WWW Wednesday – July 8, 2020

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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

Different SeasonsI started reading Different Seasons by Stephen King over the weekend, though I’ve been busy the last couple days and haven’t made any further headway. It starts with the novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” which has been really interesting as a big fan of the film. The film is actually quite faithful to the story, it just tells it a little more chronologically and streamlines some of the story points. Red is our sole narrator, and while he’s Irish in the book, there is no escaping hearing it all in Morgan Freeman’s voice. I think it’s all the better for that. I’ll be finished this story in the book sooner rather than later, so I guess I just have to wonder if it has any surprises in store for me that were left out of the film. Either way, it’s great to read some classic King again.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionOver the weekend I also finished reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, the fourth Hellboy novel. With all of it said and done, I want to say I have mixed feelings, but it’s actually weirdly straightforward. I think I’m going to remember this novel better than the other Hellboy books I’ve read so far because of how simple the story is. I don’t necessarily mean this as a strike against it, though I certainly do feel certain things could have been done much better. The premise was just simple enough, with memorable action and some evocative characters, that it will leave a better impression on me than some of the more complicated plots of other Hellboy books. I’ve been more preoccupied this week, but I should have a review up soon.


Reading Next

Through the WoodsI’ll be occupied with Different Seasons for a little while, I’m sure, so no novel has been chosen next, but I do really want to start reading Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, a comic book collection of short horror stories. I recently heard about this collection in a video discussing horror graphic novels, showing it as an example of some of the better stuff that has come out of Western comics lately, which made me eager to give it a look. Flipping through the pages, the art looks lovely, and I can’t wait to read through it.

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

Reading Challenge Update

Would you look at that, 2020 is already half over.  It doesn’t feel like it was all that long ago that I wrote my last challenge update, yet here we are. I’m more serious about finishing my reading challenges this year, so I still want to use quarterly updates to keep track of where I’m at. I had a lot of catching up to do in the last post, so let’s get some data together and see how I’m doing.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 1, 2020

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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

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionI haven’t finished reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon like I planned to last week, but I am less than 100 pages away from finishing it, so I got pretty close. I’ve got weirdly mixed feelings about this rather action-heavy novel. On the one hand, it is exactly what I wanted as a palette cleanser: pulpy fun. My mind does glaze over occasionally while reading extended action scenes, but Hellboy fighting a bunch of dragons wreaking an airport does make for good fun. I’m oddly most interested in the characters introduced in this novel though, i.e. none of the series main-stays. I think the writing is best when told from their perspective. A lot of the characters come of as low-key hot for each other too, which I’ve found strange. I’ll probably have it finished and a review up in the next week.


Recently Finished

Immortal Hulk AbominationOver the weekend I read The Immortal Hulk: Abomination by Al Ewing et al, the fourth volume in the series, and it has reminded me just how much I love these books. It’s a series about the Hulk told within the main Marvel Comics continuity, but tells it as a horror story. This story introduces a new interpretation of the Abomination, as well as a strange new form for the Red She-Hulk, both of which I really liked. The Abomination was absolutely haunting, which is amazing considering how mainstream and often cartoon-y these big hulking brutes are as superhero characters. Beyond the body horror of it all, I love how the psychology of Banner and the different personalities that reside within him are fleshed out and given depth.


Reading Next

Different SeasonsIt has been a week, yet before I started writing this I realized that I still hadn’t made a decision on what book I want to read next. Well, I have made a snap decision. I will finally start reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. If I remember correctly, this collection of novellas was one of the first of his books that I bought when I really started getting into his work outside of The Dark Tower, yet I let it languish while I read through others instead. It’s time to fix that. This will be a long one, but I’m hoping his writing style will help me breeze through it. My understanding is these stories have less of a horror bend to them as well, one having been adapted into the film Stand By Me and another The Shawshank Redemption.

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

New Books & Novel Discoveries (June 2020)

June was certainly an anomalous month for book purchases, thanks to some strange discoveries I made about certain books being available at a certain chain of stores. Many of these were purchased in retail locations, respecting social distancing guidelines and all that. I am fortunate enough to live in a small city with very few cases, and in turn less restrictive regulations, otherwise I would not have shopped the way that I did. I just don’t want to encourage irresponsibility.

