New Books & Novel Discoveries (December 2021)

Well, would you look at that, here’s 2021 nearly all gone and done. I hope everybody has had an enjoyable and safe holidays. I really had to wrack my brain trying to remember what books I even got this month for some reason. I guess it’s just been a rather busy month and things haven’t managed to quiet down just yet.

Enough rambling, on to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 29, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

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 Complete CosmicomicsThough I took a small break from posting last week for the holidays, I’m sorry to say that I haven’t finished The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino since I last updated, though I’m a decent 272 pages in now. Finding reading time has been harder than I was expecting, but to be honest, I’m also having increased difficulty with reading this book. A number of the early stories were pretty easy to get into, if a little dry, but many of the last several have been far too abstract and/or stream-of-consciousness for their own good. I’ve sincerely struggled to follow along with a few of them now, and at this point I just want to reach the end to get it over with. Hopefully my feelings can turn around a little by the end, but so far it’s looking like this book will be a disappointment overall.


Recently Finished

Nothing! I’ve done a terrible job of staying on top of things, and now I’ve got a lot to do in a small amount of time.


Reading Next

Immortal Hulk The Weakest One There IsI’ve got a lot of reading left to do and only three days left to do it. At the very least, I want to finish Cosmicomics to complete my to-read list, but I will try to power through Hope is the Thing With Feathers as well. Other than those two, I want to read some comics too, which will be easier overall. Perhaps next week will have a substantial pile of finished books, we’ll see. This last week and a bit has punctuated the year with some unexpected stress for me, so it’s just been a bit more difficult to make time for reading. I hope everybody else has had a safe and happy holidays, at any rate.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland

A Gathering of Ghosts

A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland is a historical fiction novel with dark fantasy elements. Set in the wilds of Dartmoor in the year 1316, the story centres around the isolated Priory of St. Mary, home to the Sisters of the Knights of St. John. At this priory, led by Prioress Johanne, they see to the infirmed who are in need of care, as well as provide shelter for pilgrims and other travelers making their way across the hazardous countryside. Their main attraction is the healing well that sits in a cave beneath their chapel, once associated with a pagan goddess but now dedicated to Saint Mary, which brings them many visitors from near and far.

With the country at large gripped by the Great Famine and tin miners ravaging the moorland for its precious ore nearby, everybody is feeling the strain as desperate times become worse and worse, including heavy rains that seem unending. The arrival of three strangers to Dartmoor—a knight, a blind child, and a woman with a withered arm—only seems to make matters worse, as soon after their arrival the holy well is beset upon by uncanny plagues.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 15, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

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 Complete CosmicomicsOver the weekend I managed to start reading The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino, and I’m a good 120 pages in so far. This book is not quite what I was expecting, in both good and less good ways. All that I knew going in was that the book collects stories about a timeless consciousness in space who has weird adventures, and in an oversimplifying way this is true. However, one of the core ideas with these stories is that Calvino is crafting a narrative around scientific discoveries about physical properties of the universe. All of them have been fascinatingly imaginative abstract narratives in some way, but the emphasis on ideas over character and more involved storytelling also makes them more boring for me, at least so far. Some capture my interest more than others, but I hope I acquire more of a taste for this style overall as I get further along.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week!


Reading Next

DeserterA nice surprise this past week is that the latest collection of Junji Ito stories, Deserter, is coming out in English, and my preorder arrived well ahead of the December 21 publication date. Picking up these new books has been fairly obligatory for me for a while now, but what’s got me extra excited about this one is that it’s a collection of a bunch of his earliest works. A lot of his new stuff has been hit-or-miss for me, so I’m really looking forward to seeing some of his short work when he first emerged on the scene. Not quite the tone for Christmas, maybe, but it’s a season for ghost stories too, and there’s bound to be at least one in there.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Books on My Winter 2022 To-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by That Artsy Reader Girl. This is a list that is almost certainly too optimistic, as I think it is fairly unlikely that I will read 10 books during the Winter of the new year. Well, maybe a total of 10 including comics, but not these 10. What this is, instead, is a list of books I want to read soon. So it’s tentative, if you will, as well as a mild commitment to adding this books to my to-read lists for next year, which I’ve yet to draft.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 8, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

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

Nothing! I’m in between books at the moment.


Recently Finished

A Gathering of GhostsOver the weekend I managed to finish reading the bulk of A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland, though I didn’t officially finish it until Monday night because I insisted on reading the Historical Notes and Glossary at the back as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, with everything coming together in an excellent way by the end. The only shortcoming, which I’ve touched on before, is how slow the story is. The more thoughtful pace was definitely great for world-building and developing its characters, but it could also feel drawn out at times. So, the slower pace may turn off some people, but it’s otherwise a great historical read that incorporates mysticism of the time and place into the world. I’ll try to have a full review up soon, schedule permitting.


Reading Next

The Complete CosmicomicsSo here we are, with five more books to complete on my Goodreads challenge and one more on my main to-read list for 2021. I will be starting The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino as soon as possible, though hopefully it won’t take too long to read. It’s a short story collection, but hopefully that will help make the whole thing more digestible. I still intend to read The Immortal Hulk, Vol. 9: The Weakest One There Is by Al Ewing et al. soon, as well as finally finish Hope is the Thing with Feathers, which leaves two more books I need to read in order to meet my goal. They will surely be graphic novels, it’s just a matter of picking which ones.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – December 1, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

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

A Gathering of GhostsI only managed about another 60 pages of A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland, and I’m honestly feeling a little at a loss for words on what to say about it. A lot of the conflicts established early on were fairly low-key, though promising something more climactic later on. In this vein, however, the story has gotten a little repetitive from time to time as these issues are reiterated. It has done a great job of building tension though too, and I can’t help but wonder if certain aspects will erupt into a phantasmagoria in stark contrast to the bleakness of the world so far. Either way, some more recent events have been a grisly portents of things too come. I wonder just how much horror will come into play here.


Recently Finished

Mary Wept Over the Feet of JesusTechnically, I finished reading Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus by Chester Brown, a graphic novel that meditates on prostitution and disobedience in the Bible. I say technically because I’ve gotten past the Afterword and Acknowledgements, but there’s an extensive Notes section at the back that I want to read through too, so I’m not finished with it just yet. Though as a graphic novel it was an enjoyable read, it was also clearly written with more academic intent than wholly creative. The Afterword is really necessary to put the whole thing into proper context and understand where Brown is coming from, especially as I’m someone who knows very little about Christianity in practice. The main bulk of it was a rather quick read, and even as someone outside of the belief system, it was a rather fascinating interpretation of these stories.


Reading Next

Immortal Hulk The Weakest One There IsThe Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino is still in my not-too-distant future, but I’ve still got far too much unfinished business first. In the meantime, however, I will get to more graphic novels. The next will be The Immortal Hulk, Vol. 9: The Weakest One There Is by Al Ewing et al. I bought a digital version of this volume a few days ago thanks to a sale and I’m looking forward to continuing this series after the grisly note the last book left on.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.