WWW Wednesday – August 21, 2019

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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

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI’ve left things after a rather nail-biting series of chapters in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. The death tally is technically at six now, I think, though I’ve only witnessed two on the page. Things are getting rather knife-y at Blackheath as our protagonist edges closer to solving the mystery, his rivals nipping visciously at his heels. I keep finding myself sub-consciously trying to see if I can piece anything together for myself, but I honestly think the time travel aspects are too elaborately structured for the reader to do that. Luckily, I’m still enthusiastically on board for wherever this is going.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Myths and FablesSince last week I started and finished Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann, with illustrations by Grant Griffin. It turns out it’s a middle grade book, which I’d somewhat expected but didn’t fully appreciate the significance of. While I can’t say that younger readers won’t get something out of this collection, I was personally underwhelmed. There were a couple stories I did find myself quite partial too, but ultimately the effort was rather pedestrian. I think I imagined the author would be a little more ambitious with the concept than he ended up being. I’d say they largely played it safe with this book. I should have a full review out soon.


Reading Next

Small GodsI expect that I will have Seven Deaths finished by next week, which had left me to wonder what I’m going to be picking up off the shelf next. I have decided I really need to continue with the Discworld novels for this year—I’ve only read one of the four I mean to get to—so the next book I will be picking up will be Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. I believe it’s another standalone novel that takes place in the Discworld’s more distant past (that’s the impression I have anyway). I’m excited for the more isolated approach to the world.

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

WWW Wednesday – August 14, 2019

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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

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI’m just over 150 pages in to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and it has been living up to the hype. Technically, the tally I’m at is 4 deaths for poor Evelyn, although it’s only ever taken place on the page once so far. I had thought this book would be a typical Groundhog Day situation, but Turton took that and made it even more complex in a way that I’m completely on board for. Despite the fact that it is so complicated, he writes it in such a way that so far I haven’t found it difficult to follow. I am a little wary, however, as it seems that if our protagonist is to prevent Evelyn’s murder he will have to break rules established by the narrative. There’s much left to read, so I’m hopefully things work out.


Recently Finished

The Catastrophe ConI finally read The Catastrophe Con by Simon Spurrier et al, and I’m happy to say that his taking the reigns as writer for the series has not diminished its quality for me. Doctor Aphra has become a corner of the Star Wars universe where stuff can get weird and I honestly can’t get enough of it. A penal colony made of smashed-together ships, insane probability droids, and Force-possessed spores? Yes, please. Aphra is so lovable and self-destructive, she’s become the epitome of chaotic-neutral in this universe to me. Her pursuit of personal gain, at the expense of even people she cares about it, is basically pathological. With the way this book ended I’m really excited to read the next.

The Man in the PictureI also read through all of The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill in one night, which is rare for me when it comes to novels. It was only 145 pages, but even at that length it’s unlikely for me to finish so quickly. I’ve already written a review, which you can check out here. The book had a wonderfully pleasant writing style and good atmosphere befitting a ghost story, I just wasn’t super thrilled with the direction things went. The nature of the haunted object, such as it is, becomes odd in a way that was more confusing than compelling. Credit where it is due, though, I’m creeped out by the idea of this painting as an image alone, which is hard to do with no visual reference point.


Reading Next

Star Wars Myths and FablesWelp, looks like I’m reading another Star Wars book. I got my copy of Myths & Fables by George Mann this past week and it looks like it’ll make for a great supplemental read. I’m not sure how much will be original in-universe tales and how much will be mythologizing what we know, but I do know that Darth Vader gets a depiction as some sort of boogeyman and I’m curious to see what that looks like. The accompanying art is stunning as well, which is an added bonus. I’ve gone off script with my reading list more than I’d like, but it’s hard to resist reading a new book sometimes, eh?

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

WWW Wednesday – August 7, 2019

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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

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI have started The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, though honestly I’ve barely scratched to surface. I wanted to have read more, but during my prime reading time over the weekend I was frankly too exhausted to have gotten properly into the meat of it. As such I’m only 19 pages in, but even these have not been what I was expecting. It begins in medias res with a character realizing he has amnesia while in the middle of a pursuit in the forest, too late to stop the presumed murder of a woman he believes is named Anna. He has found his way back to the mansion he was staying at, which is soon to be host of a ball, but nobody there knows who this Anna is. I’m pretty well hooked, though for now it’s just a burning desire to learn what’s going on.


