It’s that time again!
One of the joys of cruising is that you get a lot of time to read. One of the problems, though, is that there’s only so much space on board for books. This is often solved by the various and varied book exchanges one finds in the places where boats congregate. Sometimes it a well stocked and organized set of bookshelves, and sometimes it’s just the corner of a bar on which people dump their old books. Either way, it’s a great source for gems as well as those books you pick up because you’re desperate for something to read.
I’ve gotten a few that were worth a mention, from either end of the spectrum. The most recent one that sticks in my mind the the late 80s thriller “The Eighth Trumpet” by Jon Land. I’ve always liked thrillers as escapist fiction, so I’ve read many and think I have a pretty decent critical eye. This book was startling in its complete lack of anything that made any sense. It was one ridiculous escapade after another, with implausible plotlines and unbelievable motivations from start to finish. It has no less than two horror-film quality serial killers, three global secret societies and shootouts at Madame Tussaud’s, a cathedral in Malta and a military outpost in Antarctica. It also has a stolen, secret nuclear submarine. And I’m only scratching the surface of the insanity. It was admittedly a very fun read, but not one tiny iota of sense in it. I didn’t even know there were books this crazy getting published, even in the 80s.
On the other hand, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to trade for some real winners, including Octavia Butler’s “Lilith’s Brood”, an SF trilogy about a post apocalyptic Earth saved by aliens. I’ve caught up on a lot of the books on my “to read someday” list thanks to book exchanges, like “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, The Great Gatsby” and “Memoirs of a Geisha”.
Book exchanges are like libraries, only better in some ways because their selection is limited, so you end up with stuff you’d never ordinarily pick. It’s a great way to expand your reading list and just because that issue of Ellery Queen or Analog is four years old, that doesn’t mean the stories are stale.
I have been a user of GrandCentral (the telephony service that is now Google Voice) for a long while. It’s ideal for a world traveler like me. When Google acquired it, I knew it would change for the better, which it has. Unfortunately, the main advantage was that it allowed me to make free calls to Canada. When it became Google Voice, calls to Canada became merely cheap.
I waited until the last minute to upgrade my account in order to get as many free calls home as possible. Eventually, though, I had to bite the bullet and switch. I did, and immediately bought some calling credit.
After a couple fo calls I noticed that my credit balance wasn’t updating. I poked around, and discovered that calls to Canada had become free. Yippee! Of course, I didn’t need that credit I bought anymore. I figured that I’d just have to eat it, but decided to ask for a refund anyway. It never hurts to try, right?
Well, lo and behold, I got my refund! Well done, Google! If only everyone had such great customer service.
I finally finished the first draft of a story I started in El Salvador. I have such trouble finishing things without a deadline, even a totally fake one. I have to start making them for myself.
Editing will go faster that writing, I hope. The only problem is I have two more story ideas that I want to get on to before I tire of them. I guess it’s fake deadline time!
Hi! Where are you from?
I live on that boat out there in the bay.
Cool. Let me tell you about this new resort we have just up the road…
No, that’s okay. I live on my boat.
That’s really awesome. But this new resort is blah blah blah.