WWW Wednesday – 2018/06/13

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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

CirceI am currently about 40 pages into Circe by Madeline Miller and already I can see what a lot of the fuss is about. Part of me was admittedly a bit leery about how the mythology would be adapted, because usually when it is the author or other person with creative control takes a lot of liberties with the material. Reading this so far feels like a direct attempt to try to more closely capture the lives of these godly figures in  prose. It’s especially interesting to me because the myths are literally full of nymphs and I hadn’t really considered what their daily life would look like. Miller gives a really interesting interpretation of that thus far.

Recently Finished

TheLordoftheRingsI finally finished all of The Lord of the Rings! You can read my review of The Return of the King, my third and final review covering the book, here. My status with this book is to blame for the absence of one of these posts last week. I had to travel that weekend, which really threw off my reading plans. I had actually finished the story itself, but I was intent on reading at least most of the appendices, which were full of extended lore. I refused to count to book as finished until I’d read all of it. As a result my post last week would have been pretty much identical to the week before. I’m relieved to finally have it done and moved on to other books, but I did sincerely enjoy the experience.

Reading Next

DoctorAphraAndTheEnormousProfitI’ve listed Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit by  Kieron Gillen et al on my currently-reading list on Goodreads, but I haven’t actually started it yet, so I’m definitely picking that up next. I’m only about three volumes away from catching up with the current Star Wars comic books I’m following, which has me pretty excited. I’m just now realizing that this is the last book in the Doctor Aphra series written by the character’s creator. I do hope that Simon Spurrier’s take is faithful.

Book Review – The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Summary

The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragorn, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by Orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the Ents. Gandalf returned, miraculously, and defeated the evil wizard, Saruman. Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo progressed towards Mordor to destroy the Ring, accompanied by Smeagol–Gollum, still obsessed by his ‘precious’. After a battle with the giant spider, Shelob, Sam left his master for dead; but Frodo is still alive–in the hands of the Orcs. And all the time the armies of the Dark Lord are massing.

TheLordoftheRings

Finally, I have finished reading all of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. It took much longer than I anticipated, but I’m thrilled to finally have it completed. At first, I was going to finish at the conclusion of the story, but after realizing just how deep into the lore the appendices go I felt obligated to read most of that as well. Once again, while this story is typically divided into three separate books I read through a singular copy, but I split my review of the book into three respective reviews for each volume. So, this is my review of The Return of the King, being the third and final part of my review of The Lord of the Rings.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/05/30

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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

TheLordoftheRingsOh boy am I getting close to finished with The Lord of the Rings. I’ve got less than 100 pages to go of The Return of the King, which for the most part seems to be epilogue material. The Ring has been destroyed, but surprisingly there seems to be a fair amount of story left before this tale finally wraps up. I honestly can’t wait. I’ll be happy to finally be able to say I’ve read it, and more importantly I will be able to move on to other books without feeling like I’ve got unfinished business.  I have started debating whether or not I should read some of the appendices, which seem to fill in some gaps with actual narrative, rather than textbook-style information. We’ll see what I end up doing.

Recently Finished

ScreamingCitadelSince last week I read through The Screaming Citadel by Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron, et al. It’s a Star Wars comic book volume that crosses over the main Star Wars series with the Doctor Aphra series. It took things in a weird direction that was stylistically interesting, but also a little boring in terms of plot. The main threat involved parasitic creatures, which is a well-worn path for science fiction. I enjoyed the dynamic between the unseasoned, plucky Luke Skywalker and the manipulative and self-serving Dr. Aphra. There was a good amount of friction and cooperation between the two that made the crossover feel more worthwhile.

Reading Next

MovingPicturesI’ve mentioned numerous times now that I plan to start Circe by Madeline Miller next, which I will hopefully have begun by next week (fingers crossed). I need to travel again this weekend, which may hinder reading progress. I also really need to continue reading the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, which I have neglected in 2018 so far. Next up in the series I need to read is Moving Pictures, which I have fortunately had a copy of for a while. It will simply be a matter of picking it up when I’m ready.

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.

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.

Book Review – The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Summary

Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in the battle with an evil spirit in the Mines of Moria; and at the Falls of Rauros, Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape the rest of the company were attacked by Orcs.

Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin – alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

TheLordoftheRings

My reading journey toward completing a singular edition of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien continues, having reached another milestone by concluding the second volume The Two Towers. Before I started I was mentally exhausted from The Fellowship of the Ring’s meandering nature, despite my enjoyment of many parts of it. All the same, I was hopeful that the follow-up would gain much needed forward momentum. As a small indicator of how that hope turned out: I finished this volume a lot faster. Without further ado, this is my review of The Two Towers, being the second part of my review of The Lord of the Rings.Read More »

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.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/11

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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 reading The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien last week and as I anticipated I’m enjoying it lot more than The Fellowship of the Ring. I’ve already read until the end of the battle of Helm’s Deep. There’s been a lot more forward momentum with the story that has kept me more interested. I’ve also really liked the way the story has jumped between Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursuing orcs and ending up in Rohan and Merry and Pippin escaping their orc captors and meeting the Ents. It mixed things up nicely. I hope I still enjoy it all when I catch back up with Frodo. I’d be a shame if focus on him was the problem I had with the first book.

SkeletonCrewI’ve continued along with Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though at a slower pace thanks to picking of LOTR again. I may power through it after I conclude The Two Towers, just so it’s not lingering around too long. I’m still disappointed with how few books I’ve finished since March started. The only story I’ve read since last week is “The Jaunt,” which is a fantastic science fiction story about the horrors of teleportation. The payoff was expected but I really enjoyed the build up and the execution was great.

Recently Finished

Shortly after my post last week I finished reading “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer, which you can read my full review of here. It’s a rather short work, so I don’t have much more to say about here, other than it was a wonderfully weird ride and I liked the way it started to make sense by the end.

LastFlightOfTheHarbingerI also read Last Flight of the Harbinger by Jason Aaron et al, which is the 4th volume of the new Marvel Comics Star Wars series. I’m becoming a little disappointed with how unfocused these stories have been on the characters themselves over the last couple of books. I suppose that makes sense, though. Luke and company’s most important development takes place in the films, so the most logical place to shift focus to is the adventures they have. I just wish said adventures were more interesting. A special forces group of Stromtroopers called SCAR squadron is featured that offered a unique look at the Imperial perspective, which I did really like, as well as another chapter about Obi-Wan’s days as a hermit on Tatooine.

Reading Next

TheFirstMenInTheMoonI want to reading something short before I begin The Return of the King, so I’ve been thinking either The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells or The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. I’m in the mood for some older science fiction. It’ll probably be the former of the two; it’s been a while since I read anything by Wells. I only mention both because there’s always a chance I’ll change my mind. I may not even pick either of the two. I’m pretty sure whatever it is it’ll be science fiction though.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/04/04

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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’m still gradually making my way through Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I’ve finished more stories than I had for last week. “The Monkey” was a pretty good tale of a strange cursed object. I appreciate that little was done to explain what made it so malevolent. I particularly enjoyed “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut,” a story set in Castle Rock, which connects to a lot of other concepts within King’s works. I also just love the idea of obscure, winding pathways somehow intersecting with other worlds. Part of me wants to finish this before starting The Two Towers, but I don’t think I’ll do that. This book is pretty long in its own right.

KomodoI’m also about halfway finished reading my Kindle edition of the short story “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer. I started reading it last night. I’m disappointed that I haven’t finished it, but I grew tired and decided to pick it up later after reaching a stopping point. It’s a really surreal tale. Not so much that I’m completely lost, but difficult to explain to somebody if they wanted to hear what it’s about. In a good way, I’m finding it’s a story where you just need to go with it. Otherwise, it’s probably going to frustrate you.

Recently Finished

RebelJailOver the weekend I read Rebel Jail, the third volume in the new Star Wars comic book series by Marvel Comics. It told a decent, self-contained little story set primarily in one of the Rebel Alliance’s prisons. As an organization trying to be better than the oppressive Imperials they want to overthrow, it makes sense they’d take prisoners rather than execute. I am a little skeptical they had the resources for something like this, however. Nevertheless, its introduction does not hurt continuity, so it does not matter. The story was particularly Leia focused, which I appreciated, along with including new character Dr. Aphra, whom I love.

Reading Next

TheLordoftheRingsI’m going to start reading The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien very soon. The Lord of the Rings is a monkey on my back I need to take care of. I’ve had enough of a break. Other than that, I’m going to push myself to catch up more on comic books. I’ve got so many to get to that I’ve let pile up that I could finish in a relatively short amount of time if I put my mind to it, so expect to see more of those under recently finished in the coming weeks. Until next time.