Sunday, November 15, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: November 8th to 14th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog with everything I read, barring the 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, with additional commentary and descriptive alt tags.

Not pictured: a new issue of THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL hit Marvel Unlimited and promptly became my Monday lunchtime reading. It continues to be the most perfect superhero comic in the history of superhero comics. And I've read a fuckton of superhero comics, so I know what I'm talking about.

Otherwise, my comics-reading time has dried up due to my end-of-year push to knock stuff off la TBR. I'm so close to killing it dead, y'all. I've only got twenty-five books left on there, and only twelve of those are priority reads that won't breed additions. (The others are omnibi, late-in-series books that require rereads, or series openers that may inspire me to rush out and borrow the rest.) I aim to finish the twelve by the end of the year, at the very least.

So, yeah. I didn't read any other comics, but I did listen to the third episode of TREMONTAINE. It continues to delight me.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lays on a fuzzy white pillow. He wears a blue and white striped t-shirt and has his nose raised in the air. Immediately in front of him is a stack of seven volume of Fruits Basket with only their pale blue spines showing.

When I do find a little comics time in my schedule, it goes to FRUITS BASKET. You recall how someone kept borrowing the next volumes I needed and holding onto them for weeks past the due date? Well, I swooped in and preemptively requested the rest of the series right out from under them. Now I'm gonna hunker down and finish it once and for all, then return each of the books before my designated borrowing period ends.

I read a few volumes last week and forgot to photograph Murchie with them before I returned them to the library yesterday. Oops. Here he is with the rest of the series in neatly stacked form.

Murchie lays on a fuzzy pillow. He wears a pink hoodie with white trim and has his paws crossed before him. In front of him is a paperback copy of Memory. A murder of crows flies across its dark turquoise cover.

Lemme tell you a K.J. Parker story.

Several years ago, I attended a queer fiction panel at a con. The subject turned to how difficult it is for a writer to conceal their gender for very long.

I raised my hand. "What about K.J. Parker?" I asked. "We don't know what gender they are."

The panelists scoffed at me. Perhaps we didn't know who she was, they said, but we knew about her. We could definitely confirm she was a woman.

I was so embarrassed, because apparently I was the only person in the whole world who didn't definitely know their shit where K.J. Parker was concerned.

Except earlier this year, K.J. Parker revealed he's also Tom Holt, whom a great many people have confirmed to be a man.

So I guess I wasn't the only one who had their K.J. Parker facts mixed up.

Anyways, that incident aside I quite liked knowing nothing about K.J. Parker and I'm rather bummed this is no longer the case. In fact, the initial announcement bummed me out so much that I procrastinated for months and months before I read MEMORY, the final book in Parker's Scavenger trilogy.

Granted, I was also rather leery of it because the first two books were a mix of, "Wow, this is amazing!" and, "Um, why is this so boring?" The best way forward was, of course, to make it my in-between book so I could read a hundred pages here and there without getting bogged down.

Which is what I did.

I'm about two hundred pages in as I write this, and I'm finding it far more readable than I expected to given my experience with the other books. I may upgrade it to my primary book after another reading session or two.

Murchie lays on a beige chair with his paws curled under him. Behind him is a hardcover copy of Jesse's Girl, propped upright against a Union Jack pillow. Its cover features a white girl in a white dress and brown boots walking away from the viewer, hand in hand with a white boy in jeans and a blue and white gingham shirt. The top of the cover cuts their heads off.

Have we talked about Miranda Kenneally? She writes awesome YA contemporaries, usually with sports at their heart. Y'all know how much I love sports stories.

Her latest book, JESSE'S GIRL, is about music instead, and I love music stories even more than I love sports stories. I grinned a lot and cried a bit and gulped it down in no time flat. I love it just as much as CATCHING JORDAN and only a hair less than STEALING PARKER (these being my favourite Kennealleys).

Now I want to do a full-scale Miranda Kenneally reread. Next year? Hopefully?

Murchie's face peeks out of a blanket cave made up of a red comforter. His left cheek rests against his crossed paws. In front of him is a trade paperback copy of In the Woods. Each letter of the black title morphs into branches as it spreads across the white cover.

I'm in love with this picture of Murchie, poor lighting and all. (Damn winter and its short days.) He's so happy in his wee blanket cave, with his cheek on his paws and his hair out of his eyes for once. Given his druthers, he'd stay like this alllllllllll day.

Twelve pages into Tana French's IN THE WOODS, I turned to him and said, "I'm either gonna fall madly in love with this book or I'm gonna abandon it by page 50. No other outcome is possible."

And I did fall madly in love with it, albeit not until fairly far in. (I was enjoying it prior to that or I wouldn't have stuck with it, but I didn't make the final leap as quickly as all that.) Whee!

Y'all weren't kidding about Tana French. I'm glad I have THE LIKENESS on la TBR so I can read it right away. Then, of course, I'll have to resist the urge to grab all French's other books from the library until la TBR is nicely under control.

I've missed crime fiction, friends. Here's hoping I can read more of it once I'm out from under la TBR and her insidious pressure.

A Dancing Groot bobblehead reclines beside a white iPod with Feed's cover on its screen. The cover features an RSS symbol scrawled in blood. Bobblehead and iPod rest against pale orange canvas.

Murchie needed a break, so Dancing Groot volunteered to step in for this week's final picture. He appears in the basin of my new-to-me butterfly chair, which is the comfiest reading chair ever.

I also finished MIRROR DANCE (wow) and started a new audiobook: Mira Grant's FEED, which came just as highly recommended as IN THE WOODS. And I'm blasting through it, because it's so good. It's very much a How Stuff Works book (my favourite!) with its focus nicely balanced between journalism and the realities of life after the zombie apocalypse. I'm excited to listen on, even though the narrator has a slight lisp that I find distracting.

(I'm one to talk. I had a bad lisp when I was a kid, so my school sent me to a speech therapist with whom I played endless rounds of cards. It's mostly gone now, but you can hear it in voice recordings and there are some words I cannot say. Like, we're never gonna have a vocal conversation about an isthmus, and if I have to tell you about the sixth of anything I'm gonna say six and hope you don't notice I left the -th off.)

Next week: THE LIKENESS, naturally. Probably a new audiobook, given how fast I'm listening FEED. Some of the other comics I have to return to the library next Saturday.


  1. Replies
    1. I'm already excited for the rest of the series!

  2. Ahahaha, KJ Parker is just the master of switching between the most awesome ever and suuuper boring. And I say that with love. It's just about mood -- I have to be in the exact mood for a KJ Parker book, or else I'll give up in a bored-angry huff. (That just happened actually! I gave up in despair his book Savages. It's fine. I'll circle back to it.)

    1. I read another hundred pages of MEMORY right after I posted this and there was a super boring patch right in the middle of them (bracketed by some interesting bits). So I'm rethinking the whole upgrade-to-primary-read angle.