WWW Wednesday – February 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

Here (away from it all)I only managed to get myself to read the first chapter of Here (away from it all) by Polly Hope last night, so I’m only just getting started. That inaugural chapter was an interesting one, as it has done a lot to set the tone for the story so far. It was a bit of a “chapter two switcheroo,” the first chapter taking place long after everything has gone badly. It’s written in a very stream-of-consciousness style that did a good job of balancing exposition and having the perspective character’s thoughts interrupt the narration. There’s a division between the island’s residents and the tourists, which I’m looking forward to seeing fleshed out. Were they cooperating first, or did the native islanders shun them as soon as things took a turn? Time will tell.


Recently Finished

The Year of the FloodI finished reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood over the weekend. I should have a review up soon; I’ve been relishing my days off a little too much to have one finished already. I’m surprised by how much I ended up loving this book. I figured it would be good—Atwood is no slouch—but I really enjoyed the corners of its world this book explored. With all said and done there were a few details that did nag at me, as certain developments are uncannily centred around a small group of people despite it being a global pandemic. At the time I let it go for the sake of the drama, but it has stuck with me as a negative since. All in all, though, I’m excited to see where this is heading with the final book.

The Case of Charles Dexter WardI also read through the graphic novel adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by I.N.J. Culbard. I feel this book was nearly perfect as an adaptation, preserving the story as it was originally told while adding its own little details in the visuals that flesh out it even more. It would have had the same problem as the original novella for me, had I read this first, but the format made it all much more palatable. I really liked the art style too, which was more on the cartoonish side without detracting from the tone of the story. There was an older-fashioned style to it that really worked for me.


Reading Next

I need to get back to my yearly to-read list for my next book, but as I write this I cannot decide what that book should be. I swear, I’m staring a hole into this list right now and nothing speaks to me. I’m not sure if I want to read MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood next to finish up the trilogy, or read something else a little different first before coming back to it. I guess I’ll just have to leave you all in suspense for now.

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

Book Review – Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft

Dreams of Terror and Death

The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death is a collection of short stories and novellas from the author’s “Dream Cycle,” which is a series of stories that explore the idea of alternate worlds accessible to humans through dreaming. Though treated as a distinct cycle of stories here, it is made evident in the text that these tales exist within the same narrative universe as the Cthulhu Mythos that Lovecraft is better known for. While a number of the stories are fairly self-contained with unique protagonists, a number of settings recur throughout. The most important recurring character is Randolph Carter, a young man more adept at exploring the realm of dreams than the average person.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – November 20, 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

Oof, this is going up late, isn’t it? Nothing I’m currently in the middle of, which is part of why this is going up so late. My schedule is a weird, tiresome, mess sometimes. I need a bit of a mental palette cleanser.


Recently Finished

Dreams of Terror and DeathI have finally finished Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft. Oh boy, do I have polarizing feelings about this book. I can’t quite remember the last time I struggled with a book that I still concede has enjoyable and artful qualities. Such an awkward spot to be in. The bulk of the reading over the last week was the story “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” the longest in the collection. While there are many details I really liked, it also highly exemplified a problem Lovecraft has. He would foreshadow something, seed clues throughout the story that made it obvious to me, then proceeded to keep building up clues and draw out the story and “mystery,” despite the fact that I’d already figured out what was going on. Woof. I should have a review up soon. Need to get some things posted finally. So much for finishing this book in early November.


Reading Next

Marley's GhostThrawn by Timothy Zahn and Stardust by Neil Gaiman are in my near future, but Christmas is fast approaching too. I don’t usually go out of my way to crack open a holiday read, but as it turns out I’ve got a couple that I need to actually get to. The first is Hellboy: Krampusnacht, which is a short issue that has Hellboy clashing with a Satanic Santa-like figure. The other is Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost, which is a graphic novel adaptation of A Christmas Carol (my go-to Christmas story, because I go against the grain ;)). I’m going to finally read those this year, I promise. The Christmas Spirit is forgiving, but it’s disappointment in you can be crushing.

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

WWW Wednesday – November 13, 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

Dreams of Terror and DeathI’m still in the thick of Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft, though I got over a significant hump the other day. After a long series of really short stories I got to “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath,” which as far as I’m aware is one of the better known stories in the Dream Cycle. It’s a strange, often fantastical odyssey that main character Randolph Carter takes through the dream lands of earth, with many callbacks to previous stories. I enjoyed it, but it was also quite an undertaking. This is weird to remark for a story under 100 pages, but it does drag a smidge. The ideas are really good, but I’ve heard many authors say that he’s not the best of storytellers and even though I’ve read some of his stuff before without much issue, I’m really feeling it in this book. It also had no section or chapter breaks, which is a pet peeve of mine, though I’ll not fault him for my idiosyncrasies.


