WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/21

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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

SkeletonCrewSince last week I’ve started two new books. The first of these was finally Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. The first story was “The Mist,” which is nearly 200 pages long, so I focused a lot of my reading time on getting through that story. Though the ending didn’t pack the punch of the 2007 film, I liked the story a lot. It’s a simple yet effective premise, witnessing the social mores dissolve when people are faced with a crisis. The monsters themselves were wonderfully horrific as well. With this story out of the way the book will take a more supplemental position among my readings now, since no other tale is as long.

HellboyTheLostArmyI also started Hellboy: The Lost Army by Christopher Golden. I wanted to get it read through over the weekend, but focus on “The Mist” hindered that. I’m about a quarter of the way through. I’m enjoying it well enough so far. The writing style reminds evokes the comic book a lot for me. I was a little put off by how much time was spent explaining who all the characters are and what the world is like, but I understand why it’s necessary. It’s weird coming into a novel that is supplementing a comic book, yet must also stand on its own. This novel is balancing that well so far though.

I’m still in the middle of The Lord of the Rings, just taking a short break from it. You can read my review of The Fellowship of the Ring here.

Recently Finished

Nothing this week, unfortunately. March has been a really bad month for me…

Reading Next

KomodoI’m definitely going to start “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer soon, it’s just a matter of setting aside the time to read it. Otherwise, I suppose my next read after The Lost Army will be The Two Towers, continuing my goal of reading through The Lord of the Rings. I’m sure I’ll get through some more comic book volumes along the way, but I have so many of those to choose from right now, with none particularly grabbing me, that whim is really going to be the decider on what I read next in that department.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/02/28

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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

TheLordoftheRingsI’m currently a chapter away from finishing Book One of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (or the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring). My attention has been a little more divided than I’d like, but regardless reading this book is slow-going. I can see why so much of what happens in the beginning of this story didn’t make it into Peter Jackson’s film. So many meals at different peoples’ houses. The story just plods along at its own pace, and while I do like a lot of what I’m reading it also gets tiresome. I’ve also found I’m a lot more prone to being distracted from reading by stray thoughts than usual. The novel is quite rich in lore, though, which I do like for what its worth.

Recently Finished

MansSearchForMeaningI finished reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl over the weekend. I will hopefully have a review written and posted within the next few days. Frankl’s account of his time within concentration camps was harrowing and compelling enough, but the exploration/explanation of logotherapy afterwards gave the whole book an extra punch. It has framed things about life and human psychology in a new way for me that I hope I can apply to my own life when needed. I feel a little awkward at the prospect of reviewing it, as it’s a rather significant text. I hope I can do it justice.

TheVisitorCoverI also finished reading The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed by Mike Mignola et al. It’s a book that answers the question that’s probably crossed the mind of most Hellboy fans: “What’s the deal with that alien guy in Conqueror Worm?” This book quite completely answers that question, as well as a little about his species and where he comes from. The story maintains a respectable amount of mystery on that latter part, however, which I think was for the best. It tells a good, bittersweet story that ties in with the original story he appeared in quite seamlessly.

Reading Next

SkeletonCrewDespite my previous desires to keep my prose reading restricted to The Lord of the Rings, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about starting Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. I’ve gotten a hold of a few of his short story collections lately and it’s high time I at least started one of them. Perhaps it will help with when LOTR makes me a little stir-crazy too. My decision hinges on the average length of each story. I would prefer something that I can pick up and finish a story relatively quickly.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/02/21

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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

MansSearchForMeaningThough I have yet to finish Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, I made a lot more progress on it since last week. I finished reading the entire first section “Experiences in a Concentration Camp,” which was fascinating as a personal account by a victim of those circumstances. More than that, however, it is an examination of the psychology of such a prisoner, how they react to these harsh conditions, and what they cling to in order to persevere (when they can). I should have this finished any day now, it’s just by chance I didn’t wrap up reading it before today.

TheLordoftheRingsI’ve also been reading a fair amount of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m nearly 100 pages into it now, and while that feels like a lot to me without thinking about it, it’s a little scary how much that isn’t. Frodo has yet to even leave the Shire yet (though he, Sam, and Pippin are on their way to Buckland) and it looks like there are some more encounters in store before he finally does. Despite my apprehensions I’m pleased to find I’m liking it so far. The Prologue dragged in some unfortunate ways, but once I got to the story itself I’ve actively enjoyed it. It’s certainly slow paced, but not in a way that I’m having a problem with.

