What I read this month

It’s been a busy month at work, so I’ve gotten to read less than I had hoped. Which, mind you, is pretty much par for the course any month. So it goes with we frustratingly slow readers.

The Millennium Bomb – Ricky Lima
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter – Margareta Magnusson
Randoms – David Liss

Started and stopped
The Shadow Reader – Sandy Williams
The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

Rebels – David Liss

The Millennium Bomb is an ambitious project done by my friend and award-winning indie comic creator Ricky Lima. While he normally conceives of and writes his stories that he hires artists to illustrate and colour, The Millennium Bomb is his first shot at doing his own artwork, as well. It’s a bold concept that he used Kickstarter to fund, worked on through early Covid lockdowns (through good times and bad, as he explains at the end of the book), and dutifully delivered to all sponsors once it was printed, including yours truly. Ricky has long been, and continues to be, a huge inspiration to me for what a creator can do if they remain focused and dedicated to see a project through even if it’s purely, as he told me, to put cool stuff out into the world.

The Swedish Death Cleaning book ended up being as good as I had hoped when I recommended it just after starting it. A solid read (though there are some wholly unexpected sexual references in one particular section — not what I would’ve anticipated from a writer who repeatedly ages herself at “between eighty and one hundred years old” — that make it not suitable for minors) that I still highly recommend for pretty much any and all.

And Randoms was a fun book I just picked up the series for on spec with my last visit to a not-often-visited library. A picked-on science fiction and gaming nerd becomes a galactic hero to some and villain to others and is caught up in what that all means on a cosmic scale while trying to do the best he can about it with his new handful of alien friends (including, minor spoiler alert, one who he slowly realizes he’s in love with). Rebels is the sequel I’ve just started.

The first book I started and stopped was one of the all too-common scenarios where someone self-publishes a book and it turns out to be not my thing. The second one is far more odd a situation: An award-winner for writing for middle grade, which is stuff I normally find quite good. Maybe it was an off day or maybe I was simply tired, but the approach it opens the story with just wasn’t working for me. I may take another crack at it later, because I know that sometimes what doesn’t initially appeal ends up being among my favourites when I revisit them and try again, but it’s back on the shelf for now.