WWW Wednesday – August 3, 2022

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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 Dictionary of Obscure SorrowsHere I am again after a week off! Getting this up pretty late again, though, but still happy to be here. I went on a camping trip last week, so I wasn’t able to post. I tried to get some reading done, but as is common for me on trips I did not manage to read all that much. I did make a little bit of progress in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, but only about 10 or so pages. This week’s word is allope, “a mysterious aura of loneliness you feel in certain places; the palpable weight of all the lonely people secretly holed up in their houses and apartments, with a flickering blue glow cast up on their walls—so many of whom might just want someone to talk to, or just want to feel needed, and could be that for each other if only they could somehow connect.” Short for “All the lonely people,” from the song “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles. Pronounced “al-uh-pee.”

Dark Lord of DerkholmI’ve also made some progress in Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones. This book really does continue to throw me for a loop, as yet another thing has happened that I really wasn’t expecting, dealing potentially permanent physical harm to Derk, who will be playing the Dark Lord of their world soon. It seems to be taking things in a direction I was speculating on though, as pain and disfigurement may very well put him on that path of becoming an actual Dark Lord, rather than just playing one for tourists. Whenever I happen to have the time, I really need to dig into this book properly and get a proper long reading session in. The tone surprisingly fluctuates in this book too, as part of me feels like it’s written for a younger audience, yet at times Jones doesn’t really restrain herself with some of the grisly details, while still refraining from being too graphic. Perhaps she just gives her audience a lot of credit.


Recently Finished

Nothing in the past two weeks, regrettably.


Reading Next

PaperGirlsVol1I’ve still not fully made up my mind on what novel/book I’ll want to start up next, but I have decided what comic books I’d like to start cracking open. I’ve had several volumes of Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn for a while now, and the release of the TV series adaptation has oddly spurred me into wanting to start reading them finally.  I don’t actually remember a lot of what this series is supposed to be about, other than the 1980s and time travel, but I hear so many good things about Vaughn’s work that I’m confident I will be more into it than I was with Animosity.

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

WWW Wednesday – July 20, 2022

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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 Dictionary of Obscure SorrowsUnfortunately, I’ve not made any further progress in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig since last week. I do however have another word saved that I can share, for what its worth, since I’m enjoying sharing some of those here. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. The word this week is lockheartedness, “the atmosphere of camaraderie when people are stuck together in a certain place—a stalled elevator, a shelter during a storm, the sleeper car of a train—which leaves them no other option but to be present with each other, with nowhere else to go, and nobody else to be.” (From locked up + fullheartedness.)

Dark Lord of DerkholmI’ve made progress in Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones, though only about 20–30 pages. They’re still preparing their world for the arrival of the pilgrim tours, and poor Wizard Derk is under an incredible amount of stress. I really feel for the guy; he just wants to take care of his family and create new animals, not turn his entire life upside down for rich jerks who want to run roughshod over an entire world. He’s like a wholesome Shou Tucker (if you know, you know). I’m wondering if this will make him snap, and he will become a proper Dark Lord, rather than just pretending to be one. Only time will tell. I really don’t know what to expect from this, and that’s exciting on its own.


Recently Finished

The Liminal ZoneOver the weekend I read through The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito, which is the latest collection of some of his stories to be published in English. The book includes four newer stories by the artist, which were more recently published in a digital publication, so they’re longer than his typical short stories. I have weirdly mixed feelings about this collection. I’ve certainly read worse, and a couple of these have really good premises, but I just didn’t really get into reading this one. Worse yet, in the afterword Ito himself remarks about how he thinks his best ideas are behind him. It was honestly a little poignant. I’m not sure if I even want to review this one, but I’ve reviewed every other book of his I’ve purchased over the last several years, so perhaps I would be remiss if I skipped this one.


Reading Next

I’ve not fully made up my mind on what I want to read next. I’ll be on holiday next week without convenient access to a computer or the Internet, so I likely won’t have one of these posts up next week. Just a heads up.

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

WWW Wednesday – July 13, 2022

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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 Dictionary of Obscure SorrowsI’ve made a little bit of progress in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig since last week, though only a bit. This week’s word is probably a relatable mood for a lot of people right now. Certainly seems to be the vibe going around, at any rate. The word is kuebiko, “a state of exhaustion inspired by senseless tragedies and acts of violence, which force you to abruptly revise your expectations of what can happen in this world, trying to prop yourself up like an old scarecrow, who’s bursting at the seams yet powerless to do anything but stand there and watch.”

