Sunday, June 28, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: June 21st to 27th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by posing my tiny dog beside every book I read, barring the digital comics I get in single-issue form.

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

Not pictured: I finally revisited the first two volumes of BTVS S10 and read the three single issues I bought during Dark Horse's birthday sale. Now I'm cautiously optimistic that the series may be trending away from the nobody-ever-gets-to-be-happy model that characterizes everything Joss Whedon touches.

On the Marvel Unlimited front, I read MESSIAH COMPLEX so I'd be primed to move further with ASTONISHING X-MEN. The arc also increased my desire to go back and read every little X-Men thing every from the very beginning of time up until last week (or six months ago, since I'm reading on a delay). I'm sad to see NEW X-MEN end with this event, but at least the kids are bound to crop up elsewhere. I know I've seen Anole on a recentish cover or two, and X-23 is with the time-displaced X-Men, and David has his day with the Young Avengers. Surely the others have their roles in the contemporary storyline, too.

Those of them who aren't dead, that is.

That done, I turned my attention to THE SENTRY, since y'all know MIGHTY AVENGERS got me interested in the guy. Marvel Unlimited's creator info isn't fully populated for this title, so I was thrilled to discover it's by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, the pair responsible for THE INHUMANS. Whee! This miniseries (and its related one-shots, which really aren't since they carry on directly from the core series) has got me thinking about the superhero's ever-evolving role in pop culture, plus the way mind wipes fuck everything up.

Dear superheroic types: do not mind wipe people. It's a shitty thing to do. Professor X, I'm looking particularly at you, but the rest of y'all should also take note.

Murchie, a grey poodle with a fuzzy face and a sparsely furred torso, stands in a dog bed with pink, beige, and white striped sides. He is outdoors, with green grass visible in the background. In front of him is a paperback copy of A Memory of Light. Its cover features a man in a red coat. He brandishes a glowing crystal sword.

I've had The Doors stuck in my head for a while now, because A MEMORY OF LIGHT is the end of a thing I started just over nineteen years ago. That's a long, long time. That's more than half my life.

And you know what sucks? Someone tweeted spoilers at me last Saturday afternoon, and it looks an awful lot like they were serious.

Nineteen years, two and a half of them spent avoiding spoilers, and someone on Twitter swoops in and tells me how the Last Battle ends.

They didn't give me a blow-by-blow, here's-who-wins-and-how account, but it was still considerably more than I wanted to know before I read it for myself.

I'm so disappointed with humanity right now. If you see me talking about something and you want to share your general opinion (examples: "I wasn't big on the ending" or "I really liked the ending"), that's fine, but don't you come into my mentions or my comments with even vague details as to how a highly anticipated story ends. Don't do that to anyone unless they're vocally pro-spoiler and/or they've asked you to elaborate1.

The spoiler-tweeter upset me so much that I took a longer break from the Wheel of Time than I intended. I ought to be telling you I'm a short jump from the end and will likely have finished it by the time you read this, but instead I've gotta tell you I'm probably a couple days away from the final page. I'd like to finish it today, but there's a lot of book left and I'm not a particularly fast reader, so you can draw your own conclusions.

And I shall say no more than that, except that I maybe want to write a review-type thing for the series after all. We'll see how I feel about it when I do reach page 1168 (as I write this, I'm at around page 830).

Rest assured: I'll use spoiler warnings if I want to discuss my reaction to the ending, or to the things I'm uber pleased to have guessed correctly all those years ago.

Now, a musical interlude to brighten the mood:

(The song is just shy of twelve minutes long, making it an appropriate match to the end of the Wheel of Time. You'll probably want to keep it open in another tab or something if you choose to listen to it since I don't have twelve minutes of content below. I guess you may also want to know it's kind of a drug song, as are so many of the great songs of the 60s.)

Murchie lays on a red tapestry comforter. In front of him is a white and red iPod with Half Bad's cover on its screen. The cover features a red substance that has fanned out across a gray background, as if through water, to outline a person's face.

Oh, friends. My phone takes such terrible photos these days, but of course I can't photograph audiobooks with my iPod. Mine is a tale of woe.

(Sidebar: did you know woes is New Orleans slang for friends? I just learned that this week when I was tweeting my woes.)

Sally Green's HALF BAD is one of those books that wasn't even on my radar until I saw people gushing about it on Twitter (outside my mentions and sans spoilers). The audio showed up in my Scribd recommendations, so I figured I'd give it a go once I finished FOOL'S ASSASSIN (which was fabulous on audio, if you've been wondering).

This is good stuff people. The narrator delivers an excellent performance, and the story itself is gripping. I might write about it in some detail, since I'm in thinky-thoughts mode over those fucking white witches and the whole notion of good and evil.

Seriously, those white witches made me furious, assuming we can trust Nathan's account. Y'all know I never entirely trust first person narrators. It's why I like 'em so much.

