WWW Wednesday – April 17, 2019

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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

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 3, 2019

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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

Fragile ThingsI’m still chipping away at Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. Reading has been consistently enjoyable, but admittedly some of the stories have been apparently forgettable. I say “apparently” because I just had to flip back through all the stories I read in the last week to fully refresh myself on what exactly I had read. Only one actually did little for me, so this is more indicative of the problem short story collections can have sometimes. Some stories just stand out a lot more than others. That being said, I do really like when he implies that a story has happened to him. It’s preposterous to seriously consider some events as having actually happened, but I do like the blending of reality with fiction.

The WonderI’ve also begun reading The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, just as I promised last week. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it and so far I’m intrigued but not completely drawn in. The writing is good, I just don’t quite have a good sense of the story being told yet. A nurse from England in the 1800s is called to Ireland to watch over a young girl who has gone four months without eating, a supposed miracle. The story is so grounded so far that I feel like making the girl’s condition authentic is unlikely, yet the main character is already so confident that it’s a con that I’m wondering what may happen to change her mind. I’m actually quite excited to not know going in which direction the story will take, not that I think on it.


Recently Finished

Batman White KnightLast night I finished reading Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy. Though pulling from familiar continuity, this Batman graphic novel is its own self-contained world. The Joker has been cured of his insanity, becoming a very sane Jack Napier once again, who sets his sights on Batman and the brutal vigilantism that has been allowed to run amok in Gotham City for far too long. Though it sounded gimmicky on its surface, it was a surprisingly poignant story that examines the characters of both Batman and the Joker through a critical yet fair lens. I’m especially fond of how many references there are to the 90s animated series. I don’t usually review superhero comics, but since it’s a standalone volume I will likely write one up for this soon.


Reading Next

Witches AbroadHaving balanced out genres with The Wonder—and not sticking with Fantasy constantly—I think I will start the next Discworld book I need to get to once I’ve cleaned up what I’m currently read. That book is Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, which is the third book in the “Witches” subseries. I love Granny Weatherwax, so I’m excited to see what it’s all about. I do hope the story is a little more focused on her in this book however. I thought the focus was a little too split in Wyrd Sisters.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Top 5 Books I Read in 2018

A sentiment at the moment seems to be that 2018 has felt like a very long year, but honestly I feel like I blinked and we’re at the end of the year. Certain moments throughout the year feel like they happened ages ago, yet it also feels to me like Halloween just happened. Maybe my perception of time is a little skewed right now.

At any rate, here we are once again with my end of the year top five list, presenting the five books I enjoyed reading the most in 2018. They are in no particular order, nor do they need to have come out in this year.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 19, 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

BloodlineI’m just over 100 pages into Bloodline by Claudia Gray and I can already see why it is highly regarded among the new Star Wars novels. Set decades after the fall of the Empire, the book follows Princess Leia Organa at a time of great divide in the New Republic Senate and burnout with politics for her personally. I love how focused this book is on Leia’s perspective, deviating to other characters sparingly to help establish them in their supporting roles. Many of the other new Star Wars books I’ve read, even those meant to focus on a specific character, would jump between too many different plotlines for my liking. This is just so well-written, evocative of Carrie Fischer’s performance, and streamlined with its perspective that I’m eating it up.


Recently Finished

Reaper ManAt the end of last week I finished reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, the 11th novel in the Discworld series. Please check out my full review here! I really liked this novel, though in the trio of storylines it followed one of them felt a little too tangential and filler-y for me. At any rate, I really enjoyed reading Death’s experiences as Bill Door, the name he takes for himself as a farm hand, and the way that it sort of mirrors Windle Poons’s experiences as a newly undead thanks to Death’s imposed retirement. I especially liked the way Death’s story ended. It was touching and made it clear that his experiences really changed him rather than things ending up back to the way they were before.

TomieI also read Tomie by Junji Ito over the weekend, collecting the serial series of the same name that follows a beautiful young woman named Tomie who is continually murdered by men that become unnaturally obsessed with her, yet she never stays dead. Though this is a little hyperbolic, the experience reading this kind of floored me. I’ve been enjoying Ito’s work a lot over the last year, but this book has reminded me for the first since reading Uzumaki that he really his a brilliant horror writer. I should have a review up by the end of the week.

