Movie Review – A Ghost Story

Summary

In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.

AGhostStoryPoster

A Ghost Story is a 2017 supernatural drama written and directed by David Lowery. It stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as a couple living in a suburban Texas home who are making plans to move. They are awoken one night by a noise they cannot explain and shortly afterwards Affleck’s character (simply credited as “C”) dies in a car accident. His spirit, appearing as a bedsheet ghost, returns home, a place he becomes anchored to.Read More »

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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 »

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 »

New Books & Novel Discoveries (May 2018)

This past month of book shopping has been a little heavier than April thanks to a trip to Toronto, which has used bookstores aplenty. The only disappointing thing was I didn’t find any of the books I was specifically looking for, but there were some good finds and impulse buys nonetheless. I had a harder time remembering all that I purchased before I got started writing this, funnily enough, because most of these I picked up before the 15th, so I haven’t actually purchased any physical books in a few weeks.

In terms of personal writing (instead of putting out another full report) I hit a bit of a block with revising my short horror story. I’ve made some fixes here and there, but there’s a section I want to alter that I’m not sure how to rework into the story to make it less tangential. As a result I’m not sure I can meet some submission deadlines I’ve been keeping in mind.

Anyway, on to the books!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.

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.

Writing Report #3

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, hasn’t it? A little over a month? About time I checked back in with another report. In terms of meeting the goals I did better this time around, though I feel I lightened the load a little. I’ve relaxed a little too much since meeting the goal, so now’s a good time to push myself again.Read More »