Book Review – The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

The Complete Cosmicomics

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino is a collection of short stories, bringing together into one volume many stories from across the author’s bibliography. Within this collection are the 12 stories included in the book Cosmicomics, the 11 stories from the book t zero, 4 stories from Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories, and 7 other tales translated into English for the very first time in this collection.

Often following the ageless narrator Qfwfq, each story covers natural phenomena in our universe, specifically drawing inspiration from real-world scientific discoveries as they were understood at the time each respective story was written. Be it the extinction of the dinosaurs, the separation of the Moon from the Earth, or the formation of the very atoms that make up our universe, each tale takes these scientific concepts and mythologizes them into a surreal exploration of the natural world.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – January 5, 2022

www_wednesdays

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

Nothing at the moment! I’m taking a little break, and I’m still deciding what I want my line-up of books for the year to be.


Recently Finished

As I said last week, I ended up doing a blitz of reading before the New Year. I came up one book short of my goal, but that still amounted to a good handful done. To save on space, I’m going to format this section a little differently than I normally do.

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino turned around a lot by the end. The stream of consciousness, abstract style of stories that had been vexing me were replaced by more stories done in the vein of those found earlier in the collection, which I found a lot more accessible. My feelings on the book still aren’t especially high, but I feel better about it than I was afraid I was going to. There will be a review to come soon.

Deserter by Junji Ito was a great little collection of some of the author’s earlier stories. The art was a lot rougher around the edges than I was used to, but that was more than forgivable. A tendency I dislike in some of his other stories is a compulsion to over-explain the outlandish ideas that his stories use. These had plenty of out-there ideas, but it was kept appreciably simple, with the stories more focused on characters dealing with these dilemmas than trying to explain why they are happening. I will try to have a review up for this soon too.

I also read through The Immortal Hulk: The Weakest One There Is by Al Ewing et al. I haven’t got much to say about it, other than the fact that I continue to love this series. It was a lot more action focused, but the horror visuals were great and I’m excited to see everything will resolve with Banner so compromised. One of the alternate Hulk personalities had been dealing with using Banner’s body the whole series so far, but he has finally returned to his Grey Hulk form, which I’m excited to see more of in the next volume.

I also finished Hope Is the Thing With Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, which took my a shameful amount of time to pick back up, considering I started it in June and then just didn’t ever pick it up to read occasionally like I had planned. There were definitely some poems that stood out to me nicely, but it wasn’t really for me either. It’s not something I’d ever read all the way through again, but it was still nice to go out of my comfort zone a little.


Reading Next

Thrawn TreasonI don’t really know what I’m going to read next, because like I said, I haven’t really outlined what I want to read throughout 2022 yet. I have been considering starting The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett, since it is a leftover Discworld book I meant to read last year, but I haven’t gotten a copy yet, so I probably won’t start that first. I have been meaning to finish the new Thrawn trilogy by finally getting to Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn, however, so perhaps I will start that finally. It’s been a while since I’ve read a Star Wars novel, so it should make for some fun, lighter reading after that blitz.

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

WWW Wednesday – December 29, 2021

www_wednesdays

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 Complete CosmicomicsThough I took a small break from posting last week for the holidays, I’m sorry to say that I haven’t finished The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino since I last updated, though I’m a decent 272 pages in now. Finding reading time has been harder than I was expecting, but to be honest, I’m also having increased difficulty with reading this book. A number of the early stories were pretty easy to get into, if a little dry, but many of the last several have been far too abstract and/or stream-of-consciousness for their own good. I’ve sincerely struggled to follow along with a few of them now, and at this point I just want to reach the end to get it over with. Hopefully my feelings can turn around a little by the end, but so far it’s looking like this book will be a disappointment overall.


Recently Finished

Nothing! I’ve done a terrible job of staying on top of things, and now I’ve got a lot to do in a small amount of time.


