Sunday, April 26, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: April 19th to 25th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by ever-so-kindly asking my tiny and adorable dog to pose beside every book I read. Sometimes he's fine with this. Sometimes he really, really isn't.

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

Not pictured: I'm still working my way through WINTER'S HEART, which I showed y'all last week. I'm actually loving it--a nice surprise, given how uneven the Wheel of Time can be--but a string of distractions kept me from reading as much of it as I wanted to. With any luck, I'll manage to finish it tomorrow.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stands on a rumbled red comforter. His head is twisted to the right side of the frame. On either side of him lie trade paperback omnibi of Skip Beat. Each book's cover features a Japanese girl with short red hair, in company with a tall Japanese boy with short light brown hair.

This is one of those times when Murchie wasn't so into the whole photo thing. Poor wee dog. I guess I did kind of ambush him. He expected to curl up in my armpit and be cuddled; instead, he had two thick library books smushed on either side of him. It's enough to put anyone out.

I barely read prose last week, but I did manage to get through volumes 4, 5, 6, and 7 of SKIP BEAT. Hurray! I followed 'em up with volumes 8 and 9 during the Readathon, which took me through two complete omnibi.

I'm loving SKIP BEAT sooooo much, y'all. I can't help but compare it to DEATH NOTE, my last manga reading project, even though the two series aren't at all alike aside from how they were both created by Japanese artists. And DEATH NOTE, she comes up wanting.

SKIP BEAT's pacing works for me so, so well. By the time I was five volumes into DEATH NOTE, I wondered how it could possibly stretch to twelve full volumes. I was bored as often as I was engaged. At nine volumes into SKIP BEAT, I'm quite happy for it to continue as long as it pleases because my engagement far outstrips my boredom. Yeah, Kyoko's rise to stardom is taking a while, but that's fine because she does plenty of interesting stuff along the way. She doesn't go in circles, either, as Light Yagami et al so often did. She builds up great relationships and encounters obstacles that feel reasonably realistic even when they're actually silly and logic-defying. They may not have much to do with the real world, but they're so firmly rooted in Kyoko's mindset that they feel like they could.

Plus, Kyoko's figuring out how to be a better person, while Light obviously got worse and worse as he cut a bloody swathe through the world. I like Kyoko much more and I'm excited I have so many volumes left to read.

Murchie lays on a white counterpane with his front legs tucked under him. Behind him, propped against a red pillow, are a white Kobo and a trade paperback copy of Alex + Ada Volume Two. Murchie's head obscures most of the Kobo's screen. The book's cover shows two pale-skinned people seemingly about to kiss. One of them has begun to disintegrate.

I expected wee Murch to kick up quite the fuss when next I asked him to pose, but he was remarkably cooperative with my second round of Readathony goodness. Thanks, Murchie!

My library gave me the second volume of ALEX + ADA last week, so I figured I'd reread the first one to ensure everything was fresh in my mind. (I don't like to return to prose fiction more than once per annum, but my brain readily accepts as many comics rereads as I can throw at it. On rare occasions, I'll even turn around and reread a comics series the moment I've finished the final volume.) I'm pleased to report I loved it this time. Volume Two was also wonderful. Bring on Volume Three!

Two bobbleheads, one of Hawkeye and one of Deadpool, flank a white Kobo with the cover of Illyria: Haunted on its screen. The cover features a blue-tinged woman with four arms. She holds an indistinct weapon in each hand. The bobbleheads are a white guy dressed in black and purple and a fully-costumed guy dressed in red and black, respectively. Several Robin Hobb novels are visible behind the Kobo.

Murchie's patience wore out after that, so I drafted two new players into the game: Tiny Hawkguy and Tiny Deadpool. We'll talk about them in greater detail on Tuesday.

ILLYRIA: HAUNTED is one of IDW's Angel continuations. From what I can tell, it's set during Bill Willingham's run on the series--and y'all, Bill Willingham's run on ANGEL is pretty frickin' terrible. (Seriously. Quit after Brian Lynch's run. Do not subject yourself to that dreck.) I fear that rather biased me towards this miniseries about Illyria's struggle with the human memories she's absorbed. It was okay, but I couldn't really engage with it. I'm glad I got it through Scribd instead of buying it.

Tiny Deadpool perches on the corner of a trade paperback copy of Just Tacos. Its cover features two soft tacos stuffed with meat and topped with cilantro. Book and figure rest on a scarred, pale green surface.

