Sunday, June 12, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: June 5th to 11th

The premise: I love my dog and I love books, so I cajole my dog into posing beside every book I read. This has become a dicier proposition of late because his groomer's on maternity leave and his messy, messy beard looks dodgy from every single angle.

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 read a bunch more issues of UNCANNY X-MEN and a few more episodes of BOOKBURNERS S1. I'm enjoying them both so much that I'm thinking of making them my primary reads next week. We'll see how I feel about the literary landscape.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lies behind a hardcover copy of A Tangle of Gold, his head twisted so it's parallel to the book. The book's cover features swirls of gold, blue, and purple in the sky above a red barn. The entire photo is gold-tinged.

I think A TANGLE OF GOLD by Jaclyn Moriarty is Series Ender #7 for 2016, and it was a good 'un. I'm so, so glad I discovered the Colours of Madeline trilogy through last year's Sync program. It's gloriously weird and heartfelt, with great characters and heaps of creative worldbuilding. It was utterly absorbing, too; exactly what I needed last week.

I'm also pleased to note I was right about approximately one million things. I'm awesome at guessing. Awesome.

(And I'm super modest about it.)

A large-headed Funko Pop bobblehead of Finn from Star Wars stands outdoors on a white wicker table. Beside him is a red-bordered iPod with The Sharing Knife: Beguilement's ugly cover on its screen. The cover features a hooded white man in the foreground, with a blonde white woman lounging on the ground behind him.

I couldn't subject you to Murchie's beard again. Please accept Tiny Finn and his impressive eyebrows its place.

I caught up on Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga earlier this year, so I figured it was about time I tackled some of her fantasy via the copy of THE SHARING KNIFE: BEGUILEMENT that's been sitting on my shelves for the last nine hundred and forty-seven years.

Except I didn't reach for the print edition, obviously. I've become accustomed to listening to Bujold instead of reading her, and Hoopla provided me with the audiobook.

It was a bit of a weird adjustment, to be honest, but also a weirdly delightful one. Bujold has a distinctive narrative voice, and I got a real kick out of how immediately recognizable her syntax is even within a fantastical context, read by a female performer.

That said, I didn't enjoy this as much as any of the Vorkosigan novels. That said, I recognize that it's very much the opening act of a larger story. We meet the two main characters, watch their relationship develop, and learn a little about the challenges they'll face going forward. There's plenty of time yet for me to fall in love with the world of the Lakewalkers and Farmers, and with Fawn and Dag.

I should also note this is post-apocalyptic fantasy of the "somebody probably fucked up big time with magic, but we don't know exactly what they did" variety. Y'all know I'm interested in that sort of thing.

A pale hand holds a paperback copy of the first volume of Yotsuba&! up beside a large, folded paper fox's head. The cover features a small, green-haired girl clutching an armfull of sunflowers taller than she is. The fox's head is stylized in orange and white.



Kiyohiko Azuma's YOTSUBA&! is an all-ages manga about a small girl, Yotsuba, who moves to a new town. She and her father quickly make friends with the three older girls who live next door, all of whom are very patient with Yotsuba's odd, odd ways. Because Yotsuba doesn't know about anything, from television to global warming to the proper way to greet somebody you've just met.

But dammit, she's eager to learn.

Every chapter (titled something like, "Yotsuba & Gardening!"; hence the series name) sees Yotsuba tackle a new challenge. It's painfully adorable, with a possible SFnal bend once we learn Yotsuba is adopted and may very well be an alien instead of your garden-variety clueless kid who's spent her whole life around Luddite adults. I wasted no time in requesting the next eleven volumes from the library, and I'm hoping to carve a good chunk out of the stack today.

(Please note my frickin' adorable fox head, too. Winners was clearing out vegan head mount kits, so I bought one and hung the results--the fox, a rabbit, and an elephant--above my headboard.).

Murchie sniffs an upright, hardcover copy of Batwoman Volume 4. Its white cover features a very pale redhaired woman hugging a very pale blonde woman. Both have bobs and identical features.

Hey, Murchie's unruly beard is back! Hello, Murchie's unruly beard!

The fourth volume of BATWOMAN brings J.H. Williams III and W. Hayden Blackman's run to a close, and it's... odd. Good, but odd. Each individual issue ends on an oddly quiet note. The arc's finale is abrupt in the extreme, with little closure to the main storyline. The whole thing is good in the moment, but ultimately unsatisfying.

I wonder how much of this is down to the creative team's fight with DC over Kate Kane's right to marry her fiancee?

I wasn't planning to continue the series after this team leaves, but now I may pick up the next volume in the hope of gaining some closure.

Next week: maybe more novels. Maybe just a whole lot of BOOKBURNERS with a side of UNCANNY X-MEN. Probably a new audiobook, too.


  1. haha, poor, Murchie. Did this groomer not get a replacement while she was off? You would think she would have worked something out!

    1. She's had the vet refer people to another groomer she vouches for, but the other groomer is super popular and books about a month in advance. Murchie's got an appointment with her tomorrow, at long last.

  2. You ARE awesome at guessing. I never cease to be impressed. And your Tiny Finn is THE CUTEST.

    1. He delights me on a daily basis. His eyebrows! His hair! His cute widdle jacket!