Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (Flash Impression)

Happy Monday!

blood rites book cover

Summary

So in an effort to try and get the “flash” back into these “flash impressions” I’m going to try and stick with this format of listing the “A, B, C Story” for the summary.  The way I figure, you’ve probably read this book and really this helps section out the pieces of the story. If you haven’t read this book, then I’m not entirely sure why you’re here? I mean, if you were looking for something to figure out if you wanted to read this series, let me say: yes. Go now. Read. (but first stay around here and read a bit because traffic numbers).

A Story: A wild Black Court Vampire appears!

B Story: Protect the Porn Stars!

C Story: Who the Fuck is Thomas?! (I felt there was a theme going here, ie the “?” and “!”)

Thoughts

(***spoilers ahead, duh***)

This book, more so than most of the previous seems to be split into two parts. Part one: puppies and porn stars; part two: white and black (court) vampires.  This isn’t to say that the white and black court vampires aren’t present in the beginning of the book (they are there from the beginning) and that the puppy or porn stars go away half way through the book (they just play a smaller role).  However it’s somewhere around the time when Dresden, Thomas, and Lara square off against the three black court vampires when the porn star part of the book ends.

Speaking of the fight with the black court vampires, I think I’ve read the best fucking death scene in the series.  Like easily so far in the series and I will go on record to say it might be the best death scene in the series up to Skin Game.  I’m not going to spoil it (it was a pretty fowl way to go though) but I will say it made me laugh so fucking hard that not only was I crying (all whilst at work) but I literally had to both pause the audiobook and rewind because I was missing parts of it over the volume of my laughter.  Overall the entropy curse makes for some pretty great deaths even if the rest of the funny ones were off screen, regardless the award for “Best Deaths” goes to Blood Rites. (insert best deaths award meme)

Now back to the puppies.  The book opens with maybe the best opening line of the series so far, “The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault.”

I personally feel like this line is Dresden in a nutshell: “I like playing with fire and I know it totally looks like it’s my fault since I’m running away from the scene of the crime, however it’s not what it looks like. I promise.”  Now the reason the building is on fire is because Dresden is saving a box of puppies from a horde of demonic flying monkeys flinging their poo, which is on fire, after Dresden. You’d think “Huh, what big bad are we going to encounter that commands a fleet of flying monkeys who likes stealing puppies? Are we going to finally see Dresden fight a pop-culture-villain-who-is-just-different-enough-to-dodge-copyright-laws?” The answer: no(t yet).  I thought this was a rather bold move because not only do we never see these monkeys (or their master) again in the book but also the person who hired Dresden to save the puppies is never seen again either even though not all of the puppies were recovered. The missing puppy grows up to be mouse and holy. Fuck. He is the cutest puppy in literature. He has three scenes that just stick out in my mind like a scene from a movie. The first was when Karen agrees to dog sit Mouse and he’s playing with a little Snoopy doll, which is a nice call back to book two, and with Snoopy in his growling shaking jaws he stops and sees Dresden and tail starts wagging.  The Second was when Dresden placed Mouse in the back seat and was fighting a sock and was loosing. And the the third was towards the end just before Murphy’s family picnic when Mouse is in Harry’s coat pocket and hears Karen’s voice and starts wrestling around making funny shapes of the pocket until his little head pops out of the top. I kept finding myself unable not to smile in about every scene Mouse was in.

Speaking of heartfelt scenes involving the puppy, the scene where Dresden insists on soul gazing Thomas as proof that they’re half-brothers was heartbreaking.  Since the beginning of the book, chapter two maybe, Dresden has been contrasted with Murphy and her ambivalent feelings towards her family gathering, specifically seeing her mother, the contrast being that Dresden doesn’t have any known living family and therefore cannot relate going as far as to call Murphy’s complicated and irrational feelings “familial dementia”.  Fast forward several chapters back to the soul gaze and for the first time we get to see Harry talking to his Mother, even if it’s a construct from Thomas’s memory, which was a tear-jerker but then after the soul gaze Dresden’s reaction that he finally has what he kind of always wanted, someone to call family, he and Thomas have a happy-sappy reaction which causes puppy Mouse to come bounding over and jump up and down wagging his tail wanting to join in the joy even if he didn’t at all understand why.  Puppies + feels = all the warm fuzzies. 

