Sunday, January 24, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: January 17th to 23rd

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by making my dog pose with every book 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 descriptive alt tags and additional commentary.

Not pictured: I plugged on through Comic Book Herald's story selections for 1964 and 1965. I found much of 1964 tedious, perhaps because I wasn't in the mood for vintage comics' denser approach to the medium, but things picked up in a big way once I reached the latter part of the year.

I read a bunch more issues of UNCANNY X-MEN, too, and took a break from the 60s with the first four issues of ALL-NEW HAWKEYE after I found Sho Murase's gorgeous Women of Marvel variant of #1 at the thrift shop.

It took me only a teensy bit longer to read all four contemporary issues than to read one 60s comic. Thanks, image-driven layouts.

Finally, I finished to the sky without wings. It was my first 5-star read of the year, and I'm bummed leupagus hasn't written in any other fandoms I'm interested in. I'll just have to hope they produce some more Star Wars fic in the nearish future.

Oh, and I also caught up on TREMONTAINE in advance of next week's season finale. I did a lot of OMGing and dancing around when I realized what's been going on with Dianne, followed by even more OMGing and dancing around when it was confirmed.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, has his fluffball of a face very close to the camera. Behind him is a hardcover copy of Academic Exercises. Its red-bordered cover features a quill pen poised above a piece of parchment, with a map hung on a wall in the background.

Subterranean Press kindly gave me a review copy of K.J. Parker's latest novella, which reminded me I still hadn't read BLUE AND GOLD, which led to me finally requesting ACADEMIC EXERCISES from the library. This hefty tome collects Parker's shorter work, and I'll be reading my way through it over the next couple of weeks.

Please note Murchie's morose expression. He understands how Parker's plots typically play out, and he's committed to providing you with book-appropriate poses.

Murchie flops atop a red blanket, his chin to one side of a his crossed paws. In front of him is a white Kobo with Aftermath's cover on its screen. The cover features an exploding Death Star above the title, which slopes diagonally across a white background.

It's been at least fifteen years since I last read a Star Wars book, if we ignore that time I tried to revisit the Han Solo Trilogy and had to bail after about fifty pages. I always sort of wanted to dive into the EU, but there was so much of it and I figured there was no way I could ever catch up, let alone keep up, so I elected not to try.

They've scrubbed all that now, though, and I'm in a terrible Star Warsish mood lately, so I decided to explore the latest crop of books. AFTERMATH seemed a good place to start, given the sheer number of people I follow on Twitter who are keen on Chuck Wendig either in general or as a Star Wars personage.

So I put my name on the library list, and it arrived exactly when I was in the very most Star Warsish mood possible--except I'm still firmly in Read Whatever the Fuck I Want Mode, and I was more keen to read a couple of other things, and AFTERMATH got pushed back. By the time I finally opened it, its moment had passed. Sadness.

I'll try again when my next Star Wars mood strikes.

Murchie lays on a fuzzy, cream-coloured pillow. His ears are perked and his paws are tucked under him. He wears a blue hoodie with white trim. Beside him is a white iPod with Witches of Lychford's hazy, yellow-toned cover on its screen.

I'm on a mission to listen to all the novellas, or at least as many of them as I can get through Scribd. Since Paul Cornell's WITCHES OF LYCHFORD is one of Scribd's unlimited audio selections for January, it was the natural next choice.

And it's great. Y'all want to read this one if you're keen on stories about complicated female friendships and the practicalities of faith, both in religion and in one's own perception of reality.

The novella stands alone, but I'd love to see more of these characters should Cornell feel inspired in that direction.

Murchie lays on a brown pillow, his paws tucked under him. He wears a pink hoodie with white trim. In front of him is a white iPod with Winterfair Gifts's cover on its screen. The cover features two people in silhouette, facing each other against a rising planet.

And now, an itsy bitsy Vorkosigan novella, alongside an itsy bitsy dog who wouldn't hold still and thus came out slightly blurry.

WINTERFAIR GIFTS made a nice break from the series' core volumes, which have been getting very long indeed. (CRYOBURN is ten and a half hours, which isn't too bad at 1.5x, but CAPTAIN VORPATRIL'S ALLIANCE is sixteen and a half. That's long at any speed.) I was glad to see Taura again, and to get a little more insight into Roic, and to watch Miles et al from the sidelines instead of immersing myself in their problems. I always do enjoy seeing how beloved major characters' look from minor characters' perspectives.

Murchie lays on his brown pillow, head raised and paws crossed in front of him. Beside him is a white iPod with Blackout's grey-tinged cover on its screen.

My new phone's camera makes Murchie look like he's been painted with a soft focus tool. How artistic.

I'm gonna have to give Seanan McGuire's non-pseudonymous books another try, because I'm loving her as-Mira-Grant stuff. FEED and DEADLINE were fabulous, and BLACKOUT follows suit. I'm enjoying it so much that I've been making excuses to spend more time listening to it, and I've chosen to be fine with its use of a (spoilery) trope that usually squicks me out.

I'm sad they changed Shaun's narrator between the second and third books, though. Michael Goldstrom does a good job, but I preferred Chris Patton's take on the characters.

Murchie lays with his face very close to the camera. He appears as a hairy blob. Beside his chin is a white Kobo with Dangerous Angels's cover on its screen. The cover features a very pale, blue-eyed girl's face, so close that she takes up the entire space.

And we're at the point in Murchie's hair growth cycle where his head is basically a pompom with eyes. This'll provide me with a photograph challenge going forward.

You recall my plan to read whatever the fuck I want this year, right? Once I admitted I was no longer in the mood for AFTERMATH, I realized Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT was, of all the books in all the world, the thing I most wanted to read right at that moment. So I went ahead and gulped it down in one sitting, it being teensy.

It was exactly what I felt like, and it holds up on an emotional level. (The appropriation of First Natures culture is a lot more jarring now. I like to hope Weetzie and her family have learned better as they've aged.) As I write this, I'm well into WITCH BABY and plan to stay with the series until I no longer feel like it.

Side note: Francesca Lia Block is the writer who convinced me YA had something to offer me. When I was a young person, the YA available in my school libraries was super focused on contemporary Teen Issues--stuff like peer pressure and skin complications and problems with parents--which didn't appeal to me at all. I wanted magic and madness and love, so I started reading adult fiction when I was twelve and stuck with it, aside from the occasional L.M. Montgomery reread. I never could disavow the Story Girl novels.

When I was eighteen, some people on my favourite message board suggested I try FLB. I found her at the public library, devoured WEETZIE BAT at the speed of sound, and decided I could do this YA thing after all.

Next week: probably some print comics, for real this time. A new audiobook, too, and perhaps a smidge more prose. Maybe not a lot of prose, though; I'm feeling more drawn to audio fiction at the mo.


  1. I really need to give Scribd audio another try...

    1. It helps a lot if you've got a device that accommodates 1.5x. I couldn't listen at 1x.

  2. Murchie is the cutest in that picture with the Mira Grant book, and his little paws crossed like that. What a sweetie-pie.

    1. Murchie's paw-crossing is my favourite thing. He's been doing it since he was a teeny tiny puppy. His mum was also a paw-crosser, so I'm not sure if he learned it from her or if it's a genetic thing.