Recently Finished

Who's a Good BoyOver the weekend I did manage to push myself to finish Who’s a Good Boy? by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, despite the exhaustion I already mentioned. Had I not been so, I would have finished it faster and read more Seven Deaths, but here we are. Just as with the third volume it was great to revisit these stories again, especially some of the more dramatic moments that took place during this story arc. The creators plant the seeds for different story lines a lot earlier than I’d noticed or given them credit for before, which was an especially prominent takeaway with this volume. I still do feel something is missing without Cecil’s performance though. His soothing baritone is easy to miss.


Reading Next

The Man in the PictureThrowing a bit of a curve ball with what I’m reading next since it’s a little off script as far as my scrappy reading list goes. I was at the library last week to pick up some DVDs and decided to browse the horror section a little bit. While I was there The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill caught my eye. I haven’t read any of her work, but I do know she also wrote The Woman in Black. The synopsis grabbed me enough, and it’s less than 200 pages long, so I decided to take this little detour and make good on reading more library books. To give a summary I’m sure is reductive, it’s about an evil painting.

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

WWW Wednesday – July 31, 2019

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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

Who's a Good BoyI’m making pretty steady progress reading Who’s a Good Boy? by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. I’m nearly halfway through it already, which I’m happy about because I want both want to read it and want to be done reading it. I feel like I’ve kicked book reading into a higher gear and I’m hoping I can keep some momentum going. As I’m getting further along I’m realizing just how little I actually remember about the key story arcs from this series. I could have sworn the storylines being built up in this book happened more recently, yet they’re in 2015/2016. Just time being funny again, I guess. Slipping through my fingers and down the drain, leaving me to underestimate just how much of it has flowed by.


Recently Finished

Exit WestIn an completely unprecedented move (considering my reading habits) I started and finished Exit West by Mohsin Hamid since last Wednesday. To be fair, it is a rather quick read though. The page count was not especially high and it was aided further by a stream-of-consciousness style of writing that had each page flow on by quite swiftly. I really like how adept the book was at evoking a myriad of feelings, both good and bad, when it came to both mundane and horrific or extraordinary situations. One downside I did find to this writing style is I had an intimate sense of who the two protagonists were yet felt they were also kept at arms length from me. I should have a full review up by next week.


Reading Next

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI’ve already made up my mind on this one. I’m going to read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton next. I remember reading a lot of buzz around this book last year, and this book will both satisfy my scrappy list further and feed my perpetually budding interest in reading more mystery stories. A little time travel thrown in for extra spice makes it all the more enticing. Beyond that, I’m really not sure what it’s about. Evelyn’s probably gonna die a few times, I do feel pretty confident about that.

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

New Books & Novel Discoveries (July 2019)

The impulse to buy a lot of books has continued to be more subdued, though I do have more to show than I did in June. I think part of it has to do with my growing interest in using my local library. Granted, I’m currently much more interested in their collection of movies than books. There are many movies I haven’t been able to find on streaming services that they have available and I want to take full advantage.

I digress. On to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 24, 2019

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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

Who's a Good BoyI was supposed to have started Exit West by Mohsin Hamid by now. The problem is, I couldn’t find the dang thing. I went to grab it from my bookshelf before a little road trip the other day, but I couldn’t find it. It has to be on that shelf somewhere, I’m just going to have to dig through the layers of books. Nevertheless, starting it has been delayed. I have started Who’s a Good Boy? by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor though (which I quickly grabbed instead), which is the fourth collection of Welcome to Night Vale episodes. Look at that cover art: beautiful. I’ve only read the introduction so far, but I continue to be surprised by how little I remember about what happens in each story arc. I could swear the arc with the beagle puppy happened much later after the conclusion of Lot 37.


