Sunday, April 5, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: March 29th to April 4th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by posing my tiny and adorable dog beside every book I read, barring the stuff 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: my comics reading slowed to a crawl this week; something that often happens when I'm limping through prose fiction. I sort of feel like I have no right to read quicker stuff I pick up at random, like comics, when I really should be trying to knock something off la TBR, you know? Still, I managed to read the first arc of NEW X-MEN: ACADEMY X, and I think I'm going to enjoy the series a lot. I got attached to these characters throughout NEW MUTANTS and I'm glad to see their story isn't over yet. With any luck, I read another volume last night, after I scheduled this.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stands facing the camera in an accusatory fashion. Behind him is a mass market paperback copy of Shadow, featuring the black silhouette of a crow against an orange background.

The hassle I went through to get this picture, y'all. I wanted to read; Murchie wanted to play. He usually gets bored with fetch pretty quickly, so I figured, hey, maybe he'd think I was playing with him if I set the book up in his play zone and took a couple of pictures of him sniffing it.

First he OMFGed at the camera, as pictured above. That done, he rushed back to the book, knocked it over with one swipe of his mighty paw, and tried to dig a hole through it while it was down on the ground.

It was intense.

I took some very blurry pictures of him in full-on attack mode, but I ultimately elected to go with the accusatory first shot so I didn't scare y'all too much. Murchie can be downright vicious when he gets going.

The book represents the first step in this K.J. Parker-a-thon I've been planning for years upon years and have never really gotten around to because chunksters intimidate me. I figured I'd start with the Scavenger Trilogy (of which SHADOW is the first volume) because it's been on la TBR the longest.

My reaction to SHADOW ranged from, "OMG I LOVE THIS SO MUCH" to "meh, bored now." Still, I'm interested in seeing where Parker takes things from here. This is by far the most magical of their books I've read to date, what with the prophetic dreams and the central character's uncanny resemblance to a god who may or may not be made up (a nice tie-in with "The Sun and I"), and it's got plenty of scope for world-changing shit.

I do love me some world-changing shit.

Murchie sprawls on a red blanket, front paws outstretched. Behind him are two volumes of Avatar: The Last Airbender comics. The most visible of these features a young boy of Asian descent with a blue arrow painted on his forehead. He adopts a fighting stance with several other people arrayed behind him.

Hurray! More ATLA comics!

I started THE RIFT, one of Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru's AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER comics continuations, way back in July, but it took my library for bloody ever to process the second volume in the series.

Oh, library. You let me read books for free, and I love you for it, but I wish you were more on the ball with stuff like this.

It had been so long that I figured I ought to reread the first volume as well, so I did just that this past week. The miniseries continues to be excellent, but now I've gotta wait for la biblioteque to buy the third volume and process it--and that might take a while.

Oh, ATLA comics. You're so good, but so expensive, even when you go on sale.

Yes, Murchie is wearing a Christmas shirt. All his others are in the wash. And no, I couldn't get a better picture of him. Little dude kept moving his head, and I'd been so cruelly betrayed by a bottle of chocolate milk stout that I wasn't inclined to wait around for anything fancier.


I finished listening to THE MARTIAN right in the middle of an epic quest for tacos (totally unrelated to the chocolate milk stout incident), and I honestly thought I was gonna lose it right there in the street. Damn did that book ever stress me out in the best possible way.

I needed a stress-reliever, so I leaped right into a book of a different sort: LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins. I bought LOLA with one of my precious discounted Audible credits on the strength of my love for ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, and so far it hasn't disappointed me. I'm having a marvelous time with it and can't wait for the goddamned fucking temperature to rise again so I can walk more places and thus carve out more listening time.

(I'm a bit angry about winter's duration. Just a bit.)

Murchie lays curled into a tight ball atop a red tapestry comforter. Behind him is a mass market paperback copy of Pattern, featuring a silhouette of crows in flight against a purple background.