 


Reading Next

Berserk 17The year is almost wrapped up for me as far as reading is concerned, though I’ve unsurprisingly (to myself) a little behind on what I want to get finished. I intend to read two more comic books before Christmas Eve, as well as finishing Bloodline, to end my yearly reading list at a nice even 60 books. Hopefully I can actually do it within my self-imposed timeline. The two comics I will read are Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 by Mike Mignola et al and Berserk Vol. 17 by Kentaro Miura. The latter I’m picking up after a hiatus from reading the series that has lasted for something like 6 years. A friend has motivated me to pick it up again.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

Reaper Man

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett is the 11th novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series and the second book in the Death subseries. The Auditors of Reality, godlike beings that act as bureaucrats for the cosmos, have decreed that Death (the being) of the Discworld has developed too much of a personality, which they believe is improper for his position. As such, Death is suddenly issued a new timepiece counting down to his impending demise. Officially retired, with the populace left to sort out manifesting a new reaper to fill his shoes, Death decides to do what he’s never been able to before; spend Time. Meanwhile, the Wizards and other citizens of Ankh-Morpork must deal with the consequences of excessive life force filling the world during this transitional time when passage to the afterlife for all living things has been interrupted.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 12, 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

Reaper ManI’m within the last 100 pages of Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett and aspects of it are among my favourite of all the Discworld books I’ve read so far. Death’s experiences as Bill Door, an alias he’s adopted while a farmhand in a very small town, have me hooked. He’s been learning the simple ins and outs of mortal life as well as trying to cope with the unending march of time, which never used to effect him. It’s fascinating to see such a usually insightful character become confronted with very commonplace truths like mortality that he has trouble dealing with emotionally. What I’m not so sure about is the story around the Wizards dealing with the overflowing life force in the world while Death is retired. It’s been entertaining, but has dragged a bit and is going in weird places that I’ll have to see through to the end before I know how I feel about. I should be done with the book in a few days.


Recently Finished

Sadly, nothing this week. I’m going to have to kick myself in the butt a bit to get some more graphic novels read, especially since I want to take a break from reading for the last week and a bit of December, starting on Christmas Eve.


Reading Next

TomieThough pretty far from a read fit for the season, one of the graphic novels I intend to read next is Tomie by Junji Ito, the largest book of the author’s I have in my collection. The stories within follow the travails of a beautiful young woman named Tomie who is frequently murdered by men who obsess over her. That’s just the thing though; she’s killed, yet she always comes back. Though an apparent victim of toxic passions, there’s something darker lurking behind her beautiful visage. That’s as much as I can surmise from my limited exposure to it, anyway, and I’m eager to dive in.

Until next week, thanks for reading!

WWW Wednesday – December 5, 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

Reaper ManLast night I started reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, though I’m only about 25 pages in so far. Auditors of reality have deemed the Death of the Discworld to have developed too much of a personality, which they view as an issue for an anthropomorphic personification meant to perform an important function in the physical world. As such Azrael, a being who seems to oversee Death, has given him his own timer that counts down to his end. Death shall die, and though the prospect is grim, it’s fascinating to see his initial jubilation. He has time now, and he means to spend it like anything else with life. I love how this ties into aspects of his character explored in his first book, Mort, and I’m excited to see where his story goes. Discworld is great all around, but I especially love the Death books.


Recently Finished

aftermathempiresendThe other night I finished reading Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. Check out my full review here! I liked this book, there were some good twists and turns for the characters and some solid action. I especially liked that while the story does take us to different worlds characters were more cemented in one place. It gave a sense of gravity to their situation. It was the end of the line, for better or worse. Something about this book just left me a little underwhelmed though, despite my enjoyment. I don’t know if it’s the fact that one of the lead characters just never clicked with me or that the book has to reckon with so many different perspectives in one novel to tie events together. I still liked it, I just can’t help feeling ambivalent that it’s all over.

Battle of Jericho HillI also completed the final prequel graphic novel to The Dark Tower, which is Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Furth et al. The art continued to be wonderful and it was as atmospheric as ever, but now that I’m done I’m not so sure I wanted these prequels, at least in the form they’ve taken. For one, they don’t really coalesce with the books. The way John Farson and Marten Broadclock are so doggedly trying to kill Roland and his companions I wonder why he’s left largely alone in the novels. On reflection I’m not so sure these were a good idea, since what they’ve mostly done by the end is spoil some of the mystique to Roland’s past and how he ended up alone, rather than creating something that flows perfectly into the story I already know.


Reading Next

BloodlineThe final novel I have planned to read for this year is Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which is a standalone Star Wars novel following Leia decades after Return of the Jedi at a time of a lot of political turmoil in the New Republic and a growing threat at the fringes of the galaxy. I’ve also heard that some of it deals with Leia coming to grips with Darth Vader being her father, which I’m excited to see some insight in to. To be honest, part of why I pushed myself to read the Aftermath trilogy was that I wanted to have them done as a primer just for this book. It is especially well-received among new Star Wars books and I’m hopeful my expectations have not set me up for disappointment.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – November 21, 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’ve finally started reading Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig, the final book in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I’m only a little over 50 pages into it, so it has only set the stage for where the story is going so far. Though in a vague sense I know where this book is going because of my impulses to research Star Wars, I’m pretty hooked already as one of the more responsible characters acted surprisingly rashly, putting her and a companion in tough stop in one of the forgotten little corners of the galaxy—the planet Jakku. Considering the characters find themselves on that planet so soon I’m really curious about what will develop there, since surely the inevitable battle (the remains of which can be seen in The Force Awakens) will not happen until late in the book.


