WWW Wednesday – August 26, 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

I’ve made a lot of nice progress in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers since last week; I’m 69% of the way through. I was hoping to have it done, but aren’t I always? The novel is really character driven, almost to a fault sometimes with how much time Chambers spends building people and places instead of plot, but I’m really enjoying the almost episodic travails of the crew as they make their journey. Evidently all of Chambers’s hard work has paid off too, as last night two crew members became involved with one another, which I had foreseen to an extent, yet I was embarrassingly flustered and giddy about it. I wouldn’t mind a stronger plot, but goodness am I invested in these people.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I read through Venus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito, which you can read my full review for here. I’m always excited to dive into a newly released Ito collection, but I was regrettably a little disappointed with this one. It didn’t exactly live up to its claim of being a “best of”, though it certainly does include one of my favourite stories of his. It did have the odd effect of having me utterly fixate on one story that didn’t resonate with me the way I’d hoped, though. I just couldn’t stop trying to puzzle it out after the fact. It even became a major focus in my review, as both a point of criticism and praise. Worth checking out, at any rate, just not among my favourites.


Reading Next

I expect I’ll be finished with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet soon, so I suppose I ought to have my next book lined up and ready, which I of course do not as I write this. So, eyeballing my to-read list to see what jumps out at me, I have settled on Kong Unbound, which is a collection of essays from a plethora of writers about the iconic behemoth of the silver screen. I’ve owned this book for many years, having bought it at an HMV for about $3, so it’s high time I actually read it. I’m hoping I can plough through it relatively quickly so I can strike yet another book from my list soon too—I’m still sweating about getting that done.

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

Comic Book Review – Venus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito

Venus in the Blind Spot is the latest collection of horror stories by manga artist and writer Junji Ito to be published in English by VIZ media. Marketed as a “best of” collection of stories by the author, there is a common thread throughout each of them related to compulsions and/or utter fixation. Included is the fan-favourite story “The Enigma of Amigara Fault,” previously included in the deluxe hardcover of Gyo, with some bonus colour panels/pages featured in that story and others, unique to this collection. While the majority are Ito original stories, this collection is noteworthy for including a few stories by other authors, which Ito has adapted. Additionally included are a colour poster and gallery of art featuring the subjects of some of his other famous works not included in the collection, which can be removed and displayed if the reader so chooses.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 19, 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

The Long Way to a Small Angry PlanetRegretfully, I haven’t read much more of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers since last week. Not a big week for reading overall, really. A lot of energy was being put into my review of Into the Unbounded Night, which took longer than I thought. Nevertheless, what I did read of Chambers’s book continued to be enjoyable; I got a firsthand account of what creating a tunnel in space is like, which sounds like a trippy and horrifying non-Euclidean experience. I also got to meet the last crew member finally, who seemed surprisingly mellow considering the unique way their brain works. As a final aside, the way the food is described in this book continually makes me hungry for the strange space delicacies described. It’s not fair.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, I’m afraid. See above. Also, new WP editor is the devil.


Reading Next

Venus in the Blind Spot

I’ve procrastinated reading any Star Wars comic books this past week, and they’re likely going to have to wait a little longer, because Venus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito has come out this week. It’s finally another English collection of his short stories, and I expect to be picking up my copy later today. I’m not sure which stories are included in this collection, except for “The Enigma of Amigara Fault”, which was included in Gyo. I’m really excited to get this book read and reviewed soon. Maybe I’ll squeeze in some Star Wars after all too, to make up for a lackluster week.

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

WWW Wednesday – January 29, 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

The Year of the FloodI’m just over halfway through The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, and I’m happy to report that my misgivings from last week have been quelled. The world before the pandemic is still horribly bleak, but I feel I know enough about all of the supporting characters that I’m not dreading the worst from all of them. I’m also really enjoying the distinct perspective each protagonist brings, one having been a child/teen before the Flood, and the other an adult. The lives of the lower classes, less seen in the first novel, are much more fleshed out in this book too. Despite living among them, there’s something quaint about this eco-relgious group that lives in squalor but have richer lives. I’m looking forward to seeing how they might play a role, if any, in how the pandemic starts.


Recently Finished

No Longer HumanOver the weekend I finished reading No Longer Human by Junji Ito, and posted a full review of it last night. I think this manga is one of those stories where you acknowledge that it’s conveying something meaningful or important, but actively engaging with it is a disconcerting or unpleasant experience. It deals with a lot of heavy subject matter that in some cases is executed upon really effectively, and in others muddied by borderline supernatural elements that I speculate are Ito’s additions to the tale. I think this manga is good, but its character has a repellent quality that gives me mixed feelings. I feel really motivated to check out Osamu Dazai’s original novel now, though, so I can see the clay Ito is molding with.