Recently Finished

45MasterCharactersI finally finished reading 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, which you can check out my review for here. It’s given me a lot more focus when it comes to plotting a particular story of mine, as well as a better understanding who my characters are. I haven’t worked out all the kinks yet, but it’s noteworthy that just by reading through it I’ve been able to better form things in my mind. The frameworks for different heroic journeys were a lot more detailed than I expected, but I feel that ultimately the archetypes will be the most valuable. I don’t want to refer back to a laid out structure too much for fear I will adhere to it rigidly.

GodzillaInHellI also finished reading Godzilla in Hell by James Stokoe et al. It was possessed of some surprisingly beautiful and effective visual storytelling, the opening and closing stories especially. The art varied between chapters, but was pretty fantastic throughout as well. The only thing that disappointed me is that the chapters were far too disjointed. It seemed to be different artists/writers interpreting a theme (see title) rather than a collaborative effort to tell a more connected, episodic story.

Reading Next

TheVisitorCoverIt’s hard to say what book I’ll read next, since I’m aiming to really buckle down soon to at the very least finish The Fellowship of the Ring in a timely manner. If I can do that fast enough I’m going to try to finish all three volumes of LOTR without any breaks. I’m definitely going to be reading more comic book volumes as I go along though. I’m thinking I will either finally get through The Visitor by Mike Mignola (I think I’ve listed it here once before), or continue along with some of the new Star Wars volumes that I’ve been neglecting. I haven’t really decided yet.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/03

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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

I’ve given myself a bit of a break from reading for the first week of January, so I’m not currently in the middle of anything. I just wanted some time to reflect and not worry about getting through anything.

Recently Finished

StarshipTroopersCoverJust in nick of time, on New Year’s Eve, I finished reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, making it my final book of 2017. I was surprised with just how much the plot points of this novel were mirrored in the better-known 1997 film, considering how different they are. It takes a significantly different approach to its world and the Bug War. The war itself is rather incidental to the plot, strangely enough. I will have a review of it posted after my brief repose.

HellboyIntoTheSilentSeaI also read Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea by Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, and Dave Stewart. It was an interesting little nautical tale, set during the events of the sixth volume Strange Places. Hellboy finds himself captured on a ship seemingly out of the past, which voyages in search of a serpent that will supposedly grant great knowledge. It was brief story, good but unremarkable compared to other Hellboy tales. I particularly liked the art, which had an especially ghostly quality to it. I’m curious what inspired this book, since it was a full 11 years after Strange Places.

Reading Next

UniversalHarvesterI may not be reading anything at the moment, but I’ve already set my sights on my first novel for 2018, which I plan to start this weekend. It shall be Universal Harvester by John Darnielle, which follows a young man working in a video store in the late 1990s who begins to receive complaints from customers that certain tapes they’ve rented included unsettling footage not part of the movie. I first heard about this book from a Night Vale Presents podcast and I’m eager to finally dig into it.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/27

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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

I want to say that I’m currently reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, but the busyness of the holiday season has prevented me from getting a start on it. Now that I’m back home, however, I plan to power through it over the next few days.

Recently Finished

Smoke&MirrorsLast week I finished reading Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, which you can read my review of here. It was a great collection of dark and beautiful stories, often twists on unrequited love in some way, that had me hooked throughout. I especially liked the stories that played around with the world of H. P. Lovecraft’s weird tales, as well as the numerous retellings of fairy tales.

 

HellboyTheMidnightCircusI also read Hellboy: The Midnight Circus by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo over the weekend. It was much shorter than a typical comic book trade, but it was an enjoyable little story about a boy running away to see the circus, except it is a young Hellboy and this is no earthly circus. This book is also the story that introduces Hellboy’s sister Gamori, who only appears again in the second volume of Hellboy in Hell.

Reading Next

HellboyIntoTheSilentSeaI still plan to read Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea by Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, and Dave Stewart, as it is another short Hellboy book. I want to get The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed by Mike Mignola read as well, but it has moved to the bottom of my list of priorities.

With some end of year posts still needing to go up, I haven’t really had the week or so to just take a breather from all of the reading, so I may doing that the first week of January instead. As a result I have no immediate plans for what I’m reading next in the new year.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/20

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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

Smoke&MirrorsI’m still in the middle of Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, with just about 100 pages left to go. This is the first time I’ve really gotten into any of his short fiction outside of comic books, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I have such pleasant mental associations with Gaiman as a public figure that I often forget how dark and messed up his fiction can get, especially, as it turns out, his short fiction. It really goes to show how much range he has as a writer too. I’m a fan of his, and yet even I feel like I haven’t been giving him enough credit. I’ll hopefully have this book finished and reviewed later this week.

Recently Finished

TheButtonSince last week I’ve only read Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition written by Joshua Williamson and Tom King and illustrated by Jason Fabok and Howard Porter. It was the last comic book I wanted to make sure I read before started Doomsday Clock, which admittedly I still haven’t gotten around to. It was an enjoyable enough story, though even as someone who doesn’t regularly read any DC Comics titles I could see this book could have been skipped. I don’t regret reading it, regardless.

Reading Next

TheVisitorCoverI still plan to read Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, though it’s more than likely I won’t have a review up for it until the new year. As far as comic books are concerned, I want get through some digital Hellboy volumes, by Mike Mignola and various, that I’ve gotten over the last few months: The Midnight Circus, Into the Silent Sea, and The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed. The last one is of particular interest to me, as it promises insight into a character that, if memory serves, first appeared in volume five of the main series. He and his peoples’ oversight over Hellboy’s life was left largely obscure.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/10/18

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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

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsI’ve recently started going through Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, another prose collection edited by Christopher Golden, having finished a couple of stories in the collection so far. They were both quite good, the first told from the perspective of another agent on a case with Hellboy as they venture to an island of horrors in the South China Sea between Vietnam and the Philippines, looking for a kidnapped girl. The other takes place in New York City, where Hellboy deals with a strange phenomenon that is killing people, which he slowly learns perhaps shouldn’t be stopped.

StarWarsFromACertainPointofViewIt’s been slow goings with Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, which is my intention. I’ve only read two more stories since last week, each about different denizens of Tatooine; a Jawa and a Tusken raider respectively. Each offered a closer look into the lives of these seemingly planet-bound species that have become iconic to the series. I liked how the latter was only tenuously tied to the events of A New Hope, telling its own intriguing little story, while an unusual amount of weight was put onto the Jawa’s role in the former story.

Recently Finished

TheNightmareCollectiveI finished The Nightmare Collective over the weekend, an anthology of horror stories edited by PlayWithDeath.Com, which you can read my full review of here. As a whole the collection was surprisingly good. I’ve read/listened to a lot more short horror fiction than I normally do in the past year and have come to recognize a lot of common tropes and cliches that I don’t like. It was good to see a collection willing to take its time, be original, and keep the right details close the vest.

HellboyWeirdTalesVol2I also finished Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 2, a comic collecting various artists together that I’d been trying to get my hands on for a while now. I liked it a lot more than the first volume, which contained artists that used more cartoony art styles in the stories they told. I like the more dour art style the series is known for, and while I can certainly have a sense of humour about it, ultimately I can do without it. The artists in this collection did a better job of capturing a darker visual style.

Reading Next

ItDevours!Yesterday I received my copy of It Devours! the new Welcome to Night Vale novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. For those who don’t know, Welcome to Night Vale is a narrative podcast created by the two authors. I love the visual design of the book itself and can’t wait to get to reading it, though I’m determined to finish up other books before I get to it. It’ll certainly be my next big read though.

Book Review – Hellboy: Odd Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

In 1994, Mike Mignola created one of the most unique and visually arresting comics series to ever see print: Hellboy. Tens of thousands have followed the exploits of “the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator” in comics form, and in the novel, Hellboy: The Lost Army, written by Christopher Golden. Now, fans of the comic can enjoy the world of Hellboy as seen through the eyes of some of today’s best writers.

HellboyOddJobs

Hellboy: Odd Jobs is a 1999 anthology of Hellboy short stories edited by Christopher Golden. It gathers noted horror writers of the time to tell their own stories about the character, including a story by the duo of Golden and creator Mike Mignola, as well as a special cartoon by Gahan Wilson. The book presented a new opportunity for me: I haven’t ever read a book of prose adapting a comic book character before. Novel and comic book spin-off of movies and TV series are quite common, but novels and short stories supplementing comic book series doesn’t seem nearly as prominent. It felt a little risky. Hellboy is strongly defined by Mignola’s iconic art style. With that absent, save for a single illustration at the start of each story, I wondered how well these authors could capture the spirit of the character.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/06/07

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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

I’m currently 105 pages into Theft by Finding by David Sedaris. I wanted to have a lot more of it done by now, but I spent last Thursday to Monday visiting with family and attending my brother’s wedding, so I did not have as much time for reading as I normally would have.

