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!

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!

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

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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

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!

WWW Wednesday – January 9, 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 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!

WWW Wednesday – January 2, 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

I’m taking my end of year/new year break, so I haven’t started anything yet! Just want a brief reprieve before I dive back in.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1953I missed last week’s post because of the holidays—lots of travel and visiting people—so I’ve got a few titles to bring up here. The first is Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 by Mike Mignola et al. It continues the adventures of Hellboy early in his career as a paranormal investigator, seeing him travel across England with his surrogate father Bruttenholm as well as with a team of other agents in the suburbs of America. I really liked how this book continued to balance his inexperience with his growing competence, as well as the nods to the fact that his very nature might be the reason significant confrontations are spurred in the first place.

BloodlineThe second I finished was Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which I have spoken highly of numerous times since: it received a 5 out of 5 in my review and was listed among my top five personal favourite reads of the year. I’ve enjoyed many of the new Star Wars books, but this one stands as the perfect example original story and tie-in to the greater franchise converging almost seamlessly. It offered a closer look into one of the franchise’s most iconic characters as well, having her face her demons concerning her parentage in a substantial way previously unseen. It also did a good job of providing some insight into politics and what we know is in store for the galaxy without bogging things down with too many details.

Berserk 17Lastly, I read Berserk Vol. 17 by Kentaro Miura as I planned to for my final read, though I didn’t actually get to it until I got back home (I wanted all these done before Christmas). I really enjoyed getting back into the series. There were a few things I had to re-familiarize myself with, but I was able to recall most everything quite well. This arc looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty interesting too, tying back into characters and events that took place during the extensive flashback arc that occurred many volumes ago. The only regrettable thing is manga volumes read very quickly and continuously; a volume is never really a complete story, just a big collection of chapters, so I’m going to need to pick up more of these regularly if I want to keep reading.


Reading Next

I, RobotI’ll likely start reading again this weekend, I’m already getting a little antsy to pick up a book again. On Boxing Day I went to a used bookstore in Toronto with my friends and picked up I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. For some reason I was convinced the book was hard to find. Turns out it really isn’t, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Don’t know what I was thinking. At any rate, the spark of my interest in it was started by a documentary series on science fiction and since I’ve got a copy now and I’m to kindle that interest while it’s still fresh.

Until next week, thank you for reading! I hope you all had a happy holidays.

WWW Wednesday – December 19, 2018

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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

BloodlineI’m just over 100 pages into Bloodline by Claudia Gray and I can already see why it is highly regarded among the new Star Wars novels. Set decades after the fall of the Empire, the book follows Princess Leia Organa at a time of great divide in the New Republic Senate and burnout with politics for her personally. I love how focused this book is on Leia’s perspective, deviating to other characters sparingly to help establish them in their supporting roles. Many of the other new Star Wars books I’ve read, even those meant to focus on a specific character, would jump between too many different plotlines for my liking. This is just so well-written, evocative of Carrie Fischer’s performance, and streamlined with its perspective that I’m eating it up.


Recently Finished

Reaper ManAt the end of last week I finished reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, the 11th novel in the Discworld series. Please check out my full review here! I really liked this novel, though in the trio of storylines it followed one of them felt a little too tangential and filler-y for me. At any rate, I really enjoyed reading Death’s experiences as Bill Door, the name he takes for himself as a farm hand, and the way that it sort of mirrors Windle Poons’s experiences as a newly undead thanks to Death’s imposed retirement. I especially liked the way Death’s story ended. It was touching and made it clear that his experiences really changed him rather than things ending up back to the way they were before.

TomieI also read Tomie by Junji Ito over the weekend, collecting the serial series of the same name that follows a beautiful young woman named Tomie who is continually murdered by men that become unnaturally obsessed with her, yet she never stays dead. Though this is a little hyperbolic, the experience reading this kind of floored me. I’ve been enjoying Ito’s work a lot over the last year, but this book has reminded me for the first since reading Uzumaki that he really his a brilliant horror writer. I should have a review up by the end of the week.

 


Reading Next

Berserk 17The year is almost wrapped up for me as far as reading is concerned, though I’ve unsurprisingly (to myself) a little behind on what I want to get finished. I intend to read two more comic books before Christmas Eve, as well as finishing Bloodline, to end my yearly reading list at a nice even 60 books. Hopefully I can actually do it within my self-imposed timeline. The two comics I will read are Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 by Mike Mignola et al and Berserk Vol. 17 by Kentaro Miura. The latter I’m picking up after a hiatus from reading the series that has lasted for something like 6 years. A friend has motivated me to pick it up again.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – December 12, 2018

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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

Reaper ManI’m within the last 100 pages of Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett and aspects of it are among my favourite of all the Discworld books I’ve read so far. Death’s experiences as Bill Door, an alias he’s adopted while a farmhand in a very small town, have me hooked. He’s been learning the simple ins and outs of mortal life as well as trying to cope with the unending march of time, which never used to effect him. It’s fascinating to see such a usually insightful character become confronted with very commonplace truths like mortality that he has trouble dealing with emotionally. What I’m not so sure about is the story around the Wizards dealing with the overflowing life force in the world while Death is retired. It’s been entertaining, but has dragged a bit and is going in weird places that I’ll have to see through to the end before I know how I feel about. I should be done with the book in a few days.