Let’s check out these books!Read More »

On the Origins of Rey

Perhaps I wasn’t in tune with the other releases, but it seems clear to me that the novelization of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker was a more significant expanded edition than those that came before. I love reading the new Star Wars books, but I don’t normally go for novelizations of the films. I made an exception in this case.

Though very flawed, I rather like The Rise of Skywalker for what it is, but what stuck out very sorely was just how often new ideas introduced in the film were not fully explained or clarified for the viewer. I needed to know the fine details and the novelization held the answers. Now that I’ve actually read through this expanded novelization, there is something it revealed that has grown in my estimation the more I’ve thought about it, and I want to share.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – June 24, 2020

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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

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionOver the weekend I started reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, though I only got about 50 pages in. I’m enjoying how much it just dives right into its premise, that around the world different mythological creatures are appearing and wreaking havoc: a dragon perching on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, a werewolf stalking the streets of Baltimore, a giant alligator lurks in the canals of Venice, and more. Each is being tackled by a different Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) agent, giving us a number of perspective characters so far. These stories are intercut with with two magicians traveling the world in the 1970s, uncovering the remains of old creatures and sending them to their father, who seems to be behind the attacks in the present. I’m curious to see where the story goes and how this all ties together, especially with the monster-fighting kicking off the novel.


Recently Finished

The Rise of SkywalkerLast week I pushed myself to finally finish off reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. While I prefer how this book fleshes out the details and gives greater context for the ideas introduced in this story, there is something to be said for the visual spectacle being lost when translated to the page. My ideal version of all this would definitely be an extended cut of the film, but having been fairly satisfied with what the film was on its own, though disappointed in spots, I feel even better having read this now. Given the more unique reasons for picking up this novelization, which I don’t normally do, I don’t especially feel like reviewing this book, so I likely won’t be putting one up. I’m planning to write up a little analysis of some of the more fleshed out lore and character details, though, for the contingent of my readers who are interested in such things about Star Wars.


Reading Next

I’m at the point again where I really don’t know what I want to read next, though I’ll have to make up my mind soon, as ideally I want to be finished with Unnatural Selection by next week. I think I might take a break from reading Star Wars comics, though, to get caught up on The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing at el. I just purchased volume six on sale, which means I’ve got three of those books to read now.

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

 

 

WWW Wednesday – June 17, 2020

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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 Rise of SkywalkerI’ve made considerable headway in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. When I started it I intended to set aside time I’d normally use for other hobbies to read this, but my efforts on this front have been mediocre. So, with the other books I was in the middle of finished up, I decided to give this book more direct attention and now I’m over 75% of the way through. For all the film’s flaws, I still quite like it, so I’m happy to see this novel present a better version of that story. I’ve reached many of the bigger moments from the film now, and the benefit of prose and some expansions have appreciably given the story more depth. Some of my inferences prior to reading have been vindicated as well, which is always a plus.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Rogues and RebelsOver the weekend I finished up Marvel’s mainline Star Wars series that started in 2015, set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The 13th and final volume was Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels by Greg Pak et al, which nicely tied up the story lines of the previous volume. The stuff with the rock people got really weird (in the best of ways), and I particularly liked that the book didn’t try to stitch itself seamlessly into the beginning of the film that follows it. I guess I just like that it gave things a little room to breathe. The only thing that bristled me a little was one of the epilogue chapters, which tied into the end of the Doctor Aphra series, which I’ve yet to finish. I wish I’d known that was in there before I started, but oh well. It didn’t spoil too much.

White TearsI also finished reading White Tears by Hari Kunzru, which became quite intense as it got further into the back half of the novel. It made for a superbly unique ghost story, the main character Seth being pushed to the brink by the mashup of real-world and otherworldly forces that assail him. His search to uncover the origins of the anomalous “Graveyard Blues” he recorded, and in turn make-good with the ethereal musician Charlie Shaw, takes a decidedly dark turn as he gets closer and closer to the heart of the matter. It made for some effectively harrowing reading, and I especially liked the how disorienting the narrative became as his placement in reality became more distorted and unreliable. I posted a full review yesterday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionComing away from White Tears, which uses horror to cover rather heavy, real-world subject matter, I’ve decided I want the next book I start to weigh easier on the mind. To avoid starting another Star Wars or Discworld novel so soon, I’ve decided I’ll start Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, which is the next standalone Hellboy novel that I need to read. It should make for some good, pulpy fun as he faces off against mythical creatures turning up in major cities around the world. This will be the second multi-media tie-in novel of Lebbon’s I will have read too, after reading Alien: Out of the Shadows back in 2018. It wasn’t badly written, but I had mixed feelings, so I’m intrigued to see what he does with a less restrictive property.