Having finished SHADOW (finally!), I paused to polish off the last few stories in LONG HIDDEN before I went any further into la TBR. That done, I started PATTERN.

I'm not very far in so far, my reading speed being a sore trial to me, but I'm enjoying it. It shifts the focus somewhat compared to the last volume, but I'm confident Parker will bind all these layers together in fascinating ways. I don't think the Scavenger Trilogy will feature amongst my favourite Parker titles (PURPLE AND BLACK and the aforementioned "The Sun and I" are my big ones, with additional shout-outs to THE FOLDING KNIFE and THE HAMMER), but I'm glad I'm reading it.

Murchie regards the camera with a long-suffering look on his face. Beside him is a pile of Death Note with only their spines visible.

I got the, "Muuuum, whyyyyyyy?" look when I tried to pose Murchie beside the stack of DEATH NOTE I've been procrastinating on reading.

Poor Murchie. He's always gotta keep his head still beside piles of books. It wears on a dog.

DEATH NOTE will be my reading project over the next week or so. I want to finish it, but I don't want to overload on male-authored comics so I can't binge as I normally would. My comics consumption has thrown my overall gender balance out of whack, so I've made a point of reading some female-created comics for every male-created book I tackle.

Murchie stands on a bed. Beside him is a copy of The Guide. Its cover features a red-haired white woman dreaming of fantastical scenarios which appear behind her head.

Case in point: THE GUILD by Felicia Day and Jim Rugg. I bought this prequel to the popular webseries something like a year ago and sat on it because I kind of forgot about it.

It's small and thin and I had it in my under-the-bed stack. As if you've never forgotten about a small, thin book in your under-the-bed stack.

I pulled it out as part of my read-more-comics-by-women initiative and mostly loved it. There's some biphobia and a few queer stereotypes, but for the most part it's a solid prequel that stands independently of the core series but should encourage newcomers to check it out. It's reminded me I need to catch up on THE GUILD myself; I drifted away from it when it was no longer possible to easily get the episodes on YouTube. I think the whole thing is on Netflix now, so I'll investigate.

Next week: more K.J. Parker, probably. A comics anthology. Some random stuff, maybe? I don't even know. I'm weird about books right now.


  1. "Oh, ATLA comics. You're so good, but so expensive, even when you go on sale." Sad but true D: I really want to own the omnibus editions, but they're prohibitively expensive.

    Lola! I love Stephanie Perkins so much.

    "My comics consumption has thrown my overall gender balance out of whack" - I've noticed this too :/ Even focusing on female-led titles doesn't necessarily make it better. I may adopt your strategy.

    1. Comics are so good, but they can cost so much. :( I'm forever grateful to my library for buying them, even if I do wish they'd push the things through processing a tad faster.

      Stephanie Perkins has brought me so much joy! I love how each of her books is so firmly grounded in its setting. I may have to cheat on my TBR rules and read ISLA a little sooner than planned.

      Focusing on female comics creators has led me to some good stuff so far. I'm mighty impressed with Felicia Day's comics work, and I'm glad my random search through Marvel Unlimited pointed me to Christian Weir. I've been enjoying her work with the younger mutants (co-written with her husband, Nunzio DeFilippis).

  2. I increasingly have come to understand that I love KJ Parker the best in a standalone novel. I have still yet to finish the Pattern trilogy (shame to me!), and while I did love the Engineer trilogy, I haven't ever reread it. (Maybe I will.) But Sharps, which I read recently, was excellent, and I have been saving The Hammer and The Folding Knife for a rainy day.

    1. I've sort of been saving SHARPS and I sort of just haven't read it yet because I don't own it and I'm trying to get through the books I own ahead of everything else. Your endorsement makes me question that policy, though.

  3. All I have read lately is MS. MARVEL so I well know the reading slow-down...

    1. I'm looking forward to the Readathon. I plan to get through SO MANY COMICS.