I also read Jenny Finn by Troy Nixey & Mike Mignola, et al. Haven’t much to say about it. The art was good, and it had some interesting visuals and ideas, but the story felt half-baked. Didn’t really care about any of the characters or what was happening. First two-star rating I’ve given on Goodreads in a while.


Reading Next

Here (away from it all)For starters, I’d really like to read The Case of Charles Dexter Ward graphic novel adapted by I. N. J. Culbard soon, since I’m really interested in checking out how he adapts Lovecraft’s work. I should probably do this before I go out and buy more of them. Other than that, I think I will deviate from my 2020 to-read list to check out Here (away from it all) by Polly Hope, one of the books that caught my eye in The Book of Forgotten Authors. I’ve mentioned it before, but to refresh it’s been described as Lord of the Flies with adults, which is what originally piqued my interest. I expect society to devolve and disappoint me in compelling ways.

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

Comic Book Review – No Longer Human by Junji Ito

No Longer Human

No Longer Human is the most recent book by manga creator Junji Ito to be translated and published in English. It adapts the famous novel of the same name originally authored by Osamu Dazai. The literal translation of the Japanese title is “Disqualified from Being Human.” Set in Pre-WWII Japan, the story follows the life of Yozo Oba, the son of a prominent family who deals with existential anxiety and a deep disconnection with what seems to make other people happy. He deals with this problem from a young age, playing the clown to keep his anxieties hidden from other people. Suffering abuses at home and worried that a classmate has discovered his charade, his life begins a gradual spiral out of control, succumbing to substance abuse, debauchery, and his own declining sanity as he gets older.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – January 22, 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

The Year of the FloodI’m a good 100 pages into The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood now, and I’m getting a much better sense of the characters. The plot is jumping between two characters surviving after “the Flood” pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, and their time before the Flood as members of God’s Gardeners, an eco-focused religious group. The most striking thing about getting back into this trilogy is being reminded just how bleak this world is. There’s actually an odd purity to the world after the pandemic. Prior to it, corporations run everything and the worst crimes against humanity are rampant. I like the focus characters well enough so far, but I wish I didn’t expect the worst from nearly everyone else.

No Longer HumanI started reading No Longer Human by Junji Ito over the weekend, which is adapting the Osamu Dazai novel of the same name. I’m having some mixed feelings about it so far. It’s not an unenjoyable read, but I guess I just don’t feel completely hooked yet, despite having read five chapters now. It’s primarily concerned with the misadventures of a young man, Oda, who feels intrinsically disconnected from other people, using buffoonery as a child to escape this by constantly keeping others entertained by his antics. Tonally, it’s a decidedly dismal story thus far. I like how Ito’s art informs us of the character’s perspective, though. He uses a lot of his usual foreboding style, but I see it as more reflective of how Oda sees other people than actual reality.


Recently Finished

The Book of Forgotten AuthorsOver the weekend I finally finished The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler. You can check out my full review here. I say finally, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but just that I was particular about getting it done. I really liked this book and would definitely pick up a follow-up if Fowler was inclined to write one. I’d likely read that more as a supplemental book though, so I can take my time and enjoy it more slowly. I was ultimately able to restrain myself from adding more and more books to my TBR while reading this book, which is probably for the best. That figurative shelf is crowded as it is without a bunch of books that will be difficult to find.


Reading Next

Jenny Finn HCI’ve not decided on a novel I’d like to read next, but to keep the graphic novel train going I’ll likely crack open Jenny Finn by Mike Mignola et al. Though a Lovecraftian tale by the author—not outside his wheelhouse—it seems different from his usual pulpy style of uncanny lead characters like Hellboy or the Amazing Screw-On Head. I don’t know much more about it than that; with Mignola’s name on a horror graphic novel I’m pretty much sold every time.

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

WWW Wednesday – January 15, 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

The Book of Forgotten AuthorsI’m about 65% of the way through The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler. The book continues to be really fascinating, as well as a source of new books for my TBR.  Fowler has a nice, distinct voice that stops this book from just being informational, making it more fun to read. A particular book that I added that has me quite intrigued is described as “Lord of the Flies with adults.” There’s a Kindle edition of it too, so it’ll be easy to check it out. Since last week I encountered another author I’d heard of before too. Though I haven’t read any of his books yet, I’ve had one on my TBR for years. Maybe it’s weird, but I take a small amount of pride in having heard of a couple of these “forgotten” authors.

I started The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood last night, though I’ve only just scratched the surface. I’ve met two of the main characters and learned how and where they’ve survived “the Flood,” but I don’t know too much about them as characters yet.


Recently Finished

Nothing so far, sadly. I really thought I’d be able to finish The Book of Forgotten Authors over the weekend, but for some reason I couldn’t push through it. I guess I haven’t gotten completely back into the swing of things after my little break from reading.


