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.

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 – 2018/04/25

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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

TheLordoftheRingsWhile I’m still technically reading The Lord of the Rings, I’ve finished The Two Towers! You can read my full review here. I invested as much time as I could over the weekend toward finishing it and will be taking another breather before I continue with The Return of the King. The book concluded following Frodo and Sam venturing further into the belly of the beast, which I ended up liking as much as the rest of that book despite my misgivings. What helped was focus being placed more on Sam’s experiences, who makes for a much more flawed yet relatable character than Frodo.

I’ve made no progress on Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. Boo!

TheFirstMenInTheMoonI’ve also started reading The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells, a story of space travel published in 1901. The science is not completely ludicrous, following its own imagined logic based on contemporary understanding, but it is absolutely fanciful at the same time. This is especially the case when you learn the spacecraft was constructed by a handful of guys using a coal furnace. It’s not trying to pass itself off as hard science fiction, though, even by the standards of Wells’ previous work. It’s actually a science romance (not the lovey kind), which I didn’t know until after I started it.

Recently Finished

AliensDeadOrbitI read through Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe late last week, which you can read my full review of here. It didn’t surprise me too much in terms of story; in a lot of ways all Aliens stories are the same, especially if it’s a standalone. Despite this I think it was exceptionally well told, adding its own personal flare to the formula. Stokoe’s art is also really well done, elevating the book from good to great, in my opinion.

Reading Next

CirceI’ve got the next slew of books I want to get through pretty well lined up, but I’m thinking I might read Circe by Madeline Miller, which recently came out, once I’m done with The Return of the King. I haven’t read her debut novel The Song of Achilles yet, but a friend of mine is a big fan of her work and the focus on the character Circe from The Odyssey has got me a lot more interested in this novel.

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.