WWW Wednesday – February 20, 2019

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

if on a winter's night a travelerI’m over halfway through If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and I’ve gotten a much clearer grasp of what this novel is going for. What I mistook for breaking the fourth wall in the opening chapter was actually a case of narrative told in the second-person (though I’m sure the leaning on the fourth wall was deliberate). Chapters alternate between the protagonist’s story and what he is reading, which is always a chapter from a new book and always ends at a moment of great suspense. It’s a fascinating structure that has me continually interested, but I’m not yet sure if what it’s building towards will be satisfying for me or not.


Recently Finished

Unfortunately, nothing this week!


Reading Next

Berserk 20I still have every intention of reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte next, but with Calvino’s novel still needing to be finished I have comic book plans for the nearer future. I was able to get a hold of the next couple volumes of Berserk that I need, so I will be reading Vol. 20 soon. Hopefully the arc I’m in the middle of will be wrapping up within these volumes so I can avoid being held in suspense any longer.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – February 13, 2019

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

if on a winter's night a travelerLast night I started reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and honestly I’m not sure what to think of it yet. It’s not unenjoyable to read, but I was a little dizzied by how much the book disregards the fourth wall altogether. The first chapter spent the entire time talking about telling me to get ready and comfortable to read, before expounding upon the experience I might have had hearing that the new Calvino book was out, then my subsequent trip to the book store. The following chapter had a plot of a sort, but I’m not sure if I should take it as it was or if it will continue in any way going forward. I’m intrigued. I really don’t know what to expect from this novel.


Recently Finished

fire & bloodOver the weekend I finished reading Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin and posted a review yesterday. With all said and done, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected I would. Some periods of this history were more enjoyable than others, but each was of an equal caliber of quality and compelled me onward. I was worried this book would take me much longer to finish, but I got it done well within a month’s time, with several days to spare, which I’m counting as a win for fiction that reads more like a history book. I highly recommend it for fans, it provides a great deal of insight into the notable figures, high and low, that populate the world of Westeros during these periods of their history.


Reading Next

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursI’d really like a bit more of a change of pace from fiction next, so I think I will start The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, which I actually wanted to get to last year. I grew up fascinated by dinosaurs, which has fallen off in my adult life as far as checking out books about them goes. It’s high time I changed that. It’s among a number of science related nonfiction books I’ve been picking up and meaning to get to lately as well. I may read something else concurrently with it, but I haven’t made my mind up on that yet.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – February 6, 2019

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

fire & bloodI’m just over 500 pages into Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, so I should be wrapping up with it soon. That’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying myself with this book, however. As I’ve continually reported, this book is really good, it’s more unfortunate that everyone’s desire for the next proper sequel is overshadowing it to some extent. It’s funny how history passes you by so swiftly while reading this book, and it’s surprisingly poignant too. You can be reading about a certain king’s prosperous reign, with all the new laws and infrastructure they build along the way, and the trials they face as people, only to move on to others who have a much more tumultuous time, ravaging the kingdom in the process. All those figures you got invested in before just become history again, albeit fictional.


Recently Finished

berserk 19The only book I finished last week was Berserk Vol. 19 by Kentaro Miura, which I was lucky enough to have a coupon code to pick up inexpensively, since manga reads unfortunately quickly. Now I’ve got to wait until I can justify buying the next volume and it’s a real drag. I’ve been left at quite a prominent cliffhanger, with a confluence of forces coming together to make the inquisition and refugee crisis in the story really boil over. A certain character has had her mental faculties diminished for some time in the story, and while I have enjoyed the straightforward factors at play creating more complicated conflict thanks to human nature, I’m ready for her to be a character again. This is unfortunate, because by all accounts that apparently doesn’t even start to happen for a while.


Reading Next

if on a winter's night a travelerI still intend to start If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino when I’m ready to move on, it’s still just a matter of getting Fire & Blood finished up. I’m afraid I’m in a bit of an indecisive period again with what comic books I want to read next, however. I’m torn between whether I should continue things I’m in the middle of or start a new series and even then cannot choose which from either category. I’m sure I’ll have something finished by next week all the same, just can’t say what right now.

