Challenge Update: Week 6 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy

Hola my quaint and quirky Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the exciting 6th update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy where I don’t actually have anything non-challenge related to share with you O.o

Luckily, I have made a lot of headway in both challenges since my last update, so there’s still heaps to tell you! In fact, some of this update will be a mixture of stuff that happened last week and this week, since I usually post the updates on a Friday and it seems silly to save stuff for the next one when it happened just the other day. From now on I think I will consider the “week” from one update to the next as that makes more sense and makes the whole thing less confusing 🙂

Lets get this ball rolling, shall we?:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeThis week deserves the Mighty Numbered List (now with extra mightyness!) more than ever since a whole lot happened:

  1. As I said in my last update, I finished Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek last Wednesday and it was excellent! Both authors are skilled at short fiction, and I felt connected to the characters and fascinated by the world almost right away. Having never read a book in that format, I found it to be a strange, but interesting experience. When I finished Above it was odd because physically I was in the middle of a book, but I had the feeling I get when finishing a book (sad that I wouldn’t be visiting the world or characters anymore, but satisfied by a well-ended story) and the one when starting a new book (excited to start something new but slightly hesitant to leave the old one behind) simultaneously, but it felt different again because I was still sort of reading the same book! I also loved reading it in the opposite order to Sarah and comparing, and it was such a great story (or stories) that I’d love to pick it up again some day and read in the opposite order.AboveBelow-cover1-300x246
  2. Since I finished Above/Below I asked my mum to choose me a new one out of the bag, and she chose A Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessA Clockwork Orange is probably the contender for this challenge that has been on my TBR pile the longest, and I’ve been wanting to read it for even longer, so I was definitely happy with her choice, and as she had read it in her youth she was also excited to have chosen it. I haven’t started it yet as I thought it would be a bit full-on for my lunch break (I have seen the movie so I’ve come prepared!) but I hope to soon.a clockwork orange
  3. As I also said in my last update, I read another story from Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan last week, “The Isles of the Sun” – a haunting tale of a young boy being visited by unearthly, glowing people who communicate with him telepathically the necessary steps he and other children must take to gain the power of flight. Then over the WA Day long weekend I read heaps (it was like two lazy Sundays for the price of one!), including the last two stories from the collection, “Bejazzle” – a weird story which involved a middle-aged man who’s sick of his wife, and his encounter with a gang of strange girls on the train, then a buxom woman who turns out to be much stranger than a careless tryst; and “Significant Dust” – which was partly about a young woman running away from her past after a freak accident, but I think was also about aliens….at least I think it was aliens….it ended and I still wasn’t 100% sure but it was really mysterious and atmospheric and since the other stories also didn’t spell out what the fuck happened by the end, I didn’t mind. Overall I really enjoyed the collection! Margo Lanagan is a freak – which I of course mean as a compliment! – and I now want to read more stories out of her freaky brain 🙂Cracklescape_lg_large
  4. I then asked Sarah if she could pick a new one when she came over for dinner on Monday (I actually asked her to pick preemptively as I was almost finished with the last story of Cracklescape which I finished the next day) and she chose Bleed by Peter M Ball! Since it was the only contender she had read (as she also bought it at Swancon) and she had told me a few times that it was good, we we’re both pleased as punch by the choice 😀 I started it yesterday during my lunch break, and then read a few more chapters that afternoon, and I can tell I’m gonna love it just from the sheer amount of swears and drinking so far 😛 Plus it reminds me of the Downside Ghosts series, which Sarah and I were both obsessed with last year, except the main character in that is a ghost-hunting witch who takes a bunch of drugs and has sexy time with dangerous men, and the main character in Bleed is an ex-cop mixed up in messy Faerie business who drinks heavily and fancies the ladies…but also ones which get her into trouble.Bleed
  5. Lastly, I also read another 2 stories from The Living Dead zombie anthology on Sunday, which starred more non-threatening undead. First “Malthusian’s Zombie” by Jeffrey Ford, where the “zombie” was actually a living person who due to a government experiment was virtually brainless and obeyed every command from the person or persons it had been programmed to listen to, right up to crazy things like “stop aging”. It was one of those stories where at the end I was like “what the hell just happened!?” but I also found it quite touching and a unique take on what a zombie is. The second story I read – “Beautiful Stuff” by Susan Palwick – did have zombies which were risen from the dead, however they were purposefully brought back for just a day at a time to visit loved ones or the like (in the case of this story they were victims of a terrorist attack brought back as a political platform) and the dead were very simple, childlike and attracted to animals, plants and shiny things. It also had it’s touching moments, but also a nice dollop of humor. A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

