WWW Wednesday – November 13, 2019

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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

Dreams of Terror and DeathI’m still in the thick of Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft, though I got over a significant hump the other day. After a long series of really short stories I got to “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath,” which as far as I’m aware is one of the better known stories in the Dream Cycle. It’s a strange, often fantastical odyssey that main character Randolph Carter takes through the dream lands of earth, with many callbacks to previous stories. I enjoyed it, but it was also quite an undertaking. This is weird to remark for a story under 100 pages, but it does drag a smidge. The ideas are really good, but I’ve heard many authors say that he’s not the best of storytellers and even though I’ve read some of his stuff before without much issue, I’m really feeling it in this book. It also had no section or chapter breaks, which is a pet peeve of mine, though I’ll not fault him for my idiosyncrasies.


Recently Finished

False KneesOver the weekend I read through False Knees: An Illustrated Guide to Animal Behavior by Joshua Barkman. There’s always a small part of me that questions buying a collection like this, since many of the strips I’ve read as web comics before getting them collected in a book. I mostly bought it to support an artist I really enjoy, but I sincerely enjoyed actually reading through this book too. I love how realistic his art style is, especially in how he also manages to evoke human emotions so strongly with these animals. It’s got me looking at another collection of web comics I bought more for support that I really ought to just sit down and read through as well.


Reading Next

StardustIt’s really getting to that point in the year where I realize I’m probably only going to finish a few more books before the new year, and I’ve got more books left on my scrappy to-read list than I think I can finish. I still intend to read Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, but I want to plan a little past that too. Looking my list over, I’m realizing a lot of the books are newer to my collection, while a few I should have gotten to years ago. With that in mind, a near-future read ought to be Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’ve had that book for many years, and it’s the last of my Gaiman backlog.

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

Book Review – Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline

Coraline is a 2002 horror fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. Coraline, the titular character, and her parents have moved into a new flat in a big old house that is divided into several apartments. They share the property with some colourful characters; two aged actresses below them and an eccentric old man above them. There is a vacant flat next to theirs that is unoccupied, the passageway in their place bricked up behind a door in their parlour. Listless and left by her busy parents to try and entertain herself in the waning days of summer, Coraline can’t help feeling oddly fixated on this door, even though her mother has already shown her what’s on the other side. Reopening it on her own, she finds a long dark corridor where there ought to bricks. The passage leads her to a world that mirrors her own, full of wondrous delights and populated by another mother and father with buttons for eyes, who soon turn out to be far more malevolent than she first realizes.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – September 18, 2019

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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

Doctor SleepLast night I started reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, the sequel to The Shining. I’m only about 40 pages in, which is a drop in the bucket for how long the book is, but I’m liking it so far. The first chapter dealt with the more direct aftermath of what took place at The Overlook and how Danny learns to deal with the ghosts that continue to haunt him. The following chapter introduced the antagonists of the story, who seem interestingly eccentric so far, though not particularly menacing yet. The book has been a little heavy handed with the abuses we hear about characters having suffered, though I haven’t found anything to be too egregious. I just hope this isn’t indicating a trend in the novel, unless of course it has something to say on the matter I haven’t caught on to yet.


Recently Finished

Late last week I finished reading Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, which you can check out my review for here. I’m quite happy with the way this story wrapped up. It’s an excellent novel and I’m pleased with how much it surprised me.

CoralineI’m pleased to report that, as I planned, I started and finished Coraline by Neil Gaiman over the weekend. I’ve seen the film before, so it didn’t have much to surprise me with, but it was nonetheless an excellent book for children and adults alike. I’ve got a special place in my heart for stories suitable for younger audiences that are nonetheless creepy as all get-out and this book is a quintessential example of such a book. There was such whimsy and fun mixed with very troubling situations and even darker implications. I especially liked how much of a firmer a grasp of Coraline’s perspective this gave over the film. I felt much more in the character’s head.