Recently Finished

False KneesOver the weekend I read through False Knees: An Illustrated Guide to Animal Behavior by Joshua Barkman. There’s always a small part of me that questions buying a collection like this, since many of the strips I’ve read as web comics before getting them collected in a book. I mostly bought it to support an artist I really enjoy, but I sincerely enjoyed actually reading through this book too. I love how realistic his art style is, especially in how he also manages to evoke human emotions so strongly with these animals. It’s got me looking at another collection of web comics I bought more for support that I really ought to just sit down and read through as well.


Reading Next

StardustIt’s really getting to that point in the year where I realize I’m probably only going to finish a few more books before the new year, and I’ve got more books left on my scrappy to-read list than I think I can finish. I still intend to read Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, but I want to plan a little past that too. Looking my list over, I’m realizing a lot of the books are newer to my collection, while a few I should have gotten to years ago. With that in mind, a near-future read ought to be Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’ve had that book for many years, and it’s the last of my Gaiman backlog.

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

WWW Wednesday – November 6, 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

Dreams of Terror and DeathI’m making my way through Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft now, the last holdout of my Halloween reads. I barely started it before the holiday, but I’m committed enough to read through it nonetheless. I’m enjoying the stories well enough so far, though his writing style occasionally requires me to re-read a passage to make sure I understood what I read. He’s heavy on description, yet vague on the details, if that makes sense. The last story I finished was “The Nameless City” and while I got fairly swept away by the concept, I’m not really sure how it ended. Apparently, I’m not the only one either, as searching online has revealed other people unsure as well, who have an array of interpretations. Oh, Lovecraft.


Recently Finished

Little HeavenOver the weekend I finally finished Little Heaven by Nick Cutter, which I really enjoyed. It’s honestly a fantastic horror novel, I only wish I hadn’t been so slow getting through it. I won’t belabor the point anymore, but I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately. I should have a review up soon, at any rate. What helped cinch my esteem for the book was the way it ended. I enjoyed the way the story developed, but was wary of where everything was headed; the influence behind the nightmarish creatures, misery, and madness. Ancient, unknowable evil is well-tread ground in horror, after all (see above), so I was worried at how that would end up playing out. Simply put, I loved it. Not wholly original, but well executed all the same.

Immortal Hulk Hulk in HellI also read volumes two and three of The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing et al. These books are a wonderfully thoughtful exploration of the Hulk as a character, thanks especially to the persona the Hulk inhabits in this story. The history of Banner/Hulk’s mental state is long and complicated, and despite the uncanny intelligence of the Hulk in this book it is surprisingly faithful to this history. I also really enjoy just how subtle this series has managed to be about the cosmic horror elements at play. So many cosmic forces are given a face and identity in superhero comics in a way that brings them down to Earth—even the diabolical ones—yet the presence in this series has been surprisingly obscure, despite the characters finding themselves face-to-face with it.


Reading Next

False KneesI’ve discussed my Star Wars related reading plans for the near future already, but as a nice light read to shine onto the dreary Lovecraft I’ll be absorbing for the next little bit I’ve decided to start reading my copy of False Knees: An Illustrated Guide to Animal Behavior by Joshua Barkman. I’ve followed the online comic strips for a while now and when I heard he had a book coming out I jumped on a pre-order. I picked it up in mid-October and it’s high time I read through it as a nice little detour.

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

WWW Wednesday – October 30, 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

Little HeavenDisappointingly, I still have not finished reading Little Heaven by Nick Cutter. Despite my laid-out plans, I’m coming up short on the reading front for October. I have made considerable progress since last week though, and I am enjoying the book quite a bit. I had misgivings about it jumping back and forth between time periods, but there is enough left nebulous between the two times that it’s not taking much away from the experience. Developments have been genuinely skin-crawly too, with some wonderful illustrations accompanying certain scenes to really hammer things home. I have especially like how the Piper, aka the Long Walker, is described. At once, details about it are very specific yet it’s overall appearance is difficult to imagine.

