New Books & Novel Discoveries (February 2019)

As expected, this was a much more subdued month than January. Gone are all my precious gift cards, so it’s back to getting books the old fashioned way: budgeting them in if I can after life’s expenses are seen to. I haven’t really felt compelled to go out and get more either, which is probably for the better. Half of the books I picked up this month I’ve already read, so I’m not just needlessly stockpiling.

Anyway, on to said books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 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

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I started reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. I’m not especially far into it, but I’m unabashedly adoring it so far. I’m having a bit of trouble with some of the names of the prehistoric creatures, but other than that Brusatte is pretty exceptional at making the material accessible to those outside the field. I grew up as a dinosaur kid, but my active interest dropped off in adulthood. I’ve learned quite a bit from this book already as a result, which I’ve already eagerly been passing on to others who will listen. I’m always a little concerned I’ll have trouble with science books, but so far this book is far from the case.


Recently Finished

if on a winter's night a travelerI finally finished If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino over the weekend as well, which I posted my full review for yesterday. The book is quite a brilliant exploration of readers and writers of literature, and all the forms such take for good or ill. It had a good sense of humour to go with its philosophical waxing too. It is worth noting that the frame narrative does not have much in the way of an intricate plot, however, and the transitions back and forth between it and the novels the protagonist is reading may have a polarizing effect for some people. I appreciated it a lot, but even I found it pretty exhausting sometimes.

Berserk 21I also read Berserk Vol. 20 & 21 by Kentaro Miura, which brought about the conclusion I’d been eagerly anticipating for this arc. I’m pretty pleased with the way things turned out, especially in how the main antagonist didn’t simply devolve into another monster for Guts to fight. His convictions were steadfast despite his metamorphosis and I appreciated that in a villain. His ultimate folly was not realizing how he could better help the people around him with the power granted to him, instead giving into his own fanaticism. I’m eager to see where the story goes next, but I’m not sure if I want to use this opportunity to take a breather a bit before I continue.


Reading Next

Lost StarsWhile I’ve still got plenty of book left with what I’m reading right now, I guess I can’t really help looking to the future as well. I’m thinking I will finally read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, a Star Wars novel I meant to read last year but never got around to. It’s praised quite highly among the new canon of books, so it’s high time I read it myself. It tells the story of two star-crossed lovers caught on opposing sides of the Galactic Civil War and I’m curious to see how the conflict is framed through their eyes.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

if on a winter's night a traveler

If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino is not just one novel, but several. Told in the second-person, the frame narrative tells the story of an unnamed Reader who buys a new book, If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino, only to find that there was a binding issue printing the book and after the first 32 pages the same chapter is repeated throughout, leaving him unable to continue reading after a moment of suspense in the story. Trying to find a complete version of this initial novel he is mistakenly given a completely different novel by another author, which he resigns to read anyway. This too stops short at a moment of suspense, leading him further down a madcap pursuit of novels that he simply wants to finish reading.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 20, 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

if on a winter's night a travelerI’m over halfway through If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and I’ve gotten a much clearer grasp of what this novel is going for. What I mistook for breaking the fourth wall in the opening chapter was actually a case of narrative told in the second-person (though I’m sure the leaning on the fourth wall was deliberate). Chapters alternate between the protagonist’s story and what he is reading, which is always a chapter from a new book and always ends at a moment of great suspense. It’s a fascinating structure that has me continually interested, but I’m not yet sure if what it’s building towards will be satisfying for me or not.


Recently Finished

Unfortunately, nothing this week!


Reading Next

Berserk 20I still have every intention of reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte next, but with Calvino’s novel still needing to be finished I have comic book plans for the nearer future. I was able to get a hold of the next couple volumes of Berserk that I need, so I will be reading Vol. 20 soon. Hopefully the arc I’m in the middle of will be wrapping up within these volumes so I can avoid being held in suspense any longer.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Writing Report #7

Goodness it has been a long time since I wrote one of these; disappointingly long now that I actually look at when #6 was posted. I think it is safe to say the experiment that has been these posts has failed. Setting deadlines for myself in this way has not led to the results I was hoping for.