Until then, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 30, 2019

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

fire & bloodDang it Martin has done it again. I’m still in the middle of Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, but I’ve turned around a lot on my feelings toward it. Sure, I want Winds of Winter a lot more than this book, but even as a fictional history book he continues to be an excellent storyteller. The laundry list of names does get to be a bit much at times, but the most important characters really stick out. It may not be as intimate as a standard novel, but you really do get to know a lot about these important figures in the history of Westeros. The reign of Jaehaerys Targaryen has been especially interesting with all he has accomplished, as well as the tragedies that have befallen his family along the way. One incident was a horror show that glued my eyes to the book.


Recently Finished

Age of Reptiles Omnibus 1I finished Age of Reptiles by Ricardo Delgado et al over the weekend, which I posted a review of yesterday. I loved this book and I wish physical editions weren’t so hard to find. The art and visual storytelling are simply wonderful and I wish I had a physical copy to keep and appreciate. Before this weekend I’d only read one third of the stories contained within this omnibus, and the latter offered some nice variance in storytelling without abandoning the idea that this is more nature than narrative. I’m surprised at how invested I got in the drama that unfolded. There’s another, newer book out, though not an omnibus, that is for some reason seemingly just as hard to find. I’ll likely pick that up digitally as soon as I can.

berserk 18I also read through Berserk Vol. 18 by Kentaro Miura. The main character Guts was not as heavily featured in this volume, but we got a much greater look at the refugee crisis convening at the Tower of Conviction, the brutal methods of the Church, and the very real heretical presence hiding in their midst. This series has a parental advisory on it generally, but this volume really pushed the limits with horrific two-page spreads of human torture, as well as heretical revelry including a grotesquely massive orgy and cannibalism. The whole situation feels like a powder keg about to go off and I really cannot wait to pick up the next volume to see what happens next.


Reading Next

berserk 19Nearly all my reading time is going to be dedicated to Fire & Blood for the near future so that I can hopefully have it done for early February. I don’t want to be spending too much time on this book, but I’m still not half way yet, so we’ll see. However, I will continue to read comic books and I have the next volume of Berserk on the way, so I’ll certainly have that read soon after I get my hands on it.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 23, 2019

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

fire & bloodI’m a little over 100 pages into Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin now and it is starting to grow on me a bit. I still would have preferred it be a novel, but a fictional history is not terrible since the world of Westeros is quite compelling even in this context. The only drag I’m having with it is it takes a lot longer to make a dent in reading it. When I would have gotten through a lot more pages with another book I find I get through only a miniscule amount reading this. It is broken up into manageable chaptrs that do make it more digestible though, which I’m hoping will help me make more progress as I dedicate time more closely to it.

I’m still reading the Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado et al as well, but I regrettably haven’t touched it since my post last week. I’ll get back to it soon.


Recently Finished

star wars aliensOver the weekend I finished reading Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker, which I should have a review up for by the end of the week. This was a fun little Star Wars collection that I’m glad I set aside time for. The stories were a lot more straightforward due to the younger target audience, but this didn’t stop Walker from getting a little weird with each story and I enjoyed that. I especially liked the finale story, which was essentially a Mad Max-style race through a sandstorm between a bunch of different pirate factions trying to find the lost treasure of Count Dooku. This tale ended up tying itself more closely with greater franchise lore too, which I really enjoyed.


Reading Next

if on a winter's night a travelerShucks, I don’t now what I’ll be reading next. Fire & Blood is going to consume a lot of my reading time if I’m going to get it done sooner rather than later. With how heavy the snow has been here, however, I have been thinking more and more about finally reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino. I don’t know much about it other than that it plays with framing narrative and story structure in interesting, if disorienting, ways. Apparently it’s actually ten novels in one, though it’s not long in terms of page count, so I’m curious to see how that unfolds.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 16, 2019

