Sunday, June 26, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: June 19th to 25th

The premise: I love my dog very much. I love books very much. I bring the two together by taking wee Murchie's photo with every book I read.

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 finished BOOKBURNERS S1! Whee!

I also wallowed in YOTSUBA&!, which continues to be the best in general and my prime pick for these troubled times. It's hard to write the world off when Yotsuba's rushing around meeting cows and riding in hot air balloons.

A sleek grey poodle, Murchie, crouches on a bronze comforter. Both his ears are flipped back against his skull so they're invisible, lending him a grouchy hair. In front of him is a white Kobo with Clean Sweep's cover on its screen. It features a blonde white woman wearing a hooded blue cloak and carrying a glowing blue staff.

On especially rare occasions, both Murchie's ears flip back at once. I commemorated the latest incidence by making him pose with CLEAN SWEEP by Ilona Andrews before he shook his head and returned his ears to normal. I promise he wasn't actually furious with me; his pseudo-earless state combined with his morning stretch just made it look like he was.

I plucked CLEAN SWEEP out of Scribd's June Selects pool because I found myself in a sudden and unexpected urban fantasy mood, likely spurred on by BOOKBURNERS. Turns out, CLEAN SWEEP is actually SF dressed up like UF; a perfect fit for me. I had an awesome time with the premise--in essence, paranormal creatures are aliens who use Earth as a transit hub and magic users are humans who can instinctively manipulate advanced technology--and am looking forward to the sequel even though I hated the love interest.

Murchie lays demurely on a sheep-shaped pillow, one paw tilted at a courtly angle. In front of him is a trade paperback copy of Something New. Its cover features a drawing of a wedding cake with a white bride planted face down in the top while a white groom looks on.

The comics-reading world loves Lucy Knisley, so I was pretty sure I wanted to try one of her books for the Nonfiction In Graphic Novel Format square on my bookish bingo card. When I bumped into her latest memoir at the library last Monday, I took it for a sign.

I started SOMETHING NEW: TALES OF A MAKESHIFT BRIDE right before bed on Tuesday. Next thing I knew, I'd stayed up far too late and resolved to read everything Lucy Knisley creates from now to the end of time.

I mean, I don't even like weddings1 and I sank straight into this book. It's less about the wedding itself than the factors that led Knisley into it, and her emotional response to the preparations. She approaches the subject from all sorts of different angles, too, and the sample couples she uses to illustrate the little explanatory bits are often queer and POC. (She herself is a bisexual woman who married a man, and she refuses to let the reader ignore her queerness.) It's pretty durned awesome.

Three more of her books were on the shelf when I returned to the library on Thursday. I snapped 'em up and look forward to wallowing in them once I finish YOTSUBA&!.

A large-headed Funko Pop bobblehead of Finn from Star Wars stands next to a white iPod with the cover of The Rest Of Us Just Live Here on its screen. The cover is black, covered in three rows on people in shades of blue. One white girl, two white boys, and one black girl are in full colour.

Murchie has so much trouble keeping his head still around my iPod that I decided to give him a full week off from posing with it. Besides, y'all seem to like Tiny Finn with his wee blaster and his fancy jacket and his super great eyebrows.

None of my other Funko Pop!s have eyebrows as nice as Tiny Finn's. In fact, Tiny Poe, Tiny BB-8, Tiny Deadpool, and Dancing Groot don't have eyebrows at all. Gasp!

Which is all so much clutter to mask the fact that I tried to listen to Patrick Ness's THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE last week and stopped trying a little before the halfway mark because I couldn't sink into it. It wasn't a bad book--hell, it even does some really cool stuff with the chapter titles--but there was no spark between us.

So let's leave it in the past and take a moment to appreciate Actual John Boyega with Carrie Fisher's dog, Gary:

Thank you, Actual John Boyega. You're as nice to look at as Tiny Finn, albeit considerably more active and and less portable.

Murchie lies on his sheep-shaped pillow with his paws crossed daintily in front of him. Behind him, propped upright, is a paperback copy of Wicked As They Come. Its cover is very dark, with the gleam of a white man's bare chest beside the title in white.

I'm particularly fond of this Murchie photo. Note his elegant (yet casual) (yet elegant) paw placement and lack of blurred facial features. Excellent work with keeping your head still, Murchie.

I keep seeing people tweet about Delilah S. Dawson's books, so when I found her debut at the library I snapped it up in the hopes it'd fit in with this UF kick I've got going on. It, like CLEAN SWEEP, isn't really UF; rather, it's a portal fantasy with plenty of crossover appeal for UF readers.

