Category Archives: Books

Getting to Know the Witcher in “The Last Wish”

At its heart, The Last Wish is a series of monster stories. The first book in Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series (which CD Projekt RED’s video games are based on), it’s not so much a novel as a line-up of short stories that depict Geralt of Rivia taking on monster-hunting contracts. It feels like reading dark fairy tales, similar to The Bloody Chamber, and the reason is that the monsters aren’t all crazed animals or mythical beasts — they are usually regular men, women, and children who have been cursed.

I read the book a few years ago, when I first got into The Witcher video game series. After hearing that the series is going to be made into a Netflix show, I got onto a Witcher kick and decided to re-read The Last Wish and then continue with the novels that follow. I purchased the audiobook, which is excellent, although I think I prefer reading rather than listening to this series due to the depth of the conversations and world-building. This is a book full of details you don’t want to miss.

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Reading “American Gods”: The Longest Road Trip Ever

This past month I finally read a Neil Gaiman novel. I’ve been wanting to read his work forever, as he’s a sort of mythic figure in nerd culture for his comic books, his work on Doctor Who, and his fantastical stories and books. I know a lot of people who are huge fans, so hearing that his novel American Gods was being made into a Starz TV series, I settled in to explore what might be the most famous work from Gaiman.

American Gods poses a fascinating idea: What if pagan gods were trying to survive in modern-day America? Immigrants would bring their beliefs from their original countries to the United States, and the gods would survive through people’s belief — however long that lasts.

So what if the goddess Bilquis (the Queen of Sheba) — a divine being who eats men alive as they worship her during lovemaking — lived in the United States today? And how would the ancient Egyptian gods fare, if they made their livings as modern undertakers? The idea that their enemies would be today’s media and technology — the things we American are currently obsessed with — manifests into exactly those kinds of new gods, like Media and the Technical Boy. So a war is brewing between the old gods and the new.

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Rereading “Dune,” the Book That Made Me Love Science Fiction

When I was in middle school, I visited a tiny library in a very tiny town near where I lived with the intention of finding a new book to read. I visited a lot of libraries growing up. As an avid reader, I was always looking for some new book to devour, but I didn’t have a lot of recommendations other than whatever my teachers had me reading at school.

So on this occasion, I chose a book based on a few important factors: a.) how big it was, b.) how it felt when I picked it up, and c.) how it smelled. I liked long novels in crinkly covers that smelled like old musty parchment paper. I was a weird kid like that, though I have faith the rest of you who were also nerdy children can relate!

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