Top 5 Books I Read in 2018

A sentiment at the moment seems to be that 2018 has felt like a very long year, but honestly I feel like I blinked and we’re at the end of the year. Certain moments throughout the year feel like they happened ages ago, yet it also feels to me like Halloween just happened. Maybe my perception of time is a little skewed right now.

At any rate, here we are once again with my end of the year top five list, presenting the five books I enjoyed reading the most in 2018. They are in no particular order, nor do they need to have come out in this year.Read More »

Book Review – House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

House of Leaves

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is a bit of a tough novel to define. It is a labyrinthine book riddled with footnotes that weave throughout the text, multiple unreliable narrators, and frequently disorienting formatting. I’ve heard it labeled a horror novel before, which in a way it is—it does deal with the perversion of physical laws and a terrifying journey into an oppressive, unknowable void. It is also a scholarly text, breaking down an examining a documentary film. It is also a man documenting his personal descent into lust, alienation, and obsession. It is also a collection of letters sent from a mother to her son. It is not technically all these things at once.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – November 7, 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

ElevationIn a twist I wasn’t planning on, I’m currently reading Elevation by Stephen King, which just came out October 30th. I happened to be at a bookstore on the 1st and saw it for 40% off. I gave in to my impulse to pick it up under the condition that I start reading it immediately. It’s fairly standard fare from what I expect from King, though I don’t quite see how it’s supposed to be horror just yet. The main character is strangely losing weight, yet his body appears the same and whatever he wears contributes nothing to the numbers on the scale. Despite the troubling implications he feels great. I imagine this thread will take a turn, but so far the story has been more concerned with his rocky relationship with his lesbian neighbors and the struggles the couple has been facing in a small, conservative-leaning community of Castle Rock.


Recently Finished

House of LeavesLast night I finished reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I should have a review up soon. I want to maybe have it done for tomorrow, but I feel like I need to let the whole thing settle in my mind a little longer. After the labyrinthine chapter I mentioned last week the pace picked up a lot more. Events in the house continued to be compelling and Johnny’s story went to strange, sometimes disorienting places. I’m not sure I agree with a lot of the theories about the book I’ve run into. Maybe I need to dive deeper into the speculation, but I trust my own perspective too. It’s not conventionally a horror novel (the original reason I started reading it), but it certainly deals with the terror of a crushing void and the metaphysical nightmare of impossible architecture.


Reading Next

Fall of GileadI still have every intention of reading Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink next. As a parallel plan, I really do need to continue with those Dark Tower prequel graphic novels I’ve been reading. Next up is Fall of Gilead, which will hopefully start getting into some uncharted territory finally. Everything so far has been retreading details covered in the novels, but from what I recall the actual loss of his friends and home had always been left a little vague in the books. I suspect Roland and company will be a little aged up as well now. I’m cautiously optimistic.

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 – October 24, 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 currently in the midst of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Last week I thought to myself “I can read this before the month is over.” I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. It’s the size a textbook and nearly 700-pages long, though goodness knows how long it’ll actually take me considering the formatting, which includes both walls of text and like 19 words to a page, depending. I am enjoying the book so far, though reading it feels more like a project than a leisurely experience. I find myself compelled by each new footnote that leads me down a different narrative passageway before I must double back. It’s a lot to take in, but uncovering the mystery is fun and I like the core premise a lot too.


Recently Finished

Frankenstein Junji ItoOver the weekend I read Frankenstein by Junji Ito (check out my review here). The featured story was an excellent adaptation. While it is abridged by the medium, I was surprised with how closely he wrote the story to the original novel by Mary Shelley. It’s one of my favourite books, so it was more than welcome. If you’re familiar with the novel it is almost precisely that story, with a few unique twists and artistic flares to help it stand out on its own. The latter half of the book was a collection of stories about a 14-year-old boy named Oshikiri who lives alone in a massive house and frequently has supernatural experiences. I liked the connective narrative about other selves invading from parallel worlds, but as a collection it was a bit too disjointed for me at times.


Reading Next

BloodborneWhile I think it’s unlikely I can finish off October with a House of Leaves review, I am excited to read Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep by Aleš Kot and Piotr Kowalski. It is a new graphic novel based on the video game of the same name. I played through it over the course of the summer and loved the Gothic imagery and cosmic horrors. Seems a perfect Halloween read to me. Hopefully it will confirm some of my wild speculations about the lore of the game too, as well as shed some light on any unknowns.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – October 17, 2018

www_wednesdays

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

Nothing at the moment! I just finished something last night and I haven’t started anything new yet.


Recently Finished

TreacheryOver the weekend I finished reading Treachery Robin Furth and Peter David et al, the third prequel graphic novel to The Dark Tower series.  I did enjoy it well enough, but I am growing impatient with how much getting covered is information already given in the novels. This book ends yet again at a point I’m quite familiar with. Aileen made for a fairly interesting addition, and she was apparently mentioned in The Gunslinger (unrevised), so it’s good to see her fleshed out in that case, but there wasn’t a whole lot to her so far either. I’m expecting a lot from the latter two books, since I think they’re finally getting into more nebulous territory as far as what the books covered.

Alien Out of the ShadowsLast night I pushed myself to power through the rest of Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon. Honestly, never before this book has something so soundly spoiled itself for me by being crammed into an existing continuity. There are a lot of things I like about this book, including how they write Ripley herself, but the addition of her, the crucial character from the films, taints the entire story. I didn’t hate it, but it has left me bitter. I can only take solace in the appearance that the following two not-directly-connected novels of this new trilogy of books don’t make the same mistake. I should have a review posted before the end of the week, so look out for that.


Reading Next

House of LeavesAfter a lot of humming and hawing I’ve decided that my next spooky October read should be House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I don’t know a whole lot about it, other than the bizarre formatting and meta-narrative elements, but Goodreads and other sources insist it is a horror book above all else, so I’m going to take the plunge into the weird. I’m honestly not even sure how much of the description on Goodreads is talking about the content of the book itself. Some of it? All of it? It sounds like only some of it, but I already don’t trust this thing.

Until next week, thank you for reading!