Top 5 Books I Read in 2019

The final year of the decade has come and gone. It’s strange how one of the most ordinary things in the world can feel so uncanny sometimes. The last five years were long, there is no doubt, but I can’t escape the sense that they were the fastest five years of my life. 2019 itself was weird for feeling both long and short, in its own right.

With the year over and done, that is also another load of books that I’ve finished reading. Every year I pick my top five favourites among them, in no particular order, and this year is no different. They needn’t have come out this year, I just need to have read them this year. Without further ado…Read More »

Book Review – Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn

Star Wars: Thrawn is the first book in a trilogy of Star Wars novels centred around the titular character, a blue humanoid alien with red eyes from the Chiss species, who rises to great prominence in the Imperial navy in the time between the prequel trilogy of Star Wars films and the original trilogy. The author originally created the character in older novels that are now deemed “Legends.” This is the first novel to feature the character in the new canon since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, initially debuting him in the series Star Wars Rebels.

In this first novel, Mitth’raw’nuruodo, simplified as Thrawn, is discovered on an uncharted world in Wild Space by Imperial scouts. Apparently exiled by his people, the Chiss Ascendency, he impresses the officers sent to investigate by cleverly sneaking aboard their capital ship despite his limited resources. Brought before the Emperor, Thrawn’s talents for strategy are recognized and he wishes to serve the Empire with the hope that, should it be needed, the it might come to the aid of his people. Seeing his knowledge of the Unknown Regions of the galaxy as a further asset, he is allowed to enroll in the Imperial Naval Academy, with the reluctant cadet Eli Vanto to accompany him as an aid and translator.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 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

StardustCurrently a good ways into reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Of course, this means that I came up short on my little challenge to myself from last week. Can’t say I’m too surprised, but it did motivate me, so it had its intended effect. 67% of the way through in a week’s time, with other books along the way, feels pretty good. That all being said, I’m actually surprised with how much I’m enjoying it, which is saying something since I had no misgivings about it. It’s a more whimsical, lighter read, while still brimming with Gaiman’s imagination. I’m most surprised with how naughty the book is. I don’t think it’s especially explicit, but there’s a lot more sex and risqué descriptions than what its YA-fairy-tale appearance suggested to me.


Recently Finished

Saturday night I finished reading Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. I enjoyed it as a more character-focused novel (as the title suggests), but all the same I do wish the narrative through-line had built up to something a little more climactic. I should have a review up soon.

Marley's GhostI also read through Marley’s Ghost by Harvey Kurtzman et al, which actually has a much more complicated history than I realized. Kurtzman had the idea of adapting Dickens’ story as a comic book back in the 1950s, when the idea of a “graphic novel” was inconceivable. Kurtzman’s adaptation notes were expanded into a full graphic novel for publication in 2017 by Gideon Kendall, Josh O’Neill, and Shannon Wheeler. The result is really lovely. It’s an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, so most of us already know the story, but it appears to use writing lifted right from the original book. The art is also gorgeous. It made me realize why I love this story too: not just for its messages, but also the fact that it’s a ghost story. Hadn’t quite thought of it in such terms so consciously before.


Reading Next

Lords and LadiesDespite the incoming holidays, and my usual brief interlude from reading, I am determined to read one more Discworld novel, Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, before the decade is out. The trick with this is it will really bother me if I don’t get it finished before midnight on December 31st. With the holidays keeping me busy, this may be difficult. This will likely being my last book for the year, period, as well. I’ll save cracking open another graphic novel until 2020 (maybe). Let’s see if I can pull this off, friends.

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

I Have A Good Feeling About This (Part Two)

So…it has been a little bit longer than “a month or so.” Nearly half a year, in fact. I let this sit on the back-burner in my mind for quite a while after getting Part One off my chest, and while I’ve been ruminating on this continuation for a while, it’s about time I finally got this finished and posted. There’s less than a week before The Rise of Skywalker hits theatres and it would really bother me if I didn’t get this up before then. Cutting it close, but here it is.

