Sunday, August 2, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: July 26th to August 1st

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog with every book I read, barring the digital comics I read in single issue form.

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

Not pictured: Marvel Unlimited added new-to-me issues of UNCANNY X-MEN and ALL-NEW X-MEN, so I started the week with those. UNCANNY wrapped up a story arc, while ANX started something new.

I also finished SHE-HULK, which delighted me. There's this part where Jennifer Walters attempts to get a case dismissed because her client came back from the dead and his post-mortem self shouldn't be liable for his pre-mortem crimes. Given how nobody in superhero comics ever stays dead (except Uncle Ben, and probably Wolverine1), you'd think superhuman law would've addressed this already.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lays with his body tucked under a red tapestried comforter. His right ear sticks straight up into the air. In front of him is a paperback copy of Captive Prince. The visible portion of its cover features pale pink bricks.



THE VIRTU took me a lot longer to finish than it should've done. I don't know what's wrong with my reading speed right now, but I can't seem to read even beloved books at a decent pace. It's like the Book Gods decided my maximum daily limit was a firm and infrequent 125 pages, which sucks.

I needed a fast book to break to cycle, and luckily the library thrust C.S. Pacat's CAPTIVE PRINCE upon me at just the right time. It was fast and it was absorbing and I'm glad I had it on hand.

Several of y'all have asked me what I thought of it. In the main, I enjoyed it very much. It's a fast read and an absorbing one with plenty to hold the reader's attention, including some interesting worldbuilding. I'm always glad to see worlds with normalized queer relationships. The people of Vere take it even further: they consider bastard children such a terrible taboo that everyone sticks to homosexual sex before marriage. If you're not interested in people of your own gender, you keep your mouth shut about it until such time as you're in a heterosexual union.

The problem is, the people whose actions we're privy to (which: courtiers) don't rut with each other. They rut with slaves. It's not a BDSM thing; none of these slaves are submissives there of their own accord, meaning none of them can consent to anything that's done to them. And there's little to no indication that anyone other than the main character, who is himself enslaved, wants to change this.

And even in Damen's case, it's not that he wants to eliminate sex slaves, it's that he wants sex slavery to be more like it is in his own country, where all the slaves are basically brainwashed into loving their station.

I enjoyed the book very much, but I'd have had to turn off the anti-slavery part of my brain in order to love it. And there's no way in hell I'm ever doing that.

I'll certainly read the next one, though I hope there's markedly less in the way of, "Yeah, sex slavery isn't great here, but it's okay in other countries."

Murchie lays atop a fuzzy red and white blanket. Directly in front of him is a red-bordered iPod with Chime's cover on its screen. The cover features a white girl with very pale blonde hair. She lounges provocatively within a nest of branches that seem ready to swallow her.

Friends have been telling me to read Franny Billingsley's CHIME for years and years. I finally listened to them, and I wish I'd done it a hell of a lot sooner because OMG.

I've outlined a review that'll probably go live around the end of the month, so I'll curb my verbosity today and just tell y'all it's made me realize The Perversion of the Self is 2015's Accidental Reading Theme.

I need to highlight Susan Duerden, too, because her narration is fabulous. I remain a total sucker for a good audio performance.

Murchie lays on a fuzzy pillow. His face his very close to the camera and his eyes are on their way to being closed. Behind him is a stack of seven volumes of Fruits Basket, displayed spine out.

Mopey Murchie helped me read a couple more volumes of FRUITS BASKET last week, and he intends to stick close to me while I attempt to read the rest this long weekend.

The plot starts a-rollin' from volume 4 onwards, and it looks set to be a doozy. I loved so many of the revelations herein, from Momiji's relationship with his parents to Yuki's elder brother's flamboyant ways to Tohru's mother's profession. It's been killing me how I can't just wallow in the series, so I'm going to do just that today.

Unless something comes up, as things so often do.

Murchie lays atop his fuzzy red blanket, one paw slightly forward. In front of him is an iPod with Station Eleven's cover on its screen. It features several white canvas tents lit from within. The sky above them is a deep blue.

Again, pretty well everyone I know has been raving about STATION ELEVEN since it came out, but it took me for bloody ever to get to it. (Do y'all sense a theme here? Maybe even an essential character trait?) And holy fuck, but I was desperately in love with it by chapter 7. Maybe a bit before that. It's tough to pinpoint these things when you're super-duper absorbed, you know?

I'm a little less than two thirds of the way through it as I write this, and I'm still utterly in love with the layers and theatre angle and the fact that there's a comic at the heart of the story. If the fans among you had led with the comic, I'd have read this months ago.

The narrator struck me as a tad flat at first, but either I'm getting used to her inflection or she's upped her game since the early chapters. She's still delivering more of a reading than a performance, but it's a pretty good reading.

A hardcover copy of The Philosopher Kings stands upright on a red patterned carpet. Its white cover features a rondel filled with Raphael's painting of scholars debating at the School of Athens. Some distance behind the book, Murchie sits with his paws together and his attention focused on something off to the viewer's left.

I finished CAPTIVE PRINCE lickety split, then started THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS by Jo Walton. I really should've read it a month ago, seeing as how it was one of my most anticipated books of 2015 and I received an advance copy and it came out just in time for my birthday, but it took me so long to get to it that my slow-ass library had a paper copy through processing and in my hands by the time I could slot it in.

That's bad, y'all. I am properly ashamed of myself.

And then my reading mojo died an ignoble death, even though the book is awesome so far. It's got me thinking all sorts of thoughts about religion, which is one of my favourite things to think about even though it can also be quite a scary topic.

I hope I'll have a review for you on Tuesday. If that doesn't pan out, look for it next Tuesday.

Next week: THE MIRADOR, for real this time. (Damn my absent reading mojo.) Possibly FOOL'S QUEST, too, since the release date is fast approaching and I've been having terrible Robin Hobb cravings. Maybe some more FRUITS BASKET if the library can oblige me.

  1. It's important to fact-check these things, so I googled "is wolverine still dead" and found AN ENTIRE WEBSITE devoted to informing people whether or not Wolverine has followed the established superheroic tradition and come back from the dead.

    I laughed for five solid minutes and gave myself one hell of a coughing fit. I also hurt my hands because I was clapping so hard.


  1. I read the last of She-Hulk sort of recently too. I wish there was more of it to read.

    There's lots of book love I approve of in this post. Tell me when you finish The Philosopher Kings so I can talk to you about the ending :D

    1. I'm glad Soule plans to slot the She-Hulk characters into some of the other titles he writes. At least they'll be around, even if they don't have their own book anymore.

  2. I am happy to hear that I am not the only person who claps her hands joyously when something makes me happy, even if I am alone. I started doing it in imitation of the Sims, as a joke, but now it is a real and unstudied reaction to anything that gives me joy.

    Relatedly, I clapped my hands again when you said again that you liked Chime. Hooray! Of course you did for it is fantastic!

    1. I think I started because of early 20th century British children's lit. I feel like everybody in E. Nesbit claps their hands and squeals, "Oh yes, let's!" whenever anyone proposes anything fun. But maybe I'm making that up, or maybe it happens in someone else's books entirely.

      Now it just happens whenever I'm delighted (ex, whenever anyone makes a website devoted to reporting on Wolverine's status as a deceased person, which I feel kind of bad about being delighted over but whatevs, as if he's never coming back).

      I loved CHIME soooooo much, Jenny! Sooooooo much!