Reading Next

No Longer HumanLike I said last week, I intend to read No Longer Human by Junji Ito very soon. I only haven’t yet because I wanted to put all my energy into finishing what I’ve already started. In addition to this, I’ve got a graphic novel adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward that I really want to check out soon. The story is by H. P. Lovecraft and adapted by I. N. J. Culbard. I actually didn’t like this story very much when I read it as prose, but the prospect of reading it in this medium has my interest piqued. I feel some of his stories might really benefit from a visual element. It’s looking like the latter half of the month is going to be back-loaded with books, compared to the sparse beginning of the year.

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

Comic Book Review – Smashed by Junji Ito

Smashed

Smashed is the newest English translation collection of short horror stories by manga artist Junji Ito, bringing together 13 chilling tales. Most of them are one-shot stories, with the exception of trio that focus around a strange haunted house attraction that pops up in abandoned buildings near the outskirts of towns, charging outrageous prices but promising to scare you out of your wits. I didn’t know much about the stories collected in this book going in. I saw there was a new collection coming out, and that’s pretty much all that was needed to get me to commit to picking it up.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – April 24, 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 other people’s 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

Witches AbroadLate last week I started reading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, the 12th novel in the Discworld series. I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far: the idea of a fairy godmother so invested to the literal power of story that she turns an entire kingdom into a dystopian nightmare is both hilarious and compelling to me. Citizens must fulfill all the storytelling tropes associated with their vocation/role in society or meet an unpleasant fate. I’m excited to see where this goes once the trio of witches arrive. I’m not sure if I had this problem with Wyrd Sisters, but Granny Weatherwax seems more indignant about things than I remember. She’s one of my favourite characters so I hope this doesn’t stick too much.

On Earth as it is in HellI also started reading On Earth As It Is In Hell by Brian Hodge, which is the third Hellboy novel. This is the first of the novels not written by Christopher Golden and so far I’m really liking Hodge’s approach to the story. I’m not very far yet, but so far there has been an attack at the Vatican Archives, seemingly by seraphim of all things, who have unleashed heavenly fire upon a whole area of the library. What I’m liking about Hodge’s approach is the story so far is told through straightforward narrative as well as reports written by B.P.R.D. consultant Kate Corrigan after the fact, which helps to exposit details more elegantly.


Recently Finished

SmashedNot long after last week’s post I finished reading Smashed by Junji Ito. It hasn’t wound up being my favourite collection, but I’m happy to report that despite the shaky start with the earlier stories things did start to pick up for me. There’s almost always an element of weirdness to the horror he writes, and most of the collection wound up being weird and creepy in a way that worked really well. The art continues to be great too, though I’m finding that I’ve now read so much of his stuff that it does not have the same effect on me it once did. I’m not sure how to feel about that. The titular story was the one that closed it out and it had a great balance of body horror, suspense, and mystery.


Reading Next

Planting Gardens in GravesThe other day I got some new books, and among them was the poetry collection Planting Gardens in Graves by R. H. Sin. Lately I’ve been wanting to read poetry again, especially as a palate cleanser from the novels I’ve usually got my nose buried in. I like the look of it and the feelings the title evokes, so I decided to pick this book up. I’m particularly excited to start it because I’ve decided I don’t want to review any of the poetry books I read. I’ll still share my thoughts and feelings in these posts, but for the time being I’d like poetry to be something I read only for the pleasure of it.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – April 17, 2019

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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

SmashedOver the weekend I started reading Smashed by Junji Ito, the newest English translation collection of some of the author’s horror manga stories. I’ve only read three of the stories so far, and I’m finding myself notably struck by how ridiculous Ito’s writing can be sometimes. I’ve sung his praises many times before, and I stand by all that I’ve said before, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me how hit-or-miss his short stories can be. The opener, which involves dieting and vampire bats, was more perplexing than it was horrific or creepy, and I hope the tone that it has set for the collection is not maintained.


Recently Finished

Fragile ThingsI finally finished Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman last night. Even though it’s only been a little over a month, I’m disappointed with how long this actually took me. I could have finished it in a much shorter amount of time had I put my mind to it. Oh well. The book closed with the story “The Monarch of the Glen,” which takes place after American Gods, catching up with Shadow Moon two years after the conclusion of that novel. I really enjoyed reading about that character and world again, especially with the surprise appearance by two other characters from another story in this collection. I went back and read the introduction after I’d finished too, which as I expected was a lot more meaningful that reading it as an actual introduction to the collection.


Reading Next

On Earth as it is in HellAs I’ve been saying for a few weeks now I’m going to start reading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, since all the prose I’ve been reading has been finished up. I feel like I ought to pick something else up to read concurrently as well though. I’ve been a few books behind schedule for a while and would love to catch back up. With an apparently not-very-good Hellboy movie in theatres now, perhaps I will pick up On Earth as it is in Hell by Brian Hodge, the next of the Hellboy novels I need to read. We shall see.

Until next week, thank you for reading!