Comic Book Review – Deserter by Junji Ito

Deserter

Deserter by Junji Ito is the latest collection of stories by the horror manga author to be published in English by VIZ media. This collection of 12 short stories features some of the author’s earliest works, including a tale of people with appetites for bizarre and unsettling food, another about an army deserter from World War Two who is kept in hiding by a vindictive family for eight years after the end of the war, and a story about a man who refuses to sleep, lest he allow his dreamworld counterpart to take over his body in the real world.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – January 5, 2022

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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

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


Recently Finished

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

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

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

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

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


Reading Next

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

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

WWW Wednesday – December 15, 2021

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


Recently Finished

Nothing this week!


Reading Next

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

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

WWW Wednesday – August 25, 2021

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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

Axiom's EndOver the weekend I started reading Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis. I’ve been slacking on reading quotas once again, so unfortunately I’m only 76 pages in right now. It’s not a pitiful amount of progress, but I could’ve gotten further. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying this book a lot. The protagonist is a young woman named Cora, whose father runs a website that notoriously leaks government documents, particularly related to aliens. He’s an absentee father, but the spotlight shines on Cora and her family nonetheless. Ellis has done a great job of making the anxiety of Cora’s life palpable, almost making me feel it second-hand. The escalating extraterrestrial events on top of that have been exciting too, so I’m eager to see what happens next.

No progress made on Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Whoops 👻


Recently Finished

SensorOver the weekend I read through Sensor by Junji Ito, which I also managed to post a review of on Monday. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book very much. It wasn’t without its interesting ideas, and the art was great as always, but the story just lacked a solid direction. It was also constantly repeating itself, since each chapter was originally published serially. For what it’s worth, though, the first chapter functions as a pretty good little cosmic horror story. It could almost work as a short in a collection. While he may not have lost his touch as an illustrator, it seems to me that his more recent stuff just isn’t as good as what he used to produce, which is too bad, because I know how brilliant of a horror author he can be.


Reading Next

I’m not really sure what I’ll read next. No comics come to mind and I’ve only just gotten started with Axiom’s End. In the next week or so I’ll hopefully have a better idea of what future reading will look like.

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

Comic Book Review – Sensor by Junji Ito

Sensor

Sensor by Junji Ito is the latest horror manga by the author to be published in English by VIZ media. A young woman named Kyoko Byakuya hikes at the foot of Mount Sengoku, unsure as to why she is there. Despite the mountain’s volcano being inactive, she stumbles across an area covered in strange volcanic glass fibres that look uncannily like golden hairs. Soon after she is met by a man who says he’s been waiting for her, leading her to a village covered in these golden fibres. Referred to as “the amagami”, these gold strands allow the people of the village to psychically communicate with each other and commune with the far reaches of outer space. Despite this oddity, the people seem harmless enough, inviting her to star-gaze with them before she departs. If only the appearance of mysterious lights in the sky weren’t a portents of things to come.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 18, 2021

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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 not made any progress on Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson since last week. I’m also between books at the moment. Things have been a bit busy. Essentially, I’ve started training for a freelance remote job, on top of my full time one, which has and (hopefully) will be taking up more of my time, so my reading progress will likely slow as I rearrange my priorities.


Recently Finished

Hellboy The God MachineOver the weekend I finished reading Hellboy: The God Machine by Thomas Sniegoski, and even managed a pretty quick turn-around on the review and got it up on Monday afternoon. Go me! This book has wound up being my favourite among the Hellboy spin-off, mostly non-canon novels, though ultimately I only rated it a little higher than average. The book’s focus on the villainous characters really helped it to stand out among the pack, making them both monstrous and sympathetic. A few of them were a little too one-dimensional for me by the end, but their leader and a couple others stood out well. The climactic showdown was conceptually fairly rote, but in the execution managed to be something quite memorable and exciting too.


Reading Next

Axiom's EndI meant to have started reading Sensor by Junji Ito already, but like I said I’ve been busy, so I haven’t had a chance to just yet. It isn’t very long, so hopefully I can have it read and reviewed by next week. I also plan to start reading Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis. I’ve followed the author’s video work on and off for years now and even preordered this book for its release last year, but sadly I let it languish instead of reading it. Now, the sequel is coming out soon, so I’d better actually read this. Getting this done will keep me on top of the reading challenge books I put together for a Summer TBR too.

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

WWW Wednesday – August 11, 2021

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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

Hellboy The God MachineI really wanted to have finished Hellboy: The God Machine by Thomas Sniegoski by now, but you know how inconsistent I can be with those goals. I’ve wavered a little on the reading quotas this past week, so I’m blaming it on that. I should reassert those to get back on track. Regardless, I’m happy to report that there really is something to this Hellboy novel, compared to the others. The villains are really intriguing, and it’s made the wise choice of giving our titular, big red hero a more diminished role. It’s also taking a lot of inspiration from the real-world story of John Murray Spear and the Association of Electricizers, which involved the construction of “The New Motor,” a supposed mechanical messiah. It’s a wild story and it’s been fun to see how that idea has been morphed into something more unnerving and apocalyptic.

