(Y-11) Vacation Time

Today marks the first day of the two-week spring vacation period.

Also, tomorrow will be the mid-point day for this eleventh year of reading, for which I’ll post something on Monday morning to see how I am faring for the first half of this amazing year.

As always I have big plans for my reading, and in between, I’ll squeeze some traveling and hopefully some work on my little desert oasis to get in shape for the upcoming summer season, I have been promising myself to have this space to read comfortably outside.

And I will follow thru this time.

I have so much to go thru in this post, and I know that I have been really lazy, I mean this is the second of the month of April and it is almost half-way done.

 So let me begin with what I have been reading.

I finished five graphic novels, ranging from some good old Batman to the Mad Titan tearing his way thru the Marvel Universe.

On that note, and trying to catch up with Thanos’ recent storyline, I read Infinity Book II and Thanos Rising, the latter beautifully executed by Jason Aaron, on the controls as the writer, and the amazing artwork by Simone Bianchi.

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On the DC Universe front, from which most of the reading comes, I went thru some new, some past storylines I haven’t read and one historic milestone.

To start off, I finished reading the sixth volume of the current run of Detective Comics, beautifully executed by James Tynion IV, it is always great fun to run around with the Bat Family thru the dark crevices of Gotham City.

Detective Vol 6

For some passed storylines, I finally finished reading Forever Evil, by now legendary DC writer Geoff Johns.

I read the first two issues when it originally came out back in 2013 but lost track it and now came to find to read in my Kindle Unlimited subscription, so I took advantage, and let me tell you, watching Lex Luthor as the hero will always be disturbing.

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And to keep on transversing the DC Universe, I read some single issues of new material, or at least newly published here in Mexico.

Spinning off the events of Dark Nights: Metal comes a new story about the spooky Batman Who Laughs, developed by the all-star team of Scott Snyder and the wonderful Jock.

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Also in the Dark Knight department, the highly controversial and now infamous Bat-penis, I read the Spanish and censored edition of  Batman: Damned, by the always edgy Brian Azzarello and the stunning art of Lee Bermejo, this particular edition has the variant cover edition by Jim Lee.

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Another series I started reading is Justice League Dark, and I love it from the first page, I am a sucker for all the magical and weird characters from the DC Universe.

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I read the first two issues and yesterday bought the third one, which consequently is the conclusion of the first story arc.

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Which relates directly to the idea of bringing to the main continuity of characters such as Swamp Thing and John Constantine, from which I am currently reading the first story arc in the Rebirth era of DC Comics.

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And now to finish off my recent trek thru the DC Comics Universe, the historic and landmark issue number one thousand of Detective Comics, in which the Dark Knight not only reaches this historic number but he also celebrates 80 years of publication history.

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I got the Bernie Wrightson variant.

To close out the comic book/graphic novel front, I read the omnibus of B.P.R.D.: 1946-1948, where you can see the first years of the agencies peculiar cases, all of this pre-Hellboy’s involvement, for he was a wide-eyed kid living somewhere in the New Mexico desert.

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And some of the amazing sketch drawings of the series.

Now on the book front, I keep on pounding away on the third book of the Neverwinter Saga, Charon’s Claw, currently on page 327, and I have plans to finish the saga on the first week of the spring vacation so I can start reading the first two book of Brian Catling’s The Vorrh Trilogy on the second week.

In which we are taking a small trip, but more on that later.

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This has been an eventful couple of weeks, I went to “Fiesta de los Libros” which is an event of my Alma Mater where you can buy all its the scientific or historical publications but the catch is that the price is around 5 dollars for all the books you can fit on a paper bag they give you, needless to say, I took around 7 bags home with books related to my masters degree.

Below you can see the place and some of the exhibitions during this week-long book celebration.

The other event was a home game of the newly founded Mexican League of Football, in which our fair city, Ciudad Juarez, has one of the five inaugural teams.

They started losing the game by 16 to 0 at the half but came from behind to claim a 24 to 16 victory.

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The next game and season closer is on April 28, and hopefully, we will be playoff bound.

