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!

WWW Wednesday – November 21, 2018

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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

aftermathempiresendI’ve finally started reading Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, the final book in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I’m only a little over 50 pages into it, so it has only set the stage for where the story is going so far. Though in a vague sense I know where this book is going because of my impulses to research Star Wars, I’m pretty hooked already as one of the more responsible characters acted surprisingly rashly, putting her and a companion in tough stop in one of the forgotten little corners of the galaxy—the planet Jakku. Considering the characters find themselves on that planet so soon I’m really curious about what will develop there, since surely the inevitable battle (the remains of which can be seen in The Force Awakens) will not happen until late in the book.


Recently Finished

AliceIsntDeadOver the weekend I finished reading Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink. Please check out my review here! I liked the book, it’s certainly more refined in certain areas than the podcast it is adapting, but unfortunately it read a little too much like and abridged version of the story. I understand removing the episodic adventures that do not serve the plotline, but in trimming things down a lot of the slower, more intimate character moments got lost along the way too. It felt like things happened too quickly by the end, glossed over in the narration without much engagement with what the characters were doing. For those intrigued by the premise of oddities and horrors encountered on the highways of America I do recommend it though. It’s got its faults that keep me from really loving it, but it’s a solid story.

Fall of GileadI also read Fall of Gilead by Robin Furth et al, the fourth volume of the prequel comic books to the series The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Now this is what I’d been hoping for from these comics, giving me a closer look at events only hinted at or briefly mentioned in the books. Gilead indeed falls, but I enjoyed the valiant efforts of our characters and the tragic extent that the ill influence of John Farson had infected the city’s walls. One slightly unfortunate thing this book made me realize is these comic books came out before The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King. That book takes place between books four and five of the main series, but it came out after the series had ended. So, certain events in Fall of Gilead are contradicted by The Wind Through the Keyhole, which I must concede takes canonical importance over these comics.


Reading Next

Reaper ManHaving everything laid out and planned for the rest of the year, the next book I’m going to read shall be Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. This year has been rather disappointing as far as keeping up with reading the Discworld series. I set a good pace when I started in 2016, which I built upon last year. When I’ve finished Reaper Man I will only have read two this year, which isn’t even half of the number of books I read last year. 2019 will have to be a resurgence.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink

Alice Isn’t Dead is the latest novel by Joseph Fink, adapting his podcast series of the same name. This novel marks Fink’s first solo outing as an author, usually teaming up with Jeffrey Cranor for the novels based on the podcast series they created together, Welcome to Night Vale.

The novel follows Keisha Taylor, a woman working as a trucker who is searching for her wife Alice, who went missing some time before Keisha started trucking. After months of searching and turning up nothing Alice was presumed dead. Keisha mourned and tried to work through her grief, until she started to notice something strange during news reports of tragedies and accidents across America: always in the background, never the focus, was Alice staring right into the camera. Alice wasn’t dead, and Keisha meant to find her wife, uncovering clues in Alice’s personal documents pointing to Bay and Creek Transportation. Following these leads further she embarks upon a road trip into a world that exists on the backroads and highways of the country full of misshapen creatures, otherworldly forces, and conspiracies that go well beyond a simple missing person.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – November 14, 2018

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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

I’m a little over halfway through reading Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, which has in many ways been a rather different beast from the podcast series that it is retelling. Something I’m actually finding I miss are the little episodic outings from Keisha’s journey in the series. There are some nods as she investigates more about Thistle, but she doesn’t encounter these anomalies herself like she does in the series. I understand why this would be removed from a novel adapting all three seasons, to keep the narrative clean and without filler, but I miss them all the same. Those little oddities were some of my favourite things from the podcast.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I finished reading Elevation by Stephen King, which you can read my full review of here. I liked it well enough; it was a nice uplifting story with a bittersweet ending, though I think it’s a far cry from horror. I’d meet it halfway and call it eerie fiction, if that can be considered a genre. It was also a very fast read, which made it a welcome little addition to my reading endeavours. There really isn’t much more to say about it here. It was short and sweet, with some references to other King works for the keen-eyed fan, since it takes place in the recurring setting of Castle Rock.


Reading Next

I’m going to start reading Fall of Gilead by Robin Furth et al soon, as I said last week, but I have my books worked out for the remainder of the year too. There’s not much time left of 2018, so I decided I had to commit. Once I’m finished with Alice Isn’t Dead, which I expect will be rather soon, I’m going to start Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, the final book in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I know a little more about how things turn out than I would’ve liked going into it, thanks to some fanatic research in the past, but I’m still looking forward to seeing this trilogy through.

Until next week, thank you for reading!


WWW Wednesday – October 31, 2018

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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

House of LeavesI’m still in the thick of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The last chapter I was finally able to finish was entitled “The Labyrinth” and quite astoundingly that’s precisely what the chapter was. The formatting of that chapter was literally a labyrinth in book form. Footnotes led to other footnotes, winding around and through the pages of the chapter, taking me backwards and forwards, sometimes telling me something insightful, sometimes telling me nothing and leading nowhere. It was fascinating, but also a little frustrating. When a footnote passage was clearly going nowhere I would make sure to read it through anyway just to make sure I didn’t miss something. I suppose that’s on me, but it made the whole ordeal take a long longer to get to the other side of. I’m most interested in “The Navidson Record”—the exploration of the impossible house—but it keeps getting buried in footnotes and tangential passages.


Recently Finished

The Death Of SleepOver the weekend I read through Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep by Aleš Kot and Piotr Kowalski. You can check out my review here. It was all killer and no filler, telling the more personal story of a nameless Hunter’s journey to try and escape the nightmare that plagues the city of Yharnam. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t simply a comic book adaptation pumped full of mindless action and boss monsters from the game. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing necessarily, but I’m just so happy with how faithfully the tone and intent of the game was captured here. Some light is shed on lore, but nothing too expounding. You can suss out details from what you’re reading, but nothing is hand-fed to you. This is simply one of the best media tie-ins I’ve read in a while.


Reading Next

AliceIsntDeadWith the spooky season wrapping up it’s time to start thinking about what I’m going to be reading for the rest of the year. I’ve also come to realize I can likely count on my hand (excluding comics) the number of books I’ll finish by the end of December. That means I’ve definitely got to finish the two Star Wars novels I meant to this year, but I also want to read Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink. I actually feel bad for not reading it during October; it suits the season and it showed up at my house well before the release date (yesterday). I think I can get through it quickly though, so it’ll be up next.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Happy Halloween!

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 »