WWW Wednesday – December 30, 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?

Decided to take an impromptu week off last week, but now I’m back and ready to read more WWWs 🙂


Currently Reading

SpiderlightI’m just about 3/4 of the way through Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and oh boy am I enjoying this book. It takes its setting and lore so seriously, yet has such a hilariously tongue-in-cheek attitude towards it at the same time. I take the characters, the quest, and their personal tribulations very seriously, but it’s also made me laugh many times. One of the main characters is a giant spider named Nth, who is made to join the band of heroes and turned into a man-spider thing by their magician. His involvement in their quest compromises the group, while he himself is miserable, and it makes for some great group dynamics. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop between him and the Chosen One of their band, as she is still far from accepting him as anything more than a thing of the Dark.


Recently Finished

During the holiday I did very little reading, so over the past few days I’ve done a blitz of reading graphic novels to catch up on my Goodreads challenge. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Shortly after my post on December 16, I read through Remina by Junji Ito, which you can read my full review for here. Though a longer book, it felt more like an expansion on a short story idea the author had, rather than something of the caliber of his other longer works. I was a little disappointed, but it still made for a decent cosmic horror story, with some fantastic imagery on two-page spreads.

I finally decided to crack open more Berserk by Kentaro Miura, reading through volumes 22, 23, 24, and 25. It’s great to be reminded again of why I love this dark fantasy series, simply by coming back to it, and it was great to see some of the veils of its world peeled back and explained more clearly than ever before, though it was a lot to take in. Manga volumes read so fast, so now I need a bunch more that I will quickly finish once I get to them.

Finally, last night I read Koshchei the Deathless by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck et al, which takes place in the Hellboy comic book series. It was a fantastic little side story about the titular character’s life, told retrospectively by the old lich to Hellboy, the two of them sitting together in a bar in Hell. Unlike other books “From the Pages of Hellboy” that I’ve read, I really connected with this one emotionally.


Reading Next

The Force Awakens The Visual DictionaryIt’s safe to say that the reading plans I laid out aren’t going to come together, so no Master & Apprentice until the new year. If nothing else, I want to complete my Goodreads challenge. So, as one last graphic novel for the year I’m going to reading Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 by Mike Mignola et al, continuing the series set during Hellboy’s early years, after not having read any since the middle of 2019. Hopefully I can recall all the little plot threads. Additionally, I’ve decided I’m going to read The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo. As of Christmas I have all of these books for the Sequel Trilogy, and decided I ought to read them instead of just sit on them. I expect it will be quick and fun, and a bit different as I don’t usually read through reference books.

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

Comic Book Review – Remina by Junji Ito

Remina

Remina by Junji Ito is the latest horror manga by the author to be published in English by VIZ media. This cosmic horror story was originally publish in 2005 as Hellstar Remina. In the not-too-distant future, year 20XX, the existence of a wormhole is finally proven after the emergence of a strange planetary body is observed from within it. Its discoverer, Dr. Oguro, christens the body “Remina” after his teenage daughter. The media around the event notices his daughter’s beauty, and it isn’t long until her own star rises to fame. All seems well, until the object is observed to be picking up speed and heading straight for Earth. Fear and panic begin to grip the populace as the extraplanetary Remina gets closer and closer. With seemingly no hope to be found, hysterical mobs begin to blame the girl Remina herself for somehow inviting the infernal planet’s attention.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 16, 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

SpiderlightLast night I started reading Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, though I’ve only read up until the end of the first chapter, which is just over 30 pages. I’ve had a vague notion of what the book has in store for me for a while now, but this first chapter alone has given me a much clearer picture and I’ve got a feeling I’m in for a treat. A ragtag band of heroes is on a quest to defeat a Dark Lord, armed with the Light on their side, as foretold by prophecy. Wouldn’t it surprise you to hear, then, that the book opens from the perspective of a giant spider? His home in “Mirkwood”, along with countless others like him and their Mother, is beset upon by these heroes as they seek an item crucial to their quest. Right from the get-go the dynamics of Light and Dark are turned on their head, at least figuratively so far, and I love it.


Recently Finished

MaskeradeOver the weekend I finished reading Maskerade by Terry Pratchett and you can read my full review for it here. I ended up liking this book a lot more than I even realized when I finished it. While reviewing it I had a little trouble settling on my rating, because I was surprised to realize that I couldn’t think of anything I had a problem with. In my estimation, nearly everything fit together so neatly that I could appreciate it even more in retrospect. I especially loved how much a of smaller scale problem Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg were up against. It wasn’t about the fate of the world or that of kingdoms and kingship, just a murder mystery in an opera house. It felt like the characters had more room to breathe, and allowed for some hilarious sequences along the way too.

The Rise of Kylo RenI also read Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule et al. I haven’t read many of the comic books related to the sequel trilogy yet, but this one was very good. It gives a closer look at the criminally underused Knights of Ren, what they were about, who their former leader was, and encounters they had with the likes of Luke Skywalker. The book also shed some appreciable light on some of Ben’s relationships at Luke’s Jedi Temple and clarified some of the events on that fateful night when everything changed for the worse. My only real problem with it was it was too short. I’d love an entire series about Ben’s turn towards the dark side and becoming Kylo Ren, expounding on his activities with the Knights and when he eventually joined up with the First Order.


Reading Next

ReminaWith only a little over two weeks left in December, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’ll be reading next. I’m not sure I’ll meet my revised goal, but I do know I’ll be reading Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray next, which is about Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before the events of The Phantom Menace. Gray’s Star Wars books have been excellent so far, so I’m especially looking forward to this one. Before then, though, I am going to read Remina by Junji Ito. I picked up my copy last week, it just came out, and I’m eager to check it out. It’s a longer, single story that looks like it will be dealing with cosmic horror. What more could I possibly want?

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

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.