I believe my last thought is mentioned right around the time of the soul gaze/half-bro reveal, which is something Thomas says that house Raith children are taught to memorise: “When every star in the heavens grows cold, and when silence lies once more on the face of the deep, three things will endure: faith, hope, and love.” This coupled with a quote from Butcher saying that the final trilogy of his books will be called “Stars and Stones, Empty Night, and Hells Bells” makes for an interesting juxtaposition being we may be given the theme for each of the final books: Faith, Hope, and Love.    

One last note, as of the events of the end of this book, the being known as “He Who Walks Behind” is now back in the mortal realm.  This is the same creature that Dresden’s adoptive and generally piece of shit parent, Justin, summoned to kill Dresden. Dresden was the last one to banish “He Who Walks Behind” however “He Who Walks Behind” has made a vow to come back for Dresden.  Just something to keep in the back of our, collective, minds.

Conclusion

Blood Rites is an extremely solid book and lays the groundwork for future plot points which both advance the overall story and build the world in equally amusing and complicated ways.  The ending of the book was a particular a stroke of mastery by having Thomas move in, Dresden decides to keep the puppy and muses about how his apartment might be small and growing smaller but at least now he has people to fill it with and capping the book off with the line “Why did you get large breed Puppy Chow?”

Stay tuned for next week when I finally cover the second book, Fool Moon or as I have taken to calling it: the bastard child of the series.

-fin

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Flash Impressions: Death Masks (book 5 of the Dresden Files)

Happy Saturday!

death mask cover

Summary

It’s impressive how Butcher seems to create an increasingly big story whilst maintaining a very episodic format which is making these summary sections equally increasingly intimidating however here’s the simplest version:

A Story: The war with the Red Court vampires continues

B Story: Dresden is hired by a vatican priest to find the death shroud of jesus (meme of jesus face on toast “It’s kinda like this but not edible.”)
C Story: Murphy consults Dresden about a man who died from all the diseases. At the same time.

Thoughts

(***spoilers ahead, duh***)

So this entire time I’ve been using my go to reference site, wikipedia, whilst completely ignoring the fandom site Dresden Files Wikia.

dresden wikidresden wikia

The plot on wikia is much more comprehensive, good for me since I have short memory, and the “new plot points” feature is really brilliant for keeping track of important events and when they happened.   

This might be me not being as observant from the beginning however it seems like Butcher is getting really pro at pacing by using the A, B, C story formats and introducing each story line in as many chapters.  However I can’t decide whether having the A story run parallel but relatively separate to the intertwined B and C stories is a strength or not but it does work to make the story feel so much bigger whilst at the same time helping keep the episodic storytelling format.(1)

We finally meet the other two knights of the cross, I believe it is mentioned before this book that there is a knight for each nail from the cross (2 for the hands + 1 for the feet = 3 holy swords) which makes for an interesting piece of lore building and by the end sets up the possibility for Butters to become the next knight (as per skin game).  I personally think that Sonya’s sword, Esperacchius or the sword of hope,(2) and back story of being an atheist and former Denarian (a possessor of one of the 30 silver coins, each represents a fallen angel en service to Nicodemus)(3) may prove an interesting potential parallel for Dresden, now that by then of the book he posses one of the coins and is taking a noticeable darker turn in his character (it’s light in this book but I will point out the more details in later books where it has become so stark that it’s striking).

