WWW Wednesday – March 13, 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 started reading Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman the other day when I had trouble falling asleep. The introduction section was the same as that in Smoke & Mirrors—Gaiman went through each story giving a little blurb about what he remembers when writing it, or something to that effect. I skipped that this time around. I read that section first before and retained almost nothing. I’d like to be able to appreciate what he’s saying, so I’m going to read the stories first (though it nags at me that I’m skipping over a section). The first story was a Lovecraftian re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes and I honestly wish it were a whole novel.

Lost StarsI also started reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray last night. Though noticeably more YA than the other Star Wars books I’ve been reading, I’m really enjoying how zeroed-in the story is on ordinary people so far. It’s following two young aspiring pilots on a world in the Outer Rim. It’s interesting to see events from their more naive perspective, such as the arrival of the Empire when they came under their rule. They see it as greater civilization finally coming to their world, and while there are hints to the darker truth, you can see how some citizens would view the Empire as something positive.


Recently Finished

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I finished reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, and posted my review yesterday. It was one of the easiest 5 out of 5’s I’ve ever given. I was expecting to find the book interesting, but I was really not expecting such delight from reading a science book. It’s great as a detailed overview of the dinosaurs’ time on Earth, but honestly I could have read a book on each period. There were some great chapters on tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaur species and I’d love to read more extensive chapters on other species. I might have to dive deeper into reading about this subject.


Reading Next

With two books just started, I’m once again at a loss regarding what I’ll read next. I should pick up a comic book, but I’m currently cursed with indecision on that front. This is pretty silly considering the physical and digital stack of them that I’ve got languishing, but here we are. I’m sure I’ll decide on something by next week, but I’m pretty sure I said that last week. Whoops.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – March 6, 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

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursReading this week has been a little more slow-going, so I’m still in thick of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steven Brusatte. That being said, I’m still enjoying the book immensely. I really like how it gets into the evolutionary history of how these creatures likely functioned, such as how sauropods evolved to be so massive and how they could maintain such huge sizes. There is a great balance between the history of these eras and anecdotes about work in the field, including where fossils can be found today and why. Excited;y telling people facts I’ve learned from what I’m reading is a simple joy that I haven’t had with a book in a long time.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, which I again attribute to it being a slow week for me. With no more Berserk to read I was not compelled to pick up and read a comic book. Oh well, there’s always the week to come.


Reading Next

Fragile ThingsI still intend to read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray next, but I can’t help but think I need to read something else concurrently to bump up the numbers on my finished books a bit. Skimming my scrappy little list right now (literally) I have decided also start Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman soon. I always prefer a short story collection as a concurrent read, and what better than another of Gaiman’s. Turns out one of the stories within is connected to American Gods as well. Marvelous!

Until next week, thank you for reading!

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.

Book Review – Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Summary

In the deft hands of Neil Gaiman, magic is no mere illusion . . . and anything is possible. In Smoke and Mirrors, Gaiman’s imagination and supreme artistry transform a mundane world into a place of terrible wonders—where an old woman can purchase the Holy Grail at a thrift store, where assassins advertise their services in the Yellow Pages under “Pest Control,” and where a frightened young boy must barter for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks. Explore a new reality, obscured by smoke and darkness yet brilliantly tangible, in this extraordinary collection of short works by a master prestidigitator. It will dazzle your senses, touch your heart, and haunt your dreams.

Smoke&Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman is a collection of “short fiction and illusions,” originally published in 1998. From what I gathered reading it, most if not all of these stories had been published before as part of different collections or anthologies. I’ve been a rather big fan of Gaiman for a number of years now, but admittedly this is the first time I’ve read any of his short fiction outside of comic books. I was interested to see just how much a departure in format would change his style of writing, as I have recently been noticing common trends in his novels. As it turns out, his short fiction varies quite widely in terms of subject matter.Read More »

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 – 2017/12/13

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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’ve only just started reading Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. This is the first of his short story collections that I’ve gotten around to reading, despite the amount of his other work I have read before. I’ve only read the introduction so far, but as it turns out that made up about 30 pages of the book and he hid a story within it. Amusingly, he remarked before the start of the story that some people skip introductions, making it a treat for those who do not. Curiously, he also included background information on every story in the collection, which I feel would be more valuable at the end rather than the beginning. Perhaps there is a method to this I’ve yet to see.

Recently Finished

TheShoeOnTheRoofThe other day I finished reading The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson, which I will post a review of soon. It’s a book I have needed some time to mentally digest. I’m appreciating it as a challenge to review in this respect, though I’m eager to get a review finished as soon as possible. The plot took a lot of twists and turns, some expected and others not so much, and I’m worried I’m not seeing the forest for the trees. I’m not sure if I’m giving it too much credit or not enough in my consideration of it.