Now I will like to talk about my numbers.

For the eleventh year of reading, I have a total of 22,029 pages and closing in the last year total with only 10,119 pages to go, just before the halfway mark.

Still, I am 30 days behind my reading schedule, but what are vacations for if not for closing down gap from crazy reading projects.

In concern of my total reading for my project, I have amassed 255,056 pages of reading and on the next significant milestone, which is reaching 500,000, I have 244,944 pages to go.

And in my projection, which started as the finishing date of the particular number to be on July 26 of 2029, now it has come down to May 14 of the same year, slowly but surely I am gaining ground.

In order to chip away at the page at my total pages to read and on to get that finishing date closer I have promised myself to grab my enormous pile of to read books and try to at least knock down 3,000 pages and a couple of months of ground gained.

Here are some of my reading materials for the upcoming weeks.

Well, I am off to chase those pages and rest my ass off.

azr.

(Y-11)And then, the pages came.

I have been away for quite a while, both from reading and from writing in this blog.

But not anymore.

So, what have I been up to?

Let me start with what have I been reading.

I finished a couple of fantastic graphic novels, the first one is Viva la Vida: Los Sueños en Ciudad Juarez, it is a harrowing retelling of one of the most violent and painful periods in the history of my fair city.

This is capture thru the eyes of two French illustrators, Baudoin & Troubs, I am not sure if an English version of the book exists, but it is worth the effort to translate and enjoy this beautiful piece of work in which, the citizens shared their hopes and dreams in exchange for a portrait.

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The second graphic novel I finished was a collection of fantastic artist reinterpreting the songs, this in comic book form, of one the most influential singers in history, Bob Dylan, illustrating 13 of his most iconic songs, it is a must in the collection of any comic book or music lover.

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Here the many facets of the legendary singer and Nobel Laureate.

After these two less traditional comic books, I went and read the newest installment of the now legendary Batman story The Dark Knight, for this particular story we get treated to an epic creative team.

Helmed by the original writer, Frank Miller, who needs no introduction, and joining him for the writing duties another legend of the world of comic books, Brian Azzarello.

And to put the cherry on top, Miller does a bit of the artwork with the collaboration of Andy Kubert, one of the most iconic illustrators to ever work with the Dark Knight, and as if this wasn’t enough, Klaus Janson, the legendary inker of the original series, now also contributing with some fantastic artwork .

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And here some of the covers.

Right now, I am working on a couple of things.

First off I keep on pounding away on the third book of the Neverwinter Saga, Charon’s Claw, as always it feels like home when I go out and run around with the legendary drow Drizzt Do’Urden.

I am currently on page 90 of 442, moving slowly and loving every minute of it.

The second thing is the fourth volume of Batman: Detective Comics, part of the DC Universe Rebirth, in which we get to indulge in the adventures of many sidekicks of the Dark Knight, including Clayface himself.

I particularly enjoy seeing the character Azrael back in action, crazy as ever.

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In between all of this reading, I took some time do a couple of things I love, eating and going to a live show, all in the same day.

I went to see an impressive group, Le Butcherettes, in a great venue in our sister city of El Paso, The Low Brow Palace, this small club always delivers some iconic performances.

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And to close out the night I went to my favorite hamburger joint, What-A-Burger, arguably the best burger chain restaurant and a true Texan icon.

I did not take a picture of the burger, it was devoured diligently.

Now I will like to talk about my currents number, both in this year of reading and my overall total and also a bit of a forecast of what I think the year has in store for me.

To start off, for the eleventh year of reading I have a total of 18,210 pages.

I have steading my pace but still behind my reading schedule by a whopping 28 days, but with the upcoming spring vacation, I think there will be plenty of opportunities to kick back and read an hour or four.

As for the forecast for this year, and if all things keep on the same course, I am looking for a total of 21,521 pages by the half-way point of the year, which is in exactly 30 days.

With these numbers, I am expecting to finish the year with little over 43,000 pages, but the real goal is to surpass my best year, 47,705 pages in the first year of reading, but always aiming of at least gracing that 53,000 page goal.

