Comic Book Review – Venus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito

Venus in the Blind Spot is the latest collection of horror stories by manga artist and writer Junji Ito to be published in English by VIZ media. Marketed as a “best of” collection of stories by the author, there is a common thread throughout each of them related to compulsions and/or utter fixation. Included is the fan-favourite story “The Enigma of Amigara Fault,” previously included in the deluxe hardcover of Gyo, with some bonus colour panels/pages featured in that story and others, unique to this collection. While the majority are Ito original stories, this collection is noteworthy for including a few stories by other authors, which Ito has adapted. Additionally included are a colour poster and gallery of art featuring the subjects of some of his other famous works not included in the collection, which can be removed and displayed if the reader so chooses.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 19, 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 Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetRegretfully, I haven’t read much more of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers since last week. Not a big week for reading overall, really. A lot of energy was being put into my review of Into the Unbounded Night, which took longer than I thought. Nevertheless, what I did read of Chambers’s book continued to be enjoyable; I got a firsthand account of what creating a tunnel in space is like, which sounds like a trippy and horrifying non-Euclidean experience. I also got to meet the last crew member finally, who seemed surprisingly mellow considering the unique way their brain works. As a final aside, the way the food is described in this book continually makes me hungry for the strange space delicacies described. It’s not fair.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, I’m afraid. See above. Also, new WP editor is the devil.


Reading Next

Venus in the Blind Spot

I’ve procrastinated reading any Star Wars comic books this past week, and they’re likely going to have to wait a little longer, because Venus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito has come out this week. It’s finally another English collection of his short stories, and I expect to be picking up my copy later today. I’m not sure which stories are included in this collection, except for “The Enigma of Amigara Fault”, which was included in Gyo. I’m really excited to get this book read and reviewed soon. Maybe I’ll squeeze in some Star Wars after all too, to make up for a lackluster week.

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

Book Review – Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Into the Unbounded Night is an upcoming historical fiction novel by Mitchell James Kaplan. Set in the first century Roman Empire, the story follows a myriad of characters from different walks of life and cultures. The most prominent perspective character is Aislin, a young woman native to Albion (Britain) during the Roman conquest of her land, who becomes a refugee as a result. Second to her point of view is Yohanan son of Zakkai, a studious and thoughtful young Judaean man living in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who philosophically struggles with keeping to the traditions of his faith and respecting the institution of the Temple, which seems more concerned with pleasing their Roman overlords. Other characters include a disgraced Roman soldier turned artist, the Roman general Vespasian, and the condemned angel Azazel.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 12, 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 Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetYesterday I started reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers; as of writing I’m about 60 pages in. It’s been a pretty good introduction to the motely crew of the Wayfarer. I’m enjoying it so far, though it has felt like a bit of a lengthy introduction. There’s a decent handful of crew members on the ship the protagonist, Rosemary, is starting her new job on, and Chambers lovingly introduces all of them. One of them is from a reptilian species, which is an immediate plus for me. I love the detail she has put into making a multi-species crew feel diverse in terms of biological needs and capabilities. I understand the need to world-build, and she’s doing a good job, but all the same I’m ready for some forward movement in the plot now.


Recently Finished

Into the Unbounded NightMonday I finished reading Into the Unbounded Night by Michell James Kaplan, officially finishing my first ARC. I was hoping to have a review up before now, but I took a little longer to finish it than I was expecting, and I wanted some time to ruminate on it too, so I should have one up by the end of the week instead. Nevertheless happy to report that I did enjoy the novel quite a bit. I’ve not had many forays into historical fiction, and this was quite the journey. It made a period of history that felt so distant and abstract to me before now (with the exception of the Roman aspects) feel so much more alive and relatable. There are a few things I have some mixed feelings on, but I will hash them out in greater detail in my review.


Reading Next

Doctor Aphra Unspeakable Rebel SuperweaponWith The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet only just getting started, I’m really not sure what book I’ll pick up next. I still need to shift into a higher gear if I intend to actually finish my personal to-read list to for the year, so I better make up my mind quick. Goodness, I’m probably starting to sound like a broken record. In the meantime, I’m sure there’s a Star Wars comic or two I will read over the next week. Probably the next Doctor Aphra book; I really need to see what that lovable rogue is up to, especially since I’m just now remembering I prematurely read an epilogue to that series in Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels. That needs fixing.

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

WWW Wednesday – August 5, 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

Into the Unbounded NightI started Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan over the weekend, getting 31% into the book. I’m enjoying it so far, and I’m surprised at how widespread and numerous the perspectives are considering it’s less than 300 pages long. They’re fairly diverse too, particularly in terms of religious beliefs, so far following a young woman living in and native to Albion (Britain) during the Roman invasion, a Roman general leading part of the invasion, a Roman soldier disgraced from his Legion, and a Jewish boy in Jerusalem learning to become a priest. I wonder if these stories will only intersect thematically, Roman occupation being a common thread between them so far, or if the characters will all come within proximity of each other by the end.


