Sunday, March 8, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: March 1st to 7th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by posing my dog beside every book I read, barring the comics I get via Marvel Unlimited.

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

Not pictured: last week, Marvel Unlimited treated me to Grant Morrison and J.G. Jone's MARVEL BOY (a mix of excellent and meh), Kathryn Immonen and Tonci Zonjic's HERALDS (okay), Paul Cornell and Mark Brooks's DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS (really good, but not important to the wider YA storyline), Brian Reed and Lee Weeks's CAPTAIN MARVEL: SECRET INVASION (awesome! Also, about Mar-Vell, not Carol Danvers), and the first two volumes of Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico's ALL-NEW X-FACTOR (off to a promising start).

I forgot to tell y'all that as of the week before last, I've also started reading a handful of comics by issue. I can't bear to wait longer than necessary for more ALL-NEW X-MEN, and I've added GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY to the list because I need Cancerverse answers now, dammit. (So far, I've got half of a Cancerverse answer. If marketing copy can be believed, I'll know the rest by next month. Whew.) Outside of Marvel Unlimited, I read SPIDER-GWEN #1 since I got a free copy and I figured it'd be wrong to squander it. It was pretty good and I adore her costume, but I'm not totally hooked yet.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, lays beneath a red comforter so only his head is exposed. Beside him is a hardcover copy of Rohan at the Louvre. Only the corner of its blue cover is visible. The corner contains the title, a swirl of pink, and four pale-skinned fingers reaching towards the viewer.

Murchie isn't on bed rest anymore, but he sees no reason to forgo his traditional morning blanket cave.

I borrowed Hirohiko Araki's ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE as part of my ongoing quest to read comics by publishers other than Marvel and Image. It's part of the Louvre's series of original graphic novels, and follows a mangaka as he searches for answers to a childhood mystery within the museum's most disused storerooms.

Araki has a great feel for movement and I initially liked this a lot, but it lost me as the story played out. It was still good, but not rush-out-and-get-it good.

A white Kobo with Shadow Scale's cover on its screen sits on the edge of a beige leather chair. The cover is a blue-tinged woodcut of a dragon rampant before a steep, hilled harbour city. Below the Kobo, Murchie stands on his hind legs with his forepaws resting below the edge of the chair's seat.

And now, my most anticipated release of 2015: Rachel Hartman's SHADOW SCALE!

I waited so long for this, and I loved SERAPHINA so much, and I just... couldn't concentrate on it. I started it last Sunday and finished it on Friday; an eternity for me, especially given how desperate I was to read it as recently as last Saturday afternoon. The book was great. I was just in a strange, meandering mood that made it difficult for me to commit to novel-length fiction.

What else is new?

Things did get easier once Seraphina reached Porphyry, though, and I ultimately loved the whole thing. That ending! I'll have a full review for you on Tuesday, barring illness or similar catastrophe. If illness or similar catastrophe does strike, bump that estimate back to the 17th.

Murchie lays on a red blanket. He wears an orange t-shirt with brown cuffs. Behind him is a trade paperback copy of Long Hidden. Its cover features a number of people of colour making their way through a drainage pipe in the shape of a person's facial silhouette.

LONG HIDDEN has entered the short fiction rotation! This anthology edited by Daniel José Older and Rose Fox centres on historical fantasy from POC and/or queer perspectives; basically, the stories that aren't often told within the historical record. I'm not too far into it yet, but I look forward to spending a lot more time with these stories now I've finally bumped THE BEST OF BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES, YEAR THREE from the rotation.

A small, pale-skinned hand holds a white iPod with Red Queen's cover on its screen. The cover features an upside down crown dripping with red blood. Behind the hand a yellow lab, Buster, takes a big yawn.

Wow. Murchie sure looks different in this one, huh?

This here's Buster, who you may remember from last August. I'm looking after him and his feline brother, Ollie, for the next couple of weeks, so y'all can expect to see a lot of them.

Murchie is thrilled to have twelve whole days free from people (which: me) shoving books at him and asking him to hold his head still.

THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM was cute, but I had to take an extended break from it and didn't feel much pull to dive back in, so I've decided to try Victoria Aveyard's RED QUEEN instead. (It's on Scribd! They've got quite a few newer audiobooks, much to my surprise and delight; and, as always, you can try the service free for two months with this link.) The Book Smugglers gave this one an unfavourable review, so it's entirely possible I'll end up switching to something else next week. Maybe THE MARTIAN, which I just got out from the library.

Then again, I might fall madly in love with it. We'll see how it goes. I'm about three chapters in and it's interesting so far.

A grey cat, Ollie, sits on a striped armchair. Behind him is a white Kobo with Ancient Rockets's orange-tinged cover on its screen. The cover features a black and white film still below the title and author's name.

And here's Ollie, the wee cat I promised you last week. Ain't he a cutie? He was super shy the last time I looked after him, but he's now well on his way to becoming a cuddle-bunny.

You'll get there, Ollie. I believe in you.

I love Kage Baker's fiction, so I was thrilled to discover ANCIENT ROCKETS on Scribd. Baker discusses silent SFF, a topic I adore and have always wanted to explore in a bit more depth. The book reminds me of Jo Walton's WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT in that Baker approaches each short essay as a fan more than a critic, chatty and keen to talk about makes these films so interesting both on their own merits and as part of the wider genre conversation. I'm having an awesome time with it and look forward to reading more over the next couple of days.

I also see an Internet Archive binge in my future, at least where the shorter films are concerned. I'm not sure I have the stamina to watch any of the 4.5 hour serials.

If you're not familiar with the Internet Archive, please check it out. It's packed with out-of-copyright and Creative Commons movies, music, magazines, and other things that start with M. (Okay, not just things that start with M.) I discovered it after I read Baker's MENDOZA IN HOLLYWOOD and got curious about INTOLERANCE, one of the movies the cyborgs watch during their film festival. I watched the whole thing, though I fear I missed the famed vaginas visible during the Babylon sequences. Next time.

Buster lays on the floor with a white Kobo near his head. Its screen displays the cover of Lumberjanes #1, featuring a group of girls standing on a cabin's porch.

Scribd added LUMBERJANES #1-9 this week, so I leaped right in and devoured the first eight issues (ie, the opening arc, which they've decided to release in two collected editions instead of one). It was mighty cute and sweet, though I'm not completely hooked yet.

Yeah, yeah; pause for shocked gasps. My soul doesn't work quite right, but y'all know I love Pizza Dog so it's not totally broken.

Next week: more novels, I hope. SHADOW SCALE really bogged me down, but I feel ready to tackle something new. Daniel José Older's HALF-RESURRECTION BLUES feels like the obvious choice, and I'm torn as to whether I want to read Elizabeth Knox's WAKE or Frances Hardinge's CUCKOO SONG after that. I'll keep plugging away at LONG HIDDEN and ANCIENT ROCKETS, too, but of course I won't show 'em to you again. That'd just be silly.


  1. SHADOW SCALE. I am excited for it. Is it the conclusion of the series, or is there going to be another one? Part of me wants to know how everything turns out SOONER, and part of me wants there to be three books instead of just two. Aaaaa I need to reread Seraphina.

    1. It's the last one, alas. I want mooooooooorrrrrrrrreeeeeeeee.