WWW Wednesday – July 3, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

The Three Ws are:

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


Currently Reading

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

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


Recently Finished

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

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


Reading Next

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

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

WWW Wednesday – June 26, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

The Three Ws are:

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


Currently Reading

The Midwich CuckoosI finished reading Part One of The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham over the weekend. I continue to be surprised by how progressive the book is in dealing with the subject of mass unwanted pregnancies. There’s a rather effective moment where Angela, the woman helping to hold the community together, vents to her husband about how his support is all well and good, but it’s all too easy for him because it’s impossible for him to ever have to deal with what the women are dealing with. The nature of the alien offspring they birth is much more fascinating than I expected too. While there are about 60 children, split almost evenly between male and female, they seem to be two distinct male and female hive-minds.

The Buying of Lot 37I’m also a few chapters into The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the third volume collecting the scripts of episodes for the podcast series Welcome to Night Vale. It’s been nearly three years since I read volume two, and that was the last time I went through those episodes, so it was actually a little jarring to be thrown back into the mix. I am slowly recalling where everything is at for the characters at this point in the story though. I am enjoying revisiting them nonetheless, especially with Jessica Hayworth’s illustrations added to the mix. The pacing does feel a little off, however, since it was originally dictated like a radio show and now is formatted like standard prose. This is a small gripe though.


Recently Finished

Eating the DinosaurOver the weekend I finished reading Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman and you can check out my full review here. This really was a refreshing read thanks to the randomness involved in my deciding to pick it up. I especially enjoyed the final two essays, the penultimate one dealing with our society’s fixation on irony/sarcasm and how we often completely misunderstand artists and other figures who are very literal. The last was a deeper look at the effect the internet has had on our society, through the controversial lens of the Unabomber’s manifesto (whom the author dismisses for the radical murderer he is, but nonetheless is intrigued by what he wrote). I may have to pick up more of Klosterman’s books in the future.

A Study in EmeraldI also read through A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone. It was a wonderful adaptation of the story, bringing it to life visually almost perfectly. I especially liked the way Queen “Victoria” was represented as a Lovecraftian horror that is standing as monarch over Britain. I am happy I managed to secure an inexpensive digital copy of this book, however, as it is quite directly a retelling of the short story with little to no alteration from what I could notice. The art work has it’s merit of course, but I do feel I’ve just bought the same story again. I think I’d have been a little beside myself if I bought a physical edition for the same price as the entirety of Fragile Things.


Reading Next

With Midwich still unfinished I haven’t settled upon another novel to read next. I should have it finished before June is over, though, so expect to see something new in the Currently Reading section next week. Isn’t this exciting? I wonder what it’ll be.

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

WWW Wednesday – June 19, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

The Three Ws are:

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


Currently Reading

Eating the DinosaurI’m still in the middle of reading Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman, and the experience continues to be an interesting one at the very least. His essays are excellently written, but what I’m having diminishing returns with is how much he writes about music and sports. I dislike neither topics, but don’t have an especially big interest in them either. The football essay was especially in-depth, though fortunately I used to play so I was able to appreciate much of it, even if I’m not an active fan of any  league. Often his discussions of these subjects do tie into greater ideas about culture as well, which is all the better. I just can’t help being a little disappointed in what he chooses to focus on.

The Midwich CuckoosOver the weekend I started reading The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. It’s a classic science fiction novel about a village that has a visitation from a UFO that makes everything in the village fall unconscious. A day later it is gone and soon after it’s discovered that all the women in the village are pregnant. What I’m pleasantly surprised by with this book is how much it has been exploring the social impact of sudden, inexplicable pregnancies throughout a village. I would have expected it to gloss over this part of the story, but the troubling implications of the event and the ways women are handling it is being explored more than I thought a novel written in the 1950s would.


Recently Finished

Nothing for this week. Shame on me. June has been a slower month for some reason. Certainly feels like it, anyway.


Reading Next

The Buying of Lot 37I’m definitely going to start The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor next, though I would like to at least finish up with Eating the Dinosaur first. Lot 37 will be a supplemental read too, so I do still have to figure out what novel to read next, but there is plenty of time for that. In terms of comic books I will likely read A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone. It is a graphic novel adaptation of a story that appeared in Giaiman’s collection Fragile Things. I’m excited to see it adapted into a visual medium.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – June 12, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

The Three Ws are:

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


Currently Reading

Eating the DinosaurI’m still reading Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman, though I’ve only read one essay since last week. The essay in question was all about time travel, however, and that made it really fascinating. In fact, when I was considering picking the book up it was one of the pages I flipped to in this chapter that sealed the deal; it was all about the “Bootstrap Paradox.” It read like a well-crafted rant, though that’s hardly a bad thing for me. He dives into time travel in films, the problems he has with the concept of time travel and explanations of its hypothetical consequences, and most importantly I now understand where the title of the book comes from; it’s the only worthwhile reason he sees for traveling to the past.