Recently Finished

The Buying of Lot 37Speaking of which, over the weekend I powered through and finished reading The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. It was great to get a refresher on those episodes, but I especially enjoyed getting to read a transcript of their live show “The Librarian” for the first time. Part of the way they designed that show is a reference to a weird old horror movie starring Vincent Price called The Tingler that I once saw as a kid. I hadn’t thought of that movie or heard anybody mention it for ages, but it’s not at all surprising that the creators of this series know of it. I’m flip-flopping on whether or not I want to actually review this book. I think it’s good, but it kind of feels like reviewing a script book when you ought to review the film, you know?


Reading Next

The next books I’m going to read have been stated before. Out of resentment toward myself I’m not going to belabour the point. They’re going to be Exit West and The Catastrophe Con. Definitely going to start them. I swear.

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

WWW Wednesday – July 17, 2019

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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 Buying of Lot 37I’m still making my way through The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, but with it being the only book I’m currently reading I think I’m going to give it greater attention before I move on to anything else. It’s time this got finished. The funny thing I realized while reading further is, while the arc in this volume concerns the use of Lot 37, the actual buying took place many episodes ago. Episode 37, in fact. This collection starts with episode 50, so as it turns out they waited a fair bit before starting to make good on this subplot. I just find it funny that the actual buying of Lot 37 does not take place in the book The Buying of Lot 37. How about that.


Recently Finished

RemasteredOver the weekend I decided it was high time I continue the Doctor Aphra series of Star Wars comic books with the third volume Remastered by Kieron Gillen et al. I actually thought this volume was where Simon Spurrier would be taking over as writer, but it turns out that’s not until the next volume. Spurrier only wrote one issue here. I thought this volume was excellent, in any case. 0-0-0, the psychotic murder-droid, has Aphra at his beck and call, forcing her to bring together a delightful menagerie of questionable characters to uncover the secrets of where his programming came from and what his life before his software was quarantined was.

PhasmaI also finished reading Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson just yesterday, which I’m happy to add to my finished pile of new Star Wars novels. I should have a review up for it soon. The reading experience for this book was a little bizarre for me. I appreciated how it tried to tell a different sort of story in this universe, but the bulk of the novel stumbled a bit for me. There was something missing in the telling that left the narrative’s hold on me a little flimsy. The final chapters, however, were actually excellent. Most of the book is essentially a flashback, told by a spy being interrogated. Once the revelations of this tale effects the present I was way more engrossed in what happened next. It’s given me such mixed feelings.


Reading Next

The Catastrophe ConI still have every intention of reading Exit West by Mohsin Hamid next, but I want to finish Lot 37 first. In the meantime, I will be reading volume four of Doctor Aphra soon too: The Catastrophe Con by Simon Spurrier et al. I suppose this is the real test if Spurrier has legs with this character or not. His addition to the previous volume was seamless, so I’m hopeful. I wish I was better at making up my mind about what comics to read next. I’ve got plenty left unread, I’m just picky if it’s not Star Wars or Hellboy for some reason. I vex myself.

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

WWW Wednesday – July 10, 2019

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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 Buying of Lot 37Progress on The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor is slow but steady. I think I got through a small handful of episodes this past week. Since this is more of a supplemental read I’m satisfied with that. Once again I’m really enjoying the nuggets of information the little preface toward each episode provides. In one, Jeffrey Cranor discusses how in one of the earliest episodes two random characters are said to have gone on a date after a harrowing experience. These two characters crop up again in a much later episode, in this collection, where we get a brief update on their lives. I really like these little Easter Eggs they’ve added in the story, things that are easy to miss if you’re not going back and re-listening to episodes.

PhasmaI’ve given Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson more attention this past week, but I do wish I was further along with it. I am enjoying it just fine, but I do need to pick up the pace if I want to get through my personal to-read list for the year. Phasma has already crossed paths with the First Order on her destitute native planet, though it is only General Hux Sr. and a trio of stormtroopers who have crashed on it. They’re currently on a journey to find the crashed ship, taking them across areas on the planet left unexplored for generations. I’m really liking the more intimate look at one planet’s history that this book is providing. One of the more intriguing things about the Star Wars universe is how old space-faring civilization is in the galaxy. The idea of a world that fell and is left behind is really interesting to me.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, but I’m working on it. Believe you me.


