And for a change…

I just finished Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. It is the first book in her Wayward Children series. I read the second book, Down Among the Sticks and Bones back in 2021, and I have to admit I didn’t remember much about it until I looked back at my post.

In this book we meet number of Wayward Children, all of whom have gone off to other worlds, returned to our world, and been sent to a special school for children like that. There are schools that specialize in working with these children, who are really teens, around the world. Some cater to children who want to forget their time in the other worlds while others, like this one, work with children who desperately want to go back to the other world.

I enjoyed meeting the various characters and became invested in them pretty quickly. The story was good, too. I will definitely read the third book, which I already own, and I would read any others I come across that are within my price-range!

I started to say that these books, like much of what I read, aren’t written for me, but that made me think. What is really written for a 72 year-old woman? I choose to follow the advice one of the book’s characters gets: “… the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.” That extends to my reading story, too!

And now for Mr. Alleyn, #12!

If I was disappointed with book 10 in this series, Colour Scheme, #12, more than made up for it! This one started with the requisite 7 or 8 chapters setting the stage before anything really happens, but that was pretty interesting. The characters appealed to me more and I was caught up in the story before I knew what as happening.

This book, and apparently #11 which I have not read, take place in New Zealand. It is during World War II, and there are local and international events to deal with. The story takes place at a hot springs resort, and the guests include a famous actor and his entourage, a businessman who wants to take over the resort, and a somewhat mysterious stranger. The businessman is killed. No one liked him, so there are no shortage of suspects. As usual, Mr. Alleyn solves the case, but the way in which he solves it is not at all usual.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I will read more of the series when I get a chance.

Back to Mr. Alleyn

I just finished Surfeit of Lampreys by Ngaio Marsh. It is the 10th book in her Roderick Alleyn series. This book got off to a very slow start. The first seven chapters were background on the Lamprey family, and it just didn’t do a lot for me. Finally in chapter 8 we got to the murder, and then Alleyn could be brought in to solve it. And, of course, that is just what he did. In Marsh’s defense, this is the usual pattern of these books, but the beginning is usually more interesting to me than this one was.

I was frequently confused while reading this book. Characters seemed to serve no purpose in terms of moving the story along, and things seemed to happen without reason. For instance, why was Roberta, a recently orphaned acquaintance from New Zealand, brought into the story? For a while, I thought she had to be the murderer because there was no other explanation for her existence. (Spoiler alert: She didn’t do it!) And Alleyn’s newspaper pal, Nigel Bathgate, was brought in as a friend of the family, but we never saw him interact with them. Because of that connection though, he couldn’t really assist Alleyn, either. To top it off, when we finally got to the end and learned who the killer was, it wasn’t very satisfying.

While I was disappointed with this book, I will read more of this series. Overall, they are fun to read. And I can’t give up on the series just because of one less than stellar entry!

Another winner in my book!

I just finished The Prison in Antares by Mike Resnick. It is the second Dead Enders book. I had thoroughly enjoyed the first, The Fortress in Orion, and I was sure I would like this one a lot, too. And I did. In this one, the team is sent to rescue a scientist who developed a means of defending the Democracy from the deadly Q bomb. It is an almost impossible task to sneak into a prison that is 2 miles below ground, locate and rescue the scientist, and then escape the planet and Coalition territory. They are, of course, able to complete the mission – although Nate Pretorious’ reputation of never leaving a man behind is forever destroyed.

These books are well-written and have good story lines. The characters are wonderful. I can hear Snake’s sarcasm every time she opens her mouth. I love the way Pandora says she needs time to find whatever information they need and then has it in a matter of minutes. I laugh a lot as I read these because of the interaction among the characters.

Again, I am indebted to Bookstooge for exposing me to Resnick’s work. I will be reading more of it!

Now for something different!

It has been a long time since I have written about anything other than the books I have read, but today I am going to do just that!

Bookstooge has a post about why he still paper journals, and it really struck a chord with me. It is something I have been thinking about quite a bit lately, so I decided to join the conversation.

I have been blogging since 2005, but my blogs were always professional, not personal. I would occasionally have more personal posts, but that was never the focus of any blog I have had. Mostly that is due to the fact that I am a very private person; I don’t talk about myself under normal circumstances. But, like an awful lot of us, I have long had a need to voice my thoughts. And so I have been journaling for a long time.

I have almost always just used cheap composition books and fountain pens for my journals. I haven’t ever had a really expensive journal, and that has always been OK with me. I am not as interested in the finished product as I am in the thinking that gets works out on the page. Unlike Bookstooge, I have not saved all my journals. I have moved too many times to keep them all. And sometimes, I honestly have not wanted reminders of certain times in my life. As a matter of fact, I just tossed a few that had stacked up about 3 weeks ago, and I am totally fine with that.

My journals are where I think through problems and make decisions. They are a place for me to talk through my worries without burdening a living, breathing person. (I seem to worry a lot from time to time, so that is a real blessing for those around me!) They are also a place where I can celebrate the good times and marvel at this beautiful world. But I am not attached to them. As a matter of fact, I just finished one a few days ago, and I am trying to decide when it would be appropriate to throw it in the trash. I doubt I will ever want to refer to it, and if I did, it would probably be soon; that is why I haven’t tossed it yet. Plus, it seems a little silly to write page after page and then just discard it. So it sits on my shelf, knowing full well its days are numbered.

For me, a lot of the joy of journaling comes from using my fountain pens in them. I have used fountain pens off and on since I got a dark green Parker 45 Convertible as a high school graduation gift in 1968. (It cost $5 then!) Today I have more than a dozen pens that I rotate through. None of them are very expensive, but they all enhance the process of writing for me. Putting pen to paper and watching the ink flow out and form words that express my ideas is really satisfying.

In that connection, I wanted to mention a new blog I have been following: Shaggy’s Left Handed Journey in Writing. The author is another fountain pen enthusiast who is using writing in his daily life. He also happens to be my son! If this topic is even slightly interesting to you, I invite you to check it out.