Dark Lord of DerkholmI also started reading Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones since last week, and I have gotten nearly 100 pages in, which is better than I expected of me. This book is also 500 pages long, which I wasn’t expecting. Why are some paperbacks deceptively long? At any rate, I’m really enjoying the tone and premise of this story. It’s about a fantasy world beset upon by a great evil: capitalism. A business man from another world runs tours for people wishing to have a fantasy adventure, sending them to a magical land that he keeps at his beck and call thanks to the powers of a demon he has made a compact with. Naturally, the denizens of the world are terribly exploited, and the only way for them to get out of it, apparently, is if the wizard Derk plays the Dark Lord for the current year’s tours. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this goes, I have no idea what to expect.


Recently Finished

Animosity Vol. 2Over the weekend I also made sure to read through Animosity, Vol. 2: The Dragon by Marguerite Bennett et al. I did like this volume better than the first one, but I’m really not sure I want to continue with these books. It managed to make itself a lot more interesting when the characters were at rest, as they each puzzled over how The Wake happened in the first place and whether or not they and their fellow animals have souls, but it didn’t exactly make for a great narrative. The back of this volume actually had a collection of text entries about different states of America and the world at large, detailing events that have gone down, and I couldn’t help but wonder why in the heck that was all more interesting than the comic book itself. I won’t say never, but it’s unlikely I pick up volume three.


Reading Next

I’m really not sure what I’ll pick up next, I’m just getting into new stuff. Ought to figure out another comic to crack open.

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

WWW Wednesday – July 6, 2022

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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 Dictionary of Obscure SorrowsPardon the unusually late post this week, I’ve had a bit of a day. I’ve only made a small amount of progress in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, but considering this past week as a whole, I’m seeing this as a positive. I’ve actually recorded a new word from what I’ve recently read as well, so I’m not just pulling from a backlog. This week’s word is moledro, “a feeling of resonant connection with an author or artist you’ll never meet, who may have lived centuries ago and thousands of miles away but can still get inside your head and leave behind morsels of their experience, like the little piles of stones left by hikers that mark a hidden path through unfamiliar territory.”


Recently Finished

Son of a TricksterI’m happy to report that I used may available free time more wisely this past weekend and finished reading the last hundred or so pages of Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. I quite like this book, it has certainly gotten me interested in reading the whole trilogy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I can’t help having mixed feelings about it. I guess I was expecting the magical elements to expand more meaningfully than they did, but the novel still does something interesting and different with the whole “teen discovers they have a connection to magic” type of story. The ending was actually rather bittersweet/poignant, I’m not sure which best describes how I feel, and it was tied mostly to very grounded, real-world problems. The magic is no longer a secret, but I do have to wonder what the future has in store for Jared, as he doesn’t suddenly have endless possibilities open to him.


Reading Next

Dark Lord of DerkholmRight off the bat, I want to read volume two of Animosity by Marguerite Bennett et al. soon so that I can figure out if I actually want to stick with this series or not. Hopefully I can read that by next week. I’ve also decided, right this moment, that I will read The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones next. This is the first book in a pair that I have had my eyes on reading for a while, and it has been too long since I’ve read any of Jones’s work. It actually feels criminal how little of her fiction I’ve actually finished. It’s time to change that.

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

WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/02

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyCosmicAvengersCoverHaving just finished a number of books I’m taking things a little lighter with some Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis et al before I get back to some lovely walls of text. I’m only a couple of issues into the volume but I’m liking it a lot so far. I have to keep reminding myself character backstories are different from the movies, but the two interpretations are rather close to each other so it doesn’t throw things too much. I especially like that it has started to confront how insanely frequent cosmic threats are on Earth, and in turn shows how uncanny and even dangerous the planet looks to Galactic community.

Recently Finished

AssaultOnNewOlympusI finished reading the final two Incredible Hercules volumes I had, The Mighty Thorcules and Assault on New Olympus by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente et al. The former was a fun romp with Hercules along with meaningful plot development from Amadeus Cho. The latter was a worthy conclusion (though it’s not quite the last volume as it turns out) with everything that’s been building throughout the series finally coming together into a showdown of Olympic proportions.

I also finally concluded Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones and posted a review yesterday if you want to check out my thoughts in depth. It became a bit of a chore to read so much of it at once, but Jones’s insight was utterly valuable nonetheless. Though some details are repeated a lot, her history is fascinating as well. I only regret that I’m not yet a bigger fan of her work.