Reading Next

Exit WestI’m sitting here looking at my little to-read list and I need to make a decision. I can’t hum and haw as much; it’s time for action. So, I’m going to read Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I won a copy of it at a book mixer a year or so ago and have been meaning to read it for a while now. Sam spoke quite well of it in her WWW posts and subsequent review a few months ago and I’d like to finally read it for myself. I really ought to pick up another comic book volume to read too, but I can’t make up my mind on that front yet. I find that less urgent anyway.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to link to your own post bolow.

WWW Wednesday – July 3, 2019

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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! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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 Buying of Lot 37I’m still making my way through The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, which I’m continuing to enjoy. The most recent episode I read through was great because it was the first episode to ever mention the character of Jackie Fierro, one of the protagonists of the Welcome to Night Vale novel that did not come out until another year after the episode in question was originally released. A wonderful insight was provided in the introduction to the episode, where Fink talks about how they’d already written hundreds of pages about Jackie for the novel before her introduction here, but it was still a year away from being published. It was a peak behind the curtain I really enjoyed.

PhasmaSo, last week we all wondered together what novel I’d pick up next. I hadn’t even decided yet myself. Well surprise! It is a Star Wars book. I’ve been reading Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson, a novel that gives an origin story to a character who stands out yet remains mysterious and unfortunately underused in the new Star Wars trilogy. I’m actually loving how different of a story is being presented here. The frame narrative is about a rival Captain in the First Order named Cardinal interrogating a Resistance spy for information he can use against Phasma. This spy, in turn, tells tales of Phasma’s life on the harsh planet she grew up on. I love how intimate the frame setting is, as well as the presentation of the distinct society that Phasma was a part of.


Recently Finished

The Midwich CuckoosOver the weekend I finished reading The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I really loved this novel. A lot of classic science fiction is respectable for the ideas they introduced, by a bit of a letdown for me when I actually read them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, however, which presents an alien invasion as more of a moral dilemma and less clear-cut. While certain developments feel inevitable, one cannot help but be left with the sense that a great failing in human (and perhaps inhuman) nature led to such things. I couldn’t help but imagine how the Doctor (Doctor Who) might have sorted that problem. She’d have know what to do. I should have a review up before the end of the week.

SabrinaI also read Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, which I borrowed from my local library. When I first heard about the book it was in a video discussing how the book is, broadly speaking, a hard look at what life in our time is like, especially with the rise of social media and the notion of “fake news” infecting the discourse about daily events. More specifically put, this book is titled after a fictional young woman who gets abducted and murdered, a video tape of her execution being sent to various media sources soon after. It was a powerfully evocative read that I won’t soon forget. It was the first graphic novel to ever make it onto the longlist for the Man Booker prize.


Reading Next

With as much as I have on my plate with reading right now I don’t have any plans for what to read next. The future is but a track being freshly laid before a train already in motion. I also struggle for consciousness; night shifts can be rough, my friends.

Until next week, thank you for reading. Feel free to share your posts below.

Mid-Year Check-In

So here we are, halfway through 2019 already. Where does the time go? Seriously, it could stay a while longer. Doesn’t need to pass by so quickly.

At the beginning of the year I posted about my scrappy to-read list, which I make every year for the satisfaction of literally crossing books off of the list. I’ve never actually completed one of these lists though, so this is the year I’m really going for it.

So, let’s see how I’m doing on that front…

SAM_0482

So here’s the good news first. In 2018 I only struck off 13 books from that year’s list by the end of last year. This year I have already struck off 11. So that’s great. I’ve nearly caught up with what I manged last year.

However, percentages are working against me a little here. I’ve only finished 33% of the books on that list. I’m going to have to double the amount of books I finish from the list over the same span of time if I want to actually clear it. On top of this, I know I’m going to read books that are not listed there. It’s just going to happen. It’s happening right now, in fact. This will certainly be a challenge, but I’m still going to push for it.

Speaking of challenges, I’ve always got my Goodreads Challenge looming over me too, though I’m honestly putting a little less stock in that (if only I could stop caring about how many books behind it says I am).

2019 Challenge Progress (July 2)

At least in this case I’m very nearly halfway, so it certainly appears a lot more reachable from this vantage point. I take some solace in the fact that I could always finish some graphic novels relatively quickly and be back on track too.

Hope you enjoyed my little update. Thank you for reading!