Recently Finished

Immortal Hulk We Believe in Bruce BannerLast week I just couldn’t resist finishing up the volumes available to me, so before starting to read any new novels I read through The Immortal Hulk: We Believe in Bruce Banner by Al Ewing et al. This volume starts to take a step back from the more cosmic horror and moves toward what Banner and the “Devil” Hulk personality want to do to help change the world. Namely, they declare war on an evil, massive corporation. This corporation, Roxxon, is headed by a literal Minotaur named Dario Agger, who is making for a great scheming, capitalistic villain despite his own hulking appearance. I preferred the horror angle, but I’m still enjoying the stark, often grim, political shift the story has taken. It hits a lot closer to reality, as Hulk is trying to fight against systems that are wreaking havoc on the environment around the globe.


Reading Next

The Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetI still intend to start The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers soon, I’ve just decided to keep my focus on Into the Unbounded Night instead of reading them in tandem. That way, I should have Kaplan’s book finished well before next week, if I can keep myself on track.

In terms of graphic novels, I’ll likely dip back into the mountain of Star Wars volumes I’ve still got waiting for me. I might continue on with Doctor Aphra before starting any of the “Age of…” books.

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

WWW Wednesday – July 29, 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

Nothing! I’m currently between books.


Recently Finished

Different SeasonsVery early on Monday I finished reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. I posted a full review yesterday. While it still took me most of July to read through, I’m happy I was able to get through a nearly 700-page book in about three weeks. That’s pretty fast for me. The last two stories I enjoyed quite a bit. “The Body” was a wonderfully poignant and nostalgic coming-of-age story that seemed more like autobiographical fiction on King’s part that I’d been expecting. The final story, “The Breathing Method”, held the most surprises for me as, unlike the other stories, I had no idea what it was about. One notably fun thing about it was it marked the only other return of a mysterious club in New York where members share stories with each other. This served as a narrative frame in a story in Skeleton Crew, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it again here.

Immortal Hulk Breaker of WorldsLast night I also read through The Immortal Hulk: Breaker of Worlds by Al Ewing et al, the fifth volume in the series. I continue to love this series and its horrifying interpretation of the Hulk. Over the last few volumes the Hulk has been contending with a shadowy military organization hellbent on putting him down for good, and this volume has it all coming to a head in a way that brings about an end to this phase of the story. Toward the end of the volume Ewing doubles down on some of the literally cosmic horror stuff in a way that’s got me intrigued, though it was initially a little jarring. I’m excited to see where this series goes next, but am also starting to get a sense that the story’s direction may be getting predictable.


Reading Next

The Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetI still have every intention of starting Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan soon, I just wanted a bit of a buffer between books to read The Immortal Hulk. I’ve also decided to start reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which I’ve been wanting to check out for a while now. Hopefully reading books in tandem works out for me. I’ve come to understand it takes a lot of inspiration from Star Wars, which is always a plus for me. I also just love the tone that the title suggests. Why are the people on this planet so mad? I’ll have to wait and see.

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

Book Review – Different Seasons by Stephen King

Different Seasons

Different Seasons is a 1982 collection of four novellas by Stephen King. At the time, this book marked a bit of a departure from horror for King, the stories within telling more dramatic tales. Each novella is headed by a sectional title that assigns a season of the year to it: Hope Springs Eternal for “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”, Summer of Corruption for “Apt Pupil”, Fall from Innocence for “The Body”, and A Winter’s Tale for “The Breathing Method”. In the first story, a wrongfully imprisoned convict manages to rise above his destitute fate, in the second a gifted teen becomes obsessed with the dark past of an elderly local, in the third four rambunctious boys go on a quest to find a dead body, and in the final a single mother-to-be goes beyond the natural in order to save the life of her baby.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 22, 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 SeasonsGosh, I’ve gotten bad at getting these up early, huh? I’m still in the middle of reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. I haven’t made a huge amount of progress over the last little bit, but I did finish reading “Apt Pupil”, the longest novella in the book, so I’ve gotten over a significant hump of the book at least. It ended in a fairly predictable fashion, but goodness was it bleak. I did enjoy it as a thriller, but I suspect it won’t be standing out as my favourite story in this book. There wasn’t a lot of good to balance out the awfulness of the characters and what they get up to. The next story is “The Body”, which the film Stand By Me is based on, so I’m expecting a nice coming-of-age story. It’s so strange that three out of four of these novellas each went on to become a well known movie.


Recently Finished

Nothing for this week, I’m afraid. I actually haven’t read all the much over the last five days or so. I’d taken some time off (I work weekends), and apparently extra downtime doesn’t necessarily mean more reading.


Reading Next

Into the Unbounded NightI’ve still got a couple of volumes of The Immortal Hulk that need reading, never mind the numerous other graphic novels I could crack open. With some ARCs that I’ve received releasing soon, I should probably start one of them rather soon. So, I will probably be reading Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan next. I want to be able to get it reviewed for August. I’ll have to start reading books in tandem, which I don’t usually do, if I want to stay on top of my to-read list for the year as well. I’m cautiously hopeful it will all work out.

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