Sunday, May 10, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: May 3rd to 9th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I combine the two by asking my tiny and adorable dog to pose beside every book I read, barring the digital comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Sometimes he agrees with a good will. Sometimes he kicks up an unholy fuss.

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

Not pictured: Marvel Unlimited yielded LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE last week. It was surprisingly fun. Longshot didn't wow me in his premiere miniseries but that was mostly because the comic was really wordy. (More on that when I actually manage to draft the post on 80s comics that prompted me to read the series in the first place.) Turns out, I like Longshot quite a bit when he's not narrating the hell out of everything he does. He's not the smartest guy in the universe, but he's unfailingly good natured. It's rather refreshing.

He likes tacos, too. I'm biased towards fictional characters who like tacos.

Longshot got me thinking about the Mojoverse, so I read some X-BABIES next. They were cute but unmemorable.

From there, I toddled off to CABLE & DEADPOOL (the latter being another taco-lover), which reminded me of how much I loved Fabian Nicieza's writing when I was a young person. His GAMBIT wowed Teenage Me month after month, and I'm having a great time with this later offering, too. I hope to read another couple of arcs this week.

And speaking of Marvel Unlimited, many of y'all have asked me if they offer a free trial month. I've always had to sigh and say alas, they do not, but no more! Now, at long last, they've introduced a free trial--but it's a super limited thing in support of the new Avengers movie, so you have to sign up by the 17th. (Your free trial will last for thirty days after you submit the form, so there's no need to cram a ton of comics into the next seven days. Like, besides the obvious.) Enter promo code ULTRON when you sign up, and pay attention to your next billing date in case you decide not to keep it.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stands on short-cut grass. He wears a blue and white striped t-shirt. In front of him is a trade paperback volume of Skip Beat. Its cover features a red-haired Japanese girl in a peach ballgown dancing with a dark-haired Japanese man in a pale grey suit.

My SKIP BEAT obsession endures, in large part because Murchie is a total enabler who encourages me to binge-read it. Okay, Murchie. If you insist.

Seriously, though, SKIP BEAT is fabulous. I love it so frickin' much, and can't wait to write about it in more detail once I've read as much as I possibly can without learning Japanese and/or crawling inside Yoshiki Nakamura's brain. I'm gonna go into withdrawal once I've caught up, y'all. It's gonna be brutal.

Regarding the writing about it thing: I figured I ought to make some preparatory notes to help me organize my thoughts when the time comes, so I opened Scrivener last Monday to jot down a handful of observations about Kyoko and her world. Next thing I knew, I had 1400 fairly cursory words, which means I'm on track for 2000+ works in the finished product. Maybe even 3000+ words. Eep.

Oh well. It's only fitting that my SKIP BEAT review be super-duper long, seeing as how the manga itself currently has 34 volumes available in English with plenty more to come.

Speaking of which, it's available on both comiXology and Kobo, so you know I'm gonna add it to my permanent (digital) collection next time there's a Viz sale and/or I get a really good coupon. Kyoko is worth rereading time and again.

Murchie lays on a red tapestry comforter, his face twisted slightly towards the camera. He fills most of the frame. In front of him is a white iPod with Isla and the Happily Ever After's cover on its screen. The cover features the Manhattan skyline in silhouette against a green and yellow background.

It feels like it took me forever and a day to listen to COLD MAGIC, but I finally reached the end last Monday and promptly began a new-to-me audiobook: ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins.

Y'all may recall I experienced Perkins's first two novels on audio, but I initially figured I'd switch to print for ISLA due to some mixed reviews. Various Audible reviewers led me to believe the narrator wasn't up to snuff, while a blogger Gail put me in touch with said she did a great job. Hmmm. That wasn't enough to get me to buy the audio, but when it came available on Scribd (along with ANNA and LOLA) I figured I had nothing to lose.

I did find her flatter than I would've liked (something that was most obvious in the handful of seconds it took me to switch to 1.5x whenever I reopened the book; she was better sped up) but the story shone through regardless. I loved all Perkins's books, but ISLA has emerged as my favourite. I sad-cried, I happy-cried, I gasped, I whispered things aloud, and I delighted in the characters' love of comics and of each other. It was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

Murchie lays on a pillow shaped like a sheep. Before him, occupying most of the foreground, is a hardcover copy of The Secret History of Wonderwoman. Its cover features a vintage drawing of Wonder Woman removing a blue coat to reveal the red bustier and blue knickers beneath it.