Recently Finished

The Hidden Life of TreesOver the weekend I finished reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben and should have a review up before the end of the week. I maintain the criticisms I brought up last week, but all in all this book gave me valuable insight in a fairly accessible way that made some hiccups in the readability more than forgivable. I think I was hoping this book would recapture the passion The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs filled me with, but I can’t expect every science book I’m intrigued by to pull that off. I’m just not into learning about trees in the same way. I rate this book pretty high nonetheless, and I’m really excited to check out the next book in the Mysteries of Nature series by the author.


Reading Next

The Midwich CuckoosI’ve finally just settled on the next book from my scrappy list I’m going to read, and that is The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. It’s a science fiction classic that looks to be a relatively quick read, so I thought I’d quickly scratch if off my list. I really enjoyed the last two Wyndham books I read—The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids—so I’m looking forward to this one too. I also want to start The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor, the third volume collecting scripts of Welcome to Night Vale podcast episodes. I really enjoyed the insight the first two volumes provided for the making of the series.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Podcast Series Review – Within the Wires Season Two

Summary

The hit audio drama Within the Wires returns with a new story told through found audio from an alternate universe. Season two, “Museum Audio Tours,” tells its story in the guise of ten audio museum guides. Over the course of a decade of worldwide exhibitions, these walkthroughs unravel the complex story of a mysterious disappearance of an artist’s mentor.

WithinTheWiresS2

Within the Wires season two is a fiction podcast produced by Night Vale Presents, written by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson, and starring Rima Te Wiata as Roimata Mangakāhia. The first episode of this season released on September 5, 2017, and concluded with episode 10 on January 9, 2018. I may not write about fiction podcasts very often, but I continue to be a big fan of the medium. I love that audio-only storytelling is returning in such a way, distinct from audio books, their creators doing much more with the format to tell their stories.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/11/15

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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

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewI’ve started to make a lot of headway reading Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View. I had actually jumped the gun last week; I wasn’t quite out of Mos Eisley yet. The stories have moved much farther along from that space port now, though more frequently now to halls of the Death Star. The destruction of Alderaan is given some noteworthy attention, unsurprisingly, with a rather tragic tale told from the perspective of people on the planet in the story “Eclipse” by Madeleine Roux, as well as a surprise appearance from Dr. Aphra in “The Trigger” By Kieron Gillen, which explores the ramifications of that planet’s destruction in a more societal way. I’ve picked up a lot of momentum reading this book, and I’ll hopefully have it finished by next week.

Recently Finished

ItDevours!Before the weekend I finished reading It Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor. I posted my full review of the novel yesterday, which you can read here. It was not without its imperfections — one unfortunately glaring for me — but as a lover of good storytelling, as well as the world of Night Vale, I enjoyed it all the same. The humour was on point, the story was full of all sorts of creepy and vague yet menacing life, and the writing style drew me in throughout. It’s just a shame things didn’t quite come together in the climax as I’d hoped.

Reading Next

AhsokaI have still yet to start Eric by Terry Pratchett, but I intend to go through it this weekend. Once all other reading is out of the way I will start Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston. Yes, I know, another Star Wars book. Well, they won’t be going away any time soon. It turns out I’m not quite out of the Clone Wars related stuff just yet either, which is why I’m adamant about reading this book before the year is out so I can move on from that era.

Book Review – It Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

Summary

Welcome to Night Vale . . . a friendly desert community somewhere in the American Southwest, where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are parts of everyday life.

Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.

ItDevours!

It Devours!? Oh yeah, I’ve read that book. It’s the second novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor based on their popular serial fiction podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The book was released on October 17, 2017, and as a big fan of the podcast I had been eagerly awaiting it for a while. When the first novel came out — simply titled Welcome to Night Vale — I was cautiously excited. While I loved the audio show, its translation to the novel format was untested. The first book had a few hiccups, but I think it turned out quite well. With the debut book out of the way, proving their narrative world had legs in the medium, my expectations of a second book to do a little more with the setting grew.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/11/08

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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

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewI have started up reading Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View once again, though it is still more of a back-burner read. It’s been a bit ridiculous with how committed this collection got to portraying different perspectives from the film. I have been in Mos Eisley for much longer than I expected. Numerous aliens from that dang cantina, most of whom did not do anything other than appear in a few shots for a couple seconds, have been given stories. There are only so many different contexts and points of view I can see that scene from before I get sick of it. They weren’t all bad on their own, but it all became a bit much.