I don't intend to read JUST TACOS all the way through, but I had a lot of fun browsing through this cookbook during the Readathon. Tacos are my favourite. Alas, most of the standard taco ingredients are too expensive right now (the hell, shrimp? Why do you cost so much?), but I got some great ideas to run with once these things to on sale. I'm particularly eager to try chard and potato tacos, which are apparently a traditional dish in certain parts of Mexico. I'm all for traditional dishes.

After I'd perused this book, I walked to the grocery store and bought some tofu, coleslaw, and cilantro so I can have cheap tacos for supper in the near future. Whee!

Murchie lays on a fuzzy white pillow. He wears a blue and white striped t-shirt. In front and slightly to one side of him is a trade paperback copy of Bad Feminist. Its cover is entirely white with the title in pink and the author's name, Roxane Gay, in black.

Murchie was terribly hurt I asked the bobbleheads to pose in his place, so I gave him another shot alongside BAD FEMINIST by Roxane Gay. As you can see, he was no happier about being photographed than he was about not being photographed.

Sometimes it's hard to win with this dog.

I'm having a great time with this collection of essays, which I actually started midway through last week and so should have shown you much sooner. (Oops.) Gay employs a wonderfully readable style, and she says interesting things about all sorts of different topics. I approve.

If all goes well, I'll finish BAD FEMINIST today so I can take it back to the library on time tomorrow. If something goes wrong, I'll return the book anyways and finish it via audio, since it's available on Scribd.

Tiny Hawkguy perches on the upper right hand corner of a trade paperback copy of Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams. The book's glossy cover features an illustration of a young woman wearing a knee-length kilt and a long coat that flares in the wind. She holds a ball of light between her upraised palms. The book lays on green and yellow grass.

Tiny Hawkguy helped me add PROPHECIES, LIBELS, & DREAMS, Ysabeau S. Wilce's short story collection, to my short fiction rotation. Wilce is one of my favourite authors, so I'm super-duper excited to revisit the stories I've already read and tuck a few new ones under my belt. I made it through the first offering during the Readathon and hope to get further this week. I may upgrade the book to Primary Read Status after I finish WINTER'S HEART. Wilce's prose is gloriously twisty and demands the reader's full attention, and I know I'll be more likely to give each story what it needs if I focus on the book as a whole.

I don't usually hassle Murchie to pose with the stuff I read through Marvel Unlimited, but I made an exception yesterday because of the Readathon. He helped me make it through another thirteen issues of ASTONISHING X-MEN (well, twelve regular issues plus an unnumbered giant size conclusion), which brought me to the end of Whedon and Cassaday's run. I still enjoyed the series more now than I did when I first read it in 2008, but I didn't get as much out of the second half as the first.

Now I'm all set to move along to Warren Ellis and, eventually, Marjorie Liu. Whee!

Tiny Hawkeye and Tiny Deadpool flank a white Kobo with Bee and Puppycat's cover on its screen. The cover features a plump, pale-skinned girl with large brown hair. A fat creature that looks rather like a Siamese cat perches atop her head. The background is shades of blue arranged in geometric shapes. Behind the Kobo, several hardcover books are visible, including Guardian of the Dead and Bitterblue

Apologies for the terrible lighting. I took this 'round about three in the morning, when I rounded out my Readathon with the first volume of BEE AND PUPPYCAT. The series is created by Natasha Allegri, though a rotating cast of creators take the reins after the first couple of issues. It's a cute, all-ages comic that focuses on individual adventures rather than wide-ranging story arcs, making it a good pick for those who just want to dip into something now and again. It didn't completely suck me in, but I imagine I'll read it again somewhere down the line because it really was adorable. It, too, is on Scribd.

Next week: more SKIP BEAT, I expect. Hopefully a new novel, too.


  1. Bahahahaha, tiny Hawkguy is even adorabler when photographed atop a book!

    1. He's the very cutest. I can't get over his tiny boots.

      I'm going to try to make a Tiny Pizza Dog out of Sculpey, and I plan to search for a blank female Pop! so I can construct a Tiny Kate Bishop.

  2. Wow, SKIP BEAT and DEATH NOTE are so very different! I can't say I was much a fan of DEATH NOTE.

    I must get my hands on a copy of BAD FEMINIST sometime.

    Murchie's looking in relatively good spirits.

    1. I loved DEATH NOTE at first, but I was soooooo tired of it by the end. I wanted somebody to just kill Light already so we could all go home.

      Murchie was slightly less grumpy than he might've been. I think the bobbleheads helped, seeing as how they took some of the pressure off him.

  3. Looks like you did lots of good reading!

    1. I got through a lot of comics, if nothing else!