It's also lots of fun. There's a portal that leaves the heroine in rather more earthly jeopardy than portals usual do, some vampire-type people, some vampire-type bunnies, a slew of clockwork animals, a circus, and a relationship that should be creepy but actually comes across as weirdly sensible. As I write this, I'm about a hundred and thirty pages from the end and hope I managed to finish it before bed.

Tiny Finn stands next to an iPod with the cover of Bookburners S2 E1 on its screen. The cover features a stylized illustration of a blue-haired person brandishing a blue gun as they stand before a red labyrinth.

I finished BOOKBURNERS S1 just in time to start S2 along with the rest of the world. I'll be reading most of the season with my eyeballs (and with many thanks to Serial Box for their generosity on NetGalley), but I decided to listen to the series premiere since the audio is available for free to everyone via the Serial Box app.

It was a lot of fun to listen to the characters I came to know so well in print throughout S1, though I did have to slow the audio down to 1.5x because I had trouble understanding narrator Xe Sands's rendition of Liam at 2x. That minor blip aside, this season opener delivered the goods: a self-contained mission peppered with shake-ups for the team and plenty of hints as to new challenges to come. I'm excited to see what's next.

A Funko Pop bobblehead of Rey from Star Wars stands next to an iPod with The Siren's cover on it screen. The cover features a pale-skinned, long-haired brunette girl in a sandy yellow ball gown. She stands facing the ocean, her back to the viewer.

I'm having much better luck with Kiera Cass's latest release2 than I did with THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE. THE SIREN is sort of "The Little Mermaid," in modern times, with monsters.

Y'all know I like monsters. Especially when one of them is the ocean herself.

Next week: probably some more UF, which may or may not turn out to be something else pretending to be UF. Possibly a review copy or two? More BOOKBURNERS. Maybe some new comics.

  1. Okay, but every single wedding I've ever been to has involved an extremely drunk woman who decided I and I alone was her ideal dance partner.




    On one occasion, I sort of knew the woman in question. On every other, she was just some random guest who saw me and said, 'HELLO I'VE HAD ELEVENTY EIGHT GLASSES OF WINE AND NOW I WANT TO BOOGIE WITH YOOOOOOOOOOOOU."

    Which I know sounds like the opposite of a problem because dancing's tons of fun, but I get beyond uncomfortable around a certain kind of really drunk person. Really drunk people who just wanna smile a lot and maybe tell me a story about some random thing that suddenly seems super important to them? Bring 'em on. Really drunk people who aggressively pursue me as a dance partner, possibly while letting their inner Woo Girl out to play? I'll pass.

    Plus, I just ain't a party person. I like smaller parties where most everyone knows each other so they all just sit around talking and maybe working up to a really loud parlour game. (Yes. Seriously. It's gotta be a loud parlour game, though. None of this polite, restrained crap.) I suppose some weddings end up fitting that mould as each table forms its own mini party, but I never seem to end up at those weddings. I get the raucous drunk dancing ladies.

    I also end up at the weddings that last foreverrrrrr. Like, I once went to a wedding where the officiant apologized because he had to cut the ceremony down to four hours. (I am not making this up it really happened to me.) I was mighty impressed when my cousin got married inside of seventeen minutes, though my mood soured when--you guessed it--a really drunk woman decided she and I must DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY at the reception.

    I'll admit, the last wedding I went to was pretty fun. It was in the Bahamas, the ceremony lasted less than half an hour, there was great food, and I don't think the dancing ladies were drunk so much as excited.

  2. Cass originally self published THE SIREN, but it's been re-released since her Selection series did so well.


  1. NetGalley archived all of the Serial books so I am not sure if I will be able to read them quite fast enough to get to them before they expire. Wish they gave more time. :(

    1. I'm working my way through THE WITCH WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD now, and it's also great so far.

  2. No-ears Murchie is the cutest Murchie. (She said just now, only to change her mind immediately upon seeing the subsequent Murchie picture.)

    As the auntie to a dog that cannot keep its tongue in its mouth, I am so fond of the picture of the new Star Wars kids with Gary. What a good dog! What lovely movie stars!

    1. All these Star Wars people and Star-Wars-adjacent dogs make me so happy.

  3. I read Knisley's debut recently and enjoyed it enough, but I'm really curious to see how she grew over time, because I think more-grown-up Lucy Knisley could be my JAM.

    Murchie is an earless wonder. Tell him I said so.

    Also, oh, your wedding footnote. I only pray that you've gotten all those Woo Girls out of the way and now can just enjoy the food and drink and revelry at all future weddings.

    1. Murchie thanks you for the compliment.

      I haven't been invited to a wedding in years, so I'm cautiously optimistic that the cycle's been broken.