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 10, 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 ThingsYep, still in the midst of Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, though it’s not from lack of enjoyment, just lack of focus on it. I did manage to read a few stories since last week though, one of them being “The Problem of Susan,” which was nice to revisit. I first read it online soon after I read all of the Narnia books years ago. I appreciate how Gaiman’s approach to the subject is a short narrative that both tries to reckon with the unfair treatment Susan received by that series’ end while also giving a warped representation of Narnia that is open to interpretation. I really enjoyed “Locks,” a little poem about a father reading stories to his daughter at bedtime.


Recently Finished

LXGvol.2Over the weekend I read through volume two of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. Oh my goodness, I’ve wound up with a lot of mixed feelings about this book. First of all, I thought the graphic novel itself was outstanding. I do wish the war against the Martians was a tad more involved with the main plot, but the directions the characters were taken in was excellent, especially developments around Mr. Hyde. On the other hand, an epilogue section called “The New Traveler’s Almanac” is jam packed with literary references, giving a prose Atlas of the bizarre world they inhabit, telling further story along the way. Despite my enjoyment of it conceptually, it was so densely packed with walls of text that it took FOREVER to get through and more than once I wanted to scream at it.

The WonderI also finished The Wonder by Emma Donoghue last night, which I wound up enjoying quite a lot despite my mixed feelings last week, when I was wondering the direction the story would take. I must say, the ultimate narrative became very compelling indeed, as it becomes apparent that there really isn’t anything miraculous about the girl’s purportedly long fast, yet the situation is a lot more complicated than a family conning their community. The mounting sense of anxiety and urgency was exceptionally palpable and the length was just right for the story being told. My desire to finish this book was actually why I got so mad at volume two of The League. I expected that to be a brief departure, but I stubbornly didn’t want to sideline it when the almanac got too long.


Reading Next

SmashedMy preorder for Smashed by Junji Ito arrived for me on Monday, though it’s still a little while yet before it officially releases. It’s the newest collection of Junji Ito horror manga translated into English and I’m quite eager to read more of grotesque, macabre tales. Other that, I still fully intend to start Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett as my next novel, but I’m going to make sure I finish Fragile Things first. It’s hung around the periphery long enough. It’s time to go home.

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!

WWW Wednesday – March 27, 2019

www_wednesdays

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’ve admittedly not made a whole lot of progress on Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, though I have read a few stories since last week. I’m starting to notice an intriguing trend in the last few stories I’ve read in this book, which revolve around a young person having a haunting experience with abandoned property/houses. Each story was effective in their own way, while also having a number of elements in common. I wonder if this is happenstance, or will continue in some way throughout this book. I know most of these stories were published before being collected here, but I think it’ll be interesting to keep an eye out nonetheless.


Recently Finished

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1The first book I finished over the weekend was volume one of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, which I posted a review for yesterday. This is my second time reading the book after many years, and while a lot of the story was familiar I didn’t realize just how deep some of the literary cuts were in this book. There were some obvious ones I was ignorant to the first time around—I had no knowledge of the plot of Dracula so had no idea who Mina Murray was—but this book is positively packed with references. By all accounts nearly every named character is somebody from literature.

Lost StarsI also finished Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, which I should have a review up for soon. This book was intensely sentimental and melodramatic in certain ways and I am not ashamed to say I ate it right up. Romance isn’t typically a particular draw for me, but set in the galaxy far, far away against the backdrop of the Galactic Civil War I enjoyed it immensely. It helps that Gray did an excellent job of crafting both characters, with opposing viewpoints, who are both sympathetic and likable in their own right. I hope we get a follow-up story for these characters some day.


Reading Next

The WonderPart of me wants to focus my energy on reading Fragile Things now, but I always meant it to be a supplementary read. That being the case, I think I will start The Wonder by Emma Donahue soon, another book from my scrappy little list. It’s a book I remember little about, but I think that’ll be a nice change of pace to what I’ve been reading recently, with events of Star Wars so well known to me and League volume one being a re-read.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – March 20, 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 only read a handful of stories from Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman since last week, but so far I’m continuing to enjoy the book, which doesn’t really come as a surprise to me. I especially enjoyed one story with a ludicrously long title, where a writer of literature in a world of Gothic horror wants to write about mundane, everyday things, which in his reality is complete fantasy/genre fiction. Something unfortunate I am noticing in my reading, however, is my reaction to some of the poems, of which there have only been a couple so far. I retain almost nothing about these poems after I’ve finish them, which I find regrettable. I don’t want to linger on them too long either though.