As for my overall total, it stands at 251,257 pages, and according to my calculations, and again if everything holds steady as now, I will be reaching the next significant milestone of 500,000 pages by the 10 of July of 2029, which to start of it is not acceptable and I am working on bringing down.

So far I have shaved approximately 15 days of this date and will keep on working to reduce the distance to such a significant achievement.

I have a long weekend ahead of me, here in Mexico we have the day off on Monday, this in celebration of the birthday of the famous president from which our fair city gets its name.

For me, this means extended periods of reading and trying not to get out of bed, and with the forecast of possible snow for Saturday, that only gives me more reasons not to venture outside the warm comforts of my blankets.

Well there you have it, a kind of long post, but given the circumstances, I had to bent some things that have been roaming around my head for the past week or so.

Tomorrow, I’ll visit one of my favorite coffee house, same great coffee but they updated their accommodations, and I have been itching to write a new caffeine pilgrimage entry for so long, what better way to get back on the saddle than with an old favorite.

As you can tell, I have a slight case of insomnia.

Better put it to good use and run alongside some dwarfs and elves, and hopefully, they will carry me off to dreamland.

azr.

 

 

 

 

 

(Y-11) Officially back from hiautus

Well, I am officially back from my break from writing on this blog, almost a week after what I have planned initially, but who is counting.

I have so many things to get into, and honestly, I do not know where to begin.

So I’ll try to start with what I have been reading and take it from there.

Currently, I am working on two things, the second book on the Neverwinter Saga, starting the now infamous Drow Drizzt Do’Urden, with the legendary city of Neverwinter, reduced to rubble, and the constant attack of a not so friendly Lich, Drizzt must learn to trust his new companions in order to get out of this one alive.

It is hard to read this fantastic saga and not have those familiar faces to tag along with the lone Drow in his eternal quest for redemption, I especially miss King Bruenor, dwarves are some of my favorite fantasy characters of all time, it does not matter which universe they inhabited, they are always so cool, I think it has to do with the beard.

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Right now I am at page 187 of 363, my reading has slowed down a bit, but I have all of the intentions of rearranging my schedule to fit in more reading time.

There are still two books left on the Neverwinter Saga, Charon’s Claw and The Last Threshold, after finishing these two I have a conundrum ahead of me, jump right back into reading The Malazan Book of the Fallen or read Jerusalem by Alan Moore.

For now, I’ll focus on what is in front of me.

The other thing I am currently reading is a compilation of the Avengers Vs. Thanos, with the glorious work by the legendary Jim Starlin.

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This is some old school comic books, just amazing.

I am well over the halfway point, and the plan is to finish it this lazy Sunday, well, that is my plan, to squeeze in some reading between episodes of The Umbrella Academy, which started streaming on Friday on Netflix, so, check it out, but not only the series also the fantastic comic book by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá.

That is for what I am currently working on.

Also, I finished a couple of graphic novels.

The third volume of Robert Venditti run on Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, part of the Rebirth series of DC Comics, I think I have said it before, Mr. Venditti was born to write Green Lantern.

Here is the infographic sheet generated with Bookly.

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The other graphic novel I finished was the second volume of B.P.R.D.: The Plague of Frogs, and it is not enough words to describe it.

What a complex and beautifully haunting piece of modern horror literature, I love that although the characters are immersed in a fantasy horror world, they do not lose complexity or depth to tell the story, in fact, the underlying conflict in each one of them make the story that much more vibrant.

If you haven’t read any of this work or Hellboy for that matter, you are missing out on a monumental series.

Here is the infographic sheet generated with Bookly.

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And a couple of Mike Mignola covers just for the beauty of it.

 

Once I finish Avengers Vs. Thanos, I’ll jump into the third volume of the Plague of Frogs, I am hooked.

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Now lets talk of some of my numbers for this eleventh year of reading.

First off, and since I have started using Bookly at the start of this year, the app has been keeping track of the time I actually spend reading, and so far I have rung in over 60 hours of active reading.

You can see in the stats below, things like reading speed and total pages, and my current streak of 48 straight days of reading.

screenshot_20190217-0714401644480396.jpgSo far it has been a handy tool to keep track of my reading, and if you are a bit obsessive like I am, you will definitely fall in love with this app.

Now for some total numbers of my reading so far.

My total for this year is closing into 15,000 pages.

14,667 to be precise, just 333 pages to go.

Still, I am a bit behind schedule, 27 days to be precise, all of my effort to close the gap these past few weeks have not been what I hope for, but I am confident this will turn around shortly.

But the other event that has been ringing in my head for the past few weeks is the impending goal of reaching the first quarter of my reading, that is 250,000 total pages.

Right now, I sit on 247,694 pages, that is 2,306 pages to go, and according to my calculations, and if all stays the same, I will reach my goal by March 5.

And then, all-out party.

Of course, I plan to reach before that date.

I have so many things to keep me motivated for the upcoming months, like the release of the new American Gods season, March 11 by the way, the reboot of Hellboy starting the delightful David Harbour,  April 12 by the way, and the new series based on the work of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, premiering on May in Prime Video.

And to top it off, I will return to one of my favorites sections of my blog, Caffeine Pilgrimage, with two new places Casa Polanco and  Boston Tea Bar.

So many things to do, of course, all of this between my reading.

Now I’ll get back to enjoying my Sunday.

Being back to my plotting and my writing is lovely.

azr.

 

 

(Y-11) Some extra art activities

For the past week, it has slipped my mind to talk about a new exhibition in the city’s museum of art.

This time is a photographic retrospective spanning five decades and the lenses of many photographers working on capturing the always intricated reality of our border city.

I am not sure until when the exhibition is going to be on display, but if you are in Ciudad Juarez or El Paso, you should go and check it out.

It would not disappoint.

Back to it then.

azr

 

(Y-11) Dia de Muertos

Yesterday was my favorite Mexican holiday, Dia de Muertos, The Day of the Dead.

It is a special celebration, in which, we honor our dearly departed by putting their pictures and all of the things that they loved the most.

On the University’s grounds each year, the students and faculty, put up the traditional “altares” many dedicated to famous figures of Mexican and international cultures.

A really colorful celebration celebrating the life of our loved ones.

And with this day my Monster Mash period comes to a close and of the eleven tasks, which include reading horror books and watching some classic horror movies, I only completed two, reading the first volume of Hellboy in Hell and watching the new Halloween movie, so better luck next year.

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The other good thing is that I finally started reading the second volume of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run, just a few pages in and it is already surpassing all expectations.

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For now, I’ll work on this graphic novel and try to make some headway with Gardens of the Moon, currently on page 147 of 645.

The plan is to work my way thru the main storyline of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, that is, the ten novels written by Canadian author Steven Erikson and then jump back in with the infamous Drow Drizzt Do’Urden and continue my journey in the Forgotten Realms.

Now let’s talk numbers:

  • Total pages for (Y-11) : 1,254 pages.
  • Pages to go to achieve first milestone (10,000 pages): 8,746 pages.
  • Pages to go to achieve the main goal of the year (53,000 pages): 51,746 pages.
  • Pages to go to be the second-best year of reading (32,001 pages): 30,747 pages.
  • Pages to go to be the best year of reading (47,705 pages): 46,451 pages.

Now back to it, for the night is dark and full of reading.

azr.

(Y-10) Catching up with some art.

I finally had the time to catch-up with some new art exhibitions.

All of this on one of my favorite spots in my fair city, Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez.

I only had time to peruse two on the three new exhibitions, but I’ll make the time to peruse the one left.

In the main room there is a collection of mural studies by famous mexican muralist, Aurora Reyes,considered a pioneer female artist.

The second exhibition about sensuality and sexuality in Mexico, a really interesting and sad reality of marginalization of the LGBT community and any sexual liberation front in our country, which in retrospect has not change that much in the course of the last 50 years.

If you get the chance to visit the museum, please do.

Not only for the great art but also it is a great space to wander around and relax.

Back to it.

azr.

 

 

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