Reading Next

Little HeavenWith October creeping ever closer I have to keep pushing for spooky reads. Consulting my scrappy to-read list I think I will read Little Heaven by Nick Cutter as my next novel. I really enjoyed The Troop last year, so I’ve got a good feeling about this one. Plus, it’s Canadian! Goodness knows if I’ll actually be starting it soon though, since Doctor Sleep is by no means a short novel. I’ve got a collection of Lovecraft stories on my list as well, which is probably going to be quite the undertaking too. I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me.

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

WWW Wednesday – September 11, 2019

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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

Small GodsI’m in the final stretch of Small Gods by Terry Pratchett; only about 75 pages left to go, give or take. I’m disappointed with myself for not having finished it up already, but my attention was a little divided (it ought to be more divided, to be honest), so I’ve still got a little bit of it left. In a rather surprising turn this standalone entry in the series is becoming one of my favourites. A lot of it has to do with the fact that, while it has still be humorous, it’s not funny in the same way the previous books have been. That’s at least how I feel about it, anyway. There’s an underlying sense of menace to the book, thanks to evils of dogmatism, that’s enriching the narrative. I’m not sure I’ve felt this anxious for a Discworld protagonist before.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week because I am an appalling failure…well, not really. I went to a cottage for a few days last week, then had to quickly readjust to my nocturnal schedule, so I’m giving myself a bit of a pass since I had to shift gears more than normal. Hopefully I can still pick things up though. There’s still only four months left of the year…


Reading Next

Doctor SleepThe time for decisions is now! Coraline by Neil Gaiman is up and coming, as I’ve said before, but I will also start Doctor Sleep by Stephen King soon. I want to get it done before the film comes out, and it’s time to get more in gear for the spookiest time of year. No I won’t pipe down about that until November. I’ve got a whole line-up of horror related fiction I want to read, and darn it I mean to get to them.

On the comic book front, I’m still going to start digging in to the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books I recently picked up. I’d like to start checking out The Immortal Hulk as well, which should also conveniently be Halloween appropriate.

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

WWW Wednesday – August 28, 2019

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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

Small GodsI’ve started reading Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, the 13th novel in the Discworld series. I’m only 10% into the book, but unfortunately I’m having mixed feelings so far. I’m not sure if I’ve just not been in the right mindset for it while reading, but I feel like I don’t have a solid anchor to secure myself to in the story, if that makes sense. The narrative keeps bouncing all over the place, and while I am absorbing some of the world building, it feels a little too scatterbrained. This is the first novel in this series where I’ve felt this way and I’m hoping it’s an anomaly. Better yet, I hope my tune changes as I get further along, but it’s much too early to tell right now.


Recently Finished

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleOver the weekend, as expected, I finished The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. At this point, giving an accurate tally of Evelyn’s deaths feels like a spoiler, so I’m just going to say the title may be misdirection (false advertising) but also maybe not. I expect to have my review posted tomorrow. I wanted to have it up yesterday, but I work nights and I felt very tired after getting home, which is when I meant to finish it. I really enjoyed the book, it definitely deserves much of the hype, but I actually have felt some drawbacks once all was said and done. Toward the end of the novel Turton’s bending of his own rules began to grate on me. I could still just go with it, but not completely willingly.


Reading Next

CoralineThere are four months and change left of the year and I have a lot of books on my scrappy list to-read to get through before it’s done. I’m afraid I’m going to fail once again. Nevertheless, it is crunch time. It’s the 11th hour of power (maybe). Time to get these books read. That being said, I’m choosing to read Coraline by Neil Gaimain next. It’s almost spooky season, and I’ve got more suitable books than I will likely get through in October, so it’s time to start dipping my toe into the abyss a little.

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

 

WWW Wednesday – June 26, 2019

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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! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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 Midwich CuckoosI finished reading Part One of The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham over the weekend. I continue to be surprised by how progressive the book is in dealing with the subject of mass unwanted pregnancies. There’s a rather effective moment where Angela, the woman helping to hold the community together, vents to her husband about how his support is all well and good, but it’s all too easy for him because it’s impossible for him to ever have to deal with what the women are dealing with. The nature of the alien offspring they birth is much more fascinating than I expected too. While there are about 60 children, split almost evenly between male and female, they seem to be two distinct male and female hive-minds.

