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.

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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.

New Books & Novel Discoveries (March 2018)

Well, it’s been another month and I’m happy to say I actually wrote the my first Writing Report post before I put another one of these out. It has gotten me writing more frequently, though not for the extended periods I have wanted yet. Some personal and work related matters needed tending to, which made it harder to focus on writing. My deadline is for the end of March, which I may not hit, but I’m planning to get a lot of it done Saturday, with the hope that within the first week of April I will hit my goal of a completed first draft.

Anyway, onto the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/28

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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 reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, though I have not made much progress on it over the past week. I finished the story “Here There Be Tygers” which was rather short. It was interesting and a little different than what I’m used to from King. It was rather open-ended and nonsensical, but not in a way that was frustrating or baffling. It quite effectively tapped into fears and anxieties one might experience in childhood, through every day people and (possibly) imaginary presences. I started reading “The Monkey” but some personal distractions held be back from finishing it.

Recently Finished

HellboyTheLostArmyI finished The Lost Army by Christopher Golden just before the weekend, which was both disappointing and in other ways exactly what I needed. You can read my full review of the novel here. Having purchased so many Hellboy novels now, since some of them are a little difficult to find at reasonable prices, I’m happy I finally got through one. It was pulpy fun that captured the essence of the character well while also serving as a fun, noncommittal side-story. My only real gripe, which I explain more in my review, is how little character development actually takes place.

Reading Next

RebelJailI still intend to start The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien soon, as well as “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer once I set aside some to get through it in a sitting. Other than that, I’ve been thinking more about the mountain of comic book volumes I need to get through that I’ve been severely taking my time with. In particular are the Star Wars comics I’ve let pile up. So, I will likely be reading Rebel Jail next, continuing the adventures of the crew of the Millennium Falcon after the events of Vader Down, which I read at the beginning of last year.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/21

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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

SkeletonCrewSince last week I’ve started two new books. The first of these was finally Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. The first story was “The Mist,” which is nearly 200 pages long, so I focused a lot of my reading time on getting through that story. Though the ending didn’t pack the punch of the 2007 film, I liked the story a lot. It’s a simple yet effective premise, witnessing the social mores dissolve when people are faced with a crisis. The monsters themselves were wonderfully horrific as well. With this story out of the way the book will take a more supplemental position among my readings now, since no other tale is as long.

HellboyTheLostArmyI also started Hellboy: The Lost Army by Christopher Golden. I wanted to get it read through over the weekend, but focus on “The Mist” hindered that. I’m about a quarter of the way through. I’m enjoying it well enough so far. The writing style reminds evokes the comic book a lot for me. I was a little put off by how much time was spent explaining who all the characters are and what the world is like, but I understand why it’s necessary. It’s weird coming into a novel that is supplementing a comic book, yet must also stand on its own. This novel is balancing that well so far though.

I’m still in the middle of The Lord of the Rings, just taking a short break from it. You can read my review of The Fellowship of the Ring here.

Recently Finished

Nothing this week, unfortunately. March has been a really bad month for me…

Reading Next

KomodoI’m definitely going to start “Komodo” by Jeff VanderMeer soon, it’s just a matter of setting aside the time to read it. Otherwise, I suppose my next read after The Lost Army will be The Two Towers, continuing my goal of reading through The Lord of the Rings. I’m sure I’ll get through some more comic book volumes along the way, but I have so many of those to choose from right now, with none particularly grabbing me, that whim is really going to be the decider on what I read next in that department.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/14

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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

TheLordoftheRingsTechnically, I am still reading The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. However, last night I finished reading The Fellowship of the Ring and goodness I would like a break. I’m not shelving LOTR entirely, but it is being set aside while I pick up something lighter. The book really picked up for me toward the end of this first volume. The group’s journey through the mines of Moria was a particular high point for me. It struck a good balance between travel, lore, and action. I intend to review The Fellowship of the Ring soon, after I’ve mulled over it a little. This tome will only count as one book on Goodreads for me, but I’ve resolved to do a review in three parts.