Recently Finished

AliceIsntDeadOver the weekend I finished reading Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink. Please check out my review here! I liked the book, it’s certainly more refined in certain areas than the podcast it is adapting, but unfortunately it read a little too much like and abridged version of the story. I understand removing the episodic adventures that do not serve the plotline, but in trimming things down a lot of the slower, more intimate character moments got lost along the way too. It felt like things happened too quickly by the end, glossed over in the narration without much engagement with what the characters were doing. For those intrigued by the premise of oddities and horrors encountered on the highways of America I do recommend it though. It’s got its faults that keep me from really loving it, but it’s a solid story.

Fall of GileadI also read Fall of Gilead by Robin Furth et al, the fourth volume of the prequel comic books to the series The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Now this is what I’d been hoping for from these comics, giving me a closer look at events only hinted at or briefly mentioned in the books. Gilead indeed falls, but I enjoyed the valiant efforts of our characters and the tragic extent that the ill influence of John Farson had infected the city’s walls. One slightly unfortunate thing this book made me realize is these comic books came out before The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King. That book takes place between books four and five of the main series, but it came out after the series had ended. So, certain events in Fall of Gilead are contradicted by The Wind Through the Keyhole, which I must concede takes canonical importance over these comics.


Reading Next

Reaper ManHaving everything laid out and planned for the rest of the year, the next book I’m going to read shall be Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. This year has been rather disappointing as far as keeping up with reading the Discworld series. I set a good pace when I started in 2016, which I built upon last year. When I’ve finished Reaper Man I will only have read two this year, which isn’t even half of the number of books I read last year. 2019 will have to be a resurgence.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/07/18

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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

MyYearOfRestAndRelaxationI’ve been reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, though I’m only just getting started with it. My reading plans took a slight detour. Though I’m still within the first chapter, I have read until the first section break. It was a bit of a whirlwind so far, giving a lot of information on the narrator’s daily life such as it is and her dysfunctional friendship with a college friend named Reza. The style is rather fast paced, though I haven’t exactly gotten a hold on what the story is about yet. I’m a little wary with how much I’m being told rather than shown, but that may just be Meshfegh setting the scene. I’m still optimistic.

Recently Finished

MovingPicturesOver the weekend I finished reading Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett! Please check out my review here. I enjoyed it well enough, though it went pretty much as I expected it to. Though it hasn’t been the case every time, there is a general skeleton of a story that Pratchett seems to use when he has more of an idea he wants to explore than a specific story he wants to tell. Gaspode the Wonder Dog did not entirely take over the role of protagonist, but he was one of the most complex characters in the story, torn between his resentment for how humans mistreat him and his innate nature as a dog (a Good Boy). I was thrilled to learn that he becomes a recurring character throughout the series.

TheAshesofJedhaI also read The Ashes of Jedha by Kieron Gillen et al, which has caught me up on all of the available volumes of the current Star Wars series by Marvel. This is the first book with Gillen taking over from Jason Aaron and the difference was a little staggering. Maybe I just prefer something about Gillen’s style, but I was vastly more intrigued with the story here than I was with most of Aaron’s stuff. There was some weird stuff with the Force in it, which is always a win for me, but the book was mostly about a Rebel operation yet it still had me hooked. It bodes well for me for the series going forward.

NecronomiconThough this is not a completed book, I also read “The Shadow over Innsmouth” by H. P. Lovecraft from my massive tome of his stories. I’ve been playing the video game Bloodborne recently and a friend of mine told me to read this—basically a homework assignment—before I begin a specific portion of the game. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though I had absorbed more about it through osmosis than I realized, since much of it didn’t surprise me. I will likely have a review up of it soon.

Reading Next

AftermathI know I gab a lot about Star Wars, but I’ve got a list with five of the newer novels still on it that I want to get to this year. So, it’s high time I started the first Aftermath novel by Chuck Wendig, which is following the Galactic Civil war after the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader. I’ve been wanting to read this trilogy for a long time and I’m not putting it off any longer (once I’ve finished up with Moshfegh’s novel).

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Book Review – Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

MovingPictures

People might say that reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess weight. Sadly alchemists never really held with such a quaint notion. They think that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: The invention of motion pictures, the greatest making illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It’s either that or they’re about to unlock the dark terrible secret of the Holy Wood hills — by mistake.

Moving Pictures (1990) by Terry Pratchett is the tenth novel in the Discworld series. It is also the first book in the Industrial Revolution novel sequence, where the catalyst of the story is some manner of technological innovation or invention. Unlike the other sub-series that focus on a specific character or characters, this book introduces a new cast to the reader. It isn’t until the fourth Industrial Revolution book that a recurring protagonist is introduced. This novel, unsurprisingly, follows the emergence of a motion picture industry on the Discworld and the mayhem it eventually unleashes.Read More »