I love comics. It’s a passion that has built over the years and become a part of my everyday routine. Whether it’s reading comics, writing about superheroes, or looking forward to a new Marvel film, comics are a powerful source of positivity for me. In a mental health context, comics can infuse wonder and excitement into the mundane, which is part of why I enjoy reading them so much.
Comics massively influenced the life of the late great Bill Schelly. A comic book historian, biographer and long-time lover of fandom, Schelley passed away in September 2019. But his legacy lives on in the pages of his autobiography, Sense of Wonder: My Life In Comic Fandom – The Whole Story.
In his book, Schelley dives into the magic of comics and how they helped to keep him going through times of hardship. From coming out as gay, to tirelessly self-publishing content until he made it as a successful author, Sense of Wonder is the story of a man who never gave up on his dreams. Continue reading “Sense Of Wonder Review: A Love Letter To Fandom And The Mental Health Benefits Of Comics”
What would you define as weird fiction? Supernatural creatures? Occult happenings in the dead of night? In the realm of weird fiction nothing is off limits. The genre has been popularised by writing greats such as H.P Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen. A name that deserves to be mentioned alongside them is William Hope Hodgson, an author who blended the bizarre with the banal.
The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson feature ten short stories that delve into the horror of the unknown. I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Readers with weak constitutions take heed. Here be monsters. Continue reading “The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson: Here Be Monsters”
When I think of Japanese authors, the first name that comes to mind is Haruki Murakami. His surreal fiction is a big hit with western audiences and reading his stories opened a gateway for me to other Japanese writers. So, it’s appropriate that Murakami introduces The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories. The collection covers traditional Japanese themes like bushido and bizarre situations like UFOS, sugar-filled vaginas and nightmarish paintings. But what unites all the stories is a genuine love of writing from each author. Continue reading “The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories Review: Classic And Modern Japan Come Together”
I’ve been fascinated with Japanese history for a while now, particularly with the samurai and their code of Bushido. They dedicated themselves to ‘the way of the warrior’ and lived by its principles in the pursuit of a perfect death. After reading Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai I feel like I’ve got a broader view of what Bushido stands for. Here are my review of a book that charts the history of one of Japan’s most enduring belief systems.
Continue reading “Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai Review: Learning How To Be A Warrior In Japan”
Everyone wishes they had more time, whether to pursue their dream career or travel across the world. Imagine if you could extend your life and set out to accomplish everything you’d ever wanted. Imagine being able to maintain your youth for decades. What would you do if you had more time? Would you make the most of it? These questions form the basis of Rachel Heng’s Suicide Club, a novel that combines technology with the prospect of living forever. But there’s a dark side to immortality and Heng takes the reader on a journey through themes of loss, parenthood and what it means to be alive.
Continue reading “Suicide Club Review: A Cautionary Tale Of Immortality And Parenthood”
The Witcher is one of the most popular fantasy series of all time. The games have introduced the books to a new generation of readers, and the most recent novel has been translated into English. Season Of Storms sees Andrzej Sapkowski return to his most popular character. Set between the short story collection The Last Wish, the book involves Geralt of Rivia going on a new journey. Along the way, Geralt must contend with political intrigue and monsters of all shapes and forms if he hopes to survive.
Continue reading “Season Of Storms Review: Geralt Of Rivia Returns In A Thrilling Fantasy Adventure”
“Nine years ago, when I began working with the dead, I heard other practitioners speak about holding the space for the dying person and their family. With my secular bias, ‘holding the space’ sounded like saccharine hippie lingo. This judgement was wrong. Holding the space is crucial, and exactly what we are missing. To hold the space is to create a ring of safety around the family and friends of the dead, providing a place where they can grieve openly and honestly, without fear of being judged.”
Addressing death is difficult for many people, even though it’s a natural part of life. Whether it’s having to confront the notion that a loved one is gone, or attending a funeral, death isn’t an easy subject. But death can take on a whole new meaning in other cultures. Mortician Caitlin Doughty went around the world to write From Here To Eternity, a book about funeral rituals from various cultures. Death isn’t presented as something to fear, but as rather something that can heal, that connects family members together. Doughty takes the reader on a journey that features wish-granting skulls, open-air pyres and mummies.
Continue reading “From Here To Eternity Review: An Upbeat Approach To Dealing With Death”
The Prohibition era is one of the most interesting parts of the 20th century. Gangsters like Al Capone were able to create an empire out of smuggling alcohol and earn a place in pop culture legend. Chicago became a haven for criminals of all kinds and the city is at the centre of Ray Celestin’s novel Dead Man’s Blues. Taking place during the 1920s, the book focuses on a brutal crime that involves the poisoning of several Chicago politicians. Jazz, murder and industrial innovation mingle together to create a story that pops with intrigue and excitement.
Continue reading “Dead Man’s Blues Review: An Exciting Thriller In The City Of Booze And Brutality”
“I’ve worn a mask most of my life. Most people do. As a little girl, I covered my face with my hands, figuring if I couldn’t see my father, he couldn’t see me. When this didn’t work, I hid behind Halloween masks: clowns and witches and Ronald McDonald. Years later, when I went to Mexico, I understood just how far a mask can take you. In the dusty streets, villagers turned themselves into jaguars, hyenas, the devil himself. For years, I thought wearing a mask was a way to start over, become someone new. Now I know better. A mask doesn’t change who you are; it lets you become the person you’ve always been, the person you paper over out of habit or timidity or fear. Some people – people like me – have to try on a lot of faces before they find one that fits.”
The Aztecs were one of the most advanced civilisations in the history, but they also had a reputation for violence. Human sacrifice, death masks and sun worship are how many people remember them, and Dancing With The Tiger by Lili Wright puts Aztec and Mexican mythology at the forefront. When a looter digs up the death mask of Montezuma, it sets off a chain reaction that sees drug lords, crooked art dealers and archaeologists all vying for the same prize. At the heart of the story is a woman called Anna who believes the mask of Montezuma can help her family find redemption, but she has to beat everyone else to get to it in time.
Continue reading “Dancing With The Tiger Review: Aztec History And Crooked Art Deals Combine For An Intriguing Story”
The decay of civilisation has cropped up in several places, from Egypt to Rome. History has a habit of repeating itself and that’s the case with Firewalk by Chris Roberson. The supernatural thriller covers themes of decay and myth in the modern city of Recondito. It follows FBI agent Izzie Lefervre as she comes back to Recondito to deal with a case from her past. What starts off as an investigation into old evidence soon becomes a paranormal nightmare for Izzie. I was sent a free copy of Firewalk in exchange for an honest review.
Continue reading “Firewalk Review: A Mystical Thriller With Diverse Characters”