Lost StarsI’m pretty far along into Lost Stars by Claudia Gray now as well, which I’m enjoying very much. I don’t have a lot of experience with such books, but by all accounts this book is very YA, but I’m enjoying that quite a lot. The dual protagonists’ story at the Imperial academy transitioned into events from the original Star Wars films pretty quickly and I really enjoy the way they’re integrated. The biggest, impactful moments from those films ripple into their lives in big ways, but the book isn’t pretending these characters secretly had crucial roles either. They remain background characters and I really like that, because it becomes easy to believe they’ve really been there the whole time.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, though I expect there will be more than one sitting here next week.


Reading Next

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1Well, well, well, here we are a week later and I didn’t make up my mind on a comic book to read in time. For shame. That being said, I actually have made up my mind on a comic to read, I just haven’t started it yet. It’s the first volume of the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. I actually read this book years and years ago, but never had a look at the second volume. In prep for eventually acquiring that, I decided to read volume one again. On my first reading I barely had an understanding of who these literary figures were as well, so I’m hoping my reading experience will be very different this time.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – March 13, 2019

www_wednesdays

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 started reading Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman the other day when I had trouble falling asleep. The introduction section was the same as that in Smoke & Mirrors—Gaiman went through each story giving a little blurb about what he remembers when writing it, or something to that effect. I skipped that this time around. I read that section first before and retained almost nothing. I’d like to be able to appreciate what he’s saying, so I’m going to read the stories first (though it nags at me that I’m skipping over a section). The first story was a Lovecraftian re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes and I honestly wish it were a whole novel.

Lost StarsI also started reading Lost Stars by Claudia Gray last night. Though noticeably more YA than the other Star Wars books I’ve been reading, I’m really enjoying how zeroed-in the story is on ordinary people so far. It’s following two young aspiring pilots on a world in the Outer Rim. It’s interesting to see events from their more naive perspective, such as the arrival of the Empire when they came under their rule. They see it as greater civilization finally coming to their world, and while there are hints to the darker truth, you can see how some citizens would view the Empire as something positive.


Recently Finished

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I finished reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, and posted my review yesterday. It was one of the easiest 5 out of 5’s I’ve ever given. I was expecting to find the book interesting, but I was really not expecting such delight from reading a science book. It’s great as a detailed overview of the dinosaurs’ time on Earth, but honestly I could have read a book on each period. There were some great chapters on tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaur species and I’d love to read more extensive chapters on other species. I might have to dive deeper into reading about this subject.


Reading Next

With two books just started, I’m once again at a loss regarding what I’ll read next. I should pick up a comic book, but I’m currently cursed with indecision on that front. This is pretty silly considering the physical and digital stack of them that I’ve got languishing, but here we are. I’m sure I’ll decide on something by next week, but I’m pretty sure I said that last week. Whoops.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – March 6, 2019

www_wednesdays

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

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursReading this week has been a little more slow-going, so I’m still in thick of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steven Brusatte. That being said, I’m still enjoying the book immensely. I really like how it gets into the evolutionary history of how these creatures likely functioned, such as how sauropods evolved to be so massive and how they could maintain such huge sizes. There is a great balance between the history of these eras and anecdotes about work in the field, including where fossils can be found today and why. Excited;y telling people facts I’ve learned from what I’m reading is a simple joy that I haven’t had with a book in a long time.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, which I again attribute to it being a slow week for me. With no more Berserk to read I was not compelled to pick up and read a comic book. Oh well, there’s always the week to come.


Reading Next

Fragile ThingsI still intend to read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray next, but I can’t help but think I need to read something else concurrently to bump up the numbers on my finished books a bit. Skimming my scrappy little list right now (literally) I have decided also start Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman soon. I always prefer a short story collection as a concurrent read, and what better than another of Gaiman’s. Turns out one of the stories within is connected to American Gods as well. Marvelous!