ItDevours!I’ve also been reading It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor quite devoutly over the last week. I’ve got just under 100 pages left to go, so I should have it wrapped up very soon. I’m enjoying the novel a lot so far. I’m happy to see that the duo are able to write about another mystery set in Night Vale without it being too similar to their first novel. The writing has been really drawing me in; I’ve been devouring it at a rate I’m quite happy with.

Recently Finished

Sadly nothing finished this week. I guess I needed to cool off a little from the four I finished last week. Here’s hoping I’ll have more than one to talk about next week!

Reading Next

EricI have had Eric by Terry Pratchett, the ninth Discworld novel, for a while now and I’m eager to get to it once I complete It Devours! It’s comparatively shorter than these novels usually are — illustrated as well — so I’m confident I will be able to power through it in no time. I will savour the experience as much as I can, but I’m also eager to read Reaper Man, the 11th novel in the series and the second one about Death, so I welcome a shorter book along the way.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/11/01

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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 still “currently reading” Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View, though like I said last week I’ve put the book on hold. After a slew of finished titles I’m actually not in the middle of reading anything at the moment.

Recently Finished

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsTrue to my word last week there are a lot of entries under this heading this week. First up is Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, which I finished up shortly after my post last week. You can find my full review here. I liked the book a lot, though ultimately it lacked the wow factor that I had with the first anthology I read a few months ago. After everything the character has gone through, however, I’m happy to see authors writing him so effectively.

UzumakiOver the last few days leading up to Halloween I read through Uzumaki by Junji Ito, a short horror manga (comic book) series collected into a deluxe hardcover. At times it could drag a little, as some chapters felt more episodic and inconsequential to the overall story, but these moments were outweighed by how messed up this story could get. So many horrifically imaginative moments of body horror and distortion of reality populate this book. The art is especially to die for, bringing the story together in a way that other artists could not.

ThroughTheLookingGlassLastly, I finally finished up the run of Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis et al that I’ve been going through, having finished the event The Black Vortex and the final volume Through the Looking Glass. I think I’m going to do a little write up on my experience trying to read through these. There’s a lot of good about the characters and some of the stories, but thanks to the way Marvel manages its books it was very frustrating to keep track of what was going on sometimes. I’ve been a frustrated regular reader before, and it wasn’t a feeling I welcomed back heartily.

Reading Next

ItDevours!I’ve still got to get started on It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, so I’m definitely going to be starting that novel either today or tomorrow. I’ve got a spike in available reading time coming up over the next week, so I’m hopefully going to power through it over that time so I can move on to other books. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t manage to read this book within October.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/18

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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

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI’ve recently started going through Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, another prose collection edited by Christopher Golden, having finished a couple of stories in the collection so far. They were both quite good, the first told from the perspective of another agent on a case with Hellboy as they venture to an island of horrors in the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines, looking for a kidnapped girl. The other takes place in New York City, where Hellboy deals with a strange phenomenon that is killing people, which he slowly learns perhaps shouldn’t be stopped.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewIt’s been slow goings with Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, which is my intention. I’ve only read two more stories since last week, each about different denizens of Tatooine; a Jawa and a Tusken raider respectively. Each offered a closer look into the lives of these seemingly planet-bound species that have become iconic to the series. I liked how the latter was only tenuously tied to the events of A New Hope, telling its own intriguing little story, while an unusual amount of weight was put onto the Jawa’s role in the former story.

Recently Finished

TheNightmareCollectiveI finished The Nightmare Collective over the weekend, an anthology of horror stories edited by PlayWithDeath.Com, which you can read my full review of here. As a whole the collection was surprisingly good. I’ve read/listened to a lot more short horror fiction than I normally do in the past year and have come to recognize a lot of common tropes and cliches that I don’t like. It was good to see a collection willing to take its time, be original, and keep the right details close the vest.

HellboyWeirdTalesVol2I also finished Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 2, a comic collecting various artists together that I’d been trying to get my hands on for a while now. I liked it a lot more than the first volume, which contained artists that used more cartoony art styles in the stories they told. I like the more dour art style the series is known for, and while I can certainly have a sense of humour about it, ultimately I can do without it. The artists in this collection did a better job of capturing a darker visual style.

Reading Next

ItDevours!Yesterday I received my copy of It Devours! the new Welcome to Night Vale novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. For those who don’t know, Welcome to Night Vale is a narrative podcast created by the two authors. I love the visual design of the book itself and can’t wait to get to reading it, though I’m determined to finish up other books before I get to it. It’ll certainly be my next big read though.