Sunday, April 19, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: April 12th to 18th

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 comics I get through Marvel Unlimited.

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

Not pictured: I went back to K.J. Parker's PATTERN last week. It was the same situation as SHADOW; a mix of, "OMG I LOVE THIS" and, "meh; bored now." I'm gonna take a wee break before I tackle the trilogy's final volume.

I also polished off DEATH NOTE, which I felt was longer than it needed to be. Still, the ending was pretty great. Fucking Light, man.

On the Marvel Unlimited front, I read Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus's adaptation of PRIDE & PREJUDICE, which mostly served to remind me I'm generally meh on comics adaptations of prose novels. It wasn't bad, but I kept wondering whether the medium brought anything new to the table. I'm not so sure it did.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lays dejectedly beside a hardcover copy of Leaves on the Wind. Most of his body is covered by a red tapestry comforter. The book's cover features a white man in vaguely Western dress brandishing a gun.

This week on Murchie Plus Books, Murchie gets super-duper bummed out whenever I ask him to pose beside anything. Poor little soul. Maybe he's got a bit of a rest coming to him.

FIREFLY was my gateway into Joss Whedon's oeuvre, and it'll always hold a special place in my heart. LEAVES ON THE WIND, written by Zack Whedon and drawn by Georges Jeanty, carries on from SERENITY and paves the way for new stories with these characters. It's a solid offering and I enjoyed it very much, but something kept me from fully clicking with it even as it made me want more of the story. Huh.

Maybe Murchie picked up on that when I went to take this picture.

Murchie raises his head to fix the camera with a tired stare. He's nestled into a blanket nest Behind him is a trade paperback copy of Written In Blood. A winged woman in a leather vest is visible to one side of the illustration.

Can't a dog sleep without someone shoving a book in his face?

No. A dog can't.

I read THE WAKING WORLD, the premiere volume of Ian Edginton and Francesco Trifogli's Hinterkind, a few weeks back and wasn't exactly blown away. The comic began well but failed to hold my interest as the pages ticked by. Sadness.

Still, I'm in the business of giving series at least two volumes to wow me, so I plucked WRITTEN IN BLOOD off the shelf when it showed up at my library and... let it sit on my pile for three solid weeks. I considered returning it unread, but I figured I might as well read the first issue the night before it was due. And hey! I loved it!

Ain't it great when that happens?

I'm not entirely sure why this second volume worked so well for me when the first didn't, but whatevs. I'll take it. My interest in these characters and this postapocalyptic world is now strong enough that I've requested the third volume so's I can cram it into my eyeballs as soon as possible.

(If you missed that time I read THE WAKING WORLD, Hinterkind takes place in a probably-nearish future where humanity has mostly wiped itself out, leaving various supernatural creatures--Sidhe, centaurs, goblins, vampires, etc--free to come out of hiding and claim the world for their own. A small group of humans ventures out from their enclave in what was once Central Park and gets caught up in the edge of a Sidhe power struggle. I most definitely recommend it, with the obvious caveat that it took a bit to hook me.)

Murchie perches on a pillow shaped like a flat sheep. In front of him is a trade paperback copy of Drawn & Quarterly Showcase 5. Its cover features an illustration of a dark haired child watching a red haired child play pinball.

Grumpy Dog Part III: This Time, It's Personal.

You recall how I want to read more comics by women, yes? I selected DRAWN & QUARTERLY SHOWCASE 5 with this goal in mind. The anthology features three short comics by Anneli Furmark, Amanda Vähämäki, and T. Edward Bak. Furmark's story is general fiction; the other two play fast and loose with genre. It's a solid selection overall and has certainly made me want to explore more of these creators' offerings. Luckily, my library can oblige in Vähämäki's case, but they don't have anything else by Furmark or Bak. I'll keep an eye out for used copies.

Murchie lays close to the camera so his face fills most of the frame in profile. His fuzzy paws stick out in front of him. Slightly behind him lays a white-faced iPod with Cold Magic's blue-tinted cover on its screen.

Yesterday Murchie decided to give up being grumpy and resort to tragic wistfulness instead. Fear not; I cuddled him immediately after this picture was taken, and I think it made him feel better.

I finished BONE GAP last week (I'll have a review for you in early May), and needed a new audiobook. Enter Kate Elliott's COLD MAGIC. I've been meaning to read Elliott for years and years, and this seemed a good place to start based on what friends have told me about the trilogy (which: mostly excited squeeing).

It's rather wonderful so far. I hope I can manage to finish it inside a week, but that's become a rarity for me of late. Still, it's something to work towards.

Murchie sniffs something laying in the grass. He wears a red shirt with green trim. It reads 'Meet Me Under the Mistletoe' on the back. Before him is a paperback copy of a Skip Beat omnibus. Its cover features a Japanese girl with short red hair punching towards the audience.

Then we went outside and Murchie was far more interested in our resident rabbit's poop than in my attempts to photograph him.

What, like your dog never eats another animal's poop?

Okay, I'm just guessing it was poop based on prior experience. Sophia (the rabbit) likes to hang out in this part of the yard, but I didn't spot any tiny brown balls when I was looking for a dry spot to put the book down, so maybe he found something else to sniff. He's a dog. He likes sniffing all sorts of different things.

Like comics! (Just not right at this moment) I'm still a manga newbie, so I make most of my selections based on what's on the shelf at my local library. SKIP BEAT was there, in series opener omnibus form, so I borrowed it and dove in without knowing much about it.

Turns out it's both very silly and very fun. The story follows a sixteen-year-old girl who drops out of school to help her lifelong crush become a huge star. When she discovers he's been using her, she vows to become far more famous than him: the ultimate revenge!

Except it ain't that easy, of course. Her desired talent agency's president insists she approach showbiz with a loving heart, and that's rather tough to do when you're hell bent on revenge. I gulped down these first three volumes and promptly headed back to the library hoping they'd still have the second omnibus on the shelf. It seems I'm not the only branch user who's been reading the series, because three more omnibi had appeared alongside the one I wanted to get. I borrowed the lot, of course, and will try to pace myself so I don't burn out.

Murchie examines the grass, one front paw raised. He wears the same shirt described above. In front of him, a paperback copy of Winter's Heart stands upright. Its cover features a group of white people in old fashioned dress riding through a snowy landscape.

Hey! I made some progress with my Wheel of Time reread/catch-up! I had the weirdest urge to start WINTER'S HEART right after I finished THE PATH OF DAGGERS, so that's pretty much what I did. (After I'd gone back and finished PATTERN, of course.) This is the second-to-last of my rereads and the final book I've read more than once. After this, it's basically new-to-me territory straight on through to the end, except for the bits of CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT that've stuck with me down through the years.

As always, I'm reading my electronic copy (thanks, last year's Hugo Voter Packet!) and using my old paper copy to track my progress.

Next week: I expect WINTER'S HEART will keep me occupied for most of the week. If I finish it in a timely fashion, I'll start either ANCILLARY SWORD by Ann Leckie or MEMORY by K.J. Parker. We'll see whether I feel like knocking something else off la TBR or making Hugo progress.

The Readathon is next Saturday, too, and I plan to burn through a few few comics before the day is through. More on that tomorrow.


  1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Skip Beat so much. It does get rather silly sometimes, but that's part of the fun of it for me.

    It's also lovely to see you and Murchie getting out and enjoying the sunshine!

    1. Truth. SKIP BEAT is my new obsession. I'm going to be so sad once I've run through my library's collection.

      The weather took a dark turn right after these photos were taken, but it's recovered now! Murchie and I have been spending as much time outside as we can, he in his little sun-protection shirt and I in my sunscreen.