Dreams of Terror and DeathI’ve also started reading Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft. I’m only 24 pages in, so I’ve barely scratched the surface, but as it turns out these pages have included five pieces of short fiction. I’m happy to report that my fears about his writing style have not been a problem so far. I’m not finding it especially dense or difficult to get through. There’s no way I can get it done before Halloween, but if I can find the motivation I should have it done sooner than later. The stories so far seem more like primers for what is to come in the collection, gradually building up the idea of realities found in dreaming and the effects it has on human beings. I’m looking forward to seeing where things go.


Recently Finished

Immortal Hulk Or is He BothI finally started reading the Immortal Hulk series by Al Ewing et al, starting with Or Is He Both?, the first volume. The premise is a little different than what I had thought going it, though it turns out I’m happier with the reality of it. So Dr. Banner can die, but since the Hulk cannot he always comes back from death. It really has been a wonderfully thoughtful story so far, though a little lighter on the horror than I’d thought. There are hints at the otherworldly that I’m excited to see unveiled as it goes on. It’s dwelling a lot on the character’s history in a way that I really like too. At once it is referencing the greater continuity outside of this title, yet it maintains the accessibility of the text. I don’t need to have read those stories to understand the point it is driving at.


Reading Next

ThrawnI suppose it stands to reason the next volume of Immortal Hulk is in my near future, but I’ve also started to look a little further than that toward what I want to be reading once all my Halloween backlog is finished up with. My scrappy to-read list has the first two of the new Star Wars: Thrawn books on it, so I need to get to those this year. That being the case, it’s possible I will be starting Thrawn by Timothy Zahn soon. There are others books I’m eye-balling, so I may change my mind, but this one seems likely regardless. Episode IX is coming out soon and I could use some more Star Wars to tide me over.

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

WWW Wednesday – October 23, 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

Little HeavenProgress has been a little slow on Little Heaven by Nick Cutter, unfortunately. For reasons I don’t completely understand myself, I’ve been a little put out as far as reading in general goes. My attention between books was also a little split too, with this having suffered less attention. I’m still enjoying the book, at any rate, though unfortunately I feel a bit iffy on the prologue chapters the further along I go. Much is still left vague, which is good, but I feel that certain developments that happen as the group of hired guns is making their way to Little Heaven would have been more impactful if I did not have prior knowledge of what they were dealing with. Things have been effectively creepy in the little town all the same, so I’m not complaining too much.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Odder JobsI finished reading Hellboy: Odder Jobs this morning, and it was all I could muster to finish that. I’m not usually so exhausted after a night shift, but lately I’ve just had trouble getting these out in the morning. Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed this collection well enough, though none of it has wowed me the way Odd Jobs did. A stand-out aspect of this collection for me is that a few of them have focused on other characters as well. Abe Sapien gets a couple of stories about him, and there is another about Roger the homunculus. I love Hellboy, but it’s good to have the spotlight shone on these other characters too. I should have a review up within the next week.


Reading Next

Immortal Hulk Or is He BothI still very much intend to start reading Dreams of Terror and Death by H.P. Lovecraft, but there is something else I’ve neglected from my list for Frighteningly Good Reads: The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing et al. I’ve got three volumes to get through with only eight days to do it, though I must say I’m much less worried about whether I’ll get three graphic novels done than I am the books on my plate. I must get to them soon, at any rate, so here’s me letting you know it’s coming. If I do things right, I’ll likely have a lot finishing next week.

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

WWW Wednesday – October 16, 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

Hellboy Odder JobsI’m about 30% of the way through Hellboy: Odder Jobs, having read a couple more stories since last week. The stories have continued to maintain a more somber tone, one of them dealing with despair from the afterlife leaking into the living world and the other exploring some of Abe Sapien’s feelings about his place in the world while searching for the source bizarre floods that often result in missing people. I like the idea of the former story a lot, though I found points of it a little confusing too. Hellboy has banter with a character, who I believe is unique to that story, that I found oddly jarring . I think he was supposed to be giving Hellboy some playful grief as an old friend, but I was honestly just thrown off by it.