Recently Finished

FragmentsOfHorrorOver the weekend I started and finished the horror manga Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito. You can read my full review here. Unfortunately,  I found the book to be disappointing in a lot of ways. Some of the stories were messily executed, and I often found even the better stories to have some glaring flaws. The author himself talks about being rusty after an eight-year hiatus, so hopefully this was only a matter of him getting back into the swing of things. Regardless, I’m pretty confident that’s the lowest point his work will reach for me, so I look forward to diving into his other stuff.

Reading Next

KomodoMy mind has been all over the place with deciding what to read next. I want to start digging into Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, but I think I’m going to try to read all of Hellboy: The Lost Army by Christopher Golden this weekend. It’s only a couple of hundred pages long, and I’d really like to actually start reading these Hellboy novels since I’ve bought so many of them. I also want to read the short story Komodo by Jeff VanderMeer, which I bought a Kindle edition of while looking up the author’s work. It’s only about 30 pages long so I should be able to breeze through that as well.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/03/07

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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’ve still got a lot to go of The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, but I’m making my way favourably enough through The Fellowship of the Ring portion. I will hopefully have that done by next week. The fellowship has formed and they are all making there way out of Rivendell, and that couldn’t come soon enough. I can appreciate the lore and backstory built out to a point, but the Council of Elrond went on for quite a long time. I have a feeling my experience is going to fluctuate like this throughout my reading; from enjoying the plot movement and progression to growing weary with the restful periods, unless the pacing changes as their quest goes further along.

Recently Finished

Nothing this week!

Reading Next

FragmentsOfHorrorProbably going to start reading Skeleton Crew by Stephen King soon after all, though its stories are not as consistently brief as I would have liked. At the onset is “The Mist” which is over 180 pages long, so it’s a novella in its own right. Some are pretty short, however, so I do want to start it as a supplemental read. I’ll try my best not to have it usurp my priorities. Other than that, I’m likely going to start reading Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito soon. It’s another collection of short stories, about half the length of Shiver, so it should make for a good light reprieve from Lord of the Rings.

Book Review – Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Summary

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

MansSearchForMeaning

After watching a short biography on Viktor Frankl I was fascinated by his life story and sought out Man’s Search for Meaning to learn more about his experiences and his theories on psychology. I was particularly drawn to the notion of meaningful suffering and understanding suffering as something as much a part of life as the positive things. It’s also hard not to be compelled by the question of how someone could find meaning to their life in a situation as dire as a Nazi concentration camp. I saw the book not just as an opportunity to learn, but also gain a new perspective on life for myself.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/02/28

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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’m currently a chapter away from finishing Book One of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (or the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring). My attention has been a little more divided than I’d like, but regardless reading this book is slow-going. I can see why so much of what happens in the beginning of this story didn’t make it into Peter Jackson’s film. So many meals at different peoples’ houses. The story just plods along at its own pace, and while I do like a lot of what I’m reading it also gets tiresome. I’ve also found I’m a lot more prone to being distracted from reading by stray thoughts than usual. The novel is quite rich in lore, though, which I do like for what its worth.

Recently Finished

MansSearchForMeaningI finished reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl over the weekend. I will hopefully have a review written and posted within the next few days. Frankl’s account of his time within concentration camps was harrowing and compelling enough, but the exploration/explanation of logotherapy afterwards gave the whole book an extra punch. It has framed things about life and human psychology in a new way for me that I hope I can apply to my own life when needed. I feel a little awkward at the prospect of reviewing it, as it’s a rather significant text. I hope I can do it justice.

TheVisitorCoverI also finished reading The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed by Mike Mignola et al. It’s a book that answers the question that’s probably crossed the mind of most Hellboy fans: “What’s the deal with that alien guy in Conqueror Worm?” This book quite completely answers that question, as well as a little about his species and where he comes from. The story maintains a respectable amount of mystery on that latter part, however, which I think was for the best. It tells a good, bittersweet story that ties in with the original story he appeared in quite seamlessly.

Reading Next

SkeletonCrewDespite my previous desires to keep my prose reading restricted to The Lord of the Rings, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about starting Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. I’ve gotten a hold of a few of his short story collections lately and it’s high time I at least started one of them. Perhaps it will help with when LOTR makes me a little stir-crazy too. My decision hinges on the average length of each story. I would prefer something that I can pick up and finish a story relatively quickly.