Speaking of parallels, there has been some interesting parallels drawn between Dresden and Marcone from the beginning.  Part of me sees them as balance characters in the way Batman and The Joker are, as in even the “good one” is still a vigilante psychopath enacting justice at his personal discretion with little-to-no oversight(4), where they

batman joker

I think I’m still somewhere in between Puberty and Adulthood.

contrast each other in their methods however hold the same core values. Batman and The Joker: One bad day can change everything for a person; Dresden and Marcone: Do no harm to children. However part of me sees the seeds of darkness growing in Dresden and as the series progresses there are an increasing number of times where Dresden saves Marcone and vice versa or (my personal favourite) Dresden and Marcone work together against a big bad because it suits both of their interests (even if their interests are not mutually shared) which both happens at the climax of this book leading to my favourite Dresden/Marcone scene (roughly paraphrased):

“Michael attacks Nicodemus. Dresden to Marcone: So what’s the plan? Wait for Michael to distract Nicodemus and shoot Nicodemus in the back? Marcone to Dresden: Yup.”

Whilst I’m on the subject of Marcone, it is interesting to FINALLY see why he was after the Death Mask (he lays it on a young child in a hospital across town whom we later learn was a kid caught in the crossfire of him and a rival gang leading to his “no children” policy) which begins to humanise Marcone.  I personally really like Marcone and want to see more of his character in the series because I believe there’s so much more to his character that’s still a mystery.

The rest of my thoughts are kinda miscellaneous:

-we first meet Nicodemus and he will appear every fifth book (apparently)

-I guess Susan is knocked up during the rather erotic bondage-ish scene in Dresden’s apartment after the brush with the Denarians at the Art Show because by Changes we learn that Dresden has a daughter with Susan.

-the battle at Wriggly field was confusing because I thought Ortega pulled his gun first and that Kincaid saw that he was cheating and shot him but it was actually Martin which may be a homage to the whole “Did Hon Solo shoot first?” debate seeing how often Dresden references Star Wars or it could be because I’m listening to them as audiobooks and mostly listening to them at work and misinterpreted the entire thing. Either way it was a really cool fucking scene.

-Dresden has a denarian coin buried under the concrete of his sub-basement which I thought was going to play a much more minor part in the story however in the future books Butcher has made it clear that that isn’t a “remember this for later” detail but plays a regular and active role in the next few books(5)

Conclusion

This series keeps getting better.  It’s kind of weird. I keep expecting Butcher to “cap out” at some point but every time I finish a book I’m like “fuck that was great, how does it get better?” and then it does.  I’m trying to wrap my brain around it without building up unrealistic expectations (I mean I really had serious concerns about this after the events of the next book: Blood Rites).  

That being said: tune in for my flash impression of Blood Rites or my alternative title: “Puppies, Porn Stars, and Vampires”

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. This is in contrast to many of the fantasy series I’ve read, which I make no claims to be an extremely well read fantasy lit fan (Sword of Truth, Wheel of Time, The Engineer’s Trilogy, is all I can name off the top of my head), where each book feels less like an episode in the series and more a direct continuation of the story as if the entire series could be a single book if that was a publishing possibility.  
  2. Michael wields Amoracchius or the sword of love and Shiro wields Fidelacchius or the sword of faith.  
  3. There are 30 coins to represent the 30 pieces of silver Judas was paid to betray Jesus which at the time was about 5 weeks worth of pay or adjusted for inflation about 30-cent-judas-sells4200 USD. (source: Mark Harrison, IT Consultant, once and future CTO answering, “How much were the 30 pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus worth in today’s money?” at www.quora.com) Like seriously, I’m not a Christian but Judas is a dumb bastard because he could have asked for way more fucking money.  It was like he accepted a particularly small sum just to be a jackass.  However I guess if there were like 1200 Denarian coins, that would put Dresden in a really hot spot. 
  4. I guess the Police or the Justice League are that universe’s form of “oversight” for Batman and other more questionable DC super heroes however how much power does the Justice League have over Batman when he has a secret dossier on each member which includes a detailed plan on how to kill them and similar problems with the police as in they don’t know his secret identity and even if they did Bruce Wayne is so fucking rich he probably already has a small army of lawyers on retainer to prevent any sort of “police crackdown” on the Batman anyway.  
  5. I’ve been having trouble with laptops lately (I’m on number 5 in 3 weeks), which makes me worry that maybe reading the Dresden Files is aggravating my natural technological Murphian Field (I am not intentionally rough on phones and laptops and computers however they have historically had less than a friendly relationship to me, as in I cannot keep a phone or laptop alive for longer than a year. However phones have been getting better, I recently had a phone for 2 whole years but laptops still tend to crap out on right around month 12-15). You know what they say though, “Fifth is a fucking charm.” Anyway my intention was to write one of these after I finish each book however I’m almost finished with book 8 “Proven Guilty” as of today (8 september 2018).      