Recently Finished

Sadly, nothing this week. I’m going to have to kick myself in the butt a bit to get some more graphic novels read, especially since I want to take a break from reading for the last week and a bit of December, starting on Christmas Eve.


Reading Next

TomieThough pretty far from a read fit for the season, one of the graphic novels I intend to read next is Tomie by Junji Ito, the largest book of the author’s I have in my collection. The stories within follow the travails of a beautiful young woman named Tomie who is frequently murdered by men who obsess over her. That’s just the thing though; she’s killed, yet she always comes back. Though an apparent victim of toxic passions, there’s something darker lurking behind her beautiful visage. That’s as much as I can surmise from my limited exposure to it, anyway, and I’m eager to dive in.

Until next week, thanks for reading!

WWW Wednesday – December 5, 2018

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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

Reaper ManLast night I started reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, though I’m only about 25 pages in so far. Auditors of reality have deemed the Death of the Discworld to have developed too much of a personality, which they view as an issue for an anthropomorphic personification meant to perform an important function in the physical world. As such Azrael, a being who seems to oversee Death, has given him his own timer that counts down to his end. Death shall die, and though the prospect is grim, it’s fascinating to see his initial jubilation. He has time now, and he means to spend it like anything else with life. I love how this ties into aspects of his character explored in his first book, Mort, and I’m excited to see where his story goes. Discworld is great all around, but I especially love the Death books.


Recently Finished

aftermathempiresendThe other night I finished reading Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. Check out my full review here! I liked this book, there were some good twists and turns for the characters and some solid action. I especially liked that while the story does take us to different worlds characters were more cemented in one place. It gave a sense of gravity to their situation. It was the end of the line, for better or worse. Something about this book just left me a little underwhelmed though, despite my enjoyment. I don’t know if it’s the fact that one of the lead characters just never clicked with me or that the book has to reckon with so many different perspectives in one novel to tie events together. I still liked it, I just can’t help feeling ambivalent that it’s all over.

Battle of Jericho HillI also completed the final prequel graphic novel to The Dark Tower, which is Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Furth et al. The art continued to be wonderful and it was as atmospheric as ever, but now that I’m done I’m not so sure I wanted these prequels, at least in the form they’ve taken. For one, they don’t really coalesce with the books. The way John Farson and Marten Broadclock are so doggedly trying to kill Roland and his companions I wonder why he’s left largely alone in the novels. On reflection I’m not so sure these were a good idea, since what they’ve mostly done by the end is spoil some of the mystique to Roland’s past and how he ended up alone, rather than creating something that flows perfectly into the story I already know.


Reading Next

BloodlineThe final novel I have planned to read for this year is Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which is a standalone Star Wars novel following Leia decades after Return of the Jedi at a time of a lot of political turmoil in the New Republic and a growing threat at the fringes of the galaxy. I’ve also heard that some of it deals with Leia coming to grips with Darth Vader being her father, which I’m excited to see some insight in to. To be honest, part of why I pushed myself to read the Aftermath trilogy was that I wanted to have them done as a primer just for this book. It is especially well-received among new Star Wars books and I’m hopeful my expectations have not set me up for disappointment.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – November 28, 2018

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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

aftermathempiresendI’m still in the thick of Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, a little under the halfway point in the book. I’m really enjoying the way it’s ramping up on pretty much all character fronts so far. I’m surprised by how much I’m into some of the political stuff around the New Republic and Mon Mothma. Someone else already means to take her place as Chancellor in an election and despite the Empire still being a huge threat there is a lot of subterfuge and backstabbing at play. The occasional interlude chapters have been rather interesting too, especially one that offers a glimpse into the fate of one of the franchise’s most infamous characters: Jar Jar Binks. I’m going to have to push myself especially to finish this, since November is all but finished, but I should hopefully have it done by next week so I can stay on track for the rest of the year.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1952Over the weekend I read Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952, which is the first volume in a more recent Hellboy series showing his earlier years with the Bureau. This book tells the tale of his first ever field mission to a Brazilian village where a lot of people have been turning up dead under mysterious circumstances. This story unfurls into encounters with ape-like monstrosities and Hellboy’s first ever confrontation with Herman von Klempt, the twisted Nazi scientist. It is his successes during this mission that result in him being granted honorary human status by the United Nations, which was a nice touch. I do wish it had looked a little harder for the big red guy, however. Despite looking like an adult, he’s less than 10 years old at this time and could have been made to look a little less experienced at the whole fighting Nazis thing.


Reading Next

Battle of Jericho HillMy plans are still fairly carefully laid out for reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett next, but Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Furth will likely be the next thing I finish, either before or after Empire’s End. It will feel really good to have caught up on another comic book series. It has felt too much like my progress with comics had slowed down since I finished the Star Wars backlog I was working on most of this year.

Until next week, thanks for reading!