Things were off to a bit of a shaky start with this book, as it’s a lot different from what Sedaris normally writes. Though hand-picked and edited, these are his raw diary entries from these points in his life, so they lack the refinement of his anecdotal essays. As I’ve gone through it my interest has been continuously sated anyway; the glimpses into his life, while at first vague and feeling without context, have grown into something more as I get deeper and learn.

I’m afraid I haven’t made any progress on Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett due to the already-stated busyness. I’ll push myself to get further along soon, though. I plan on making myself get through it before I finish Theft By Finding, if I can.

Recently Finished

The only thing I managed to finish in the last week was Frankenstein Underground by Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck. It is about Mignola’s version of Frankenstein’s Monster, who previously appeared in Hellboy in Mexico. This book immediately follows the Creature’s parting ways with Hellboy from that book. The story goes to some strange places, incorporating the Hollow Earth hypothesis with established Hellboy mythology to explore how a creature such as he could come to be, all the while remaining pretty faithful to the original characterization of the Creature. It’s a wonderfully weird tale that fleshes out an otherwise brief appearance into a meaningful addition to Hellboy canon.

Reading Next

While in the middle of two books already it’s hard to say what novel I will get to next. I’ve been meaning to get to Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, but I really can’t say what I’ll go for when the time to grab another book comes.

Otherwise, I’ve been able to snag The Shu-Torun War and End of Games, the last two volumes of Star Wars: Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen et al. There was a big sale on Kindle editions for Marvel books last week, so I got them for only a couple dollars each. These I will definitely get through soon, then I can move on to the Doctor Aphra spîn-off series that followed.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/05/24

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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

Last week I said I wanted to get through a couple of books before Gwendy’s Button Box and Theft By Finding were released on May 30th. As it turns out, I was mistaken about the former’s publication date, which was actually May 16th. So, I quickly bought the book and began reading it.

As it turns out it’s a rather quick read (making the Kindle edition much more attractive than the $30 hardcover), so I’m nearly finished with it. While it is written by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar, it still reads a lot like a King story to me. It’s an interesting twist on a familiar tale about the effects of power, its influences, and what one should do with unfettered access to it. So far most of the story has felt in service of building toward something, rather than dealing with something. It has been enjoyable thus far, but things have also been a little too nebulous. This needs to amount to something substantial for me, or I will be left a little disappointed.

I’ve also started reading On Writing by Stephen King. I’m only about 40 pages in at the moment, but I’m enjoying it. Thus far he’s talked about his earliest memories growing up, giving a window into the things that shaped him as a writer. It feels like an honest approach to giving advice on the craft, without pretension or inflated self-importance.

Recently Finished

I finished reading Tarkin by James Luceno over the weekend, the new canon Star Wars novel about Grand Moff Tarkin before earning the rank of Grand Moff. I liked it, but with all said and done I’m pretty lukewarm about it. Getting to know some of the Imperial politics was interesting, but the plot was a bit too much concerned with him and Darth Vader chasing shipjackers around the galaxy. Tarkin doesn’t directly involve himself in the action, which is appropriate, but I wish the story had been more about political intrigue than leading pursuits against dissidents. I never got swept up in the mystery, I kind of just felt led along to each reveal. The details of his past were most compelling, giving a bit of a look at people’s lives on a planetary level.

I also read Hellboy in Hell: The Descent, the first of two volumes in that series by Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart. It had a rather somber feel to it, his descent into hell dreary and nightmarish, and not bombastically infernal. I really like the depiction of the Abyss, full of gigantic eldritch insects skittering in the pitch black.

Certain plot points related to hell from the main series get tied up here too, which felt a little abrupt, yet still appropriate considering they’re issues that needed to be put to rest. It did a lot to leave me wondering what’s next for Hellboy, some unsettling turns leaving his future in Hell unclear and not at all what I would have expected. With only one volume to follow this one I’m cautiously optimistic of where the story will go. I’m worried it will disappoint me, with only one volume to conclude things.

Reading Next.

Theft By Finding by David Sedaris comes out next week, so I’ll be reading that once I get a hold of my copy. Otherwise, I’ll definitely be opening the next volume of Hellboy in Hell, and Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett looms in my near future too.