What I’ve Been Reading

How is it October already? Just last week (in August), I was thinking to myself: “You need to do another reading post.” I made a note in my planner and… turned the page. As always, I’ve been reading lots of awesome books, though. And, as always, I want to share the most awesome ones with you.

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

The art caught my eye on this one. It’s an interesting style—less “comic” and more “fine art,” with swift lines and watercolour shades. It reminded me of another of my favourite comics, East of West, and it’s just as good. The story starts simply: ten years ago, giant harvester robots swept through the galaxy leaving destroyed cities, dead bodies, and terror in their wake. Since then, even the simplest robots have become enemy number one and hunting them down has given rise to an entire guild of scrappers who hunt rogue bots with the enthusiasm of bounty collectors. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

What I’ve Been Reading

I have participated in the Goodreads reading challenge for six years now. It’s the only challenge I’ve ever actually completed – probably because it’s based on the number of books rather than specific titles. This year I lowered my goal from 200 to 100, thinking I wouldn’t have as much time to read. I’m at 97 books right now and June has only just begun, so I think I’ll be adjusting the total back to 200.

Apparently I found time to read. I also found some great books!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I hardly need to recommend this book. It has won all the awards, and has over 400 five star reviews on Amazon. I’m going to recommend it anyway, because it’s just that good, and because of the sweet nature of the romance, it will appeal to a wide audience.

I love coming of age stories and I adore the trope “friends to lovers.” Both are handled beautifully in this slow burn love story about two boys whose friendship is all about discovering the secrets of the universe – and themselves. Ari’s struggle to accept himself will break your heart. The way he cares for and protects Dante will put it back together again. The final chapter is just beautiful. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

What I’ve Been Reading

I could have skipped this update and rolled the books into my yearly list of Favourite Things, but there are seven books on this list and they’re all titles I want to talk about and recommend now. I have a hard enough time choosing just a handful at the end of the year as it is. 😉

Dinner at Jack’s31849349 by Rick R. Reed

What I love most about Rick Reed’s books is that they’re love stories. The romance never feels rushed for the sake of getting to the good stuff. More, we get time to get to know the characters—who they are, who they want to be. Who they will be together. Another aspect of Rick’s books I really enjoy is the feeling he is sharing a part of his life with us. Either someone he once knew or someplace he’s been. There’s a sense of reality to most of his stories and, whether my observations are true or not, I feel I get to know the author a little better with each read. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

What I’ve Been Reading

After a bit of a slump where I tossed a few and flipped through a few more somewhat forgettable books, I’ve recently hit a patch of really good reads. So of course I’m going to share them.

18774964A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This book. Oh my goodness. What a lovely surprise. Nearly the entire time I was listening to it, I either wished I’d written it or wanted to write my own version. Ove is exactly the sort of character I like. Gruff, rude, apparently selfish and not at all charming. Yeah, I sure know how to pick ‘em. Thing is, when a character like that is the star of a book, you can pretty much read on with two assumptions. One, he’s not as he appears. There will be hidden depths. Two, finding out why he’s like this is going to be your reward. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

Walking Fantasy Maps

I’ve hurt my knee. So, in the time honoured tradition of one making an epic journey, I will use my convalescence to catch you up on events so far.

One bright and shiny morning, my fitness group discovered a link to the map of all maps, the spreadsheet of all spreadsheets. Distance plotted, days calculated. We were going to walk to Mordor—taking heed of all warnings, of course.


It’s 1779 miles from Hobbiton to Mt. Doom. Over the past twelve months, I’ve walked 996. And now my knee is buggered. Thankfully, three days ago my party took to the river and we’re currently drifting toward the flats to the north of the Field of Celebrant. Really, I timed it all rather well. The orcs aren’t due to attack for another five days.

My Fitbit has actually recorded enough lifetime miles for me to have reached Mt. Doom and I really think that should be a badge. The badges they do offer are fun, if rooted in this world. I earned the Great Barrier Reef badge while traversing Sydney airport over the summer. I’ve always been one of those people who like to look between the trees on the side of the road, though, and imagine that I’m running between them, either away from a monster, or toward some important destiny.

Obviously, I’m supposed to be living on another world, or in another time.

So I decided to imagine that instead of walking to end of the neighbourhood—again, and when is number twenty-five going to do something about the swamp that is their front yard?—I could be traversing maps of fantasy. All when my knee is better, of course.




In my role as moderator of the Warden’s Vigil roleplaying community, I created a number of tables and charts covering the distances and travel times between map points in Ferelden. For the uninitiated, Ferelden is the principle territory in the game Dragon Age: Origins. Because I’m a stickler for realism, even when playing make believe, I wanted to know how long it would take my characters to travel from Highever to Denerim. It’s 162 miles. About a week’s travel—if you assume I’m not as fit as a hobbit and can only walk about twenty-four miles a day.

Ferelden isn’t a large country, though. In my eighteen months of walking the mean streets of Middle Smithfield township, I’ve managed to circle Ferelden one and a half times.




Faerûn, on the other hand, is huge. Granted, Ferelden is only a small part of Thedas and if I were to map my journey from Denerim to Val Royeaux, I’d be covering an appreciable distance, about the 800 miles.

The same distance would get me from Neverwinter to Baldur’s Gate.

If I were really keen, I’d map Drizzt’s miles—that elf has traveled. He’s also long-lived and extremely sneaky. I’d probably have died somewhere in Icewind Dale…assuming I made it out of Menzoberranzan alive.




I lived in Pern for a number of years. Really and truly. I put one book down and picked up another for a long, long time. I knew all the halls and holds—major and minor. I had flown between with dragons, and I had my own horde of fire lizards. Basically, I was Menolly.

When I started roleplaying online, I played in Pern. I never really mapped the distances between points, though. Time sort of adjusted according to the requirements of our adventures. Handy, that.

Taking my current miles, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 800-1000, I could have walked from High Reaches Hold to Benden Weyr. That’s pretty much the breadth of the northern continent.

Alas, alack and all that, I live here on Earth, where my miles are less impressive. In eighteen months, I’ve walked from New York to Abilene, Texas. I’m not sure what my final destination is, but I should have timed it better. August is not the time to be south of anywhere.

Maybe when my knee is better, I’ll veer north a little bit and aim for somewhere pleasant like Santa Barbara. It’s only another 1300 miles.