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

Book Review – White Tears by Hari Kunzru

White Tears

White Tears is a 2017 literary horror novel by Hari Kunzru. Seth and Carter are two young white menwho share a passion for music; particularly black music. Thanks to Carter’s trust fund and wealthy family, and Seth’s technical skills and talent, the two run a successful recording studio in Brooklyn. Their lives take a turn, however, when Seth records an unknown singer in the park. Carter mixes the lyrics in their studio, making it sound like an authentic recording of a blues musician from the 1920s, and releases it online as a song by a lost artist of his invention named Charlie Shaw. It seems harmless enough to them, until somebody online reaches out saying that their fictional song and musician are somehow very real. What begins as the two humouring a seemingly confused old man sends their lives spiraling down into the darkness of the nation’s heart.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – June 10, 2020

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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

Still just chipping away at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. Only read a chapter or so, but I’m continuing to get the finer details that I’ve been wanting, which continues to be nice.

White TearsI haven’t made the progress in White Tears by Hari Kunzru that I wanted to, but I’m still enjoying the book; quite a lot, in fact, as the seemingly otherworldly elements have become more apparent in the lives of the main characters. Music isn’t something I especially connect with myself, but I am loving the ghost story elements manifesting through the music and music collecting, though it seems there is still much to be revealed. There’s still room for it to be in characters’ heads, but I hope that isn’t the case. My father is a huge blues fan and he often emphasizes the otherworldly elements at the periphery of the genre, so I’m appreciating how these elements go together.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, I’m afraid. I’m hoping I’ll occupy this space with a couple by next week, though.


Reading Next

Star Wars Rogues and RebelsI’m still not sure what book I’m going to start reading next, but I do know for sure what graphic novel I want to start. I enjoyed Star Wars: Rebels and Rogues by Greg Pak et al so much that I decided to pick up the continuation, Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels (a little confusing, I know), which is also the 13th and final volume in that series. If you don’t know, this series is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, so recently they’ve brought it around to a conclusion, leading in to that next film. With the opportunity to finish the series one volume away I feel a personal obligation to do so as soon as I can. After that, I’ll continue reading the deluge of other Star Wars comics I bought last month.

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

WWW Wednesday – June 3, 2020

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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

I’m only a chapter or two further along with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. I’ve definitely got to pick up the pace. Story is getting moving a bit, but still in its early phase. Also, a small detail spoken by Lando has expanded on something I had assumed from the film, which is nice.

White TearsI’m only about 60 pages into White Tears by Hari Kunzru, which is a little disappointing. It’s been a scatter-brained few days, so I didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted to. I am enjoying the book so far, though. The writing style is fairly unique, using dialogue sparsely and presenting the story in a more detached way, thanks to the perspective character. Anomalous media is a really fun concept to me, so I love the ghostly recordings that Seth, the main character, doesn’t remember recording while walking through New York City with his hidden mic. It feels as if the story is only just building itself up, though, so I don’t have a clear sense of where this is going or what it’s more specifically about yet.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Rebels and RoguesDespite my lack of progress with my other books on the go, I did manage push myself to read through a comic book volume; last night I read through Star Wars: Rebels and Rogues by Greg Pak et al. This is Pak’s first volume with this series, but it was easily one of the best. The core cast is split up three ways to do their own mission for the Rebellion, yet I was invested in each of them pretty equally. The only standout was Chewbacca and C-3PO getting to do their own mission together, wherein they have to place explosives on an unstable planetoid, lure in some Star Destroyers, then blow the planet and take out the ships. Problem is, the seemingly uninhabited planet is actually populated by rock people, adding a perfect moral quandary to their mission.


Reading Next

This is still anybody’s guess, except for the fact that I’ll likely read more Star Wars comics. Don’t know if I’ll continue reading Doctor Aphra volumes, or if I’ll start the Age of Republic book, though. Either way, I’m too early on in White Tears to have another novel lined up in my mind.

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