Sunday, January 4, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: December 28th to January 3rd

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog with every book I read, barring the digital comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. That was precious little last week as my regularly scheduled superhero time instead went to the first season of ARROW; something semi-related, even if it takes place in an entirely different universe from my usual comics fare1.

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

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, sniffs the edge of a small blue hardcover with the author's name--Patrick Rothfuss--just visible inside the shot. Murchie wears a red and white fair isle sweater with a hood.

I love Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicles and was wicked eager to read THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS, a novella that expands on a part of the series that lies outside Kvothe's purview. Unfortunately, I just wasn't in the right mood for it. I gave it about forty pages, but eventually decided I'd do best to put it aside and try again the next time I reread the first two books so's I can piggyback off my enthusiasm for the wider series.

Murchie curls up in the shadows beside a white e-reader with The Emperor's Agent's cover art on its screen. The cover depicts a dark-haired, pale-skinned woman with her back to the viewer. She wears a white Empire-waist dress and stands overlooking a large body of water.

Having put THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS aside, I chose THE EMPEROR'S AGENT by Jo Graham as my final book of 2014. It's the fifth novel in Graham's Numinous World series, but I figured I was safe to read it out of order because each of the books take place in a different time period, with different characters who share the same souls--and some of the same memories--as the folks introduced in earlier installments. I'm glad I'd already read the third book, STEALING FIRE, as it cleared up quite a few things that might otherwise have confused me, but for the most part this one does indeed stand alone.

Which is perhaps a little odd, because the day after I finished it I discovered it's a direct sequel to THE GENERAL'S MISTRESS. Oops. This explains why Graham devotes so little space to events like Elza's horrible marriage and the circumstances that led to it. I figured she glossed over that part of Elza's past because it wasn't terribly relevant to the story at hand, but I must now assume it's covered in detail in the earlier book.

Anyways, I read it much more slowly than I would have liked, less because of the story than because of some pressing end-of-the-year tasks (and, um, my ARROW marathon). Consequently, THE EMPEROR'S AGENT was my first book of 2015, not my last book of 2014.

I may review it in the far future, probably in conjunction with the complete series.

Murchie lays beside a white iPod with the cover of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line on its screen.

I'd been hoping my library would buy THE THOUSAND DOLLAR TAN LINE, Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham's first Veronica Mars novel, but no dice. Thankfully, that lovely Audible promo code I told y'all about last week enabled me to get it for $1.95, which ain't such a bad price at all.

So, yes. I'm taking a wee break from the Vorkosigan Saga so's I can return to Neptune, famed centre of corruption and wretched dealings. Listening time is still in shortish supply, but I'm super-duper happy with what I've heard so far. I mean, there's really no way Kristen Bell was ever gonna deliver a bad performance in this role, but it's nice to actually experience it instead of just knowing it. You know?

And in case you've been wondering (and you missed my tweets about it), I loved Lois McMaster Bujold's FALLING FREE. I look forward to starting BROTHERS IN ARMS as soon as I finish Veronica's latest adventure.

Y'all know I've been scared to read further in SAGA because of the Bad Things I'd seen more pop culturally current readers allude to, but the problem wasn't gonna go away on its own. It was my responsibility as a reader and as a fan to bust through Volume Four and make sure everything turned out okay.

And hey, maybe it was a big joke, this idea that Bad Things happened in Volume Four. Maybe pop culture had lied to me2.

I intended to space the reread/catch-up out over the weekend. This did not happen. I devoured all 24 issues on Friday night, plus the letters pages from Volume Four. (I read the letters pages from Volumes Two and Three the first time around. Alas, I have the collected edition of Volume One, which is sans letters.) And lemme tell you, those letters pages were essential. They made me laugh after each distressing issue, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Pop culture did not lie. Bad Things happened--but I persist in hoping the Bad Things don't need to stand forever and ever until everyone dies. Like, the Bad Things that did not themselves involve people dying, I mean.

I can't wait to see what happens next. I need to make sure everyone's at least semi okay.

Yeah, it's real nice over here in my dream world. Thanks for asking.

Yesterday morning I awoke with a terrible craving for the 1920s. Luckily, I'd borrowed THE GIRLS AT THE KINGFISHER CLUB from the library the day before, so I was well set. I tucked Murchie into my armpit--his favourite snuggling position--and read the first couple of chapters.

I'm not even twenty pages in as I write this on Saturday afternoon, but those twenty pages. Wow. I have a feeling this is gonna be one of the books, my friends. And even if it's not, I'm sure I'm in for a hell of a ride.

ETA: I had no choice but the read the whole thing yesterday, and I was right. Holy fuck, was that ever good. One of the books for sure.

Next week: I don't even know, y'all. I'm all over the place in terms of what I feel like reading.

  1. It's weird; Past Memory always thought of herself as a DC girl, but that was mostly because I read a lot of Vertigo in my younger years. When I got into THE FLASH (my favourite new show of 2014 and the whole reason I started ARROW), I asked myself when I'd last read a Flash comic. The answer was upwards of fifteen years ago, and the few issues I read were probably thirty years old even then. I'd guess they weren't even about Barry Allen, the Flash from the TV show.

    My mum's old comics collection, which I devoured when I was thirteen or fourteen, is chock full of DC, but they're all about the same age as that Flash comic and it's been just as long since I revisited them. After that initial binge, my non-Vertigo DC well ran dry. I read THE DARK KNIGHT, of course, plus a Japanese Batman graphic novel and one Green Arrow trade collection, but I'm woefully ill-read on the DC superheroes front and I'm hazy on the details of what I read back in the day. Like, I remember I loved the Green Arrow comic (it was about doppelgangers, and Morpheus had a tiny cameo) and wanted to read more, but I never actually did that.

    Part of it was down to my library's spotty comics collection. In the early 2000s, they were inclined to buy maybe one or two trade collections from a given series and ignore everything else. This was particularly true of superhero comics, so I ended up reading a lot of graphic general fiction in those years.

    But yeah; the library has improved its collection, so I should probably fill some of the gaps in my DC knowledge. Come to that, I wonder if DC has anything comparable to Marvel Unlimited? I must investigate.

  2. I always hope pop culture has lied to me about deeply distressing things; ex, Buffy's S5 finale. Most of the time, this isn't even sort of the case, but I can't let the dream die. It did happen to me with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA--some horribly insensitive person tweeted a major spoiler, and I watched the whole fucking show with that spoiler in mind, and it was a false spoiler--so it could happen to me again.

    Everything's fine. Alana and Marko are all right. Hazel's peachy. That stuff I said up there, about Bad Things? Totally untrustworthy. I'm in on the cruel, cruel joke, same as everyone else.


  1. HA. The end of Buffy S5 was SO DEVASTATING and there was nothing undevastating about it. Truth. Oh God that shot of them all coming up to her, and Spike is so shattered -- aaaaa I am basically tearing up right now just thinking about it.

    1. Damn. Now I, too, am all misty-eyed.

  2. Now I'm scared to read the fourth volume of Saga!

    1. I was mighty scared my own self, but I'm glad I went ahead and read it anyway.

  3. "Holy fuck, was that ever good. One of the books for sure."

    YAY :D If you feel in the mood for more excellent 1920s stories later in the year, Cuckoo Song is finally being published across the pond.

    1. Ooh, yes! I checked my library just in case they already had it (we often get UK releases as well as Canadian and American books), but no dice yet.