The Buying of Lot 37I’m also a few chapters into The Buying of Lot 37 by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the third volume collecting the scripts of episodes for the podcast series Welcome to Night Vale. It’s been nearly three years since I read volume two, and that was the last time I went through those episodes, so it was actually a little jarring to be thrown back into the mix. I am slowly recalling where everything is at for the characters at this point in the story though. I am enjoying revisiting them nonetheless, especially with Jessica Hayworth’s illustrations added to the mix. The pacing does feel a little off, however, since it was originally dictated like a radio show and now is formatted like standard prose. This is a small gripe though.


Recently Finished

Eating the DinosaurOver the weekend I finished reading Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman and you can check out my full review here. This really was a refreshing read thanks to the randomness involved in my deciding to pick it up. I especially enjoyed the final two essays, the penultimate one dealing with our society’s fixation on irony/sarcasm and how we often completely misunderstand artists and other figures who are very literal. The last was a deeper look at the effect the internet has had on our society, through the controversial lens of the Unabomber’s manifesto (whom the author dismisses for the radical murderer he is, but nonetheless is intrigued by what he wrote). I may have to pick up more of Klosterman’s books in the future.

A Study in EmeraldI also read through A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, and Rafael Scavone. It was a wonderful adaptation of the story, bringing it to life visually almost perfectly. I especially liked the way Queen “Victoria” was represented as a Lovecraftian horror that is standing as monarch over Britain. I am happy I managed to secure an inexpensive digital copy of this book, however, as it is quite directly a retelling of the short story with little to no alteration from what I could notice. The art work has it’s merit of course, but I do feel I’ve just bought the same story again. I think I’d have been a little beside myself if I bought a physical edition for the same price as the entirety of Fragile Things.


Reading Next

With Midwich still unfinished I haven’t settled upon another novel to read next. I should have it finished before June is over, though, so expect to see something new in the Currently Reading section next week. Isn’t this exciting? I wonder what it’ll be.

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

Book Review – Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

Fragile Things

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders is a 2006 collection of short stories and poems by Neil Gaiman. Most of the pieces contained within are actually reprints, previously having appeared in anthologies, literary magazines, music albums, and in one case paired with a picture in a photography book. Most relevant to some, perhaps, is the final novella-length story The Monarch of the Glen, which is a sequel to the novel American Gods that takes inspiration from the story Beowulf. This book also contains the story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” which was adapted into a film in 2017.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – April 17, 2019

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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

SmashedOver the weekend I started reading Smashed by Junji Ito, the newest English translation collection of some of the author’s horror manga stories. I’ve only read three of the stories so far, and I’m finding myself notably struck by how ridiculous Ito’s writing can be sometimes. I’ve sung his praises many times before, and I stand by all that I’ve said before, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me how hit-or-miss his short stories can be. The opener, which involves dieting and vampire bats, was more perplexing than it was horrific or creepy, and I hope the tone that it has set for the collection is not maintained.


Recently Finished

Fragile ThingsI finally finished Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman last night. Even though it’s only been a little over a month, I’m disappointed with how long this actually took me. I could have finished it in a much shorter amount of time had I put my mind to it. Oh well. The book closed with the story “The Monarch of the Glen,” which takes place after American Gods, catching up with Shadow Moon two years after the conclusion of that novel. I really enjoyed reading about that character and world again, especially with the surprise appearance by two other characters from another story in this collection. I went back and read the introduction after I’d finished too, which as I expected was a lot more meaningful that reading it as an actual introduction to the collection.


Reading Next

On Earth as it is in HellAs I’ve been saying for a few weeks now I’m going to start reading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, since all the prose I’ve been reading has been finished up. I feel like I ought to pick something else up to read concurrently as well though. I’ve been a few books behind schedule for a while and would love to catch back up. With an apparently not-very-good Hellboy movie in theatres now, perhaps I will pick up On Earth as it is in Hell by Brian Hodge, the next of the Hellboy novels I need to read. We shall see.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – April 10, 2019

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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

Fragile ThingsYep, still in the midst of Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, though it’s not from lack of enjoyment, just lack of focus on it. I did manage to read a few stories since last week though, one of them being “The Problem of Susan,” which was nice to revisit. I first read it online soon after I read all of the Narnia books years ago. I appreciate how Gaiman’s approach to the subject is a short narrative that both tries to reckon with the unfair treatment Susan received by that series’ end while also giving a warped representation of Narnia that is open to interpretation. I really enjoyed “Locks,” a little poem about a father reading stories to his daughter at bedtime.