Little HeavenI’m only a little over 25% of the way through Little Heaven by Nick Cutter. I was able to get through The Troop a lot faster last year, so I’m a little disappointed with my progress thus far. The story is jumping around through time a lot, establishing the characters after the incident in Little Heaven as well as before. I’ve just started the portion of the story where our trio of hired guns are making their way to the settlement and I’m hoping the jumping between time periods will now stop. It’s just a matter of preference. I really like how well developed each character is so far. Each of them is equally distinct from the other and I look forward to learning what messed each of them up so much in Little Heaven all those years ago.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, and here come the excuses. I guess they’re good reasons, but I give myself a hard time anyway. Firstly, it was my birthday last Wednesday, but I had one night left to work. With two days off after I just wanted to relax more. Saturday and Sunday I meant to grind out a lot of reading time, but I was stupidly exhausted. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, but I also couldn’t nap. Then I visited family for Thanksgiving, which I got back from late last night. All of this, I guess to say, I’m getting a little nervous about finishing all of my Frighteningly Good Reads on time.


Reading Next

Dreams of Terror and DeathWith everything having been laid out already, I will highlight here the Frighteningly Good Read I’m worried about completing: Dreams of Terror and Death by H.P. Lovecraft. It’s the one I’ve yet to start and I suspect it will take the longest to get through thanks to his more dated writing style. I’m pretty committed to reading it though—it is on my scrappy to-read list, after all—so if I don’t meet my deadline I’ll probably be reading this in early November too. Such is reading life, I suppose.

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

Novella Review – The Shadow over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft

Necronomicon

The Shadow over Innsmouth is a horror novella written by H.P. Lovecraft. It is part of the Cthulhu Mythos for which the author is famous, making numerous references to recurring places, creatures, and other shared elements. It was originally written in late 1931, though the story did not see publication until April 1936 as a complete book by Visionary Publishing Company. It was first rejected by the magazine Weird Tales for being too long to publish in its entirety yet structured in such a way that it could not be cleanly cut into two parts. I read this story in the Necronomicon published by Gollancz in 2008, which is an extensive collection of the author’s “Best Weird Tales.”

The story follows a student taking a tour through New England to see the sights and appreciate the architecture of some of its older towns. The nearby town of Innsmouth is suggested to him as a curiosity and a cheaper stop on his journey. Upon arrival he learns of some locations of interest, witnesses and interacts with strange people, and eventually bears witness to the horrifying truth of the town’s dark and sordid history.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/07/18

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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

MyYearOfRestAndRelaxationI’ve been reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, though I’m only just getting started with it. My reading plans took a slight detour. Though I’m still within the first chapter, I have read until the first section break. It was a bit of a whirlwind so far, giving a lot of information on the narrator’s daily life such as it is and her dysfunctional friendship with a college friend named Reza. The style is rather fast paced, though I haven’t exactly gotten a hold on what the story is about yet. I’m a little wary with how much I’m being told rather than shown, but that may just be Meshfegh setting the scene. I’m still optimistic.

Recently Finished

MovingPicturesOver the weekend I finished reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett! Please check out my review here. I enjoyed it well enough, though it went pretty much as I expected it to. Though it hasn’t been the case every time, there is a general skeleton of a story that Pratchett seems to use when he has more of an idea he wants to explore than a specific story he wants to tell. Gaspode the Wonder Dog did not entirely take over the role of protagonist, but he was one of the most complex characters in the story, torn between his resentment for how humans mistreat him and his innate nature as a dog (a Good Boy). I was thrilled to learn that he becomes a recurring character throughout the series.

TheAshesofJedhaI also read The Ashes of Jedha by Kieron Gillen et al, which has caught me up on all of the available volumes of the current Star Wars series by Marvel. This is the first book with Gillen taking over from Jason Aaron and the difference was a little staggering. Maybe I just prefer something about Gillen’s style, but I was vastly more intrigued with the story here than I was with most of Aaron’s stuff. There was some weird stuff with the Force in it, which is always a win for me, but the book was mostly about a Rebel operation yet it still had me hooked. It bodes well for me for the series going forward.

NecronomiconThough this is not a completed book, I also read “The Shadow over Innsmouth” by H. P. Lovecraft from my massive tome of his stories. I’ve been playing the video game Bloodborne recently and a friend of mine told me to read this—basically a homework assignment—before I begin a specific portion of the game. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though I had absorbed more about it through osmosis than I realized, since much of it didn’t surprise me. I will likely have a review up of it soon.

Reading Next

AftermathI know I gab a lot about Star Wars, but I’ve got a list with five of the newer novels still on it that I want to get to this year. So, it’s high time I started the first Aftermath novel by Chuck Wendig, which is following the Galactic Civil war after the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader. I’ve been wanting to read this trilogy for a long time and I’m not putting it off any longer (once I’ve finished up with Moshfegh’s novel).

Until next time, thanks for reading!