WWW Wednesday – 2018/05/23

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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 started The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien last week, so I’m on my way to finally finishing The Lord of the Rings. This volume especially feels like a direct continuation of a story, rather than a new novel continuing a story. I’m finding this lends the most credence—aside from Tolkien’s own word—to the idea that this story really was meant to be a singular novel and not a trilogy. The War for the Ring continues to ramp up at the onset of this book; I don’t think I’ve even 100 pages in and Gondor is already under siege something fierce. It’ll be interesting to see how all of this story is divided up, since my only previous point of reference is the film.

Recently Finished

SkeletonCrewI finally finished reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King late last week. You can read my full review here. It ended on a surprisingly somber note with a story called “The Reach” about community, family, and reflecting back on a life long lived. It does feature ghosts that may or may not exist, but as a more kindly presence as the main character reckons with her inevitable passing. I mention things to this effect in the review, but I just really appreciate how great of a storyteller King is regardless of genre. His frightening tales are great, but his core strength is the humanity he gives his characters and this is especially evident when he writes stories that are closer to standard fiction.

AphraI also read Aphra by Kieron Gillen et al, which is the first volume of the Doctor Aphra series of Star Wars comic books. The series is a spin-off of Gillen’s run on Darth Vader from 2015-2016, which first introduced the rogue archaeologist to the Star Wars universe. I absolutely loved this book, reminding me why I got into these new comics in the first place. Aphra is a great new character full of charm and positive energy yet borderline sociopathic and usually out for herself. Despite her moral ambiguity she does have a heart too, though it often conflicts with her self-interests. The story itself goes to weird places with the Force as she helps her blackmailing father track down a lost, ancient citadel created by a subset of Jedi.

Reading Next

CirceI’m still planning to read Circe by Madeline Miller next, which should hopefully be soon. I only have a couple hundred pages left of The Return of the King, so in theory I could finish that rather soon. We shall see though. On the comic book front, I’m probably going to read The Screaming Citadel next, which is a crossover comic book between the flagship Star Wars title and Doctor Aphra. Hopefully it holds up to my experience with Aphra.

Book Review – Skeleton Crew by Stephen King

Summary

From one of the greatest storytellers in modern times comes this classic collection of twenty-two works of fright and wonder unforgettable tales that will take you to where your darkest fears await. Whether it’s a mysterious impenetrable mist camouflaging bizarre, otherworldly terrors that could herald the destruction of humanity or an eerie-looking child s toy that harbors an unimaginable evil or four college students on a deserted lake encountering something that crosses the boundary of sanity or a man suddenly given the omnipotent ability to quite literally edit his own reality the extraordinary narratives found in Skeleton Crew are the enduring and irresistible proof that Stephen King is a true master of the short fiction form.

SkeletonCrew

Skeleton Crew is my first true foray into Stephen King’s works of short fiction. I did read Hearts in Atlantis last year, but that is a cohesive collection of interconnected stories with recurring characters and themes. This collection of stories, originally published in 1985, brings together various short works from his career at the time, many of them previoiusly published on their own in magazines and other publications. Included in this collection is the more famous story “The Mist,” which has been adapted into a film and a TV series. It’s a novella in its own right, making up the first 200 or so pages of the book, followed by two poems and 19 short stories, for a total of 22 pieces of fiction.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/05/16

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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

SkeletonCrewOh boy…here we are a week later and this looks worse than last week. I’m close to finished with Skeleton Crew by Stephen King—I’ve got less than 100 pages left to go—but I wasn’t able to finish it outright because I visited home for four days over the weekend, during which I didn’t get a chance to get any reading done. I managed to finish the story “Gramma,” which did a great job of legitimately upsetting me though. King really made me care of the kid in the story, left alone at home with his ailing grandmother, and the way things turned out really got to me. Some details were a little too on the nose as the story developed, but the ending paid off well.

Recently Finished

Nothing this week. Going to have to try and turn this around something fierce over the next week, if I can. I’m going to be balancing it with revising some creative writing, so we shall see. Skeleton Crew will at least end up here by then, I can promise you that.

Reading Next

I’m going to start The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien any day now. Other than that, I might read a comic book volume or two. I’m really close to caught-up on my Star Wars graphic novels.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/05/09

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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

SkeletonCrewI’ve made a lot of progress on Skeleton Crew by Stephen King since last week, though I’m disappointed that I didn’t manage to finish it. I’ve really enjoyed most of the last several stories I’ve gotten through in this collection. I’d last left off with “The Raft” which I knew the basic plot of, but really enjoyed finally reading firsthand. It’s a simple yet effective horror scenario with a paranormal element: my favourite. The last batch of stories has really emphasized how varied this collection is, including a science fiction tale of a pair marooned on a strange desert planet, a Word Processor that can change reality, and a young man recounting how he fell in love and went on a killing spree. Some are better written than others, but I’m really enjoying that how this book keeps me on my toes.

