the Three Laws. It was fun to read more optimistic science fiction that still maintained some darker undertones. The interplay between humans and robots is a lot more subtle, the conflicts more philosophical or psychological. I should have a review up by Friday.


Reading Next

berserk 18Having just started The Saturday Night Ghost Club I really have no idea what I’m going to read next. I suppose it ought to be a graphic novel, but I cannot decide what that will be just yet. I am waiting for the next volume of Berserk that I ordered to arrive in store, but I don’t want to just wait for that. I’m in a bit of limbo as far as series go. Some have languished so long I have no urgency to continue them right now, and others I really ought to start. I guess we’ll see what I decide when next Wednesday rolls around.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

My Scrappy To-Read List for 2019

As I’ve mentioned a few times in past posts, including my Year in Review for 2018, at the start of each year I hand-write a list of books I want to read simply for the satisfaction of crossing them out when I finish them. Well, I’ve filled out my list for 2019 and thought I’d give everybody a gander at it. It’s a little more ambitious in terms of number this year, since a fair few of them are repeats I did not get to last year.

sam_0434
Observe how I progressively begin to squeeze titles in. So well planned. A great use of space.

For those of you who have seen the 2018 list you’ll know I have a bit of a devil of a time finishing these. I wrote down 28 last year and only completed 13. I have a bit of a wandering eye when it comes to books, apparently. I suppose I do that because sometimes I want to read a book soon after I buy it. Also, something about knowing what’s next takes the fun out of it a bit.

Nevertheless, I’d like a bigger goal for myself this year to be finally finishing one of these lists. That’s 33 books for this year, just counting this list. Considering I will no doubt pick up something not listed here I think that’ll be a considerable challenge. Here’s to hoping I can get it done.

Conspicuously missing from among the unread of 2018 (to me) are The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, It by Stephen King, and The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. I really don’t want to commit to any of those behemoths after my experience with The Lord of the Rings last year, so maybe this is more doable that it appears if you consider page count.

As it happens, I’ve already finish a book on this list! I held off on striking it out to put this up. I’m choosing to keep what book it is a secret until my WWW Wednesday post tomorrow, though it’s probably not that hard to guess. I should have a review up for it by the end of the week.

Thank you for reading!