About a week ago, depression and anxiety came down so hard that choosing a book to read seemed like a monumental task, one that I was not up to. I did, in fact, look through 1800+ titles in my Kindle library as well as a stack of books on my shelves (nightstand, floor, coffee table, kitchen table...) with dull eyes and a heavy heart, and said "nope" to every one of them. And then I remembered that The Housemate had been reading Max Gladstone, and had bought a copy of Bookburners, Season One on the strength of his work. She talked about it as if it was a TV series, a group of stand-alone stories that described a fictional group of people fighting The Monster of the Week. It sounded low-stress, so I started reading. And I loved it.
It really is intended to be a kind of series, and yes TMotW is a thing, but there's also a couple of story arcs that exist beyond the episodic structure. Just like a good TV series. And like a good series, it's a team effort, being the work of four authors, not just Gladstone. It follows a Vatican-based group that maintains the Black Archives, a library of dangerous magical books. (Oh yes, magic exists here in spite of people's best efforts to resist and suppress it.) They're nicknamed "bookburners" though I'm not entirely certain why, because they preserve these books in their archive.
Into this group stumbles a cop, whose brother has been possessed by such a book. With the closing of that case, Sally is recruited by Father Menchu, the team leader, and she accepts, at least in part because her brother, though no longer possessed, is in a coma, and can't be wakened. The Vatican is caring for his body, but Sal holds out hope that she might find some way to bring back his mind by working in the archive.
The characters -- Sally, Menchu, Asani (the head archivist), Liam (the tech guy who was once possessed), and Grace, the mysterious fighter -- are all appealing and complicated. They work well together, but they also strike sparks. The villains are often unexpected, and always interesting, and the stories are structured so that each can be read in under an hour.
I see that Glinda has bought the second season, and I'm looking forward to starting it; I find it a medicine for melancholy, and that's worth everything.