WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/26

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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

Regrettably, I have not made any progress on Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones. I just didn’t really make time for it over the last week, so I’m resolving to finish with it by next week. I like having supplemental readings, but it does reach a point where I feel I’ve been on them for too long and I must push through.

TheMightyThorculesOtherwise, I just started reading The Incredible Hercules: The Mighty Thorcules by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, et al. I’m only a couple of issues into the volume, which have only introduced the different stories going on. Hercules, along with Zeus who is now a child with no memory, is tricked into pretending to be Thor to help fight dark elves (it has yet to be revealed why) and Amadeus Cho is in a strange small town taken over by what appear to be glowing space brains. The series has been a lot of fun thus far and this volume doesn’t look like it’ll disappoint. I especially like how petty Herc is when comparing himself to Thor.

Recently Finished

SistersBrothersCoverI finished reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt over the weekend and posted a review yesterday. I think I still like Undermajordomo Minor best of his novels, though this one is definitely close behind it. It ended up being much more of an odyssey than I expected, with the duo’s story being a lot more about the strange people, turns of fortune, and encounters they have on their way from Oregon City to Sacramento. Going in I expected it to be more about the developments that take place after they find their mark, but that’s really more of a chapter in the journey.

Reading Next

DarkDiscipleI still intend to read The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway over the next week, and I will probably read the final Incredible Hercules volume I own as well so I can shelve that series finally. I’ve also realized it would be a good idea for me to read Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden relatively soon. I bought it a while ago just to have it, but I’ve actually restarted watching the series The Clone Wars (after I got frustrated with its donkus chronology last year). As it turns out this novel was meant to be an eight episode story arc before the series was cancelled, so once I finish the series I’m going to dig right into this book, which I’m much more enthusiastic about now.

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Book Review – The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Summary

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. The enigmatic and powerful man known only as the Commodore has ordered it, and his henchmen, Eli and Charlie Sisters, will make sure of it. Though Eli doesn’t share his brother’s appetite for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. But their prey isn’t an easy mark, and on the road from Oregon City to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento, Eli begins to question what he does for a living – and whom he does it for.

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The Sisters Brothers is a novel that quite surprised me. It demonstrated that Patrick deWitt has a substantial versatility to his writing style. This novel is the first of his I ever acquired, but the last one I have read. The book and deWitt as its author were cemented in my memory thanks to the wordplay of the title and the fantastic cover art by Dan Stiles, leading me to read his first book Ablutions and his latest book Undermajordomo Minor before finally getting to this one. Having last read the latter of the two I expected The Sisters Brothers to be written with similar quirk and colour, but the difference in tone was dramatic.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/19

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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

ReflectionsI’ve made a small amount of progress with Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones. I’m starting to notice information getting repeated, such as her being forbidden from reading “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” from The Wind in the Willows. It’s a collection of speeches and essays from over the course of her career, though, so I don’t fault it. The last three chapters I read actually delved deeper into writing advice and her approach to it. I’m happy to find yet another big-name author discouraging the creation of massive outlines for novels, in favour of a more flowing creativity, as the idea of crafting one myself sounds a bit agonizing.

SistersBrothersCoverI’ve been reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt as well, which I had actually hoped to finish by now, but life got a little in the way. Nevertheless, I’m enjoyed the book quite well. While very much a Western, it feels literary too. The story of these two brothers so far has been a strange odyssey of violence and quirky encounters. The one brother, Charlie, seems more deplorable, but at times Eli (the other brother and narrator) seems more unstable than he lets on. At just over halfway through, I’m excited to see where the story is heading.

Recently Finished

PrincessLeiaCoverOver the weekend I read Star Wars: Princess Leia, the Marvel Comics miniseries by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson. It takes place just after the destruction of the Death Star in A New Hope, telling the story of Leia rallying together surviving Alderaanians from around the Galaxy in an effort to preserve the legacy of her destroyed world. It was a fun little side-story that wasn’t really needed, but gave another opportunity to see the iconic princess in action. There’s also a nice little moment of Force-sensitivity on her part that nods to her true heritage.

DeathCoverI also read Death by Neil Gaiman et al, the spin-off from The Sandman series also by Gaiman. The book collects various one-shot issues about the character Death, as well as the two previously separate miniseries about her. They tell wonderfully poignant and sentimental stories about life and death, as well as continuing to show the lives of some of the characters that appeared in The Sandman: A Game of You, a surprise that made it all the better.

