No escape


“But there’s respect there, one for the other-always among enemies when they’re strong.  And these men with their businesses have enemies all over the place” (60).

I read for pleasure. I read to escape. The “Maisie Dobbs” series by Jacqueline Winspear, is one of my preferred mystery choices for a variety of reasons (I will spare you from my personal biases and prejudices, today, on this front anyway).

Also, I read out of order with series. I read what is readily available. This title was one – discounted at my local bookstore. Who could refuse?  Not I.  Imagine my surprise when I came across some of the dialogue and it sucked me right back into our 2017 politics, at home and globally? I will let you, dear reader, make comparisons, but to me they are obvious. I do not think the author intended this, as the title was put to press long before our presidential election and subsequent tumultuous events centering on hubris and dictators. Nevertheless, here it is. Was she prescient, this Ms. Winspear? Artists are often in tune with the unconscious of society or so it seems to me with my somewhat limited but intense direct experiences. I will brook no argument here; it is personal opinion.

journey-to-munich-225Escape did not come with this title. However, what did surface was this – a reminder that we, as animals, all have this: “…she felt the nape of her neck prickle, as if someone had run a feather across her skin” (7). This behavioral response comes with feeling a threat. The parallels are rooted in biology. The “noise” of tweets, newscasts, online forums cannot compete with the holistic mind/body response. I did not escape with this title.

“The man who was now chancellor took advantage of the situation, his rhetoric mirroring the temper of the times, reflecting the mood of the people and milking it for all it was worth…the crowd devoured every word, more inebriated with drink and hyperbole as the minutes passed…” (96).

Winpsear, Jacqueline. Journey To Munich. HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016. Print.


This combination will cheer anyone after the very long and dismal winter.  It is 70℉ in Takoma Park today, on this Irish feast day of St. Patrick’s, and even though I am Italian-Slovak American, I will accept this gift. Yet, I digress.


Our front yard, on this lovely day, is a carpet of croci!

To celebrate, I spent my morning “weeding” my book shelves – home to a hefty collection of children’s books – books that once were integral to teaching, reading aloud, especially to very wee-ones, and for the enjoyment of the illustrations.  As every gardener knows, it is as important to weed, as it is to plant!

Of course, the afternoon was spent at a favorite used book store – trading one box of books for another. But, this stack was for me! I always feel like the proverbial “kid in a candy shop.”  My eyes grow large and my palms sweat with expectation of grabbing the delicious volumes off the shelves as I move imperceptible from row to row of these affordable goodies. Throughout my years of second-hand shopping, I have come to appreciate that the best approach is entering the experience with an open mind – expect nothing, and everything is wonderful.

Cradled in my arms was a small & exciting grab bag of treats.I departed with a youthful delight because I am so looking forward to reading these titles for myself – my spring vacation with paper and ink.

A Duty To the Dead: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal

Silent in the Sanctuary: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery by Deanna Raybourn

Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran

Espresso Tales: The New 44 Scotland Street Novel by Alexander McCall Smith

With the last two titles on the top of my pile, and being easily influenced, I stopped by the local Starbucks for a short latte and treat, compliments of my dear students (from whom I have a two-week break, thus I am able to visit the bookstore and coffee shop)!

Just like my small but stunning croci, this time of year is one I look forward to annually.  I feel young again, renewed, and happy.  I am home. I have time for my husband, family, cats & friends. I have time for music. I have time to read for pleasure. It is a season to bloom and I am grateful to have this season and this year once more, dear readers.

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