Sunday, May 24, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: May 17th to 23rd

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I combine the two by asking my tiny and adorable dog to pose with every book I read, barring the digital 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 followed the final volume of SKIP BEAT with the first volume of LEGENDARY STAR-LORD, a series I'd heard was rather uneven. Much to my delight, I had a marvelous time with it. It's packed with three of my favourite things: space battles, random half-siblings, and Kitty Pryde. Here's hoping Kitty gets more of a chance to kick asses in future issues. Maybe her banana costume could make another appearance, too.

I also spent some more time with CABLE & DEADPOOL last week. It's still a lot of fun, despite its problematic aspects, but I'm flagging a bit. I plan to take a break after #35, which'll bring me to the end of the second omnibus edition.

Finally, I've been working my way through the short fiction categories represented in the Hugo Voters' Packet, which dropped this week. I intend to eat least try to read everything, even if I bounce off some of the material (as has already happened in a few cases). As I write this, I've got three novellas left to sample before I head on to one of the categories that requires a book-length time commitment. I haven't decided which one it'll be; maybe Best Semiprozine.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, is captured in mid-sneeze. His features are blurred. He nestles within a cave composed of a red comforter and a fuzzy white blanket. Behind him lays a white Kobo with Sex Criminals Volume One's pink-toned cover on its screen. Beside it is a trade paperback copy of Sex Criminals Volume Two. Its cover is primarily blue.

Least flattering picture of Murchie ever, right? Little dude was in full-on snarly/sneezy mode when I set him up with the first two volumes of Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's SEX CRIMINALS, and I elected not to make him try for a better shot somewhere down the line. Sometimes you've just gotta accept what you get for the sake of a quiet life.

SEX CRIMINALS is not about what the uninitiated among you think it's about. It's the story of Suzie and Jon, two young people who can stop time with their orgasms and who decide to use this skill to rob banks. (Because really, what else would you do with your time-stopping orgasms?) Volume One was a reread for me, and it proved just as captivating the second time through. Volume Two expands the story in some fascinating ways, taking us past the initial attraction and into the mechanics of making a relationship work. It's great stuff. Bring on Volume Three!

Murchie lays in a blanket cave with his front legs stretched straight out in front of him. Behind him is a trade paperback copy of Ancillary Sword.

Ann Leckie's ANCILLARY SWORD seemed the best place to start with the Hugo-nominated novels. I borrowed it from the library because the packet only contains an excerpt and I didn't want to have to pause partway through if I fell in love with it.

That didn't seem like much of a consideration at first. For the first few chapters, I thought I was gonna have to put the book aside and try again a couple weeks down the line, provided I could get hold of another copy. It took me about seventy pages to find my rhythm, but after I'd made it over that initial roadblock it proved to be exactly what I felt like. The plot didn't do much for me one way or the other, but I had a wonderful time drinking in Leckie's delicious worldbuilding. Y'all know I love me some baroque SF, by which I mean SF with a complicated social structure and a number of ornate traditions. ANCILLARY SWORD isn't quite what I think of when that sort of thing comes up, most likely due to its military setting, but it's mighty close.

As was the case with the first book in the series, ANCILLARY JUSTICE, I appreciated it very much without quite loving it. It'll certainly rank on my final ballot, but THE GOBLIN EMPEROR still has the top spot.

Tiny Hawkguy, a four-inch bobblehead wearing a black-and-purple superhero outfit and carrying a tiny bow, stands next to an upright white iPod with red edges. The iPod's screen displays the cover of The One, featuring a red-haired white girl in a white ballgown.

So Tiny Hawkguy was like, "Why do you always turn to Tiny Deadpool when Murchie needs a break? Am I even a valued member of this household????"

And I was properly repentant, and I offered him a chance to pose beside THE ONE by Kiera Cass, and all was right with the world.

My listening time dried up soon after I stared the book, thanks in large part to some health concerns that've kept me from walking as much as I normally do, but I've made decent progress and am enjoying it very much. I've heard this volume marks the end of the first chunk of the series, so I'll probably take a wee break to listen to something else after I finish it. My Scribd audio collection is kind of overflowing.

Or maybe I'll dive straight into the supplementary novellas. I guess we'll find out next week.

Murchie lays on a fuzzy white pillow with a sheep's head. In front of him is a white Kobo with Stolen Songbird's cover on its screen. It features a white girl clad in a green, vaguely Medieval dress. She holds a glowing glass rose.

Hey, the sheep-shaped pillow is back! It's Murchie's favourite bed, though you wouldn't know it from how seldom I catch him on it these days. Little dude loves the hell out of his sheep.

It's also the return of Danielle L. Jensen's STOLEN SONGBIRD, a book I fell hard for last year and am sooooooo excited to be rereading in advance of its sequel. I wrote about it in some small detail after the first time I read it, and I'm pretty sure everything I said there still stands. This is great fiction, y'all, and I'm super-duper happy I've got HIDDEN HUNTRESS on hand as well.

A hardcover copy of The Very Small Home stands upright on a wooden deck. Its cover features a white and tan living area with white stairs climbing the right hand side of the room. Some distance behind the book lays Nick, a brown at with black stripes.

Meet Nick, my feline neighbor. Nick is a shy fellow who's somewhat leery of books, but he and I are working towards a halfway respectable friendship. We established quite a rapport out on the front street the other week, and yesterday he ventured into my yard and actually let me pick him up (after a lengthy debate and a fair amount of hand-sniffing).

You wouldn't know it from my reading choices these last few months, but I'm a total sucker for architecture and design books. They make me so happy. I stumbled across THE VERY SMALL HOME by Azby Brown when I was looking for a book on Japanese homes I spotted on Terri's reading list. Alas, my library didn't have Terri's lovely-looking book, but it did cough up this offering.

Which, by the way, is frickin' huge. Entirely apposite for a book about very small homes.

Unduly large or no, it's fascinating stuff. Each case study features photographs of the home in question, followed by floor plans and some commentary on how each space fits its owners' needs. There are some really lovely places in here, including one that features a glass-walled parking garage on the ground floor. So awesome, y'all.

Next week: HIDDEN HUNTRESS! I reeeeaaaaaallllly want to start KNIFE OF DREAMS, too. And of course, I'll have one or two Hugo nominees to show you, depending on how my awards reading goes.

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