Reading Next

TheOldManAndTheSeaCoverI’ve definitely got a lot of comic books lined up for reading, such as some digital volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy, a couple more Star Wars volumes, Paper Girls, and Incredible Hercules. Can’t really say which I will read next, but I want to get through all of these and more this summer.

Otherwise, on a trip to the bookstore the other week I got some classic novels, 3 for $10, one of which was The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Since it’s rather short I might knock that out sometime soon, so at least one of these books doesn’t gather dust after being impulsively purchased.

Movie Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming

IMDB Summary

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts and starring Tom Holland, is the sixteenth and latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is the second appearance of Spider-Man in the MCU, but his first feature. Once again we have a reboot of Spider-Man on film. It’s hard not to understand the cynicism around that, considering this is the second reboot in the span of a decade, and the third interpretation. Despite this, I’ve never felt that negatively about it. I love the character generally, his appearance in Captain America: Civil War last year was promising, and his joining the MCU pretty much guaranteed for me this film was going to be a unique take on him.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/12

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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

ReflectionsI’m still in the middle of Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Dianna Wynne Jones. It fell to the wayside during most of my reading time since last week, so I didn’t get much further along in it, which I’m okay with for the moment since it’s meant to complement what I more strongly focus on. An essay of particular note was about her realization of responsibility to a reading audience of children, particularly in regards to opening up imagination; considering what you thought otherwise not possible. In doing so she derides other authors (unnamed) who reduce their characters’ journeys to mere flights of fancy, where in the end they escape into fantasy had no bearing on reality. It was a fascinating angle to consider.

Recently Finished

LovecraftCountryCoverI’m happy to say I finished reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Though not perfect, it was a great novel that I’m sure I’ll be recommending to anybody who asks about a new book to read. I didn’t mention this in my review, so I want to take a moment to gush about the binding of the book. Not only is it’s artistic style made to look like a pulpy horror novel from the 1950s, but the texture feels gritty as well. Part of its design makes it look worn too, as if it’s been sitting in a used bookstore for a long time, having changed who knows how many hands.

Reading Next

PaperGirlsVol1Like I said last week, I plan to start reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt any day now. I really liked Undermajordomo Minor and the unorthodox style of Ablutions was certainly memorable, so I’m hopeful I will really like this novel as well.

Otherwise, I intend to get through some comic book trades that I’ve been stockpiling lately. Fortunately for the sake a space most of them are digital editions. It’s hard to say which I’ll start first, but I’ve got some Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy volumes on my tablet that should do just fine. I also picked up volumes one and two of Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, which I also want to start to broaden by comic book horizons a little.

Book Review – Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Summary

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, twenty-two-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned Atticus’s great grandmother—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

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Lovecraft Country is a 2016 horror novel by Matt Ruff, which I have been looking forward to reading for quite some time. I enjoy otherworldly forces and eldritch beings, but what especially drew me in was how this book appeared to be marrying these ideas with a real-world source of fear and suffering (as most good horror does). In this case, it is the world of Jim Crow America from the perspective on an ensemble cast of characters from two Black American families.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/07/05

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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

LovecraftCountryCoverMaking good on my plans for the last few weeks, I’ve been reading Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. I’m currently a little over halfway through and it’s almost everything I’d hoped it would be. It doesn’t lean quite as much on the horror aspects of it as I would like, but they’re very real and very present. Though not literally from the pages of Lovecraft’s works, there are certainly eldritch forces at play. This includes a stand-out encounter with a racist ghost, a sequence which I found marvelous in how it shifted the tone and how the character dealt with it. The racism of Jim Crow America is the most impactful part, made all the more horrific by the reality of it all. It blends with the horror genre superbly.

ReflectionsI’ve also been reading Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones, though I’ve more bit dipping in and out of it, reading an entry here and there. It’s different from what I expected, as they’re essays, letters, articles, she’s written or taken a part of over the course of her entire life. It’s more of a bringing together of existing writings she’s done than anything new, though I think they’d a lot more hard to track down outside of this book. Her insight into writing for children, as well as her experience writing for adults by contrast, is quite valuable. Nothing is explicitly written as writing advice, but in their own way provide worthwhile insight into understanding the structure and formation of narrative.

Recently Finished

Nothing yet, but I’m working on it!

Reading Next

SistersBrothersCoverDespite other books brought up in past posts, I think I will read The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt next. I’ve had a copy for a few years now, and jotted it down among other books at the beginning of 2017 to get through by year’s end. A lot of the fiction I’ve been reading has been in the realms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror lately too, so I think a more grounded book will be a nice change of pace. I know it’s a Western, so I’m not stepping all that far out of genre fiction, but I love it here, dang it.