Murchie's face is close up to the camera and in profile. His ear is pushed back to expose all his cheek hair, and the white of his eye is visible. Behind him is a white and red iPod with Crazy Rich Asians's cover on its screen. The cover features pink lettering over gold glitter.

So I was like, "Hey, Murchie, can you look totally unhinged for this photo?" And Murchie was like, "No problemo." He's such an obliging little fellow.

I'm not too far into Kevin Kwan's CRAZY RICH ASIANS, but it seems promising so far. There are tons of rich folks who may or may not be behaving extremely badly, so I'm hoping the plot twists and deplorable actions eventually reach a Jackie Collins level of salaciousness.

My life as a consumer of pop culture has gotten so much better since I admitted I really just want a Jackie Collins level of salaciousness from my media, with perhaps the occasional explosion and a song-and-dance number or three inserted wherever feels most appropriate.

Next week: whatever the hell I want! I'm gonna take July off from my TBR rules (which: I can read two random books for every five I knock off la TBR) because it's my birth month and I'm totally committed to doing awesome stuff in my birth month.

I guess I do have to read some Hugo material in and around the rest of it, though. Sigh. Y'all can maybe guess I'm not exactly gung ho about this year's Hugos. My personal policy is that I won't vote in a category unless I've read a sizeable chunk of each nominee, and it's entirely possible I'll leave some categories blank this year because the selections I started with killed my enthusiasm for the process.

  1. Part of me feels like I'm blowing this out of proportion, but dude. I waited nineteen fucking years, and I don't think I'm out of line in expecting the rest of the population to keep spoilers out of my space.

    I did my part. I actively avoided reviews and discussions and all that jazz. I don't remember seeing any spoilers in my Twitter timeline, but that's probably because I scrolled over 'em real quick (a luxury I had because I wasn't tagged). Whenever anyone asked me for my opinion, I told 'em straight out I hadn't read it yet and they were uniformly considerate about keeping their own opinions general.I never even had to say, "Please don't tell me what happens!" because that's, like, basic courtesy.

    So yeah, I'm butt-hurt, but I figure I'm entitled to it.


  1. Ugh, spoilers. I spoiled something for somebody once. It was totally not deliberate and we weren't even really talking about the book at the time, but in the context of what we were doing something very spoilery popped out. He exclaimed that he hadn't read the book yet, I tried to play it off like what I said was just a supposition. To this day whenever I think about it, I'm filled with self-loathing anew. These spoilers are a dangerous thing...for the both the spoilee and the spoiler(-er?)!

    1. Sometimes spoilers creep out even when you're really careful. I'm sure your friend didn't hold it against you since it was an honest mistake.

      I'm not sure what this person's motive was; I'd only talked to them once or twice, and we're not in a mutual follow. It's entirely possible they thought they were just sharing their opinion, but it struck me as exactly the sort of information I Did Not Want. It made it tough for me to commit to the book at first, but once I was in the thick of it I decided, hell, I wasn't going to let that foreknowledge ruin it for me. And ultimately, it didn't.

  2. Aw, I am sorry about the spoilers. I have once or twice inadvertently spoiled things for people (including, oh God, you, I am the worst), because I forget what people have and haven't seen/read/gotten to already. But then I feel properly guilty about it! (And OKAY I ADMIT IT, a teeny weeny bit smug that I love spoilers so much and thus can never have my life messed up in this way.)

    I am reading Crazy Rich Asians also! I mean, sort of. I am reading like four things right now, or also zero. I'm in that stage where I'm taste-testing all my library books to see which one(s) I want to go with. I read Jennifer Marie Brissett's book Elysium straight through today -- have you read that yet? It's so fascinating and weird and great in most respects but then has a super crappy thing with a trans character. DAMMIT.

    1. Fear not, Jenny! I realized the thing you thought you spoiled for me was Chaos Walking, which I've already read. Also, it wasn't much of a spoiler. It's not like you were all, "Memory! Remember the ultimate resolution to MONSTERS OF MEN?"

      I like telling you about books you may or may not read because I never have to censor myself. Like--SPOILERS COMING UP! PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT JENNY OR WHO HAVE NOT FINISHED THE WHEEL OF TIME SHOULD LOOK AWAY RIGHT NOW!--the major thing my spoiler-tweeter told me was that the Last Battle didn't have a proper ending, and I think they interpreted it way differently than I did because that felt like a proper ending to me? And I loved it an awful, awful lot, whereas the biggest issue with their comment was they gave me the impression it was all terrible and tedious and unresolved; like, that everyone got locked in stasis for the rest of eternity or something. I dunno. Now I've finished the book, it seems like a difference in personal response more than anything else, but before I started it was exactly the sort of detail I didn't want.


      I'm now about two thirds of the way through CRAZY RICH ASIANS, and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't read ELYSIUM yet, but ugh to the crappy thing with the trans character. That's the kind of detail I always want to know about before I start a book. Like with BOY, SNOW, BIRD.