At any rate, I still want to post one of these periodically, just to get things down and hopefully spark some of that drive despite the lackluster results in the past. I do have things to share too, so I’m not just posting this point out how much I missed my targets.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 13, 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

if on a winter's night a travelerLast night I started reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and honestly I’m not sure what to think of it yet. It’s not unenjoyable to read, but I was a little dizzied by how much the book disregards the fourth wall altogether. The first chapter spent the entire time talking about telling me to get ready and comfortable to read, before expounding upon the experience I might have had hearing that the new Calvino book was out, then my subsequent trip to the book store. The following chapter had a plot of a sort, but I’m not sure if I should take it as it was or if it will continue in any way going forward. I’m intrigued. I really don’t know what to expect from this novel.


Recently Finished

fire & bloodOver the weekend I finished reading Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin and posted a review yesterday. With all said and done, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected I would. Some periods of this history were more enjoyable than others, but each was of an equal caliber of quality and compelled me onward. I was worried this book would take me much longer to finish, but I got it done well within a month’s time, with several days to spare, which I’m counting as a win for fiction that reads more like a history book. I highly recommend it for fans, it provides a great deal of insight into the notable figures, high and low, that populate the world of Westeros during these periods of their history.


Reading Next

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursI’d really like a bit more of a change of pace from fiction next, so I think I will start The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, which I actually wanted to get to last year. I grew up fascinated by dinosaurs, which has fallen off in my adult life as far as checking out books about them goes. It’s high time I changed that. It’s among a number of science related nonfiction books I’ve been picking up and meaning to get to lately as well. I may read something else concurrently with it, but I haven’t made my mind up on that yet.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin

fire & blood

Set in the world of the Song of Ice and Fire series, Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin is volume one of a history of House Targaryen’s reign over Westeros, including over 75 black-and-white illustrations by Dough Wheatley. Set about 300 years before the first novel, A Game of Thrones, it begins with Aegon I the Conqueror and concludes after the end of the Regency of Aegon III. This book is uniquely set apart from the main novel series because it is written as a historical text from that literary universe, rather than the narrative form fans of the series are accustomed to. As such we see this history through the lens of Archmaester Gyldayn, about whom we know little as a person, yet he serves as a passive in-universe perspective who offers academic commentary and brief tangents when appropriate.Read More »

TV Series Review – A Series of Unfortunate Events Season Three

SeriesOfUnfortunateEventsOlafFire
Image source.

Season three of A Series of Unfortunate Events is latest and final season of the TV series adapting the book series of the same name by Lemony Snicket (real name Daniel Handler). Once again, we follow the orphans Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny Baudelaire (Presley Smith) as they try to evade villains after their inheritance and uncover the secrets of their late parents, who were part of a secret society known as V.F.D., or Volunteer Fire Department. Following the nearly literal cliff-hanger ending to season two, this season changes things up a little by focusing much more on the trio’s pursuit of the truth of who their parents were, V.F.D., and foiling Count Olaf’s (Neil Patrick Harris) schemes, rather than adjusting to a new guardian and home life that will inevitably fall apart. This season adapts books 10-13, for a total of seven episodes.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 6, 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 just over 500 pages into Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, so I should be wrapping up with it soon. That’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying myself with this book, however. As I’ve continually reported, this book is really good, it’s more unfortunate that everyone’s desire for the next proper sequel is overshadowing it to some extent. It’s funny how history passes you by so swiftly while reading this book, and it’s surprisingly poignant too. You can be reading about a certain king’s prosperous reign, with all the new laws and infrastructure they build along the way, and the trials they face as people, only to move on to others who have a much more tumultuous time, ravaging the kingdom in the process. All those figures you got invested in before just become history again, albeit fictional.


Recently Finished

berserk 19The only book I finished last week was Berserk Vol. 19 by Kentaro Miura, which I was lucky enough to have a coupon code to pick up inexpensively, since manga reads unfortunately quickly. Now I’ve got to wait until I can justify buying the next volume and it’s a real drag. I’ve been left at quite a prominent cliffhanger, with a confluence of forces coming together to make the inquisition and refugee crisis in the story really boil over. A certain character has had her mental faculties diminished for some time in the story, and while I have enjoyed the straightforward factors at play creating more complicated conflict thanks to human nature, I’m ready for her to be a character again. This is unfortunate, because by all accounts that apparently doesn’t even start to happen for a while.


Reading Next

if on a winter's night a travelerI still intend to start If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino when I’m ready to move on, it’s still just a matter of getting Fire & Blood finished up. I’m afraid I’m in a bit of an indecisive period again with what comic books I want to read next, however. I’m torn between whether I should continue things I’m in the middle of or start a new series and even then cannot choose which from either category. I’m sure I’ll have something finished by next week all the same, just can’t say what right now.

Until then, thank you for reading!