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

Age of Reptiles Omnibus 1I’ve taken it upon myself to read more books concurrently than is normal for me at the moment. The first, and lightest, of these is the Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado et al. It is an omnibus collection of stories about dinosaurs told completely visually. No word bubbles, narrative boxes, or even text sound effects grace the pages whatsoever. It is all completely visual storytelling and so far I think it’s done very well. The style is very evocative, perhaps giving these colossal creatures more expression than they were capable of, but it’s artistic license I can more than accept. The only place I’ve stumbled with it so far is that some packs of dinosaurs, with members who are at times distinct, can also be hard to tell apart.

star wars aliensI also started Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker. It is a collection of short stories written for younger audiences about some of the aliens that appear as background characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I wanted to start this as a supplemental read to my primary book, and so far I am finding it a fair breeze to get through. While the writing definitely reads easier, I’m surprised at some of the content considering the intended audience. The second story involved a sous chef being found butchered and strung up in a meat locker. I enjoyed it fine, but that’s a bit dark for a “kids” book isn’t it?

fire & bloodLastly, I decided to start Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, the latest book published related to the Song of Ice and Fire series. I forgot to put this on my scrappy list for the year, but since I’ve made better progress than I thought I would I decided to take the plunge with it now. I knew it was an account of the past in this narrative world, but I did not know that it was written like an in-universe historical text. This had made the prose a lot more dry than I was expecting. Martin’s writing is still strong, but I was hoping for more of a narrative. I really hope another big red book doesn’t slow down my reading progress this year. 2019’s only just started!


Recently Finished

lost at seaOver the weekend I finished two books, the first being Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Despite being a fan of the author/artist’s work for a long time, I’ve never gotten around to this one, his first ever graphic novel. The blurb says the main character Raleigh believes she has no soul—that it was stolen by a cat—it’s a much more grounded story than this suggests, intimately exploring the character’s state of mind as she takes part in a road trip from California to British Columbia. She’s at a turning point in her life, confused and with no sense of direction. I loved the way that O’Malley captured this in his quirky style without diminishing the weight of her emotional situation.

The Saturday Night Ghost ClubI also finished The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson, which I posted a review of yesterday. I enjoyed this novel a lot, though it was much more of a coming-of-age story than I expected going in. The mystery around Uncle Calvin became too predictable for me, but it was still effective in the end. I simply loved the characters in this novel; Davidson crafted them into such living, breathing people that the familiar formulas at play hardly mattered. I especially found that I could relate to the main character, finding a lot in common with myself when I was that age. I think this has become my favourite of his novels that I’ve read.


Reading Next

With as many books as I’ve got on my plate at the moment I really don’t know what’s next, except I definitely want to veer back onto my scrappy list so I can continue getting it done. I started strong getting two books crossed off, but now I’ve picked up two deviations from the plan, so more fool me.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 9, 2019

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

The Saturday Night Ghost ClubLast night I started reading The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson, a favourite Canadian author of mine. It wasn’t long ago that I first heard about this new book of his and after having picked it up on Boxing Day I decided to get started on it now. I’m only about 30 pages in, but I feel I’ve gotten a good introduction of the characters and setting thus far, though I’m sure more groundwork will still be laid. So far it’s playing a lot with the role of memory in our lives, as well as the narrator’s childhood belief in monsters and urban legends, the latter of which I relate to to a certain extent. I’m excited to see where things go, but wary of what the early examples of extreme bullying forebodes for the characters. I don’t dislike it, it’s just having its intended effect on me.


Recently Finished

I, RobotOver the weekend I started and finished I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, a collection of science fiction short stories centred around the author’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. Sometimes older science fiction is a little dated but this was a breezier read than expected. Asimov’s view of robots, AI, and their integration into human society is far more optimistic than most, so these stories centre more around social issues related to robots and/or the performative hiccups with the Three Laws. It was fun to read more optimistic science fiction that still maintained some darker undertones. The interplay between humans and robots is a lot more subtle, the conflicts more philosophical or psychological. I should have a review up by Friday.


