The long trip to Taiwan went unexpectedly qiuckly, even including the four trains to get there. I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can just step back inside my head and let it all wash over me, and then zone out further once saely on the plane. There was a tiny hiccup at the airport, because the driver from the taxi service we use knows us by now, was expecting to see both of us (I asked for a ride from the airport and forgot to specify for one person) and wasn’t holding up the sign with my name. But I was pretty sure it was her even though she didn’t really seem to be looking at offloading passengers, and sure enough it was.

The iPad worked pretty well on the flight. Even though I normally prefer a non-backlit screen for reading, I have to say it’s useful for when the lights are off and you don’t want to turn on the reading light and wake everyone for three rows around. It’s nice to be able to play games on the same device, too – not that having to switch to the iPod was exactly a major inconvenience. I had a couple of nice quiet ‘spot the difference’ games with beautiful artwork, plus Sudoku.

On the way, I read Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s Thresholds. I’m not actually sure if I like it yet. The thing is, as a standalone this leaves me unsatisfied. *Why* are the neighbors bound to their roles? What will Maya and, er, her new friend do when she reaches adolescence? (I’m trying not to give any spoilers, so I’ll just say I’m concerned about privacy.) Most important, what happens next? The whole book sets up a really fascinating situation – then ends.

If this is the beignning of a series, I would give it 4.5 to 5 stars; if not, 3 or 4. The characters are likeable, the author does an excellent job showing Maya’s emergence from acute grieving, the world-building is interesting and has a lot of potential. I just want more of a conclusion; I hope Hoffman plans to supply it.

After that I began Studs Terkel’s Hope Dies Last. I don’t have to say much about this one: if you love the sort of thing Terkel does, you will love this one. (You will also if you like to read perspectives on history from people who have watched a lot of it and who stll have hope.)

Tonight we’ll be going out with a friend to the sort of restaurant that will take all evening. (In fact, here’s a review written by someone who’s annoyed that she won’t be with us, since we’re actually going with her husband and she’s out of the country during my whole stay here.) I’m looking forward to the restaurant and the company – just slightly regretful that I’ll have to wait until Friday (tomorrow being another dinner) to download and read Rick Riordan’s new book. It’s a minor regret anyway; I’m not actually quite as excited about this follow-up series as I am in seeing where he goes with The Kane Chronicles.

It’s been weird being back at my old desk, nice seeing my old colleagues, good being back in the old apartment (I wish we could take it with us to the Netherlands, if only we could add heat and some thermal & sound insulation.) I do not think I need to say that being back with Ted is the best part.