TheOldManAndTheSeaCoverLastly, within a span of eight hours I read through The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I know that’s no spectacular feat, it’s only 100 pages long, but I was proud of myself for sticking with that personal challenge all the same. The dialogue at the start felt a little rigid to me, but once it gets into Santiago’s struggle with the marlin things really pick up. I especially admire his determination to succeed mixed with reverence for nature and the animal itself, as well as the regret that can come with pursuing something so formidable to its death.

Reading Next

PyramidsI’m determined to get through the six volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy I picked up, so expect to see those here in the future. I’ve also decided to continue onward through Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. The next book shall be Pyramids, the seventh novel in the series. I’m interested to see how he produces a more standalone novel, unlike those previous which are parts of sub-series that continue throughout Discworld. I won’t be surprised if this novel has it’s connections and Easter eggs too, though.

Book Review – Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones

Summary

This collection of more than twenty-five critical essays, speeches, and biographical pieces chosen by Diana Wynne Jones before her death in 2011 is essential reading for the author’s many fans and for students and teachers of the fantasy genre and creative writing in general. The volume includes insightful literary criticism alongside autobiographical anecdotes, revelations about the origins of the author’s books, and reflections about the life of an author and the value of writing for young people.

ReflectionsOnTheMagicOfWritingCover

I find it regrettable that I hadn’t read more of Diana Wynne Jones’ novels before reading Reflections: On the Magic of Writing. I’m a fan of hers, but perhaps not that good at being one. I’ve read Howl’s Moving Castle twice — which I find superior to the Studio Ghibli film — and about half of the sequel Castle in the Air, which I did not finish for reasons separate from the book itself. I’m also familiar with her book The Tough Guide to Fantasy Land, which I love for its jabs against the clichés and overused tropes found in the Fantasy genre. It’s a small amount of her work, but her writing always drew me in and I got a good sense of her style. This is what inspired me to pick up this collection, which I came across in a Dollar Tree of all places.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/26

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

Regrettably, I have not made any progress on Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones. I just didn’t really make time for it over the last week, so I’m resolving to finish with it by next week. I like having supplemental readings, but it does reach a point where I feel I’ve been on them for too long and I must push through.

TheMightyThorculesOtherwise, I just started reading The Incredible Hercules: The Mighty Thorcules by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, et al. I’m only a couple of issues into the volume, which have only introduced the different stories going on. Hercules, along with Zeus who is now a child with no memory, is tricked into pretending to be Thor to help fight dark elves (it has yet to be revealed why) and Amadeus Cho is in a strange small town taken over by what appear to be glowing space brains. The series has been a lot of fun thus far and this volume doesn’t look like it’ll disappoint. I especially like how petty Herc is when comparing himself to Thor.

Recently Finished

SistersBrothersCoverI finished reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt over the weekend and posted a review yesterday. I think I still like Undermajordomo Minor best of his novels, though this one is definitely close behind it. It ended up being much more of an odyssey than I expected, with the duo’s story being a lot more about the strange people, turns of fortune, and encounters they have on their way from Oregon City to Sacramento. Going in I expected it to be more about the developments that take place after they find their mark, but that’s really more of a chapter in the journey.

Reading Next

DarkDiscipleI still intend to read The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway over the next week, and I will probably read the final Incredible Hercules volume I own as well so I can shelve that series finally. I’ve also realized it would be a good idea for me to read Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden relatively soon. I bought it a while ago just to have it, but I’ve actually restarted watching the series The Clone Wars (after I got frustrated with its donkus chronology last year). As it turns out this novel was meant to be an eight episode story arc before the series was cancelled, so once I finish the series I’m going to dig right into this book, which I’m much more enthusiastic about now.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/19

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

ReflectionsI’ve made a small amount of progress with Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones. I’m starting to notice information getting repeated, such as her being forbidden from reading “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” from The Wind in the Willows. It’s a collection of speeches and essays from over the course of her career, though, so I don’t fault it. The last three chapters I read actually delved deeper into writing advice and her approach to it. I’m happy to find yet another big-name author discouraging the creation of massive outlines for novels, in favour of a more flowing creativity, as the idea of crafting one myself sounds a bit agonizing.

SistersBrothersCoverI’ve been reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt as well, which I had actually hoped to finish by now, but life got a little in the way. Nevertheless, I’m enjoyed the book quite well. While very much a Western, it feels literary too. The story of these two brothers so far has been a strange odyssey of violence and quirky encounters. The one brother, Charlie, seems more deplorable, but at times Eli (the other brother and narrator) seems more unstable than he lets on. At just over halfway through, I’m excited to see where the story is heading.