Reading Next

berserk 18Having just started The Saturday Night Ghost Club I really have no idea what I’m going to read next. I suppose it ought to be a graphic novel, but I cannot decide what that will be just yet. I am waiting for the next volume of Berserk that I ordered to arrive in store, but I don’t want to just wait for that. I’m in a bit of limbo as far as series go. Some have languished so long I have no urgency to continue them right now, and others I really ought to start. I guess we’ll see what I decide when next Wednesday rolls around.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

My Scrappy To-Read List for 2019

As I’ve mentioned a few times in past posts, including my Year in Review for 2018, at the start of each year I hand-write a list of books I want to read simply for the satisfaction of crossing them out when I finish them. Well, I’ve filled out my list for 2019 and thought I’d give everybody a gander at it. It’s a little more ambitious in terms of number this year, since a fair few of them are repeats I did not get to last year.

sam_0434
Observe how I progressively begin to squeeze titles in. So well planned. A great use of space.

For those of you who have seen the 2018 list you’ll know I have a bit of a devil of a time finishing these. I wrote down 28 last year and only completed 13. I have a bit of a wandering eye when it comes to books, apparently. I suppose I do that because sometimes I want to read a book soon after I buy it. Also, something about knowing what’s next takes the fun out of it a bit.

Nevertheless, I’d like a bigger goal for myself this year to be finally finishing one of these lists. That’s 33 books for this year, just counting this list. Considering I will no doubt pick up something not listed here I think that’ll be a considerable challenge. Here’s to hoping I can get it done.

Conspicuously missing from among the unread of 2018 (to me) are The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, It by Stephen King, and The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. I really don’t want to commit to any of those behemoths after my experience with The Lord of the Rings last year, so maybe this is more doable that it appears if you consider page count.

As it happens, I’ve already finish a book on this list! I held off on striking it out to put this up. I’m choosing to keep what book it is a secret until my WWW Wednesday post tomorrow, though it’s probably not that hard to guess. I should have a review up for it by the end of the week.

Thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 2, 2019

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

I’m taking my end of year/new year break, so I haven’t started anything yet! Just want a brief reprieve before I dive back in.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1953I missed last week’s post because of the holidays—lots of travel and visiting people—so I’ve got a few titles to bring up here. The first is Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 by Mike Mignola et al. It continues the adventures of Hellboy early in his career as a paranormal investigator, seeing him travel across England with his surrogate father Bruttenholm as well as with a team of other agents in the suburbs of America. I really liked how this book continued to balance his inexperience with his growing competence, as well as the nods to the fact that his very nature might be the reason significant confrontations are spurred in the first place.

BloodlineThe second I finished was Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which I have spoken highly of numerous times since: it received a 5 out of 5 in my review and was listed among my top five personal favourite reads of the year. I’ve enjoyed many of the new Star Wars books, but this one stands as the perfect example original story and tie-in to the greater franchise converging almost seamlessly. It offered a closer look into one of the franchise’s most iconic characters as well, having her face her demons concerning her parentage in a substantial way previously unseen. It also did a good job of providing some insight into politics and what we know is in store for the galaxy without bogging things down with too many details.

Berserk 17Lastly, I read Berserk Vol. 17 by Kentaro Miura as I planned to for my final read, though I didn’t actually get to it until I got back home (I wanted all these done before Christmas). I really enjoyed getting back into the series. There were a few things I had to re-familiarize myself with, but I was able to recall most everything quite well. This arc looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty interesting too, tying back into characters and events that took place during the extensive flashback arc that occurred many volumes ago. The only regrettable thing is manga volumes read very quickly and continuously; a volume is never really a complete story, just a big collection of chapters, so I’m going to need to pick up more of these regularly if I want to keep reading.


Reading Next

I, RobotI’ll likely start reading again this weekend, I’m already getting a little antsy to pick up a book again. On Boxing Day I went to a used bookstore in Toronto with my friends and picked up I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. For some reason I was convinced the book was hard to find. Turns out it really isn’t, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Don’t know what I was thinking. At any rate, the spark of my interest in it was started by a documentary series on science fiction and since I’ve got a copy now and I’m to kindle that interest while it’s still fresh.

Until next week, thank you for reading! I hope you all had a happy holidays.