WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/15

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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

The Princess BrideI started reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman over the past couple of days, though I haven’t gotten very far yet. I was honestly thrown for a loop when starting out. I knew very little going in, so finding the inside title page saying ‘The “Good Parts” Version Abridged by William Goldman,’ I started to panic that I didn’t have the complete story (fans are probably giggling at me right now). Apparently, for reasons I haven’t fully educated myself on, Goldman fictionalizes himself around the creation of this book, giving the story a history that precedes him. The introductions further this frame, including details about the movie but maintaining the fictional history of the book he has “abridged”. It’s amusing, but was such a bizarre thing to be suddenly confronted with.


Recently Finished

AftermathOver the weekend I finished Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, book one of the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. Please check out my review here! The characters grew on me a lot by the end, but the story was so divided among their numerous perspectives, as well as those of more minor characters, that the plot ended up being rather thin and uninteresting. With power shifting politically in such a big way, especially in the fissures of the Empire, I’m disappointed the plot was so unremarkable. The “Interlude” chapters stood out especially well though, giving me the glimpses I craved into how familiar places in the galaxy were reacting to the events of Return of the Jedi.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel UniverseI also read Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn et al. It was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, which is both good and bad. Good because it was a fun, morbid story where I didn’t have to worry about continuity or consequences; just some good old-fashioned carnage. It also kicked through the fourth wall as a part of its storytelling, rather than Deadpool’s usual leaning upon it. It was bad because I would have preferred it if his confrontations with particular characters were a little more drawn out and their deaths earned. He wipes out many of them far too easily and I sadly saw that coming.


Reading Next

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsI don’t rightly know what I’ll get to next. I want to get to Aftermath: Life Debt so I can avoid being stuck in the middle of a series for too long, but I may read Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden as a shorter read before I do. I’ve bought a lot of Hellboy books over the last year, so I really ought to be reading them. Other than that I’ve got plenty of comic books to choose from too. Since they’re such a relatively shorter commitment I’m leaving my choice in that arena up to whim.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/28

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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

SkeletonCrewI’m still reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I have not made much progress on it over the past week. I finished the story “Here There Be Tygers” which was rather short. It was interesting and a little different than what I’m used to from King. It was rather open-ended and nonsensical, but not in a way that was frustrating or baffling. It quite effectively tapped into fears and anxieties one might experience in childhood, through every day people and (possibly) imaginary presences. I started reading “The Monkey” but some personal distractions held be back from finishing it.

Recently Finished

HellboyTheLostArmyI finished The Lost Army by Christopher Golden just before the weekend, which was both disappointing and in other ways exactly what I needed. You can read my full review of the novel here. Having purchased so many Hellboy novels now, since some of them are a little difficult to find at reasonable prices, I’m happy I finally got through one. It was pulpy fun that captured the essence of the character well while also serving as a fun, noncommittal side-story. My only real gripe, which I explain more in my review, is how little character development actually takes place.

Reading Next

RebelJailI still intend to start The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien soon, as well as “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer once I set aside some to get through it in a sitting. Other than that, I’ve been thinking more about the mountain of comic book volumes I need to get through that I’ve been severely taking my time with. In particular are the Star Wars comics I’ve let pile up. So, I will likely be reading Rebel Jail next, continuing the adventures of the crew of the Millennium Falcon after the events of Vader Down, which I read at the beginning of last year.

Book Review – The Lost Army by Christopher Golden

Summary

525 B.C. The Persian King Cambyses sent fifty thousand soldiers across the conquered Egyptian desert to take an oasis city not far from where the Libyan border stands today. According to Greek history, a hurricane-force sandstorm struck near the end of their six-hundred-mile trek. The army—all fifty thousand men—vanished without a trace.

1986 A.D. A British archaeological team, sent to the edge of the Great Sand Sea to exhume evidence of the incident, has gone missing. The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is sending the world’s greatest paranormal investigator, Hellboy, to find the missing team and discover what became of The Lost Army.

HellboyTheLostArmy

The Lost Army by Christopher Golden is the first Hellboy novel, based on the comic book series of the same name. The book includes illustrations by series creator Mike Mignola. While I’ve enjoyed prose Hellboy stories from a couple of anthologies by now, this was my first venture into a full novel about the character. Since this was published in 1997 there have been nine other Hellboy novels and four anthologies. Interestingly, only a handful of this material is considered to be in continuity with the comic book series proper, which understandably takes precedent. This novel, along with other books and stories by Golden, are considered within canon.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/21

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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

SkeletonCrewSince last week I’ve started two new books. The first of these was finally Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. The first story was “The Mist,” which is nearly 200 pages long, so I focused a lot of my reading time on getting through that story. Though the ending didn’t pack the punch of the 2007 film, I liked the story a lot. It’s a simple yet effective premise, witnessing the social mores dissolve when people are faced with a crisis. The monsters themselves were wonderfully horrific as well. With this story out of the way the book will take a more supplemental position among my readings now, since no other tale is as long.