So, the new, shorter list of contenders is:

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto the world of fantasy:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeOnce again I was way over my quota and shit is getting intense all over the place in these two behemoths!:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending75 pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 197

Brisingr:

Brisingr52 Pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 393

Total:

127 Pages

Pages remaining: 590

Since I’m consistently reading over 100 pages each week, and both books are getting to the pointy-er end, I may as well make my quota at least 100 pages collectively and strive to read at least 50 pages from each per week. I have added this update to the original challenge post 🙂 If I keep to this new quota I will have finished both books in around 6 more weeks 😀

Besides challenge books I also read my last comic/graphic novel pick – Hinterkind: The Waking World Volume 1 by Ian Edginton (writer), Francesco Trifogli (artist), and Greg Tocchini (cover artist)

hinterkind

Which was an excellent post-apocalyptic story where in the aftermath a few human settlements have been established, including one in an overgrown Central Park, while other beings which hid their existence previously have come out of the shadows to reclaim earth. I will definitely be finding the next volume as there was many an “Oooo! Ahhhh! What now??” moment, especially near the end. I also read the second randomly picked comic from my Free Comic Book Day haul – KaBOOM! Summer Blast – which had a bunch of delightful, self-contained stories from popular children’s comics.

KaBoom Summer Blast

I then picked a new comic out of the Jar-O-Choosing which was The Sandman: Overture #2 – Chapter Two by Neil Gaiman (writer), J.H. Williams III (artist), Dave Stewart (colourist), and Todd Klein (letterer)sandmanoverture2

And since I knew I’d read that super fast, I pre-emptively picked another one – The Unwritten: Leviathan (The Unwritten, Volume # 4) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist, colourist), Vince LockeAl Davison (colourists) and Yuko Shimizu (cover artist)

unwritten 4

And since I picked two, I randomly chose 4 comics from the Free Comic Books – SCAM Crosswords; Grimm Fairy Tales; Spongebob Freestyle Funnies; and Courtney Crumrin

During the week I did indeed read The Sandman: Overture #2 – Chapter Two (which was amazing of course) plus SCAM Crosswords (which was violent fun and even included a crossword on the back with clues related to the comic, but isn’t a series I’m particularly eager to follow-up) and Grimm Fairy Tales (which gave a few teasers of the long-running series, and was much more my style so I reckon I’ll at least find the first volume or something to get a real taste of it 🙂 ).

 I think that’ll do for now, since my week was much less exciting than the last few! Tune in next week (probably Friday) for the next update, and also I’ve started working on a new Collective Nounitude and a new Adventures in Etymology, so expect them soon also 🙂

Until then I’ll leave you with a few fun things:

I came across this video of Neil Patrick Harris and Kelly Ripa inhaling sulfur hexafluoride while browsing YouTube, and even though I’ve seen it before it always makes me giggle (as does pretty much any video where people inhale sulfur hexafluoride or helium, to be honest) so I thought I’d share it with y’all

Then there’s this video from Mental Floss which is actually book-related and very interesting:

And since it’s the 30th Anniversary of one of my fave movies – Freakin’ Ghostbusters you guys! – I thought I’d celebrate with some classic Ghostbusters GIFs:

ghostbusters1

That’s one mad librarian!

Maybe I don't have time for a quick smoke break...

Maybe I don’t have time for a quick smoke break…

Yes you did sirs!

Yes you did sirs!

This Mr. Stay Puft's okay! He's a sailor, he's in New York; we get this guy laid, we won't have any trouble!

This Mr. Stay Puft’s okay! He’s a sailor, he’s in New York; we get this guy laid, we won’t have any trouble!

Don't cross the streams!

Don’t cross the streams!

On that note I’ll say goodbye for now. Hope you all have a great weekend (or whatever part of the week it is where you are) especially if you’re watching Ghostbusters 😛

Challenge Update: Week 4 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy + Some More Comedy (and not just from yours truly!)

Why hello there my stochastic, sagacious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 4th update of my personal reading challenges, Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, and a darn good update it is, if I do say so myself!