Flash Impressions: Summer Knight (Dresden Files)

Happy Thursday!

summer knight cover art

Alright folks, I’m powering through these books like crazy thanks to audible (this isn’t sponsored, however if anyone for audible is reading this I don’t yet have any sponsors).  I finished Summer Knight a couple of days ago and what a fuckin trip it was.

Summary

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

 

Basically Dresden is approached by a beautiful woman as a client whom we later learn is Mab, the Winter Fae Court’s Queen, about the murder of  who we later learn is the former Summer Knight. In the meantime the White Council is converging in Chicago to discuss the implications of the war they believe Dresden has started between them and the Red Court Vampires when he barbecued several of their members including a noblewoman, Bianca, whilst under the social contract of being a “welcomed guest” (supernatural beings, particularly the ones who live for very long times, are very sensitive to the customs of “host” and “guest” responsibilities(1)).  Dresden didn’t want to take Mab’s case but the White Council inadvertently pressured him into it (accept or die) as it would forward their own interests in their own war. Dresden takes and solves the case which leads him getting deeply involved in a war between the Winter and Summer Fae Courts and ultimately ends up, mostly, getting over Susan in the interim (or at least beginning the road of healing).

Thoughts

So we finally meet Elaine which for me, like a being who sees time as a whole rather in a sequence due to my introductory experience with the Dresden Files, seemed like a long time coming because I kept hearing about Dresden’s first love but had no context to who she was.  This seemed rather appropriate because, from what I’m told, exs tend to magically pop up when you’re going through a post-break-up apathy and you end up looking much worse off then they left you or something. I don’t know much about this since for some reason or another I never run into my exs.  

However I do know plenty about how rough the apathy of a post-break-up can be, the last one sent me deep into a downward spiral where I hit rock bottom but unlike the NOFX song “It Ain’t Lonely at The Bottom” it did hit back hard enough to send me half across the world on a journey of self discovery and generally trying to avoid having to pay rent for a while so I could focus on my writing and rebuilding a life.  I didn’t exactly fight an existential war involving elemental beings and forces threatening my life however the way Butcher portrays Dresden’s decent and first step towards recovery, I was able to relate in rather unexpectedly emotional ways.

This existential war between elemental forces, The Winter and Summer Courts, threatened the entire existence of life on Earth which Dresden playing a key part in helping to restore the balance lead to a line between Dresden and another character who darkest timeline memesays something like “wow I heard you helped save the world recently” and Dresden says something like “It wasn’t all that, it was more like stopped a 30-50 year decline of life via a disappearing winter.” Which made me think that if we live in the darkest timeline , maybe the Summer and Winter Fae Courts do exist and the summer court won because if we are in the darkest timeline either Harry doesn’t exist or is evil and would help facilitate an in balance.  

Conclusion

This book was excellent but it stands out in my mind because of a unique feature added to the beginning and end of the audiobook version being this classic piano detective noir background music playing which set a mood for the book in a way that nothing else done in the audiobooks thus far have done.  I’d like to see more intro background music but from starting Death Masks it doesn’t seem to be a continuing theme.

 

Stay tuned! I’ve already begun the next book “Death Masks” which is crazy.  With Audible I am crushing some books because I can listen to books whilst at work but no one cares that I’m “reading” at work because I just have earbuds in which seriously makes my job much more tolerable.  

