Happy endings are fine with me

I'm having one of those Januarys. First a nasty head cold followed the holidays. Then an upstairs neighbor's washing machine overflowed and removed part of my bathroom ceiling. Followed by a lot of phone calls and emails to straighten out insurance, scheduled contractors, dry out the drywall, and so on. Three weeks later, there's still a hole but everything is very, very dry (including my abused sinuses) after industrial dehumidifiers were used.

On Monday, a man with the materials will arrive to patch the hole and repaint the ceiling. Actually, considering this part of the process is supposed to take three days, I'm hoping for something more stunning than white -- perhaps persuade him to paint it blue or green or do a mural?  I'll probably end up with off-white, but I can dream.

In the meantime, I've spent the time waiting for things to happen ... or heal ... by consuming lots of books on the Kindle as well as adding volumes to the permanent collection. The additions included a very nice 1900 edition of Jerome K. Jerome's follow-up to Three Men In A Boat. In Three Men On Wheels, the trio takes a holiday from home and family to learn that road adventures can be as full of disasters as river adventures. