Sunday, December 21, 2014

Murchie Plus Books: December 14th to 20th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by asking wee Murchie to pose with everything I read, barring the stuff I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, that was the last few available issues of the new NOVA, the end of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, and some stuff about Black Widow and Spider-Woman.

Speaking of which: how great is Jessica Drew? Pretty great, right? I totally want to be BFFs with her and Carol Danvers.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I take them and appear here in digest form every Sunday.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lays on a fuzzy greyish pillow with a grey book beside him. Only its title, The Copper Crown, is visible in the picture.

Talk about a grey photo. Grey dog; grey(ish) pillow; grey book. How terribly fitting for winter.

Last Sunday I found myself in Indecisive Reader Mode. Did I want fantasy? Science fiction? Crime fiction? General fiction? I hadn't a bloody clue, so I snatched up THE COPPER CROWN by Patrician Kennealy since I knew it blended at least two genres.

On paper, it was totally my thing: science fiction in which Keltic civilization--which has flourished in space for the last three thousand years, having departed Earth to could escape the death of magic--comes back into contact with Terran diplomats even as they face threats from two galactic empires. And when I just think of what I read, I'm so there.

When I actually pick up the book and read a bit of it... not so much.

I dunno, y'all. Kennealy's prose is lovely, but her characters just didn't move me the way I wanted them to. They did these big, seemingly interesting things, and I just didn't feel it. Not a bit. They were like the literary equivalent of Duncan Kane.

(The hell, Duncan Kane? You're involved in so many crazy-ass things, and yet you yourself are so boring. How is this possible? What foul magic is at work?)

So I put the book aside just after the hundred page mark. Maybe I'll try again someday.

Murchie lays on his fuzzy pillow. A white e-reader is propped up against it. Its screen shows the cover of Lady of Mercy, featuring an armour-clad, pale-skinned woman standing in front of what appears to be a ruined church.

I promptly moved on to LADY OF MERCY, the third book in Michelle Sagara West's Sundered quartet. To be honest, I also struggled with this one a bit--maybe it's the season?--but I stuck with it because I'm now committed to the series, and because there were times when I loved it.

Even so, it didn't hit me the same way as CHILDREN OF THE BLOOD (though it was a definite improvement on INTO THE DARK LANDS). Whatever name she writes under, Sagara West always hooks me but good with her human elements and loses me when things get action-oriented. This one sported a fairly good balance of the two, which meant I seesawed back and forth between totally engaged and keen to get on to the next thing.

The ending did leave me eager to see how Erin's story ends, though. I'll likely finish the series either late this year or in early January.

Murchie's nose hovers close above a white iPod with the cover of Falling Free on its screen. The art is indistinct but appears to depict parts of a space station.

Friends, Murchie voluntarily stuck his nose that close to my iPod. I'm as shocked as you are. The little dude's normally nervous around the thing, even when he doesn't actually flinch away from it in fear.

This picture gives you a semi-decent look at his whiskers, which I think are one of his cuter qualities. Alas, they're only visible right before he needs a haircut, since the groomer shaves them down close when she does his face. Poor whiskers. You will be missed.

Anyways, I finished ETHAN OF ATHOS as I baked a devil's food cake for the chocolate trifle I'm bringing to Christmas dinner, and I leaped into FALLING FREE as soon as I had a spare moment to download another audiobook. LibraryThing tells me this one's a Vorkosigan prequel, and thus far it seems pretty divorced from the rest of the series. I wasn't entirely sure about it at first, but it grabbed me hard as soon as it became apparent just how severely the quaddies are oppressed. I'm always on board for a fight to end slavery and get folks the rights they deserve.

Listening time has been in somewhat short supply, but I'm about three and a half hours into it now and hope I'll be able to get a bit further before Christmas descends upon us all.

Murchie stands on a wicker chair. Behind him is a hardcover copy of Hark! A Vagrant. The cover is pale yellow with a small cartoon of Napoleon beside the title. The edge of a Christmas tree is just visible in the background.

I promised you Kate Beaton, and Kate Beaton you shall have. I've been poking at HARK! A VAGRANT since I picked it up from the library last Sunday, and oooh boy, is it ever good. It collects many of Beaton's webcomics, which usually focus on either history or literature. They're hilarious and informative, and I look forward to wallowing in them today.

Murchie stands on a wicker chair, his chin upraised and his attention focused off panel. Beside him sits my Kobo with the Liberty and Other Stories' cover art on its screen. The cover features four people of a variety of races, all bathed in a purple glow. Behind the Kobo is a Christmas tree.

LIBERTY & OTHER STORIES is Alexis Hall's follow-up to PROSPERITY (which you may recall I loved), and lemme tell you, I'm having a blast with it. A head cold currently has me in its clutches, but this book is so good I stayed up an hour past my intended bedtime on Friday night just so's I could read more of it.

It was a bitter moment when the cold forced me to turn my Kobo off and go to sleep. A bitter, bitter moment.

With any luck, I'll have finished it by the time you read this. I want to throw myself into it head first. It drove me crazy, how little time I had to read on Saturday. I mean, it was because I went to a three-hour Globe On Screen production of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (my mum won a season pass and decided to take me since my father dislikes Shakespeare), but still.

Hey! A further note on this Globe on Screen thing! Mumsie only won the pass this week, so we missed two of the six plays, but I'm so excited that MACBETH is one of the upcoming productions. I've read MACBETH, I've listened to MACBETH, and I own a glorious, 117-year-old copy of MACBETH once owned by one Harry Kahonovich II, who kindly underlined all my favourite bits so I didn't have to--but I've never actually seen MACBETH.

Unless my Grade Ten English class watched a film adaptation alongside the audio production and I've somehow blocked it out. I have a vague memory of Burnham Wood coming to Dunsinane Hill through the fog, though it's entirely possible I imagined that on my own.

Next week: I feel like it might be time for more Jo Walton. I also still feel like it's time for more Robert Jordan, but I'm not sure I want to read anything that long this late in the year. We'll see what happens.


  1. It has been so long since I've seen Shakespeare on stage! Lucky you! Murchie is so cute, whiskers or no whiskers. And now I have to go see if my library has a copy of HARK! A VAGRANT available ...

  2. I think you'll really enjoy it! I finished it the other day and am already eager for Beaton's next collection, whensoever it may appear.