Archive for November, 2009

Book Nook

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I’ve been doing a lot of reading again. Mostly trying to get through a stack of books that were piling up again. I really should try to avoid the used bookstore sometimes, but it’s always fun finding a good deal on something that turns out to be a gem.

Comics have really come a long way since I was younger. I hated comics when I was a kid. There were mostly the superhero comics and I was not that much a fan of those. Plus, I never cared for that artwork back then (though it is my understanding they didn’t have a good range of colours then as they do now). I am still keeping up with the Buffy and Angel comics. Not only do I like the Buffy stories, I like the art in this series. Joss Whedon has a good eye for style.

I’ve loved Star Wars since I was a kid. I am enjoying Dark Horse’s collection of Star Wars comics that they published since the 1990s. You can see a gradual change in colours being used in the art over the years. The newer stuff definitely looks better.

Recommended comics:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Predators and Prey (Season 8, volume 5)
Angel: Aftermath (Angel volume 5)
Star Wars Omnibus: Tales of the Jedi (volumes 1 and 2)

Here’s a list of novels I read recently:

Winter’s Heart (book nine of The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan
The Heritage of Hastur (published in the omnibus, Heritage and Exile) by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Rogue Squadron (book one of Star Wars: X-wing) by Michael A. Stackpole
The Burrowers Beneath (published in Brian Lumley’s Mythos Omnibus) by Brian Lumley
Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
Ralestone Luck by Andre Norton

Finally, onto book ten of The Wheel of Time. Book twelve, called The Gathering Storm, is finally in print. It will be a while before it is in paperback, but that’s okay as I have two books to read to catch up. Meanwhile, I am making my way through Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. While I really like Jordan’s epic, I find Martin’s epic more mature and I rather enjoy his writing more. Martin is technically a much better writer than Jordan, but I do like both stories for different reasons.

Heritage of Hastur was a good read. I can see why many consider it to be Bradley’s best Darkover novel. The next Darkover novel on my list is Sharra’s Exile, Bradley’s re-write of her earlier Sword of Aldones.

Rogue Squadron is part of the Star Wars: X-Wing series of novels. It has been said by some readers to be the best Star Wars series in novel form after the Thrawn stories written by Timothy Zahn. Rogue Squadron introduces a new Star Wars character, Corran Horn… er, correct that, Horn was introduced in the Rogue Squadron comics by Dark Horse. But if you didn’t read those, then this will introduce you to Corran Horn. Corran Horn and Wedge Antilles (along with Tycho Celchu from the comics) seem to be the primary characters of this novel and series. Star Wars fans will remember Wedge Antilles from the first Star Wars movie. Since Return of the Jedi, Antilles becomes the leader of Rogue Squadron and is considered to be a living legend among pilots. I did enjoy this novel (probably because I would love to be a space pilot). For it’s medium length (under 400 pages), it introduces a complicated background story and is filled with interesting new characters. Book two of this series is called Wedge’s Gamble and I am wanting to read that sometime. Before that though, I will be reading the second book in the Thrawn trilogy, Dark Force Rising.

Brian Lumley’s Mythos Omnibus has been sitting around home for a while. Nathan read that a while back and it seemed interesting to me. Out of a desire to read some fantasy horror, I started to read the first book in the omnibus. Lumley has taken the Cthulhu mythos from Lovecraft and created a wonderful Holmesian atmosphere to go with the horror elements of Cthulhu. The main character of the story is Titus Crow, who maintains an interest in occult subjects and begins investigating evidences of Cthulhu. His sidekick, Henri-Laurent de Marigny, is very much like Conan Doyle’s, Dr. Watson. I found I really enjoyed Lumley’s writing and this story. I’ve been interested in the Cthulhu story for awhile so I thought this might be amusing. Having read Lovecraft’s short story, The Call of Cthulhu, I felt that Lumley’s take on the Cthulhu myth is in line with Lovecraft’s original ideas. The added Holmesian atmosphere is a plus for me since I did enjoy the Sherlock Holmes stories when I was younger.

What can I say about Douglas Adams that hasn’t been said? Hilarious. I particularly like “bistromathics”! Brilliantly funny.

Ralestone Luck is Andre Norton’s second published novel, published in 1938. I found a used copy of it, but you can read this novel online at The Project Gutenberg EBook of Ralestone Luck, by Andre Norton. It is an amusing little adventure/mystery story. Norton is a good writer and will get you absorbed in the story quickly.

Here is my current reading list:

Gormenghast (the sequel to Titus Groan) by Mervyn Peake
A Clash of Kings (book two of A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (I am on part three of book two, page 443)

As mentioned, I am trying to make my way through Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I haven’t gone back to War and Peace yet, since I rather enjoy my fantasy novels more. Along with Martin’s novel, I am making my way through Gormenghast, which is set on a fantasy world of its own. I think I am still wrapping my head around the gothic eeriness of Mervyn Peake’s story. It is also morbidly humourous. Don’t read it unless you like dark comedies, but the writing is brilliant and you would be sorely missing out if you don’t read it. Gormenghast, as I mentioned before, is the sequel to Titus Groan. This novel should be an interesting read if you are curious as to what happens to Titus as he grows up.

What’s next on my reading list:
Sharra’s Exile (published in the omnibus, Heritage and Exile) by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Crossroads of Twilight (book ten of The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan
The Transition of Titus Crow (published in Brian Lumley’s Mythos Omnibus) by Brian Lumley (or possibly Necroscope seeing as I enjoyed Lumley’s writing, I am curious if I might like his other series as well)
Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

Aside from reading novels, I’ve gone back to studying Korean. I started it a while back, but didn’t get too far. I decided that to help me study, it would help to be able to type Korean since I like to make notes on the computer. I installed scim onto my Debian laptop and it works wonderfully. I even have Chinese and Japanese language inputting available if I ever need. When I get a chance sometime I will check out which Chinese inputting layouts work best for learning how to write Chinese characters, but it’s Korean studying for now.

안녕히 가세요!
(“Annyǒnghi kaseyo” which means “goodbye” and is spoken by the person who is staying to someone who is leaving)
~~~C