Reading Next

StarshipTroopersCoverLikely the last novel I will get to this year will be Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. It’s a book that’s been on my to-read shortlist all year — I’ve even had it under my “Reading Next” heading before — but I really want to make sure I get it done before the new year. The only thing that might hold this back is my desire for a week or so at the end of December to just set all books aside for a little breather. I’m planning to get through even more books in 2018, as well as refocusing myself in terms of other writing, so I could use a little time to just not worry about it all.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/12/06

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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

TheShoeOnTheRoofRight now I’m reading The Shoe on the Roof by Will Ferguson, which is so far making for a rather interesting read. I didn’t know anything about it going in other than vague notions my mind had conjured based on the title. It’s not what I had conjured, which is a good thing. After a bad break up, a med student begins an experiment to cure three men of their delusions: each believes they are Jesus Christ. The writing has been insightful, funny, and gripping so far, though it is taking its time in ramping things up. It takes a rather poignant look at relationships too, and the narrator’s interaction with the reader is interesting in what Ferguson chooses to have revealed.

Recently Finished

DCRebirthI read DC Universe: Rebirth by Geoff Johns et al the other day, starting me off on my journey to the new series Doomsday Clock. I wish I knew more about the various DC characters within to have a better connection with the references in this book, but I still knew enough about the basic goings-on over the last several years to appreciate the gravity of the story. It also does a good job of contextualizing things so that less familiar readers are not completely lost as well. I especially appreciated the art work, which in certain cases mimicked the panel composition of Watchmen.

Reading Next

Smoke&MirrorsThe year is winding down, so I really have to think carefully about what I’m reading next. I’m a stickler for books not carrying over to a new year, so I have to make sure what I pick up will be finished in time. One book I want to push myself to read is Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, a collection of short stories. It’s yet another book I wrote into a list on a scrap of paper late last year that I wanted to get through in 2017. Hopefully I can make good on at least one more on that list this month.

Book Review – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Summary

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: neverwhere.

Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is a 1996 urban fantasy novel, and the companion novelization of a BBC television series of the same name, also written by Gaiman. This was a book I purchased amongst a stack of others by the author, already being a big fan of his work. As a result, however, I actually knew very little about it. I didn’t even know it was a TV series until I started this review, though clearly the book has overshadowed it. It was a rather unique experience for me to go into a popular book by a beloved author while having virtually no idea what to expect.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/09/27

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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

Guards!Guards!At the moment I’m about a third through Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, the eighth Discworld novel and the first to feature Sam Vimes and the Night Watch. I like it a lot so far. We get a closer look at the inner-workings of municipal institutions and guilds in Ankh-Morpork than we’ve gotten thus far, which further explains how the Night Watch has been dwindled to a meaningless cluster of rag-tag guards, rather than any sort of actual law enforcement service. It’s humorous as usual, but looks like it will also have a lot of heart too. I’ve read the follow-up to this story, so I’m excited to see how the Watch will start to rise above their meager status.

Recently Finished

NeverwhereOver the weekend I finished reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, a review of which is forthcoming. While it’s not one of my favourite books by Gaiman, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I cannot help but find myself engrossed by his writing style and the personality he injects into all of his characters. I particularly liked the blend of magical realism with stark reality, turning the world of “those who fell through the cracks” into a literal yet surreal place hidden under London, whilst not abandoning some of the dreary reality of those who find themselves at such a place in the world.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyOriginalSinI also read Original Sin by Brian Michael Bendis and Ed McGuinness, the fifth volume in the run of Guardians of the Galaxy books I’ve been reading. Half of the book revealed events that took place before this run began, so I knew little of the context that would have allowed me to appreciate it. It was enjoyable nevertheless. The latter half continued where the last book left off, specifically concerning Venom’s symbiote reacting strangely to being away from Earth. I wish there was a little more to it, but I really liked what they revealed about where the symbiote originally came from and its true purpose.

Reading Next

HellboyAnAssortmentOfHorrorsOctober is just around the corner, and while I haven’t finished my planned reading quite yet, my line-up of spookier books is becoming more set. One such that I have planned is Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors, a Hellboy short story collection edited by Christopher Golden. This book actually just released at the end of August, so I’m especially looking forward to digging into something so new.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/09/20

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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

NeverwhereOver the weekend I started reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, about a hapless hero named Richard Mayhew who helps an injured girl on the street named Door, which gets him wrapped up in a previously unseen world of strange and magical beings that exist under and around London. I’ve yet to experience the full breadth and depth of this world, but Richard has started to learn that his good deed has not gone unpunished, forcing him to dive headfirst into this world to turn his life back around. I love Gaiman’s writing as per usual, but at 75 pages in I feel I should be more drawn in than I am so far. I plan to finish it this week, at any rate, so I’ll be spending a lot of time with it regardless.

Recently Finished

TheAeneidI finally capped off reading the Aeneid by Virgil, which you can read a full review of here. I still love and appreciate this sort of literature, but I have been reminded that reading stuff like this is a more laborious love than other literature for me. It perhaps didn’t help that this was my least favourite after the Odyssey and the Iliad. There were many great moments, but I never really felt a strong connection to Aeneas himself in the same way that I did with Achilles or Odysseus. Though it will be a while before I move on to this, the next epic poem I want to read is, fittingly, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

Reading Next

TheNightmareCollectiveAs I said last week, I’ve outlined some books I want to get through during the remainder of September and throughout October. I still plan to read Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett before the month is out. Hopefully I can actually accomplish that. As for October, one book looming on the horizon is an anthology of horror short stories called The Nightmare Collective, curated by the editors of PlayWithDeath.com. It’s a Kindle book I’ve had for a while that I’ve been saving for this upcoming season.