 

Footnotes:

  1. I believe this stems from the Greek concept of “Xenia”, meaning “guest-friendship”, which was so important that somtimes Zeus was known as “Zeus Xenios” or “protector of guests”.  This is a reoccuring theme in Western culture from “Breaking Bread” at the Last Super to Tea/Coffee Politics in the UK/US (respectively).

 

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (Flash Impression)

Happy Wednesday!

This is the beginning of this new series I’ve decided to do about the Dresden Files Series.  Normally book reviews are this blog’s bread and butter however whenever I considered doing a review of any of these books I kept thinking it’d end up going something like this:

“This book was fantastic.  Everything about it was fantastic. See this single sentence? FANTASTIC!” It would become book reviews via meme.

 

 

However I’m not particularly interested in sucking Butcher’s dick for the next few months (my jaw would get so tired) since I am reading/listening the Dresden Files binge style until I am done.

You maybe wondering why I’ve got this conviction to binge this book series since that hasn’t been my style since the beginning but I have a history with these books; as in my

skin game

Think Ocean’s 11 but as an urban fantasy novel. And Hades. Like the Greek God of the Underworld, Hades. Awesome.

friend Brad has been reading these books since the beginning and since we met he had tried to get me to read these books.  It wasn’t until Skin Game, book 15, that he convinced me to get started.

 

Normally I’m kind of a sequence freak when it comes to series, as in I have to begin from the beginning and progress in order, no exceptions.  I ended up making an exception for this series and it’s lead me to this point.

I tried to get the first books from him but he didn’t know where he had copies of the first two books so he just lent me the next book that was laying in his car (“Ghost Story” [book 13] maybe?) which was another book somewhere in the middle of the series and it went on like this for another few books until we had a falling out and I had other books to read.

Fast forward several years, a couple of moves, and many books later to now where I share an audible account with my boyfriend who has the entire Dresden Files collection sans the first two books, Storm Front and Fool Moon (of which I have non-audiobook versions).  I read Storm Front a while ago and am currently reading Fool Moon whilst I was listening to Grave Peril which is where I will be beginning this series (Grave Peril, that is). BTW SPOILERS AHEAD.

Grave_Peril

Book 3 of The Dresden Files

In Grave Peril there is an interesting form of clairvoyance experienced by one of Dresden’s clients, Lydia, called Cassandra’s Tears(1) which manifests as visions of the future but not knowledge of what precedes or follows the vision which reminds me of my general experience thus far with the Dresden Files series.  I frequently know events that will happen (such that Harry will eliminate the entire Red Court of Vampires which includes his girlfriend in this book, Susan), relationships between characters that haven’t been (as in Thomas, who makes his premier in this book, being Harry’s half-brother) and characters who are series staples who have yet to appear (such as Maus) but have no idea when they happen or how or why.  Right now in the series I exist in a several timelines: I’m currently experiencing the events of book 2 (Fool Moon), I just finished book 3 (Grave Peril), and I just began book 4 (Summer Knight), and as mentioned I’ve read several books in the “future”.

It’s generally accepted that Grave Peril is the “break out” book of the series, as in this is the book where the series takes the shape and sets the tone that will be maintained for the rest of the series.  As I’ve mentioned before this I read book one am reading book two and I can’t entirely place my finger on what’s exactly different about book 3 but I believe it has to do with relationships. Michael, who plays as one of the many counter-balance characters, isn’t present until Grave Peril; Murphy is skeptical but generally supportive, where as in Fool Moon she’s out right hostile towards Harry because she believes he’s a murder; and until the introduction of The Red Court of Vampires in Grave Peril, the first two books feel like they’re lacking a sense of a overarching continuing struggle and are the most “stand alone” feeling books in the series.