Reading Next

Immortal Hulk The Weakest One There IsI’ve got a lot of reading left to do and only three days left to do it. At the very least, I want to finish Cosmicomics to complete my to-read list, but I will try to power through Hope is the Thing With Feathers as well. Other than those two, I want to read some comics too, which will be easier overall. Perhaps next week will have a substantial pile of finished books, we’ll see. This last week and a bit has punctuated the year with some unexpected stress for me, so it’s just been a bit more difficult to make time for reading. I hope everybody else has had a safe and happy holidays, at any rate.

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

WWW Wednesday – December 15, 2021

www_wednesdays

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 Complete CosmicomicsOver the weekend I managed to start reading The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino, and I’m a good 120 pages in so far. This book is not quite what I was expecting, in both good and less good ways. All that I knew going in was that the book collects stories about a timeless consciousness in space who has weird adventures, and in an oversimplifying way this is true. However, one of the core ideas with these stories is that Calvino is crafting a narrative around scientific discoveries about physical properties of the universe. All of them have been fascinatingly imaginative abstract narratives in some way, but the emphasis on ideas over character and more involved storytelling also makes them more boring for me, at least so far. Some capture my interest more than others, but I hope I acquire more of a taste for this style overall as I get further along.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week!


Reading Next

DeserterA nice surprise this past week is that the latest collection of Junji Ito stories, Deserter, is coming out in English, and my preorder arrived well ahead of the December 21 publication date. Picking up these new books has been fairly obligatory for me for a while now, but what’s got me extra excited about this one is that it’s a collection of a bunch of his earliest works. A lot of his new stuff has been hit-or-miss for me, so I’m really looking forward to seeing some of his short work when he first emerged on the scene. Not quite the tone for Christmas, maybe, but it’s a season for ghost stories too, and there’s bound to be at least one in there.

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

WWW Wednesday – December 8, 2021

www_wednesdays

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

Nothing! I’m in between books at the moment.


Recently Finished

A Gathering of GhostsOver the weekend I managed to finish reading the bulk of A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland, though I didn’t officially finish it until Monday night because I insisted on reading the Historical Notes and Glossary at the back as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, with everything coming together in an excellent way by the end. The only shortcoming, which I’ve touched on before, is how slow the story is. The more thoughtful pace was definitely great for world-building and developing its characters, but it could also feel drawn out at times. So, the slower pace may turn off some people, but it’s otherwise a great historical read that incorporates mysticism of the time and place into the world. I’ll try to have a full review up soon, schedule permitting.


Reading Next

The Complete CosmicomicsSo here we are, with five more books to complete on my Goodreads challenge and one more on my main to-read list for 2021. I will be starting The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino as soon as possible, though hopefully it won’t take too long to read. It’s a short story collection, but hopefully that will help make the whole thing more digestible. I still intend to read The Immortal Hulk, Vol. 9: The Weakest One There Is by Al Ewing et al. soon, as well as finally finish Hope is the Thing with Feathers, which leaves two more books I need to read in order to meet my goal. They will surely be graphic novels, it’s just a matter of picking which ones.

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

WWW Wednesday – November 24, 2021

www_wednesdays

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

A Gathering of GhostsSince last week I was able to read some more of A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland, though my progress was just shy of 100 pages. The novel continues to be a pretty slow burn, though certain elements are starting to come together in interesting ways. The magical elements of this story seem to be genuine, but are very subdued, showing old pagan beliefs falling to the wayside with the ever-growing prominence of Christianity. I don’t know how true it all is, but it’s been teaching me interesting little factoids I had no idea of about the 1300s, a time I know very little about. Apparently, they saw frogs as evil and unclean creatures. I’m aghast at the very idea! I hope the snake on the cover has a role to play.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, I’m afraid.


Reading Next

The Complete CosmicomicsWith only so much time left in the year, I have to be realistic about what I think I can finish. There are two more books in mind that I want to get done, but I’ve decided to prioritize one over the other. The next book I’m going to read is The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino. I’ve only read one other Calvino book so far, but I really enjoyed how unconventional and meta it was, so I’m excited to check this out, which seems to be altogether different. I don’t know too much about it, except I think the narrator is a weird consciousness in space and it’s a collection of short stories. Once I finish this book, after A Gathering of Ghosts, I will have at least finished by scrappy to-read list for the year.