You can check out part one of this post here, if you haven’t already, and be fairly warned that there are of course spoilers ahead.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 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

ThrawnI had hoped I might finish Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn by now, but alas, I have just over 100 pages left in the book. This does mean I’ll be done with it very soon, though, so I’m still happy about that. I continue to be compelled by Thrawn’s story and the ways he resolves complicated situations, earning him accolades, but woven throughout this novel is also the story of Arihnda Pryce, a young woman working her way up government ranks, rather than the navy. Since she’s an established character prior to this novel I have been interested in her story, but I have to wonder where it’s all going. I can’t tell if her rise will intersect with Thrawn’s in a more meaningful way, or if her origin was just snuck into this novel because it couldn’t have carried a book on its own.


Recently Finished

Nothing for this week, I’m afraid. Hopefully the only time that will be the case this month.


Reading Next

StardustOver the past few weeks I’ve pointed out a number of books I want to read in December, so lets make this section a little more interesting this week. Not only do I want to read Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Marley’s Ghost by Harvey Kurtzman soon, but I challenge myself to have them both finished alongside Thrawn by next week. Now, I know I haven’t had a perfect track record recently, so I may be overextending myself. I do want to get a non-book related Star Wars post finished before the new movie comes out too. So I accept this may not happen. All the same, I’d just like to at least finish all that I plan to read in December, since all my other personal reading challenges are pretty much bust.

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

WWW Wednesday – December 4, 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

ThrawnI’m making good progress on Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. I’m just about halfway through it now. I’m really enjoying Thrawn’s rising through the ranks, thanks in large part to the fact that the novel doesn’t go out of its way to frame the Empire as evil and menacing as per usual. They did enforce law and order throughout the galaxy, after all, and while their nasty side still shines through, Thrawn’s commendations are received for how he deals with pirates and organized crime, at least so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if rebel cells make their way into the story in some way, but I like this angle for a villain’s origin story. I prefer the idea of him being an admirably cunning, even honorable character, who doesn’t shy away from doing bad things if it suits a goal, rather than being just another overtly malicious figure.


Recently Finished

HellboyKrampusnachtLast night I read Hellboy: Krampusnacht by Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes. I honestly feel a little guilty about counting this on my Goodreads Challenge for 2019, but even with its inclusion I’m not going to reach my goal, so I’m just going to let it sneak in. I feel this way because it’s only about a single comic book issue long. A volume is normally composed of at least 4-5 issues, if not more. It was a fun little Christmas story nonetheless, giving an interesting little twist on the Krampus figure, though a little formulaic for a Hellboy story at the same time. I’ve no regrets about reading it though, and discovered when I was done that they’ve released a Hellboy Winter Special issue every year since 2016, so I’m probably going to get those now too. Probably won’t count those though.


Reading Next

Lords and LadiesIt has occurred to me that I wanted to try to read more Discworld books this year than I did last year, but I cannot do that if commit to reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. There is a good chance, if I have the time for it, that my final book for the year will be Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett instead. I’ve only matched the number of books I finished last year. If I clear that one I can beat it. I will simply push Atwood’s book to January. My Gaiman backlog has been around longer, though, so I do still intend to read Stardust after Thrawn.

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

WWW Wednesday – November 27, 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

ThrawnI’ve gotten a decent start on Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn since last week. I’m a little over 100 pages in at the moment. It really has been a nice change of pace after I was left a little frustrated by the last book I was reading. That being said, the pacing of the story has been surprisingly slow, though not in a bad way. More taking its time. Though I suspect it is all building toward something particular, for now it has been all about Thrawn’s induction into the Imperial Navy and the obstacles he deals with as an outsider. I particularly like how his perspective is written, as he is always reading the people he’s interacting with, so we get some insight into the expressions he observes in others and what he interprets about them.


Recently Finished

Emotions Explained with Buff DudesAs an additional cleanse of my reading palette I decided to properly read through Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes by Andrew Tsyaston. It is a collection of the author’s online comic strips Owlturd Comix, which you’ve likely come across yourself online at some point. Many, if not most, of the strips collected in this book I had definitely read online before already, but it’s nice to own a physical copy and show support for artists you enjoy when you can. This was mostly why’d I’d picked it up, admittedly, but I did have fun reading through properly. I’ve had it for a while, but for some reason put off reading it.


Reading Next

The Year of the FloodWith only about a month left in the year I keep mulling over what I think I can get through with the limited amount of time I have. I’ve gone over the Christmas-themed graphic novels I’d like to get to, as well as Stardust by Neil Gaiman, but I want to fit in something more if I can. Perhaps I should see if I can squeeze in The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. I’ve been meaning to continue the MaddAddam trilogy for years now, yet each time I make a list I never get around to it. I can’t guarantee I will get to it, but perhaps I will try in December.

