A brief review, two ways


As the winter turns to spring-tinged-with-summer, my doldrums lift and my days are filled again with sunshine and book-reading. After the bleakness of winter, and the increased screen-time that inevitably comes with the prolonged dark and house-bound months, I'm ready to toss everything and live outdoors with my books. Over the last few weeks I've read one book after another, and spent as much time as I could outside.

This pattern of perpetually having my nose in a book is utterly familiar and delightful. It primes my writing pump with vigor and fills my mind with ideas and joys and depths. But it does cut one off a bit from the world (and not just because you're curled up in a chair). Even while reading heightens perception and encourages analyses of the outside word, it also builds up the life of the mind. I find myself more in my own head, and realizing sadly that few others have this rich inner life that comes from books. It becomes difficult to share my life with others since it so often has to do with fictional characters, story ideas, what-ifs, plot-points. Irish hills, Welsh-cakes, rhymes and themes and descriptions. Life, the universe, and everything.

But it's brilliant, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I've even been staying up till midnight to finish re-reading books I already know the endings to. Words and stories have such draw and immense reward. I still haven't been able to delve into some of the thicker, chewier books that take up a good deal of time. I'll get to those. For now I'm trying not to lose momentum, and I'm enjoying the light reading in sunshine, and the pleasant pull of mysteries.

The package that arrived one happy Monday morning! 
One of the books I read recently was Outlaws of Time by N.D. Wilson. A brilliant piece of work, but no surprise there. Full of vivid characters, and a striking sense of place. You feel the scorching sun, and hear a rasping voice over your shoulder, sense the bond of true comradeship at your elbow. All these things Wilson has done time and again in his 100 Cupboards series and Ashtown Burials. His writing is drenched in the glory and magic of the universe, ringing with truth and decision, hardships and bubbling joy. As always it is a strong story of good versus evil, and of making your stand, not because you know you will win, but because it is the right thing to do.

The story follows Sam Miracle on an adventure filled with sacrifice and loss, change and responsibility, allies and enemies. He travels through time with a new friend, Glory, and across the wild west. He develops a strange, inseparable partnership with a couple of snakes, and meets Wyatt Earp, along with a few other unforgettable characters. Faced with the chance to save his sister, and possibly the whole rest of the world, Sam has to make hard decisions, not to mention overcome a great many difficulties in his path. It's a grand story, riddled with humor and filled with hope, as well as good old fashioned adventure.

And on a side-note, someone did a brilliant job with the making-into-book bit. The hardback is gorgeous--colors, texture, gold-stamped letters--the slipcover is soft and touchable, complete with raised lettering and intriguing illustrations. Right down to the blue and gold color scheme, this book is a treasure inside and out.


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