Sunday, December 18, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: December 11th to 17th

I make my dog pose with every book I read, barring single issue comics. 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.

Last week's comics included lots and lots and lots of Star Wars, with a quick dip into the X-Men's mid-90s miniseries output.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, sits on a beige leather chair with a red and white blanket draped over the back. A black trade paperback copy of Milk and Honey is propped upright beside him, against a small pillow with a snowman on it.

I began the week with some poetry: Rupi Kaur's much-lauded MILK AND HONEY [Amazon | Scribd]. I read little poetry, as longtime readers may have noticed, and I'm still sorting through my response to the collection. In particular, I'm interested in why this volume has gained so much more attention than all the others out there; a question I suspect I'm not equipped to find an answer to, given my piddly consumption of mostly older poetry. (When I feel like poetry, I either seek out poets whose prose I've enjoyed or browse my library's poetry section. Both strategies lead me to pre-2005 stuff more often than not.) Are any of you able to venture a more informed opinion than I can?

Murchie lies on a red blanket, all three volumes of the March Trilogy arranged in a fan around him. The book closest to the viewer has a yellow cover with a slew of suited men's feet marching along across the top. The other two books are less visible, but the second one gives the impression of a bus in flames and the furthest volume shows people marching across a bridge with the book's title emblazoned on its ashphalt.

My library finally bought and processed the last two volumes of the March Trilogy [Amazon], John Lewis's comics memoir of the Civil Rights Movement co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell. I drew the series out over several emotional days, and I urge every sighted person who hasn't already read the books to pick them up. They're often difficult to read, since Lewis and his contributors never shy away from the violence he and his fellow nonviolent protestors faced, but they're also an important record of belief and perseverance. They'll be a staple of my comics recs lists going forward.

Murchie lies on a cow-shaped pillow. Beside him is a white Kobo with Love Me Tenor's cover on it. The illustration features a short-haired white boy in black and white, with a pair of pale purple headphones around his neck and pink lights behind him. Music notes swirl across the background.

I rushed through a library novel so I could dive straight back into Annabeth Albert's bibliography. I had a couple of time crunches last week that kept me from sinking into LOVE ME TENOR [Amazon | Scribd] the moment I'd downloaded it, but once I removed those obstacles I couldn't tear myself away. Annabeth Albert is the best, y'all. This one's about two guys who get roped into a boy band reality show that wants them to pretend to be boyfriends for ratings, and of course they're actually a perfect match. Albert establishes them as distinct personalities with a million reasons to connect.

I continue to love her commitment to featuring all sorts of different characters, too, with an occasional emphasis on varying family situations. Trevor is a recently-diagnosed diabetic from a very conservative Christian family who cut him off when he came out to them. Jalen is a multiracial adoptee with two moms and a difficult relationship with his biomother. Their backbgrounds are nothing alike, but they're still so able to support one another--and to be true friends to their other band members, once they work past first impressions. It's wonderful.

A large-headed Funko Pop bobblehead of Finn from Star Wars stands beside a white iPod with Aftermath's white cover on its screen. The cover features the title and author's name at an angle across an image of the Death Star exploding.

I had an amazing time with Claudia Gray's BLOODLINE, so I decided to ride the Star Wars wave straight into Chuck Wendig's AFTERMATH [Amazon | Scribd Audio]. Still on audio, of course, because did you know the Star Wars audios have sound effects and scores? Fully integrated ones, at that! If the POV character is on a spaceship, we hear it in the background. If someone's typing something on their comm, it beeps. If a blaster fires, the book pew pew pews.

It's pretty great.

I've had a much easier time sinking into the book now than I did when I tried it in print, too. I'm sure that's partly because I'm in an appropriately Star Warsy mood at the mo, but the audio format's also helped. Which other recent Star Wars books should I try on audio before my Scribd subscription expires in mid-January? I've got three credits left.

Murchie nestles close against a white Kobo with the red cover of Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda on it. The illustration features a black-clad boy, hands in pockets, a speech bubble with the book's title on it where his head should be.

Then I realized my digital loan on Becky Albertalli's SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA [Amazon | Scribd] was set to expire on Monday, and I rushed to start it, and I fell in looooooooooooove.

As I write this, I'm 20% in and it's everything 19-year-old me desperately hoped THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER would be (and TPOBAW most decidedly wasn't, from my perspective). It's personal and funny and engaging and Simon says "fuck" a decent number of times. He's got a zillion interesting friendships on the go. His anonymous email exchanges with another closeted gay boy at his school sparkle. I was beyond annoyed with my body for refusing to stay awake on Friday night so I could read it into the wee hours.

I can't wait to gulp down the rest of it. Please don't betray me, book! Be the ninth title I've loved straight from the first word to the last! I believe in you!


Next week: more Annabeth Albert, because I'm on a role. Probably some N.K. Jemisin, too, and perhaps a few novellas from my library & Scribed stashes. I want to read lots and lots this holiday season.


  1. I am going to stock the shit out of my ereader with all Annabeth Albert books and then read them all one after the other throughout my Christmas holidays. What a great idea by me. And if you hadn't kept on ringing the Annabeth Albert bell this whole time I MIGHT HAVE FORGOTTEN so thank you, Memory, for being a friend. <3

    1. HELL YEAH ANNABETH ALBERT! I've made it my business to encourage everyone to binge read her.