Top 5 Books I Read in 2017

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So another year has come and gone, and with it a great number of books have passed before my eyes. Once again I would like to present my top five books of 2017. These are not books that came out this year, nor are they in any particular order. These are just five books that I read this year that I find the most notable.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/12

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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

ReflectionsI’m still in the middle of Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Dianna Wynne Jones. It fell to the wayside during most of my reading time since last week, so I didn’t get much further along in it, which I’m okay with for the moment since it’s meant to complement what I more strongly focus on. An essay of particular note was about her realization of responsibility to a reading audience of children, particularly in regards to opening up imagination; considering what you thought otherwise not possible. In doing so she derides other authors (unnamed) who reduce their characters’ journeys to mere flights of fancy, where in the end they escape into fantasy had no bearing on reality. It was a fascinating angle to consider.

Recently Finished

LovecraftCountryCoverI’m happy to say I finished reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Though not perfect, it was a great novel that I’m sure I’ll be recommending to anybody who asks about a new book to read. I didn’t mention this in my review, so I want to take a moment to gush about the binding of the book. Not only is it’s artistic style made to look like a pulpy horror novel from the 1950s, but the texture feels gritty as well. Part of its design makes it look worn too, as if it’s been sitting in a used bookstore for a long time, having changed who knows how many hands.

Reading Next

PaperGirlsVol1Like I said last week, I plan to start reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt any day now. I really liked Undermajordomo Minor and the unorthodox style of Ablutions was certainly memorable, so I’m hopeful I will really like this novel as well.

Otherwise, I intend to get through some comic book trades that I’ve been stockpiling lately. Fortunately for the sake a space most of them are digital editions. It’s hard to say which I’ll start first, but I’ve got some Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy volumes on my tablet that should do just fine. I also picked up volumes one and two of Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, which I also want to start to broaden by comic book horizons a little.

Book Review – Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Summary

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, twenty-two-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned Atticus’s great grandmother—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

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Lovecraft Country is a 2016 horror novel by Matt Ruff, which I have been looking forward to reading for quite some time. I enjoy otherworldly forces and eldritch beings, but what especially drew me in was how this book appeared to be marrying these ideas with a real-world source of fear and suffering (as most good horror does). In this case, it is the world of Jim Crow America from the perspective on an ensemble cast of characters from two Black American families.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/05

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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

LovecraftCountryCoverMaking good on my plans for the last few weeks, I’ve been reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. I’m currently a little over halfway through and it’s almost everything I’d hoped it would be. It doesn’t lean quite as much on the horror aspects of it as I would like, but they’re very real and very present. Though not literally from the pages of Lovecraft’s works, there are certainly eldritch forces at play. This includes a stand-out encounter with a racist ghost, a sequence which I found marvelous in how it shifted the tone and how the character dealt with it. The racism of Jim Crow America is the most impactful part, made all the more horrific by the reality of it all. It blends with the horror genre superbly.

ReflectionsI’ve also been reading Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones, though I’ve more bit dipping in and out of it, reading an entry here and there. It’s different from what I expected, as they’re essays, letters, articles, she’s written or taken a part of over the course of her entire life. It’s more of a bringing together of existing writings she’s done than anything new, though I think they’d a lot more hard to track down outside of this book. Her insight into writing for children, as well as her experience writing for adults by contrast, is quite valuable. Nothing is explicitly written as writing advice, but in their own way provide worthwhile insight into understanding the structure and formation of narrative.

Recently Finished

Nothing yet, but I’m working on it!

Reading Next

SistersBrothersCoverDespite other books brought up in past posts, I think I will read The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt next. I’ve had a copy for a few years now, and jotted it down among other books at the beginning of 2017 to get through by year’s end. A lot of the fiction I’ve been reading has been in the realms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror lately too, so I think a more grounded book will be a nice change of pace. I know it’s a Western, so I’m not stepping all that far out of genre fiction, but I love it here, dang it.