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

Book Review – Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann

Star Wars Myths and Fables

Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann is a middle grade collection of stories set in the Star Wars universe, with an illustration by Grant Griffin accompanying each story. Though the connections are not especially overt, the book was released as a part of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge media project. Unlike a typical collection, each story is a piece of in-universe folklore from across the galaxy. Some are self-contained little fables, while others work to mythologize iconic characters we know and love from the films.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – August 21, 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

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI’ve left things after a rather nail-biting series of chapters in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. The death tally is technically at six now, I think, though I’ve only witnessed two on the page. Things are getting rather knife-y at Blackheath as our protagonist edges closer to solving the mystery, his rivals nipping visciously at his heels. I keep finding myself sub-consciously trying to see if I can piece anything together for myself, but I honestly think the time travel aspects are too elaborately structured for the reader to do that. Luckily, I’m still enthusiastically on board for wherever this is going.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Myths and FablesSince last week I started and finished Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann, with illustrations by Grant Griffin. It turns out it’s a middle grade book, which I’d somewhat expected but didn’t fully appreciate the significance of. While I can’t say that younger readers won’t get something out of this collection, I was personally underwhelmed. There were a couple stories I did find myself quite partial too, but ultimately the effort was rather pedestrian. I think I imagined the author would be a little more ambitious with the concept than he ended up being. I’d say they largely played it safe with this book. I should have a full review out soon.


Reading Next

Small GodsI expect that I will have Seven Deaths finished by next week, which had left me to wonder what I’m going to be picking up off the shelf next. I have decided I really need to continue with the Discworld novels for this year—I’ve only read one of the four I mean to get to—so the next book I will be picking up will be Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. I believe it’s another standalone novel that takes place in the Discworld’s more distant past (that’s the impression I have anyway). I’m excited for the more isolated approach to the world.

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

WWW Wednesday – August 14, 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

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastleI’m just over 150 pages in to The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton and it has been living up to the hype. Technically, the tally I’m at is 4 deaths for poor Evelyn, although it’s only ever taken place on the page once so far. I had thought this book would be a typical Groundhog Day situation, but Turton took that and made it even more complex in a way that I’m completely on board for. Despite the fact that it is so complicated, he writes it in such a way that so far I haven’t found it difficult to follow. I am a little wary, however, as it seems that if our protagonist is to prevent Evelyn’s murder he will have to break rules established by the narrative. There’s much left to read, so I’m hopefully things work out.


Recently Finished

The Catastrophe ConI finally read The Catastrophe Con by Simon Spurrier et al, and I’m happy to say that his taking the reigns as writer for the series has not diminished its quality for me. Doctor Aphra has become a corner of the Star Wars universe where stuff can get weird and I honestly can’t get enough of it. A penal colony made of smashed-together ships, insane probability droids, and Force-possessed spores? Yes, please. Aphra is so lovable and self-destructive, she’s become the epitome of chaotic-neutral in this universe to me. Her pursuit of personal gain, at the expense of even people she cares about it, is basically pathological. With the way this book ended I’m really excited to read the next.

The Man in the PictureI also read through all of The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill in one night, which is rare for me when it comes to novels. It was only 145 pages, but even at that length it’s unlikely for me to finish so quickly. I’ve already written a review, which you can check out here. The book had a wonderfully pleasant writing style and good atmosphere befitting a ghost story, I just wasn’t super thrilled with the direction things went. The nature of the haunted object, such as it is, becomes odd in a way that was more confusing than compelling. Credit where it is due, though, I’m creeped out by the idea of this painting as an image alone, which is hard to do with no visual reference point.


Reading Next

Star Wars Myths and FablesWelp, looks like I’m reading another Star Wars book. I got my copy of Myths & Fables by George Mann this past week and it looks like it’ll make for a great supplemental read. I’m not sure how much will be original in-universe tales and how much will be mythologizing what we know, but I do know that Darth Vader gets a depiction as some sort of boogeyman and I’m curious to see what that looks like. The accompanying art is stunning as well, which is an added bonus. I’ve gone off script with my reading list more than I’d like, but it’s hard to resist reading a new book sometimes, eh?

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