Lets start off as usual with:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeNot much happened in this challenge (it’s the other one which warranted the darn good statement) but I’ll do a mini mighty numbered list anyway:

  1. I’ve been reading Above/Below by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek quite a bit on my lunch break and commute, and I am a couple of chapters away from finishing Above and flipping the book upside down to start Below. I’m really enjoying it so far and Sarah and I have had a couple of convos comparing the difference between starting on one side or the other – for example with her starting with Below she was introduced to that story’s main character right away and so got used to his appearance (especially his…lets just say “enhancements” to keep it vague and spoiler free, shall we?), but I just reached the part where the main character from Above meets the one from Below, so I found his appearance quite shocking. AboveBelow-cover1-300x246
  2. I still haven’t read any more of Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan as I don’t want to get stuck into a really good short story on the bus or during lunch, and then have to leave it part-way through, but I hope to read one or two this weekendCracklescape_lg_large
  3. Lastly, on Sunday I read another story from The Living Dead zombie anthology – “The Third Dead Body” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, which was even creepier than the last one I read (which I didn’t think was possible). It followed a young prostitute who was murdered by a trick (do people still say “trick” when referring to the customer of a prostitute, or am I behind the times?) and then rises from the dead, inexplicably in love with her murderer and determined to find him due to a Voodoo curse placed on her as a child. Besides being very skin-crawly it was an interesting one because unlike most zombie stories, it was from the point of view of the living dead, and besides having no earthly urges (besides the ones created by her curse which compelled her to find the murderer) and limited senses, she was conscious of her surroundings and had memories of her life.A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

As I haven’t found any new books under 200 pages, the contenders remain the same:

a clockwork orangeClockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

BleedBleed by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto the other challenge which was really successful last week:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeOn Sunday I had my usual schedule of reading interspersed with “important” stuff like laundry and dishes, but instead of just reading a little of my two gigantic fantasy tomes, I got caught up and a tad carried away:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending70 pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 344

Brisingr:

Brisingr52 Pages (5 chapters)

Pages remaining: 476

Total:

122 Pages (squee!)

Pages remaining: 820

Soooo… I definitely reached my quota…and made up for the week of nothing….and then some O.O I honestly didn’t mean to read as much as I did of either of these books, but they’re both getting so exciting that when I reached the end of the chapter I thought “oh I’ll just do one more and then wash the dishes”… and then I came back to it after the dishes anyway 😛

Besides being engrossed in huge fantasy books and a zombie prostitute story, I also read FreakAngels #2 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist), which has been sitting on my pile looking sad since the end of my breakFreakAngels Warren Ellis Glénat 04 (5)It was as awesome as I expected from the first volume, and even more so because a previously unnamed member of the group was introduced, and she is a hilarious ball-busting no-nonsense sort of chick, which I love, and another character revealed a new ability she had been practicing, which was very cool. I’ll have to track down the other volumes of this series, or maybe just succumb to temptation and start reading the free online version, even though I will likely also buy the hard copies for my burgeoning comic collection 🙂

I then asked my mum to pick me a new comic from the Jar-Of-Choosing (she’s starting to become a more official unofficial Jar Chooser then unofficial Jar Chooser Sarah!) which was one of my new exciting ones:

hinterkindHinterkind: The Waking World Volume 1 by Ian Edginton (writer), Francesco Trifogli (artist), and Greg Tocchini (cover artist). I also randomly picked two comics out of my 20-odd wodge of Free Comic Book Day comics – Worlds of Aspen 2014, which has two previews of upcoming stories in it – a fairy-tale adventure series called Damsels in Excess on one side and an action-adventure called The ZooHunters on the flip side; and KaBOOM! Summer Blast which has stories from Peanuts, Garfield, Adventure Time, and  Regular Show among others.

I haven’t started any of them yet,but since this weekend is meant to be a rainy one, I will probably find myself holed up inside with a blanket and all my delicious reads….mmmmm 🙂

Besides challenge stuff I also went to another comedy gig on Friday night – Michael Workman‘s show “War”, again part of the Perth International Comedy Festival

Michal Workman's tour poster for "War" from wendylikesstories.com click on the image to read her excellent review of the show, as well as one of David O'Doherty's

Michal Workman’s tour poster for “War” from wendylikesstories.com click on the image to read her excellent review of the show, as well as one of David O’Doherty’s

I had previously only seen one show of his – “Mercy” – on Warehouse Comedy, a show that has featured many Australian and international comedians performing in a converted warehouse, but it was so interesting, unique and affecting that I’ve watched it three times – and every time I saw it was to be repeated I was excited to revisit Michael Workman’s amazing story-telling and quirky style. Sarah had never heard of Michael Workman nor seen any of his comedy, but after watching a video teaser of “Mercy” she agreed to go with me, and we had a wonderful time 🙂

On that note I’m off for now Bookbaggers, but I may as well leave you with that same teaser Sarah watched:

Tune in next week for another, hopefully just as successful update, and until then:

so long and thanks for all the fish

 

And since it’s World Turtle Day here’s this little guy as a bonus:

baby turtle gif