Sunday, June 5, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: May 29th to June 4th

The premise: I make my tiny and beloved dog pose with every book I read. Sometimes he cooperates and sometimes he runs away to hide beside the recycle bin (which cannot protect him, mwahaha).

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 UNCANNY X-MEN, of course, spurred on by the terrible realization that I've only got four months to finish it. Eek.

And I watched two short Korean dramas, which totally count because I don't speak Korean and I had to read the subtitles.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stands close by a stucco wall and a blue garbage bin. He has a look of extreme weariness and annoyance on his face. Immediately in front of him is a white Kobo with Children of Earth and Sky's cover on its screen. The cover features a bas relief of a sun with a very serious face. It's harvest gold, fading to dark blue near the bottom of the cover.

Friends, I made two terrible errors.

Most recently, I procrastinated on taking Murchie's picture with CHILDREN OF EARTH AND SKY, meaning I had to go with whatever I could get yesterday morning, meaning you've got a lovely shot of him refusing to pose nicely. Beside the recycle bin.


Before that happened, though, I decided Guy Gavriel Kay was the perfect person to help me continue this epic fantasy kick I'm supposedly on. I dove straight into CHILDREN OF EARTH AND SKY, his most recent release (and one of the review copies I've been sitting on for far too long), and...

Discovered I'm not so much in the mood for epic fantasy, full stop, as for epic fantasy I can read quickly.

Kay's a lot of things, but he ain't a quick read.

Especially since I found myself smack-dab in the middle of one of those weeks where I cannot fucking concentrate.

I started the book last Friday. As of yesterday, I'm barely halfway through. It's great--all beautifully observed and packed with layers and tied into all his previous alternate histories in such a way that newbies won't be confused while established fans have lots to pick through--but it's not the sort of thing I can sink into in my current state.

I don't want to abandon it, so I've downgraded it to my in-between book.

Murchie lies in a fuzzy, cream-coloured dog bed. Beside him, a pale hand holds a white iPod with Echo's cover on its screen. The deep blue cover features the silhouettes of three children in a winter forest.

I had much better luck with my audiobook, Pam Muñoz Ryan's ECHO. This one flew completely under my radar until I saw it cited as one of the few diverse-authored books honoured at this year's Audies. "Hey!" I said as I skimmed the description. "That sounds like my kind of thing. I wonder if Hoopla has it?"

Hoopla had it, so I downloaded it.

And I came this close to bawling my fucking eyes out on an assortment of public streets and woodland trails, because ECHO is phenomenal. It's a musical feast of a book, packed with scenes that speak to the crux of what it means to be young and confused and right in the middle of a horrible situation you have no choice but to deal with.

It's my sixth five-star book of 2016, and in a remarkable shift from the norm I'll have a review for you pretty soon. Maybe even next week.

Murchie lies on a bronze comforter, his head raised and twisted to look at something to the viewer's left. In front of him is a small hardcover copy of Year of Yes. Its pale blue cover features the title in large, red letters. A small gold silhouette of a woman with a ponytail performs an enthusiastic leap above the title.

YEAR OF YES has convinced me I need to finally finally finally hunker down and watch Shonda Rhimes's television. (Turns out, I've already seen at least one of her movies: THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2, which I love very much.) She's an extremely entertaining lady and I need more of her words in my life.

Her book was exactly what I needed during my can't-fucking-concentrate week, too, all punchy and conversational. About a third of the way through, I told Jenny I believe Shonda Rhimes and I should be awkwardness friends, seeing as how so many of her stories had me nodding my head in recognition. Then I immediately felt awkward about expressing such a sentiment in public, since I ain't as far along in my personal anti-awkwardness journey as Shonda Rhimes is in hers.

Next week: I don't even know. Books or something. Maybe just a lot of Korean dramas.


  1. ECHO is definitely one of my future audiobooks!

  2. I'm totally in a "cannot concentrate" place right now too. Luckily, I'm reading Neil Gaiman's non-fiction which is all introductions and speeches and nothing is more than about 5 pages long at most. The bad thing is that it's 500 pages long ... which doesn't move very quickly when you read 3-5 pages in a sitting! But, it's okay and I'm listening to audiobooks at the same time so it's better than nothing.

    1. I switched to some short fiction, some UNCANNY X-MEN, and a YA series ender I'd been looking forward to for ages. It's helped quite a bit.

  3. Guy Gavriel Kay requires a lot of the reader, so I don't blame you. And you know it's totally fine to set the book aside and come back to it another time, right? I do that ALL THE TIME.

    I was able to find Echo by googling "echo audies" but maybe can you add the author's name into the post? (I couldn't see it in the picture; too wee.) To make it more easily findable? I got so excited by your excitement that I wanted to find it right away! :D

    1. Aw, fuck, I had her name there in the first draft, but it disappeared when I rearranged the words so they were in a better order. It's back now.