I also made a little progress on Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson last night, reading through the first section of her second series of poems. Sometimes I absorb very little while reading, it varies from poem to poem. Some of it is lovely, but it also makes me feel dumb. I’m thinking poetry like this may not be for me.


Recently Finished

Immortal Hulk The Keeper of the DoorOver the weekend I read through The Immortal Hulk: The Keeper of the Door by Al Ewing et al, the eighth volume in the series. Once again I am reminded of how much I love this series, and I can’t believe I haven’t cracked open a volume since 2020. One of these days I’m going to have to read through them all over a shorter period of time. There was a great blend of physical and psychological horror in this book, as The Leader actively puts his plans in motion. A lot is taking place within mindscapes, not reality, but I really have to wonder about the fate of some of the characters. I’m surprised by how graphic some of the visuals were in this volume too. I hope the next volume comes out soon, if it hasn’t already.


Reading Next

SensorIn a surprise twist, as I forgot that it was coming out soon, I received my copy of Sensor by Junji Ito last week, the newest translated book by the horror manga author. So I’m definitely going to start reading this really soon. My expectations have been tempered the more of his stories I’ve read, but I’m nevertheless excited by the fact that I know very little about this book. It seems to be a singular story too, which I typically prefer. He does better work when he gives an idea room to grow.

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

WWW Wednesday – April 21, 2021

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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’m between books at the moment, so nothing! Boo! 👻


Recently Finished

LovesicknessOver the weekend I read through Lovesickness by Junji Ito, the newly released story collection of the manga author’s work. I posted a full review of it on Monday. The headlining story was quite good, which came as a surprise since it took me a while to warm up to it. I was also surprised by how long it was, expecting at first that it would only be one chapter long. Turns outs “Lovesickness” is 60% of the collection, so this book wasn’t the same type of story collection as Shiver, Smashed, or Venus in the Blind Spot. The remainder of the book brought the reading experience down tremendously though, which was a shame because I think that main story was one of the best Ito stories I’ve read in a while.

Where Have You Gone Without MeLast night I finished reading my eARC copy of Where Have You Gone Without Me? by Peter Bonventre. Since my last proper update about this book, I warmed up to it considerably. I’m not sure this will make me crazy for mystery thrillers going forward, but it certainly hasn’t turned me off of them. It was something of a slow burn, taking its time to build up the case. I kept expecting it to take a sudden, sensational turn, but it kept things fairly low-key and down to earth, though still compelling, for the most part. I should have a full review up soon, I’m still collating my feelings on the whole thing. I can’t remember the last time a singular story made my feelings fluctuate so, but I’m happy they ended up more positive.


Reading Next

Light of the JediI’m of two minds right now, because I haven’t really chosen what I’m going to read next as far as my to-read lists go, but I have decided I want to read Star Wars: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule finally. I keep meaning to start this book as one I almost exclusively read at home, a supplemental read, but so far that’s just left me not starting it at all. I really want to start getting into these High Republic books, though, so I’m just going to start it, and that’s that. I’ll decide on another book from my lists to pick up soon too, I just can’t make up my mind on that right now.

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

Comic Book Review – Lovesickness by Junji Ito

Lovesickness

Lovesickness by Junji Ito is the latest story collection by the horror manga author to be published in English by VIZ media. The featured story stars Ryusuke, a middle school student who has returned to the foggy town of Nazumi after his family moved away eight years previously. Soon after moving back and reuniting with some old friends, rumors begin swirling about a bewitchingly handsome young man who has been compelling girls to commit suicide after telling them their fortune at the crossroads. Eerily reminiscent of a dark secret of Ryusuke’s from before his family first moved away, the boy takes it upon himself to confront the beautiful boy of the crossroads and bring an end to the mystery once and for all.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – April 14, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

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


Currently Reading

I’ve only gotten a little further along in Where Have You Gone Without Me? by Peter Bonventre, since I was more focused on getting Norse Mythology finished and getting the Feet of Clay review written. So, I haven’t got much more to say about the book itself right now. With those other things out of the way, though, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to finish this up by next week.


Recently Finished

The other night I finished reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, which served as an excellent introduction to the subject. I’ve actually got another book of Norse tales that seems a little denser, and I’m hoping that will be more accessible now that I’ve read this as a primer. It’s so amusing how this mythology seems to have no real concept of scale, describing so many beings as impossibly massive, yet gods like Thor, who is sized more or less like a regular person, is so easily able to kill such massive beings. That really must have been some hammer. I’m surprised the book didn’t include a story of how Loki came to be blood brothers with Odin and dwell among the gods in Asgard, especially considering he causes them as much trouble as he helps to resolve.


Reading Next

Though I’ve got a few books on the brain for what to read next, I’m most certainly going to read Lovesickness by Junji Ito next, which is the newest collection of the manga author’s short horror stories. I haven’t been enamoured with all of the author’s short fiction, but I think my expectations have been decently tempered after having read so much of his work over the passed couple of years, I’m hoping that’ll help me enjoy the book more overall. All the same, I do hope there are some gems in this book that I haven’t heard of before.

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