WWW Wednesday – November 28, 2018

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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

aftermathempiresendI’m still in the thick of Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, a little under the halfway point in the book. I’m really enjoying the way it’s ramping up on pretty much all character fronts so far. I’m surprised by how much I’m into some of the political stuff around the New Republic and Mon Mothma. Someone else already means to take her place as Chancellor in an election and despite the Empire still being a huge threat there is a lot of subterfuge and backstabbing at play. The occasional interlude chapters have been rather interesting too, especially one that offers a glimpse into the fate of one of the franchise’s most infamous characters: Jar Jar Binks. I’m going to have to push myself especially to finish this, since November is all but finished, but I should hopefully have it done by next week so I can stay on track for the rest of the year.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1952Over the weekend I read Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952, which is the first volume in a more recent Hellboy series showing his earlier years with the Bureau. This book tells the tale of his first ever field mission to a Brazilian village where a lot of people have been turning up dead under mysterious circumstances. This story unfurls into encounters with ape-like monstrosities and Hellboy’s first ever confrontation with Herman von Klempt, the twisted Nazi scientist. It is his successes during this mission that result in him being granted honorary human status by the United Nations, which was a nice touch. I do wish it had looked a little harder for the big red guy, however. Despite looking like an adult, he’s less than 10 years old at this time and could have been made to look a little less experienced at the whole fighting Nazis thing.


Reading Next

Battle of Jericho HillMy plans are still fairly carefully laid out for reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett next, but Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Furth will likely be the next thing I finish, either before or after Empire’s End. It will feel really good to have caught up on another comic book series. It has felt too much like my progress with comics had slowed down since I finished the Star Wars backlog I was working on most of this year.

Until next week, thanks for reading!

WWW Wednesday – November 14, 2018

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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

I’m a little over halfway through reading Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink, which has in many ways been a rather different beast from the podcast series that it is retelling. Something I’m actually finding I miss are the little episodic outings from Keisha’s journey in the series. There are some nods as she investigates more about Thistle, but she doesn’t encounter these anomalies herself like she does in the series. I understand why this would be removed from a novel adapting all three seasons, to keep the narrative clean and without filler, but I miss them all the same. Those little oddities were some of my favourite things from the podcast.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I finished reading Elevation by Stephen King, which you can read my full review of here. I liked it well enough; it was a nice uplifting story with a bittersweet ending, though I think it’s a far cry from horror. I’d meet it halfway and call it eerie fiction, if that can be considered a genre. It was also a very fast read, which made it a welcome little addition to my reading endeavours. There really isn’t much more to say about it here. It was short and sweet, with some references to other King works for the keen-eyed fan, since it takes place in the recurring setting of Castle Rock.


Reading Next

I’m going to start reading Fall of Gilead by Robin Furth et al soon, as I said last week, but I have my books worked out for the remainder of the year too. There’s not much time left of 2018, so I decided I had to commit. Once I’m finished with Alice Isn’t Dead, which I expect will be rather soon, I’m going to start Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, the final book in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I know a little more about how things turn out than I would’ve liked going into it, thanks to some fanatic research in the past, but I’m still looking forward to seeing this trilogy through.

Until next week, thank you for reading!


Book Review – Elevation by Stephen King

Elevation

Elevation is the newest book by Stephen King, taking place in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, the setting of a great number of his stories. This novella follows Scott Carey, a recent divorcee who suffers from a bizarre illness; he keeps losing weight, yet it has no effect on his physical appearance or how he feels. If anything he feels better. He has more energy and feels lighter on his feet. Despite this, he does wonder whether it will stop, or if a day will come where he weighs nothing at all and what that will mean. His troubles don’t stop there, as tensions develop between him and his lesbian neighbors over dog poop on his lawn, which ends up cluing him in to the way the largely conservative community of Castle Rock has alienated the couple, who struggle to keep their new restaurant up and running.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – November 7, 2018

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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

ElevationIn a twist I wasn’t planning on, I’m currently reading Elevation by Stephen King, which just came out October 30th. I happened to be at a bookstore on the 1st and saw it for 40% off. I gave in to my impulse to pick it up under the condition that I start reading it immediately. It’s fairly standard fare from what I expect from King, though I don’t quite see how it’s supposed to be horror just yet. The main character is strangely losing weight, yet his body appears the same and whatever he wears contributes nothing to the numbers on the scale. Despite the troubling implications he feels great. I imagine this thread will take a turn, but so far the story has been more concerned with his rocky relationship with his lesbian neighbors and the struggles the couple has been facing in a small, conservative-leaning community of Castle Rock.