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – February 27, 2019

www_wednesdays

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

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursOver the weekend I started reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. I’m not especially far into it, but I’m unabashedly adoring it so far. I’m having a bit of trouble with some of the names of the prehistoric creatures, but other than that Brusatte is pretty exceptional at making the material accessible to those outside the field. I grew up as a dinosaur kid, but my active interest dropped off in adulthood. I’ve learned quite a bit from this book already as a result, which I’ve already eagerly been passing on to others who will listen. I’m always a little concerned I’ll have trouble with science books, but so far this book is far from the case.


Recently Finished

if on a winter's night a travelerI finally finished If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino over the weekend as well, which I posted my full review for yesterday. The book is quite a brilliant exploration of readers and writers of literature, and all the forms such take for good or ill. It had a good sense of humour to go with its philosophical waxing too. It is worth noting that the frame narrative does not have much in the way of an intricate plot, however, and the transitions back and forth between it and the novels the protagonist is reading may have a polarizing effect for some people. I appreciated it a lot, but even I found it pretty exhausting sometimes.

Berserk 21I also read Berserk Vol. 20 & 21 by Kentaro Miura, which brought about the conclusion I’d been eagerly anticipating for this arc. I’m pretty pleased with the way things turned out, especially in how the main antagonist didn’t simply devolve into another monster for Guts to fight. His convictions were steadfast despite his metamorphosis and I appreciated that in a villain. His ultimate folly was not realizing how he could better help the people around him with the power granted to him, instead giving into his own fanaticism. I’m eager to see where the story goes next, but I’m not sure if I want to use this opportunity to take a breather a bit before I continue.


Reading Next

Lost StarsWhile I’ve still got plenty of book left with what I’m reading right now, I guess I can’t really help looking to the future as well. I’m thinking I will finally read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, a Star Wars novel I meant to read last year but never got around to. It’s praised quite highly among the new canon of books, so it’s high time I read it myself. It tells the story of two star-crossed lovers caught on opposing sides of the Galactic Civil War and I’m curious to see how the conflict is framed through their eyes.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – February 20, 2019

www_wednesdays

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

if on a winter's night a travelerI’m over halfway through If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and I’ve gotten a much clearer grasp of what this novel is going for. What I mistook for breaking the fourth wall in the opening chapter was actually a case of narrative told in the second-person (though I’m sure the leaning on the fourth wall was deliberate). Chapters alternate between the protagonist’s story and what he is reading, which is always a chapter from a new book and always ends at a moment of great suspense. It’s a fascinating structure that has me continually interested, but I’m not yet sure if what it’s building towards will be satisfying for me or not.


Recently Finished

Unfortunately, nothing this week!


Reading Next

Berserk 20I still have every intention of reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte next, but with Calvino’s novel still needing to be finished I have comic book plans for the nearer future. I was able to get a hold of the next couple volumes of Berserk that I need, so I will be reading Vol. 20 soon. Hopefully the arc I’m in the middle of will be wrapping up within these volumes so I can avoid being held in suspense any longer.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – February 13, 2019

www_wednesdays

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

if on a winter's night a travelerLast night I started reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and honestly I’m not sure what to think of it yet. It’s not unenjoyable to read, but I was a little dizzied by how much the book disregards the fourth wall altogether. The first chapter spent the entire time talking about telling me to get ready and comfortable to read, before expounding upon the experience I might have had hearing that the new Calvino book was out, then my subsequent trip to the book store. The following chapter had a plot of a sort, but I’m not sure if I should take it as it was or if it will continue in any way going forward. I’m intrigued. I really don’t know what to expect from this novel.


Recently Finished

fire & bloodOver the weekend I finished reading Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin and posted a review yesterday. With all said and done, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected I would. Some periods of this history were more enjoyable than others, but each was of an equal caliber of quality and compelled me onward. I was worried this book would take me much longer to finish, but I got it done well within a month’s time, with several days to spare, which I’m counting as a win for fiction that reads more like a history book. I highly recommend it for fans, it provides a great deal of insight into the notable figures, high and low, that populate the world of Westeros during these periods of their history.


Reading Next

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursI’d really like a bit more of a change of pace from fiction next, so I think I will start The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, which I actually wanted to get to last year. I grew up fascinated by dinosaurs, which has fallen off in my adult life as far as checking out books about them goes. It’s high time I changed that. It’s among a number of science related nonfiction books I’ve been picking up and meaning to get to lately as well. I may read something else concurrently with it, but I haven’t made my mind up on that yet.

Until next week, thank you for reading!