Speaking of Cassandra’s Tears and relationships, I think I’m having a unique experience following Harry’s love life with Susan.  For example, I knew going into Grave Peril that Susan becomes a half vampire of The Red Court and that Harry will eventually eliminate the entire Red Court which colours the scene early in the book where Harry tells Susan “I love you” for the first time with a shade of tragedy where as if I was reading the series for the first time in order it’d be a touching scene.  Then later at the end of the book when Harry finds Susan and proposes to her, knowing that she’s going to spend the next several books in Central America, it’s more of a horrorific scene as in “NOO DAMNIT HARRY DON’T DO IT! THIS ISN’T GOING TO END WELL!” and conversely from Susan’s point of view, she must know that she’s pregnant with Harry’s child when she leaves him for Central America due to the age of their child (who becomes a plot point in Changes (book 12) which I know but Harry nor the sequential reader knows.

I am aware of the concept of Harry and company “leveling up” as the series progresses which I believe happens for the first time in this book (I don’t remember Harry experiencing/acquiring anything that enables him to “level up”, but I could be wrong so feel free to correct me in the comments) when he absorbs the powers of the Nightmare which enables Dresden to enact one of the most fuckinsg badass climaxes of the series to memory, disturbing generations of vampire victims rising against in a fury of rage and sound and spirit to reap vengeance on the present members of the Red Court.

That’s all for my flash impression of Grave Peril.  Future flash impressions on the remaining Dresden Files books will be shorter because I won’t be explaining how I got to this point and why I’m doing this.

Tune in next week for my flash impression of Summer Knight.

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. “Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy, but was also cursed by the god Apollo so that her accurate prophecies would not be believed.” (source: wiki Cassandra – Gift of Prophecy)

 

I’M NOT DEAD!..an Update (Announcements)

im not dead

Happy Tuesday!

Alright folks, this is a post that has been a long time coming for many reasons (most of which I will cover here, the rest are covered in my patron page version of this..hahaha I’m sorry I can’t take my self that seriously, no one would pay me…or would you?(1).

Look I won’t shit my self(2): I haven’t been very good at posting lately.  I haven’t posted much since I left the UK.  A lot has changed. Regardless I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on in my personal/professional life since the last post.

My family life is going better than it ever has but there’s not much to say there other than: my kid turned 9, my girlfriend and boyfriend both had a birthday, and I’ve finally gotten back in touch with my best friend for the first time since his birthday (six months prior). MOVING ON.

What has been really eating up my time is both the event of my girlfriend giving me her old Galaxy Note 4, which has a VERY powerful drawing app (sketchbook) and working on freelance writing gigs.

cow lives matterdate nightheart attacktangent

up to interpetation 1Up to Interpretation 3up to interpetation 2

backupPreview-1welcome to count rubbers keep

If you like my comics please follow me at my instagram page “fin.louie”. I sent my comic portfolio to a local publication, The River Front Times (the RFT in St Louis) and I’m hoping they pick me up but if not I have a hashtag campaign to make sure they know what they’re rejecting.

Aside from my comics I’ve been working on short stories for publication, one of which I think I have a winner for publication. It’s titled…hahaha sorry can’t reveal any details until it’s bought. Soz but me being “in control of sensitive information” is probably the closest I’ll get to being a CIA agent or something.

beale

To my American readers: at least I never cost you 900.000$

Also I’m getting through my novel and I began the Dresden Files audiobooks.  I plan to make small 500 word “impressions” of each book as I work my way through.

dresden

So fucking accurate.

When my short stories get published (operative word: WHEN) I’ll re-post them here.  I am actively working to find a place to post my content under “www.offbeatonpoint.com” for less than 10$ a year (3) but if not I will continue to post online in plenty of places.

What to Expect:

I don’t know.  I plan to post “impressions” (like 500 words or less) of the Dresden Files because I’ve read several  of these books out of order (like 6), when I’m normally an order freak but this series is an exception, My friend Evan got me to read the, currently, newest book “Skin Game” as my first Dresden Files book and I was hooked.

I have been playing with the idea of  doing reviews of “play novels” because I found this nice website indiedb.com but that’s just a fragment of an idea.

Either way don’t expect much from me in the coming months except web comics. And also maybe a birthday post or something.  I turn 30 next month.

