Comic Book Review – Smashed by Junji Ito

Smashed

Smashed is the newest English translation collection of short horror stories by manga artist Junji Ito, bringing together 13 chilling tales. Most of them are one-shot stories, with the exception of trio that focus around a strange haunted house attraction that pops up in abandoned buildings near the outskirts of towns, charging outrageous prices but promising to scare you out of your wits. I didn’t know much about the stories collected in this book going in. I saw there was a new collection coming out, and that’s pretty much all that was needed to get me to commit to picking it up.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – April 24, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and other people’s 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

Witches AbroadLate last week I started reading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, the 12th novel in the Discworld series. I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far: the idea of a fairy godmother so invested to the literal power of story that she turns an entire kingdom into a dystopian nightmare is both hilarious and compelling to me. Citizens must fulfill all the storytelling tropes associated with their vocation/role in society or meet an unpleasant fate. I’m excited to see where this goes once the trio of witches arrive. I’m not sure if I had this problem with Wyrd Sisters, but Granny Weatherwax seems more indignant about things than I remember. She’s one of my favourite characters so I hope this doesn’t stick too much.

On Earth as it is in HellI also started reading On Earth As It Is In Hell by Brian Hodge, which is the third Hellboy novel. This is the first of the novels not written by Christopher Golden and so far I’m really liking Hodge’s approach to the story. I’m not very far yet, but so far there has been an attack at the Vatican Archives, seemingly by seraphim of all things, who have unleashed heavenly fire upon a whole area of the library. What I’m liking about Hodge’s approach is the story so far is told through straightforward narrative as well as reports written by B.P.R.D. consultant Kate Corrigan after the fact, which helps to exposit details more elegantly.


Recently Finished

SmashedNot long after last week’s post I finished reading Smashed by Junji Ito. It hasn’t wound up being my favourite collection, but I’m happy to report that despite the shaky start with the earlier stories things did start to pick up for me. There’s almost always an element of weirdness to the horror he writes, and most of the collection wound up being weird and creepy in a way that worked really well. The art continues to be great too, though I’m finding that I’ve now read so much of his stuff that it does not have the same effect on me it once did. I’m not sure how to feel about that. The titular story was the one that closed it out and it had a great balance of body horror, suspense, and mystery.


Reading Next

Planting Gardens in GravesThe other day I got some new books, and among them was the poetry collection Planting Gardens in Graves by R. H. Sin. Lately I’ve been wanting to read poetry again, especially as a palate cleanser from the novels I’ve usually got my nose buried in. I like the look of it and the feelings the title evokes, so I decided to pick this book up. I’m particularly excited to start it because I’ve decided I don’t want to review any of the poetry books I read. I’ll still share my thoughts and feelings in these posts, but for the time being I’d like poetry to be something I read only for the pleasure of it.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – April 17, 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

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

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

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!