Sunday, May 31, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: May 24th to 30th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I combine the two by posing my dog beside 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 finished the (equivalent of) the second CABLE & DEADPOOL omnibus, so I'm taking a wee break from those two to read EARTH X, which came highly recommended by Courtney. I'm currently reading comics at a much slower pace than I normally do, but I'm around halfway through the series and I'm having a great time with it.

I also read a fair few Hugo nominees, as planned, but I didn't bother shoving them under Murchie's nose because they were all novellas and fanzines and things without proper covers. I'm going to read through Best Related Work next (a category that may require some photos, unless I decide I just don't feel like bugging wee Murch), then tackle either Best Semiprozine or Best Fanwriter. I dunno. Part of me wants to just barrel through everything by early- to mid-June, while the rest of me is like, "This is seriously cutting into my comics-reading time, and for what?"

Sigh. I'm trying to be excited about this year's Hugos, but it's an uphill battle now I've actually got the materials in front of me.

At least I'll have the pleasure of voting for THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, unless one of the two novels I've yet to read knocks my socks off. (I'm not going to bother with the Jim Butcher title because it's the fifteenth book in a series I abandoned after Volume Three.)

On a slightly less dour note, I pulled Diana Wynne Jones's REFLECTIONS out and read a couple more essays. Someday, I'll even finish it.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, lays within a blanket nest, his head raised in profile. Behind him is a hardcover copy of Spinster. Its cover features a brown-haired white woman seated on a mustard yellow vintage sofa. She wears a sleeveless blue dress and holds a teacup in her right hand. her eyes are downcast.

I requested Kate Bolick's SPINSTER months and months ago, right after it appeared on NetGalley. I knew I wanted to read it, but I wasn't sure I was up for a review. The library got it to me in due course, and last weekend I began it as one of my secondary books.

I initially struggled with Bolick's syntax, but I soon settled into a rhythm with it. The book--a memoir of her engagement with several literary women who play a key role in her emotional life, along with a look at her romantic history--remained an enjoyable secondary read until yesterday, when I realized its due date was fast approaching and I'd better hunker down with it. With any luck, I finished it last nigh and am now free to start a new novel.

That makes it sound like I'm eager to be done with it. I'm really not. SPINSTER is excellent, though I'll caution you it's very much a personal memoir rather than an inclusive, intersectional look at unmarried women throughout American literary history. Aside from Edna St Vincent Millay, Bolick's touchstone authors all appear to be hetero; aside from Maeve Brennan, they're all fairly affluent or upwardly mobile. And unless there's a surprise ahead, they're all white.

Murchie lays on a sheep-shaped pillow. He mostly faces the viewer, his ears perked. Before him is a white Kobo with Hidden Huntress's cover on its screen. It features a red-haired white girl clad in a voluminous black dress with a corseted bodice. She stands in a red-tinged theatre.

It took me longer than anticipated to finish STOLEN SONGBIRD, but I managed it in the end and dove straight into HIDDEN HUNTRESS (the first, but probably not the last, of the books I forgot to put on this year's Most Anticipated list).

It was great, y'all. I'll have a review for you next week (probably on Tuesday but possibly on Thursday; depends how revisions go), so I shall say no more than that.

Murchie lays on a red tapestry comforter with his face directly towards the camera, his expression accusatory. Beside him is a red-bordered iPod with The Selection Stories's cover on its screen. The cover is indistinct at this angle but is primarily pastel in tone.

I finished THE ONE last week, loved it, and decided I'd ride my enthusiasm for the series into the related novellas. Alas, I didn't enjoy any of these Selection Stories (THE PRINCE, THE GUARD, and THE QUEEN, which I elected not to photograph because it wasn't bundled with the others and I put Murchie through enough every week) as much as the core novels in Kiera Cass's Selection series. It was interesting to see certain scenes from another POV, and to get a bit more insight into Amberly, but I wasn't fully engaged.

Murchie lays curled on his red comforter. He wears an orange t-shirt with brown trim. Before him is a red-bordered iPod with Borders of Infinity's cover on its screen. The cover is indistinct from this angle but is vaguely spacey and dark blue with the title in yellow.

I decided I needed a short break before I tackled THE HEIR, so I finally headed back into Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga with BORDERS OF INFINITY. This one is a collection of three novellas about Miles Vorkosigan, all linked together with a framing story. I'm enjoying it very much, though I'd surely have enjoyed it more had Miles not been totally grossed out over Bel Thorne's advances, and had he not been obliged to sleep with a sixteen-year-old werewolf girl because of dodgy reasons.

Oh, Miles. You were doing so well, mate.

I'm a fair ways into the third novella now and should finish it today or Monday, depending on how much walking time I can scrounge.

Murchie sits on a grey-clad lap, his face raised towards the sunshine that illuminates him. His eyes are closed and his paws are crossed in front of him.

I leave you this week with a non-bookish picture of Murchie enjoying the sunshine from the comfort of my lap.

Next week: KNIFE OF DREAMS! Finally! Also, a new audiobook. Maybe some other stuff, too, if I can manage to read at a decent pace.


  1. Thanks for pointing out the lack of inclusion in SPINSTER. I've been watching the conversations around it--"Is marriage over?" "Does marriage matter any more?"--in fascination, since these same people seem to think equal marriage=solution to gay inequality, even as the point out marriage's limitations in their own lives. It makes more sense as a "personal" memoir, though.

    That last pic is just the cutest

    1. I feel like I should seek out some of these SPINSTER-centric conversations. To me, it was very much a memoir filtered through her exploration of these literary women's lives, rather than a social history of marriage or any sort of an answer as to marriage's enduring relevance (or lack thereof). It'd be interesting to see how others have interpreted it.

  2. That last photo of Murchie is especially adorable.

  3. Awwwwww, look at that happy dog on the sunshine!

    I have read a lot about Spinster and am not super interested in reading it myself. That said, it got reviewed in the NY Times Book Review, and the LETTERS in the week that followed, I mean DAMN they were vicious. Some were supportive, and some were like "It's GOOD she's not getting married, there are enough selfish parents and spouses in the world already!" Pipe down, society!