Sunday, November 27, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: November 20th to 26th

I make my dog pose with everything I read, barring single issue comics. This week I actually got him to sit up beside a couple of titles, but he's always happiest in bed.

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.

Murchie, a scruffy grey poodle, sits on a burgundy carpet. A hardcover copy of Gemina stands upright beside him. The book's cover is an oily, reflective blue that catches the pattern of the carpet, turning it into a mottled purple in places.


I tore through GEMINA [Amazon] fast as ever I could, which proved to be pretty fast because it's as absorbing as it is lengthy. THERE IS SO MUCH COOL SHIT IN HERE, Y'ALL. SO MUCH. I GEEKED THE HELL OUT OVER IT. NOW I WANT TO GUSH ABOUT IT AD NAUSEUM, BUT ALL THE STUFF I MOST WANT TO ZOMG OVER IS SUPER SPOILERISH SO I'LL RESIST THE URGE.

I will tell you it shifts the action to Heimdall Station and follows different characters than ILLUMINAE did, so don't go expecting a slew of familiar faces right off the bat.

It'll also leave you eager for the grande finale.

Murchie curls up behind a trade paperback copy of Juliet Takes A Breath, fast asleep. The book's cover features the back of a woman's head styled in an undercut with the title shaved into the stubble.

I geeked out just as hard over JULIET TAKES A BREATH by Gabby Rivera [Amazon | Scribd], but in a totally different way. It's such a true book, y'know? Juliet is a young lesbian from the Bronx who comes out to her family mere hours before she hops on a plane to spend the summer interning with her favourite feminist author in Portland. She has this gloriously messy, complicated, intersectional journey as she encounters a passel of new ideas and struggles to figure out how she fits into the world.

Part of me wants to tell you everything about it, but most of me wants to mull it over inside my own head. So I'm gonna urge you to pick it up if you have any interest in contemporary fiction, and leave it at that.

Now I'm even more excited to see what Rivera does with Marvel's AMERICA next year.

Murchie sits in a beige hallway. His ears are perked. Slightly in front of him is a white Kobo in a grey case, propped upright. Its screen shows the yellow cover of Living By the Word, with a grey city right along the bottom of the image.

I finished THE PROMISE OF CANADA (which I showed y'all last week) and tried to settle in with a book about progressive approaches to disability in Canada. I chose it from the library's New & Noted section because it had disabled contributors, but the introduction made it pretty clear the text was aimed solely at able-bodied people and that the disabled writers only got a slice of the first chapter each.

So I returned it mostly unread and decided to finish Alice Walker's LIVING BY THE WORD [Amazon | Scribd] instead.

I actually started this one so long ago that I didn't even have to shell out a Scribd credit for it. It's a fabulous collection of Walker's essays (following IN SEARCH OF OUR MOTHERS' GARDENS), and I was most happy to devour the last hundred pages on Wednesday evening.

I might sample Walker's poetry next.

Please note how I managed to make Murchie pose nicely with the book but failed to get him anywhere near good light. Dammit, winter.

Murchie lies with his head poking out of a blanket cave and his chin flat against a red blanket. A white iPod is propped up against the cave at an angle, directly beside his head. Its screen features the gold, red, and purple cover of After Dark.

My dip into HARDBOILED WONDERLAND AT THE END OF THE WORLD didn't go so well, but I'm enjoying Haruki Murakami's AFTER DARK [Amazon | Scribd Audio]. It blends the everyday with the really fucking weird, and I appreciate that all the women have their own shit to do. I struggled to find audio time last week, but if all goes well I'll have finished it by the time you read this.

Murchie lies with his head raised and his ears perked. Behind him is a hardcover copy of Otherworld Barbara Volume One. Murchie's head and the edge of the frame block most of the book's cover, but in the gap a pale-haired Japanese girl floats with her head and one hand out of a churning sea of blue-grey water.

Moto Hagio's OTHERWORLD BARBARA [Amazon] made a wonderful stopgap while I decided which title from my prose stack I wanted to read next. This is the first of two large hardcovers from Fantagraphics that collect the complete series, and you can bet I'll be haunting my library's website until they've preordered the second one.

The manga opens with a young girl who lives on a fantastical island called Barbara. People fly, children remain the same age for decades, and nobody ever seems to die, though they're all hyper aware of the war that rages in the outside world. When we zoom out in the second chapter, it turns out Barbara is a narcoleptic girl's dream, visible to observers like the dream pilot who's travelled to her treatment facility to see if he can wake her up.

Except it's not quite so simple as that, and each chapter adds another layer to the mystery. The whole thing is really convoluted and cool, with all sorts of meditations on dreams, families, and the experiences that connect people.

Murchie stands on the floor, his head craned up to look over his shoulder at the viewer. Closer to the camera and some distance above Murchie is a trade paperback copy of Known and Strange Things. Its cover features a photograph of a balcony with something covered in a white drop sheet on it.

I plucked Teju Cole's KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS [Amazon] out of the library's New & Noted section more or less at random. I wasn't familiar with Cole, but his bio stated he was born in the United States, raised in Nigeria, and widely featured in international venues for both writing and photography.

IE, he sounded pretty durned interesting.

He is. He's also a posh fellow who writes about a large variety of posh things I've never encountered myself, which is probably why he wasn't on my radar. Even though I lack a lot of reference points, his prose is so gorgeous I can't help but want to wallow in it.

As I write this, I've finished the segment on things he's read (most of which were by men, but many of which were by international writers and/or people of colour) and started the one on things he's seen (or heard, as he includes at least one piece on music alongside the essays on film, theatre, painting, and photography). It's fascinating stuff and I look forward to the rest of the collection.

Murchie peeks his head out of a blanket cave. Propped up on the blankets beside him is a trade paperback copy of Jughead Volume One. Its red cover features a white boy wearing a grey crown hat, a blue t-shirt, and a yellow sweater. He smirks as he clutches a knife and fork.

And now for something completely different.

Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson's JUGHEAD reboot [Amazon] is a ton of fun. Juggie's horrified when a new principal takes over Riverdale High and replaces the cafeteria's usual delicious offerings with high-nutrition gruel, and his suspicions rise as further changes come into effect. He hunts for answers, with frequent dream sequences in which his adventures as a knight, a time cop, or a superhero give him the insight he needs to figure out the latest problem he faces in the real world.

There are tons of jokes and clever bits, and Henderson's art is a great fit for these characters. She's especially good at conveying the desperate (yet cartoony) drama that ignites within Jughead's soul when he's gotta eat gruel and/or run obstacle courses.

This volume also contains the issue where Juggie is canonically confirmed as asexual. Hurray for representation!

Also, I think Murchie and Jughead would get along really well since they both like eating beef and sitting on couches without moving.

Next week: Maybe an enormous stack of TWIN SPICA. Probably some historical fantasy and a romance or two.


  1. Looks like a good reading week!

  2. Wait, sorry, this isn't your first Alice Walker experience, is it? No, right? You've read The Color Purple surely? I only ask because I LOVE THAT BOOK SO GODDAMN MUCH OMG

    1. I haven't read any of her fiction yet! Just her essays.