Recently Finished

YodasSecretWarSince last week I read through Yoda’s Secret War by Jason Aaron et al, the fifth volume Marvel Comics’ currently ongoing Star Wars series. There’s some general Rebel Alliance mishaps going on with C3P0 having been captured by the Empire, but it really just works as a frame for Luke to read Obi-Wan’s journal, which recounts the tale of a strange experience a great Jedi Master once had. This master, unnamed to Luke, was Yoda. Years before the Clone Wars he answers a strange call in the Force to an uncharted world populated by warring tribes of children. I absolutely love when Star Wars stories do weird things with the Force, and this story certainly goes to some strange places without compromising existing lore. It’s nothing too surreal, but a lot more interesting than random rebel exploits. I wish writers for this franchise would do this sort of thing more often.

Reading Next

Shortly after I finish Skeleton Crew I intend to dive right into The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien, and then I will be done with The Lord of the Rings—probably forever. I’ve waded in these waters too long. Far too long. It needs to be done. It will be done. Other than that you can expect to hear about some more Star Wars comics. I’m on a roll with them and really want to get caught up.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/05/02

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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 still have The Lord of the Rings to finish as well as Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, but I’ve not made any progress on either this past week. I’m awful.

Recently Finished

TheFirstMenInTheMoonI did however finish reading The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells. I’ve had a feeling about this book for a while, and as it turns out it just might be my favourite Wells novel. There’s something so quaint about its notions of space travel that lend it a particular charm. Despite this, he also tries to make it as credible as possible based on the science of the time. The characters are also interestingly flawed and it takes a rather critical look at the nature of humanity compared to the aliens they discover upon the Moon, who are not exactly ideal themselves. The amount of depth was surprising for a book I thought would be a more Romantic tale of adventure, danger, and discovery. I will have a review up soon.

Reading Next

YodasSecretWarWhat I plan to read immediately next is a whole lot of Skeleton Crew. While I can pretend I’m starting another book with The Return of the King, I’ve been sitting on this book of short stories for too long and want to get it wrapped up now. Other than that, I intend to read Yoda’s Secret War by Jason Aaron et al, the fifth volume of the Marvel Comics Star Wars series that is currently ongoing. The end of this slump I’ve been in with reading is in sight. I just need to finish the two above novels and momentum can hopefully pick back up again.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/18

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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

TheLordoftheRingsI have concluded “Book Three” of The Lord of the Rings, which is the first half of The Two Towers. This section covers all of the exploits of Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry, and Pippin for that volume. I’ve got less than 150 pages left to go of Towers, which I hope to have completed over the next week so I can finally write another book review. “Book Three” did meander on occasion, but ultimately I really liked how much it had going on. I’m imagining following Frodo and Sam will be of a different pace, but since it’s looking like it’ll be a lot shorter than the former portion of the volume I’m hoping a potentially slower pace won’t stop me from finishing it within the next week.

SkeletonCrewI’m still waddling along with Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, having finished a couple more stories since last week: “The Wedding Gig” and “Paranoid: A Chant.” They weren’t bad, though not horror stories in the conventional sense. The former is a prohibition era crime story about a band hired to play at the wedding of a small-time racketeer’s sister, which goes badly. It wasn’t bad, but didn’t really grab me much. The latter was more of a poem about paranoia, with the speaker specifically fixated on conspiracy theory related subject matter. It was a nice short change of pace. Next up is “The Raft” which I’m excited about because it’s the reason I decided to start reading this collection in the first place. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Recently Finished

Nothing for this week! Boo!

Reading Next

AliensDeadOrbitI’m pretty set on reading The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells now, hopefully in time for next week if I can clean up what I’m currently reading a little. We shall see. I spent the better part of nearly the last two weeks working on a short story for a contest that was due the 15th, so reading fell to the wayside a little. In the meantime, I want to read Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe, which recently arrived in the mail after I pre-ordered it ages ago. I heard some light buzz about it and that was enough for me to give it a look. Will probably post a comic book review of that once I’m done.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/11

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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 started reading The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien last week and as I anticipated I’m enjoying it lot more than The Fellowship of the Ring. I’ve already read until the end of the battle of Helm’s Deep. There’s been a lot more forward momentum with the story that has kept me more interested. I’ve also really liked the way the story has jumped between Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursuing orcs and ending up in Rohan and Merry and Pippin escaping their orc captors and meeting the Ents. It mixed things up nicely. I hope I still enjoy it all when I catch back up with Frodo. I’d be a shame if focus on him was the problem I had with the first book.