Recently Finished

House of LeavesLast night I finished reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I should have a review up soon. I want to maybe have it done for tomorrow, but I feel like I need to let the whole thing settle in my mind a little longer. After the labyrinthine chapter I mentioned last week the pace picked up a lot more. Events in the house continued to be compelling and Johnny’s story went to strange, sometimes disorienting places. I’m not sure I agree with a lot of the theories about the book I’ve run into. Maybe I need to dive deeper into the speculation, but I trust my own perspective too. It’s not conventionally a horror novel (the original reason I started reading it), but it certainly deals with the terror of a crushing void and the metaphysical nightmare of impossible architecture.


Reading Next

Fall of GileadI still have every intention of reading Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink next. As a parallel plan, I really do need to continue with those Dark Tower prequel graphic novels I’ve been reading. Next up is Fall of Gilead, which will hopefully start getting into some uncharted territory finally. Everything so far has been retreading details covered in the novels, but from what I recall the actual loss of his friends and home had always been left a little vague in the books. I suspect Roland and company will be a little aged up as well now. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/08/29

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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

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsLast night I started reading Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola, though I haven’t read further than the prologue so far. There’s something about the cover and the title that’s always given me a good feeling about this book (not the most reliable impulse) and this has been emboldened by the brief introduction in which Mignola states his belief that this book surpasses the previous novel, which he believes to have been great too. He’s probably just a little biased, but I’m looking forward to getting into it all the same. Gods have only occasionally been touched upon in Hellboy stories in the past so I’m especially curious to see how this incorporates the Norse pantheon.


Recently Finished

The Princess BrideOver the weekend I finished reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Check out my review here! I ended up liking this book quite a lot. The characters were excellent, it balanced some complex themes with fairy tale ideals rather well, and played with the medium in unexpected ways. It’s now no wonder to me that it’s considered such a classic. Inigo and Fezzik especially stole the show for me. They have a great dynamic together. I only wish there were more story. My edition included the first chapter of the “sequel” called Buttercup’s Baby, and it literally ends with a massive cliffhanger. Goldman sure is a cheeky fellow.

The Gunslinger BornI also started and finished reading The Gunslinger Born by Peter David et al, which is the first in the comic book adaptations of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. While I think later volumes will cover details about Roland’s past that we have not seen before, this book specifically adapted his becoming a gunslinger from The Gunslinger and the story from Wizard & Glass when he fell in love with Susan Delgado. It was a pretty faithful adaptation, though I prefer the novel for how in-depth it goes. This felt a little bit like reading the cliff notes. I did however like getting a good visual look at the Crimson King and Walter, whose forms are often nebulously described in the books.


Reading Next

AftermathLifeDebtThe Bones of Giants should not take me too long, so once I finish that I’m going to get started on Aftermath: Life Debt so I can continue with that trilogy of Star Wars books. I’m hoping things pick up a lot more plot-wise with that book now that origins and introductions are out of the way for the characters. It also hints at including some of the core characters from the films more, which I hope is the case (it’s got the Millennium Falcon on the cover, dang it!!).

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Short Story Review – Laurie by Stephen King

Laurie

“Laurie” is a new short story by Stephen King, published for free via direct download on the author’s website this past May 17th. You can access the story in PDF form here.

The story follows Lloyd Sunderland, an old man whose wife Marian has passed away after 40 years of marriage. With no children and lacking immediate companionship, his retired life has diminished to monotony and grieving depression. He doesn’t get out much, nor does he eat often or well. Six months after Marian’s passing his older sister Beth pays him a visit, bringing with her a dark gray puppy. Beth pretty much forces the puppy on Lloyd, saying it will be for his own good, and a reluctant relationship begins between master and pup.Read More »

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.