HellboyTheLostArmyI also started Hellboy: The Lost Army by Christopher Golden. I wanted to get it read through over the weekend, but focus on “The Mist” hindered that. I’m about a quarter of the way through. I’m enjoying it well enough so far. The writing style reminds evokes the comic book a lot for me. I was a little put off by how much time was spent explaining who all the characters are and what the world is like, but I understand why it’s necessary. It’s weird coming into a novel that is supplementing a comic book, yet must also stand on its own. This novel is balancing that well so far though.

I’m still in the middle of The Lord of the Rings, just taking a short break from it. You can read my review of The Fellowship of the Ring here.

Recently Finished

Nothing this week, unfortunately. March has been a really bad month for me…

Reading Next

KomodoI’m definitely going to start “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer soon, it’s just a matter of setting aside the time to read it. Otherwise, I suppose my next read after The Lost Army will be The Two Towers, continuing my goal of reading through The Lord of the Rings. I’m sure I’ll get through some more comic book volumes along the way, but I have so many of those to choose from right now, with none particularly grabbing me, that whim is really going to be the decider on what I read next in that department.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/14

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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

TheLordoftheRingsTechnically, I am still reading The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. However, last night I finished reading The Fellowship of the Ring and goodness I would like a break. I’m not shelving LOTR entirely, but it is being set aside while I pick up something lighter. The book really picked up for me toward the end of this first volume. The group’s journey through the mines of Moria was a particular high point for me. It struck a good balance between travel, lore, and action. I intend to review The Fellowship of the Ring soon, after I’ve mulled over it a little. This tome will only count as one book on Goodreads for me, but I’ve resolved to do a review in three parts.

Recently Finished

FragmentsOfHorrorOver the weekend I started and finished the horror manga Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito. You can read my full review here. Unfortunately,  I found the book to be disappointing in a lot of ways. Some of the stories were messily executed, and I often found even the better stories to have some glaring flaws. The author himself talks about being rusty after an eight-year hiatus, so hopefully this was only a matter of him getting back into the swing of things. Regardless, I’m pretty confident that’s the lowest point his work will reach for me, so I look forward to diving into his other stuff.

Reading Next

KomodoMy mind has been all over the place with deciding what to read next. I want to start digging into Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, but I think I’m going to try to read all of Hellboy: The Lost Army by Christopher Golden this weekend. It’s only a couple of hundred pages long, and I’d really like to actually start reading these Hellboy novels since I’ve bought so many of them. I also want to read the short story Komodo by Jeff VanderMeer, which I bought a Kindle edition of while looking up the author’s work. It’s only about 30 pages long so I should be able to breeze through that as well.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/27

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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

I want to say that I’m currently reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, but the busyness of the holiday season has prevented me from getting a start on it. Now that I’m back home, however, I plan to power through it over the next few days.

Recently Finished

Smoke&MirrorsLast week I finished reading Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, which you can read my review of here. It was a great collection of dark and beautiful stories, often twists on unrequited love in some way, that had me hooked throughout. I especially liked the stories that played around with the world of H. P. Lovecraft’s weird tales, as well as the numerous retellings of fairy tales.

 

HellboyTheMidnightCircusI also read Hellboy: The Midnight Circus by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo over the weekend. It was much shorter than a typical comic book trade, but it was an enjoyable little story about a boy running away to see the circus, except it is a young Hellboy and this is no earthly circus. This book is also the story that introduces Hellboy’s sister Gamori, who only appears again in the second volume of Hellboy in Hell.

Reading Next

HellboyIntoTheSilentSeaI still plan to read Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea by Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, and Dave Stewart, as it is another short Hellboy book. I want to get The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed by Mike Mignola read as well, but it has moved to the bottom of my list of priorities.

With some end of year posts still needing to go up, I haven’t really had the week or so to just take a breather from all of the reading, so I may doing that the first week of January instead. As a result I have no immediate plans for what I’m reading next in the new year.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/20

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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

Smoke&MirrorsI’m still in the middle of Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, with just about 100 pages left to go. This is the first time I’ve really gotten into any of his short fiction outside of comic books, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I have such pleasant mental associations with Gaiman as a public figure that I often forget how dark and messed up his fiction can get, especially, as it turns out, his short fiction. It really goes to show how much range he has as a writer too. I’m a fan of his, and yet even I feel like I haven’t been giving him enough credit. I’ll hopefully have this book finished and reviewed later this week.

Recently Finished

TheButtonSince last week I’ve only read Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition written by Joshua Williamson and Tom King and illustrated by Jason Fabok and Howard Porter. It was the last comic book I wanted to make sure I read before started Doomsday Clock, which admittedly I still haven’t gotten around to. It was an enjoyable enough story, though even as someone who doesn’t regularly read any DC Comics titles I could see this book could have been skipped. I don’t regret reading it, regardless.