I picked THE SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN up from the library, looked at the size of it, and wondered if I had the stamina to finish it in three weeks. Nonfiction generally takes me a lot longer than fiction because I argue with it, and I reread it if there's something I don't understand. A 400+ page book can take me for frickin' ever.

I initially thought I might return the library's copy unread and listen to the audio instead, since it's yet another recent book available on Scribd, but the audio proved to be only nine hours long. That struck me as dodgy, even without an "Abridged" tag anywhere in the description, so I decided I'd try to read the print edition anyways.

Turns out, it read up right quick. I still paused to consider it at regular intervals because that's how I roll, but Jill Lepore's prose is clear and engaging and her chapters are refreshingly short. She writes the same way a documentary narrator talks, if that makes any sense. She includes a ton of pictures, too; perhaps even enough to account for the audio's relatively short run time, especially if the audio publisher also omitted the hundred pages of endnotes.

Before I knew it, I'd committed myself to the book instead of starting a new novel. I finished it on Friday and may have enough thoughts on the matter to warrant a full review. We'll see.

A small bobblehead dressed in a red and black bodysuit stands in the centre of five volumes of Skip Beat. The mangas are arrayed in a fan pattern. The visible covers feature a young Japanese girl with long, deep red hair and an older Japanese girl with short, more carroty red hair. The others are indistinct.

Murchie felt like he needed a break from the photography racket, so I asked Tiny Deadpool to step in and help me with my next pile of SKIP BEAT. Tiny Deadpool was delighted to do so, because Tiny Deadpool is a real star.

He also doesn't bury his head under the covers and/or turn his back to me when I try to take his picture, unlike some fuzzy-faced people I could name.

I collected some more SKIP BEAT on Thursday and dove in as soon as ever I could. As I write this, I'm midway through Volume 23 and still going strong. THIS SERIES IS SO AWESOME HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE I LOVE IT SO MUCH OMG OMG OMG.

Um. Yes. Y'all should read SKIP BEAT if you haven't already done so; assuming, of course, you're into painfully awesome girls doing emotionally intense things with support from a wide array of people including reluctant BFFs, adoptive little sisters, and dudes who are secretly in love with them.

I couldn't leave Tiny Hawkguy out, so I set him up beside FAIREST, Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles prequel and my new audiobook. I finished ISLA yesterday afternoon while I prepared some desserts (which: avocado ice cream tacos, and also banana cupcakes filled with chocolate ganache and topped with cream cheese frosting) and started this one straight off because a girl's gotta have some listening material while her hands are occupied but her brain isn't. You know?

I'm not very far in yet, but I'm enjoying it a lot. Marissa Meyer's novels have gotten better and better with each new release, so I'm sure I'll have a wonderful time with this bit-longer-than-a-novella as well.

Next week: CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT, which I really did mean to read this week. SKIP BEAT distracted me--and yes, I plan to read more of it in the coming days. Maybe I'll even--gasp--run out of new volumes. I don't imagine FAIREST will take me very long, so I should have another audiobook, too.

Murchie got a haircut on Friday, so he'll also debut his adorable new look next week. Watch this space! (Or check out my Instagram if you simply cannot wait to see his wee muttonchops.)


  1. MURCHIE'S LITTLE SHIRT. It's too cute for words :D

    I think Isla is my favourite Perkins too. It hit close to home.

    Also, I hope you do a review of the Lepore. I wasn't a big fan myself and would love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Murchie's little shirt brings me so much joy.

      I ultimately decided not to write about the Lepore because I didn't feel a huge desire to discuss the book once I was a couple of days removed from it. I did find it fascinating, though, more as a biographical look at these peoples' lives than as a comics history (which I knew to expect based in part on your review). Then again, like I told you on Twitter, I haven't read very much feminist nonfiction so I'm sure it faltered in ways I'm not equipped to recognize.

  2. Hey hey! The ULTRON code worked for me even though I'd done the $0.99 month last year. Woohoo! Comics!!