Recently Finished

PrincessLeiaCoverOver the weekend I read Star Wars: Princess Leia, the Marvel Comics miniseries by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson. It takes place just after the destruction of the Death Star in A New Hope, telling the story of Leia rallying together surviving Alderaanians from around the Galaxy in an effort to preserve the legacy of her destroyed world. It was a fun little side-story that wasn’t really needed, but gave another opportunity to see the iconic princess in action. There’s also a nice little moment of Force-sensitivity on her part that nods to her true heritage.

DeathCoverI also read Death by Neil Gaiman et al, the spin-off from The Sandman series also by Gaiman. The book collects various one-shot issues about the character Death, as well as the two previously separate miniseries about her. They tell wonderfully poignant and sentimental stories about life and death, as well as continuing to show the lives of some of the characters that appeared in The Sandman: A Game of You, a surprise that made it all the better.

Reading Next

TheOldManAndTheSeaCoverI’ve definitely got a lot of comic books lined up for reading, such as some digital volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy, a couple more Star Wars volumes, Paper Girls, and Incredible Hercules. Can’t really say which I will read next, but I want to get through all of these and more this summer.

Otherwise, on a trip to the bookstore the other week I got some classic novels, 3 for $10, one of which was The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Since it’s rather short I might knock that out sometime soon, so at least one of these books doesn’t gather dust after being impulsively purchased.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/12

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

ReflectionsI’m still in the middle of Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Dianna Wynne Jones. It fell to the wayside during most of my reading time since last week, so I didn’t get much further along in it, which I’m okay with for the moment since it’s meant to complement what I more strongly focus on. An essay of particular note was about her realization of responsibility to a reading audience of children, particularly in regards to opening up imagination; considering what you thought otherwise not possible. In doing so she derides other authors (unnamed) who reduce their characters’ journeys to mere flights of fancy, where in the end they escape into fantasy had no bearing on reality. It was a fascinating angle to consider.

Recently Finished

LovecraftCountryCoverI’m happy to say I finished reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Though not perfect, it was a great novel that I’m sure I’ll be recommending to anybody who asks about a new book to read. I didn’t mention this in my review, so I want to take a moment to gush about the binding of the book. Not only is it’s artistic style made to look like a pulpy horror novel from the 1950s, but the texture feels gritty as well. Part of its design makes it look worn too, as if it’s been sitting in a used bookstore for a long time, having changed who knows how many hands.

Reading Next

PaperGirlsVol1Like I said last week, I plan to start reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt any day now. I really liked Undermajordomo Minor and the unorthodox style of Ablutions was certainly memorable, so I’m hopeful I will really like this novel as well.

Otherwise, I intend to get through some comic book trades that I’ve been stockpiling lately. Fortunately for the sake a space most of them are digital editions. It’s hard to say which I’ll start first, but I’ve got some Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy volumes on my tablet that should do just fine. I also picked up volumes one and two of Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, which I also want to start to broaden by comic book horizons a little.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/05

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

LovecraftCountryCoverMaking good on my plans for the last few weeks, I’ve been reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. I’m currently a little over halfway through and it’s almost everything I’d hoped it would be. It doesn’t lean quite as much on the horror aspects of it as I would like, but they’re very real and very present. Though not literally from the pages of Lovecraft’s works, there are certainly eldritch forces at play. This includes a stand-out encounter with a racist ghost, a sequence which I found marvelous in how it shifted the tone and how the character dealt with it. The racism of Jim Crow America is the most impactful part, made all the more horrific by the reality of it all. It blends with the horror genre superbly.

ReflectionsI’ve also been reading Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones, though I’ve more bit dipping in and out of it, reading an entry here and there. It’s different from what I expected, as they’re essays, letters, articles, she’s written or taken a part of over the course of her entire life. It’s more of a bringing together of existing writings she’s done than anything new, though I think they’d a lot more hard to track down outside of this book. Her insight into writing for children, as well as her experience writing for adults by contrast, is quite valuable. Nothing is explicitly written as writing advice, but in their own way provide worthwhile insight into understanding the structure and formation of narrative.

Recently Finished

Nothing yet, but I’m working on it!

Reading Next

SistersBrothersCoverDespite other books brought up in past posts, I think I will read The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt next. I’ve had a copy for a few years now, and jotted it down among other books at the beginning of 2017 to get through by year’s end. A lot of the fiction I’ve been reading has been in the realms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror lately too, so I think a more grounded book will be a nice change of pace. I know it’s a Western, so I’m not stepping all that far out of genre fiction, but I love it here, dang it.