Reading Next

TheVisitorCoverI still plan to read Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, though it’s more than likely I won’t have a review up for it until the new year. As far as comic books are concerned, I want get through some digital Hellboy volumes, by Mike Mignola and various, that I’ve gotten over the last few months: The Midnight Circus, Into the Silent Sea, and The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed. The last one is of particular interest to me, as it promises insight into a character that, if memory serves, first appeared in volume five of the main series. He and his peoples’ oversight over Hellboy’s life was left largely obscure.

Book Review – Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

Sixteen of the biggest names in weird literature come together to pay tribute to Hellboy and the characters of Mike Mignola’s award-winning line of books! Assembled by Joe Golem and Baltimore co-writer Christopher Golden and featuring illustrations by Mike Mignola and Chris Priestley, the anthology boasts sixteen original stories by the best in horror, fantasy, and science fiction, including Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Chelsea Cain (Heartsick), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), and more! The new writer of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., iZombie co-creator Chris Roberson, pitches in as well, and Chris Priestley (Tales of Terror) provides a story and an illustration!

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrors

Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, released on August 29, 2017, is the latest anthology of Hellboy short stories, once again edited by Christopher Golden. It’s funny the way things have turned out, with me having jumped to reading the newest one after having just gone through the first one back in August. When I read Odd Jobs the experience came as a great surprise. I picked it up as a novelty, wanting to see how a change in medium would feel for the character and the world, not expecting how much I’d love it. This precise experience is not something that could happen a second time. I’d been curious of how well a new collection would fare, considering it is now the fourth one produced and long after the first.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: Odd Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

In 1994, Mike Mignola created one of the most unique and visually arresting comics series to ever see print: Hellboy. Tens of thousands have followed the exploits of “the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator” in comics form, and in the novel, Hellboy: The Lost Army, written by Christopher Golden. Now, fans of the comic can enjoy the world of Hellboy as seen through the eyes of some of today’s best writers.

HellboyOddJobs

Hellboy: Odd Jobs is a 1999 anthology of Hellboy short stories edited by Christopher Golden. It gathers noted horror writers of the time to tell their own stories about the character, including a story by the duo of Golden and creator Mike Mignola, as well as a special cartoon by Gahan Wilson. The book presented a new opportunity for me: I haven’t ever read a book of prose adapting a comic book character before. Novel and comic book spin-off of movies and TV series are quite common, but novels and short stories supplementing comic book series doesn’t seem nearly as prominent. It felt a little risky. Hellboy is strongly defined by Mignola’s iconic art style. With that absent, save for a single illustration at the start of each story, I wondered how well these authors could capture the spirit of the character.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/04/19

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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

I’m getting further along in it now, but I’ve still got a ways to go with What If? by Randall Munroe. Still really liking it, although I’m a little disappointed to find I can’t fully appreciate some of the more math-heavy entries. I’ve never really had a penchant for it beyond the basics. One entry in particular I did really like though, which tackles that frequently occurring question “What if everyone on Earth jumped at the same time?” I won’t spoil his twist on it, but I thought it was answered quite humorously by giving us an entirely new problem that the premise creates.

I’m also in the middle of reading Hellboy in Mexico. I feel I ought to have finished it by now, but I’m more lax with getting through it since finishing the main series. The original idea for the one-shot “Hellboy in Mexico” was great and it’s a lot of fun to see it fleshed out. Basically, Hellboy has a “lost weekend” in Mexico in 1956 that spanned about five months. He spent nearly the entire time drunk, so doesn’t remember much of what happened. This book builds on that idea, giving us a collection of stories about what he got up to.

Recently Finished

In defiance of personal expectations I actually managed to power through all of The Dark Tower by Stephen King since my last entry. Not that it was particularly hard; the book was really hard to put down. Cliffhangers were resolved, plotlines wrapped up, and a lot of heartbreak and loss was had. It was unexpected how much I actually found myself grieving for characters after I’d put the book down. That doesn’t happen for me often.  The group is almost constantly traveling forward as well, which I like, encountering harsh conditions, hellish landscapes, and nightmarish adversaries. I don’t want to talk endlessly about it, so what I’ll say in closing is that this might be my favourite book in the whole series. It was a satisfying end. I posted a full review a couple days ago if anyone is interested in more of my thoughts.

I also finished reading the entire Hellboy series, which I feel quite accomplished about, since acquiring and reading the remaining seven volumes I needed had been a mission of mine for the last while. I was happy with how it all turned out, though I wish volumes had run together a little better. Volumes 10 and 11 are both collections of shorts that don’t occur chronologically with the main story, which hurt the pace a bit for me. The conclusion itself was epic, however, and a rather poignant end for the character.

Reading Next

At this point I have the reader’s wonderful problem of having so many books to read I cannot make up my mind. I’m leaning toward Tarkin by James Luceno to get more of the new Star Wars books under my belt, though I also want to maybe power through the Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger so I can say I’ve done it (I’ve owned a copy for years). As I think I’ve mentioned before I also want to continue Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series with Sourcery, On Writing by Stephen King, and Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Like I said, lots to choose from. Haven’t made up my mind yet, but you’ll know what I picked by my next entry.