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

Top 5 Books I Read in 2019

The final year of the decade has come and gone. It’s strange how one of the most ordinary things in the world can feel so uncanny sometimes. The last five years were long, there is no doubt, but I can’t escape the sense that they were the fastest five years of my life. 2019 itself was weird for feeling both long and short, in its own right.

With the year over and done, that is also another load of books that I’ve finished reading. Every year I pick my top five favourites among them, in no particular order, and this year is no different. They needn’t have come out this year, I just need to have read them this year. Without further ado…Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 27, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I started reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. I’m not especially far into it, but I’m unabashedly adoring it so far. I’m having a bit of trouble with some of the names of the prehistoric creatures, but other than that Brusatte is pretty exceptional at making the material accessible to those outside the field. I grew up as a dinosaur kid, but my active interest dropped off in adulthood. I’ve learned quite a bit from this book already as a result, which I’ve already eagerly been passing on to others who will listen. I’m always a little concerned I’ll have trouble with science books, but so far this book is far from the case.


Recently Finished

if on a winter's night a travelerI finally finished If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino over the weekend as well, which I posted my full review for yesterday. The book is quite a brilliant exploration of readers and writers of literature, and all the forms such take for good or ill. It had a good sense of humour to go with its philosophical waxing too. It is worth noting that the frame narrative does not have much in the way of an intricate plot, however, and the transitions back and forth between it and the novels the protagonist is reading may have a polarizing effect for some people. I appreciated it a lot, but even I found it pretty exhausting sometimes.

Berserk 21I also read Berserk Vol. 20 & 21 by Kentaro Miura, which brought about the conclusion I’d been eagerly anticipating for this arc. I’m pretty pleased with the way things turned out, especially in how the main antagonist didn’t simply devolve into another monster for Guts to fight. His convictions were steadfast despite his metamorphosis and I appreciated that in a villain. His ultimate folly was not realizing how he could better help the people around him with the power granted to him, instead giving into his own fanaticism. I’m eager to see where the story goes next, but I’m not sure if I want to use this opportunity to take a breather a bit before I continue.


Reading Next

Lost StarsWhile I’ve still got plenty of book left with what I’m reading right now, I guess I can’t really help looking to the future as well. I’m thinking I will finally read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, a Star Wars novel I meant to read last year but never got around to. It’s praised quite highly among the new canon of books, so it’s high time I read it myself. It tells the story of two star-crossed lovers caught on opposing sides of the Galactic Civil War and I’m curious to see how the conflict is framed through their eyes.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

if on a winter's night a traveler

If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino is not just one novel, but several. Told in the second-person, the frame narrative tells the story of an unnamed Reader who buys a new book, If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino, only to find that there was a binding issue printing the book and after the first 32 pages the same chapter is repeated throughout, leaving him unable to continue reading after a moment of suspense in the story. Trying to find a complete version of this initial novel he is mistakenly given a completely different novel by another author, which he resigns to read anyway. This too stops short at a moment of suspense, leading him further down a madcap pursuit of novels that he simply wants to finish reading.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 20, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

if on a winter's night a travelerI’m over halfway through If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and I’ve gotten a much clearer grasp of what this novel is going for. What I mistook for breaking the fourth wall in the opening chapter was actually a case of narrative told in the second-person (though I’m sure the leaning on the fourth wall was deliberate). Chapters alternate between the protagonist’s story and what he is reading, which is always a chapter from a new book and always ends at a moment of great suspense. It’s a fascinating structure that has me continually interested, but I’m not yet sure if what it’s building towards will be satisfying for me or not.


Recently Finished

Unfortunately, nothing this week!


Reading Next

Berserk 20I still have every intention of reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte next, but with Calvino’s novel still needing to be finished I have comic book plans for the nearer future. I was able to get a hold of the next couple volumes of Berserk that I need, so I will be reading Vol. 20 soon. Hopefully the arc I’m in the middle of will be wrapping up within these volumes so I can avoid being held in suspense any longer.

Until next week, thank you for reading!