-fin

Footnotes:

  1. I’m an asshole. Sorry I don’t have any actual patreon content but if you wanna give me money because you’ve liked my work thus far and want to see more I’m okay with that. I just have a hard time with the concept of having content behind a “pay wall” ie content you have to pay for to view.  It makes me a bad business man but a good anarchist punk ie THE STRUGGLE IS FUCKING REAL!
  2. Unless I’ve drank too much.
  3. WordPress pretty much hates me, I’m guessing its because I am winning too hard.

Who I Am and What I’m Here For

Hey guys! Welcome to my Tuesday column on Offbeat On Point! This is my first post and I’m on somewhat shaky ground here, so bear with me.

My name is Brad Evans. Well, actually, no it isn’t, but that’s the moniker I’ll be using here. I am a long-time friend of Fin Louie; we’ve been kicking it off and on for the last 10 years. We share a lot of common interests, but our personalities are like Yin and Yang. Where I am casual he can get intense, and vice-versa. Where he is actively bold, I am passively reserved; but don’t let that fool you, there’s a lot going on in my head.

yinyang

I’ve been keeping up with his posts here for a while now and asked about a month ago if he could use a co-editor. The rest, as they say, is history.

A few things about me:

  1. I am a young man in my twenties living in St. Louis, and a student of Creative Writing at Webster University.
  2. When I was eighteen, I took a break from school, and didn’t go back for quite some time. While I was out I had a variety of adventures. I went to music festivals. I had two apartments and Fin and I even shared a house at one point. I quarreled with friends, lost some and made some more. I was a General Manager of a restaurant, and various other adventures.
  3. I am a voracious consumer of fantasy and science fiction.
  4. I play video games on Xbox One; currently I’m on Fifa 17 and OverWatch. They are like crack to me.

That’s just for starters. I feel like this is also a good representation of who I am as a person: recently I had a birthday, and what I did for fun was to go see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which was phenomenal by the way) and then read about 100 pages of a graphic novel. I also spent a lot of time with friends and family, but the peaceful nerdy stuff is what I really liked. To me, that was an excellent birthday.

Here’s what I’m going to be bringing to this blog:

Tuesdays I will be posting thoughts about literature I have consumed.

Saturdays I will be posting literature I have created. Short stories and poetry and the like.

I doubt if either of these columns will be regular events. Sporadic, at best, really. But for the immediate future I have a few poems to share on Saturdays, and a whole list of books to read/review this summer. A few months ago I discovered a love for audiobooks, and I will be reviewing those as well: not just for the content but for the ability of the narrator to do it justice.

We have plans in the works for a “Sunday Round-up” type of post, conveniently summarizing all the week’s new material. This is still a tentative plan, though, so don’t look for it right away.

Here’s some of the material I have lined up to review:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This book comes highly recommended by just about everyone and I’m looking forward to getting into it.

The Road

The Dresden Files graphic novels. DF has been a favorite book series for a long time; I have read every book at least three times, and recently laid hands on an omnibus of the first two books in graphic novel form. So far, it’s amazing, but also flawed and I’ll get into that in a future review.dresden graphic novel

The audiobooks of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Two books I consider modern classics, in audiobook form.

the_kingkiller_chronicle_one_and_two-600x459

The audiobook of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Less classic and less artfully written, but still a fun read: does the audiobook hold up?

Ready Player One

The audiobook of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Widely considered a modern classic, this book is now being made into a television series being broadcast on Starz in America and Amazon Prime in the UK. I’ve read it before, but the audiobook is FULLY CASTED – meaning a different voice actor for each character. That’s different than any other book I’ve listened to so far, and I’m intrigued at that prospect.

American Gods

Novels from an author I have not read before but who comes highly recommended by a professor at my university: China Mieville. I have Embassy Town, The City and the City, and Perdido Street Station lined up for summer reading. May as well talk about them, too, right?

And that’s just what I’ve come up with so far, but like I said my posts might be sporadic. I’m doing this for the enjoyment of it and don’t want this to become like a job with deadlines that I’m racing to meet. All the same, I’m looking forward to getting started around here.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

-Brad Evans