Sunday, September 13, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: September 6th to 12th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my 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 began the week with ETERNALS: MANIFEST DESTINY, a series that builds off Neil Gaiman's work with the godlike beings. It was good, but I don't think it'll stay with me for long.

That done, I finally started Kieron Gillen's run on JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, and I'm loving it. It's all about magic and the power of storytelling. Hello, relevance to my interests. I really need to hunker down with it and blast through a couple more arcs. Maybe that'll happen today.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, sticks his chin over a white Kobo with the cover of Alex + Ada Volume 3 on its screen. The cover features a pale-skinned woman and man running straight at the viewer. They hold hands and wear dark clothes. The background is brilliant orange.

Murchie is a big fan of ALEX + ADA, less for the emotional resonance and the keen interrogation of the issues surrounding personhood than for Beattie the corgi. All his favourite comics have dogs in them.

I reread the first two volumes last weekend, then finished the series at long last and experienced the expected number of emotions. It turns out the final volume dropped on August 25th, not on October 25th like I thought (gods know why), so I'll have a full review for you on Tuesday.

An action figure of Pizza Dog, a sorta-golden retriever, stands next to an action figure of Clint Barton, a blond white guy wearing black and purple duds and carrying a bow and arrow.

Speaking of dogs in comics, my local library currently has the PIZZA DOG ACTION FIGURE on display. I geeked the hell out when I saw it there. PIZZA DOG. IN MY LIBRARY. I assume he belongs to one of the librarians, since the display also featured a Clint Barton action figure (who you might not have noticed in your excitement over Pizza Dog), a Kitty Pryde sculpture, some floppies, and a few uncatalogued trades (including PRETTY DEADLY, which the library persists in not even having).

I thought you'd want to see him, even though he didn't photograph especially well through the glass.

Murchie lays on a red tapestry comforter. Directly before him and occupying most of the shot is a paperback copy of A Deepness In the Sky. Its cover features a long, thin spaceship hurtling towards what looks like an asteroid.

It's always tough, deciding what to read immediately after your favouritest series evar1. I dithered for days upon days before I at last settled with A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY by Vernor Vinge.

And it's excellent, even though I'm reading it as slowly as I read anything these days (ie, really fucking). Then again, that's nothing new with myself and Mr Vinge. I read A FIRE UPON THE DEEP and THE CHILDREN OF THE SKY in hundred page chunks in and around other things because as much as I enjoyed them, I could not hunker down and read them at a decent pace. This time, I'm trying to read the book straight through. Maybe I'll eventually gain my standard amount of momentum with it.

It's seriously cool, so I think my chances are better than average.

Murchie lays on his red comforter with a small hardcover copy of The Langston Hughes Reader beside him. Murchie is curled up so he's roughly the same length as the book. Its cover is half white, half red, with the title in block letters.

You recall how I recently reread THE DIVINERS and read LAIR OF DREAMS, yes? Well, one of the characters is a big fan of Langston Hughes, and his enthusiasm made me realize I didn't know Mr Hughes very well at all. Which is to say, I've read small snippets of his poetry as they appear on Twitter and that's it.

I'm so poorly read2. Y'all don't even know.

I wanted to change this, so I browsed through my library's catalogue in search of a likely introduction and requested THE LANGSTON HUGHES READER. I expected it to be cover to cover poetry, but it turns out the esteemed Mr Hughes also wrote scads of short stories and novels and articles.

I probably should've known that. See: poorly read.

The esteemed Mr Hughes is also a powerhouse. I love what I've read so far, and I look forward to more. This'll be my pick-away-at-it book for the next couple of weeks.

Murchie sits at attention, his ears perked and his focus on something to the right of the frame. He wears a blue shirt mostly obscured by a red-bordered iPod with the cover of Dreams and Shadows on its screen. The cover features the title in white against a dark blue background with flamelike red shapes around it. A city's silhouette is visible along the bottom.

I finished AMERICAN GODS last week (the audio was great. Y'all should listen to it) and turned to C. Robert Cargill's DREAMS AND SHADOWS partly because it draws comparisons to Mr Gaiman's work, partly because it's on my Scribd Titles Expiring Soon list, and partly because the cover is very pretty and I can be bribed like that.

I listened to about a third of it, but I fear it just ain't grabbing me. The scholarly insertions are wonderful, but I can't seem to sink into the core story. I'm pretty sure I don't care for the way Cargill writes children. And I feel bad about this, because the guy really does sell it with all the different voices, but I definitely don't care for the way the narrator performs children.

Oh well. It's not like I'm starved for audiobooks to listen to.

Next week: a new novel, assuming I finish A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY. Possibly that Jo Graham I told you about before (and, um, sort of started before I drifted over to Vinge). A new (and probably final) audiobook from my expiring-soon-on-Scribd list. Some comics.

  1. Ever since I was a little kid, it's been the same thing. I finish my current favouritest series evar and spend a week or so moping, whining, and fighting the desire to say, "Screw everything else; I'll reread this again right now."

    I've always managed to resist, secure in the knowledge I really do enjoy novels more when I leave some time between rereads, but I've decided this is the last time I'm gonna take that route. If I still want to do an immediate reread the next time I finish Doctrine of Labyrinths, I'll let myself.

  2. I did some thinking this week about the difference between poorly read and poorly informed. I think I'm fairly well informed in most (though certainly not all) literary matters, even if I'm not at all well read, but it'll take me a while yet to figure out whether that's the actual truth or if I'm just making excuses for myself.


  1. I want MY library to have Pizza Dog! We don't have any action figure dogs at my library at ALL, which I felt fine about until you raised the possibility of having them at libraries. HMPH.

    1. This makes me so sad. All libraries ought to have action figure dogs, especially action figure dogs with literary relevance.