Recently Finished

LXGvol.2Over the weekend I read through volume two of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. Oh my goodness, I’ve wound up with a lot of mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I thought the graphic novel itself was outstanding. I do wish the war against the Martians was a tad more involved with the main plot, but the directions the characters were taken in was excellent, especially developments around Mr. Hyde. On the other hand, an epilogue section called “The New Traveler’s Almanac” is jam packed with literary references, giving a prose Atlas of the bizarre world they inhabit, telling further story along the way. Despite my enjoyment of it conceptually, it was so densely packed with walls of text that it took FOREVER to get through and more than once I wanted to scream at it.

The WonderI also finished The Wonder by Emma Donoghue last night, which I wound up enjoying quite a lot despite my mixed feelings last week, when I was wondering the direction the story would take. I must say, the ultimate narrative became very compelling indeed, as it becomes apparent that there really isn’t anything miraculous about the girl’s purportedly long fast, yet the situation is a lot more complicated than a family conning their community. The mounting sense of anxiety and urgency was exceptionally palpable and the length was just right for the story being told. My desire to finish this book was actually why I got so mad at volume two of The League. I expected that to be a brief departure, but I stubbornly didn’t want to sideline it when the almanac got too long.


Reading Next

SmashedMy preorder for Smashed by Junji Ito arrived for me on Monday, though it’s still a little while yet before it officially releases. It’s the newest collection of Junji Ito horror manga translated into English and I’m quite eager to read more of grotesque, macabre tales. Other that, I still fully intend to start Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett as my next novel, but I’m going to make sure I finish Fragile Things first. It’s hung around the periphery long enough. It’s time to go home.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – April 3, 2019

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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

Fragile ThingsI’m still chipping away at Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. Reading has been consistently enjoyable, but admittedly some of the stories have been apparently forgettable. I say “apparently” because I just had to flip back through all the stories I read in the last week to fully refresh myself on what exactly I had read. Only one actually did little for me, so this is more indicative of the problem short story collections can have sometimes. Some stories just stand out a lot more than others. That being said, I do really like when he implies that a story has happened to him. It’s preposterous to seriously consider some events as having actually happened, but I do like the blending of reality with fiction.

The WonderI’ve also begun reading The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, just as I promised last week. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it and so far I’m intrigued but not completely drawn in. The writing is good, I just don’t quite have a good sense of the story being told yet. A nurse from England in the 1800s is called to Ireland to watch over a young girl who has gone four months without eating, a supposed miracle. The story is so grounded so far that I feel like making the girl’s condition authentic is unlikely, yet the main character is already so confident that it’s a con that I’m wondering what may happen to change her mind. I’m actually quite excited to not know going in which direction the story will take, not that I think on it.


Recently Finished

Batman White KnightLast night I finished reading Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy. Though pulling from familiar continuity, this Batman graphic novel is its own self-contained world. The Joker has been cured of his insanity, becoming a very sane Jack Napier once again, who sets his sights on Batman and the brutal vigilantism that has been allowed to run amok in Gotham City for far too long. Though it sounded gimmicky on its surface, it was a surprisingly poignant story that examines the characters of both Batman and the Joker through a critical yet fair lens. I’m especially fond of how many references there are to the 90s animated series. I don’t usually review superhero comics, but since it’s a standalone volume I will likely write one up for this soon.


Reading Next

Witches AbroadHaving balanced out genres with The Wonder—and not sticking with Fantasy constantly—I think I will start the next Discworld book I need to get to once I’ve cleaned up what I’m currently read. That book is Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, which is the third book in the “Witches” subseries. I love Granny Weatherwax, so I’m excited to see what it’s all about. I do hope the story is a little more focused on her in this book however. I thought the focus was a little too split in Wyrd Sisters.

Until next week, thank you for reading!