SkeletonCrewI’ve continued along with Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though at a slower pace thanks to picking of LOTR again. I may power through it after I conclude The Two Towers, just so it’s not lingering around too long. I’m still disappointed with how few books I’ve finished since March started. The only story I’ve read since last week is “The Jaunt,” which is a fantastic science fiction story about the horrors of teleportation. The payoff was expected but I really enjoyed the build up and the execution was great.

Recently Finished

Shortly after my post last week I finished reading “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer, which you can read my full review of here. It’s a rather short work, so I don’t have much more to say about here, other than it was a wonderfully weird ride and I liked the way it started to make sense by the end.

LastFlightOfTheHarbingerI also read Last Flight of the Harbinger by Jason Aaron et al, which is the 4th volume of the new Marvel Comics Star Wars series. I’m becoming a little disappointed with how unfocused these stories have been on the characters themselves over the last couple of books. I suppose that makes sense, though. Luke and company’s most important development takes place in the films, so the most logical place to shift focus to is the adventures they have. I just wish said adventures were more interesting. A special forces group of Stromtroopers called SCAR squadron is featured that offered a unique look at the Imperial perspective, which I did really like, as well as another chapter about Obi-Wan’s days as a hermit on Tatooine.

Reading Next

TheFirstMenInTheMoonI want to reading something short before I begin The Return of the King, so I’ve been thinking either The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells or The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I’m in the mood for some older science fiction. It’ll probably be the former of the two; it’s been a while since I read anything by Wells. I only mention both because there’s always a chance I’ll change my mind. I may not even pick either of the two. I’m pretty sure whatever it is it’ll be science fiction though.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/04

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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

SkeletonCrewI’m still gradually making my way through Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I’ve finished more stories than I had for last week. “The Monkey” was a pretty good tale of a strange cursed object. I appreciate that little was done to explain what made it so malevolent. I particularly enjoyed “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut,” a story set in Castle Rock, which connects to a lot of other concepts within King’s works. I also just love the idea of obscure, winding pathways somehow intersecting with other worlds. Part of me wants to finish this before starting The Two Towers, but I don’t think I’ll do that. This book is pretty long in its own right.

KomodoI’m also about halfway finished reading my Kindle edition of the short story “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer. I started reading it last night. I’m disappointed that I haven’t finished it, but I grew tired and decided to pick it up later after reaching a stopping point. It’s a really surreal tale. Not so much that I’m completely lost, but difficult to explain to somebody if they wanted to hear what it’s about. In a good way, I’m finding it’s a story where you just need to go with it. Otherwise, it’s probably going to frustrate you.

Recently Finished

RebelJailOver the weekend I read Rebel Jail, the third volume in the new Star Wars comic book series by Marvel Comics. It told a decent, self-contained little story set primarily in one of the Rebel Alliance’s prisons. As an organization trying to be better than the oppressive Imperials they want to overthrow, it makes sense they’d take prisoners rather than execute. I am a little skeptical they had the resources for something like this, however. Nevertheless, its introduction does not hurt continuity, so it does not matter. The story was particularly Leia focused, which I appreciated, along with including new character Dr. Aphra, whom I love.

Reading Next

TheLordoftheRingsI’m going to start reading The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien very soon. The Lord of the Rings is a monkey on my back I need to take care of. I’ve had enough of a break. Other than that, I’m going to push myself to catch up more on comic books. I’ve got so many to get to that I’ve let pile up that I could finish in a relatively short amount of time if I put my mind to it, so expect to see more of those under recently finished in the coming weeks. Until next time.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/28

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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

SkeletonCrewI’m still reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I have not made much progress on it over the past week. I finished the story “Here There Be Tygers” which was rather short. It was interesting and a little different than what I’m used to from King. It was rather open-ended and nonsensical, but not in a way that was frustrating or baffling. It quite effectively tapped into fears and anxieties one might experience in childhood, through every day people and (possibly) imaginary presences. I started reading “The Monkey” but some personal distractions held be back from finishing it.

Recently Finished

HellboyTheLostArmyI finished The Lost Army by Christopher Golden just before the weekend, which was both disappointing and in other ways exactly what I needed. You can read my full review of the novel here. Having purchased so many Hellboy novels now, since some of them are a little difficult to find at reasonable prices, I’m happy I finally got through one. It was pulpy fun that captured the essence of the character well while also serving as a fun, noncommittal side-story. My only real gripe, which I explain more in my review, is how little character development actually takes place.

Reading Next

RebelJailI still intend to start The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien soon, as well as “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer once I set aside some to get through it in a sitting. Other than that, I’ve been thinking more about the mountain of comic book volumes I need to get through that I’ve been severely taking my time with. In particular are the Star Wars comics I’ve let pile up. So, I will likely be reading Rebel Jail next, continuing the adventures of the crew of the Millennium Falcon after the events of Vader Down, which I read at the beginning of last year.

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.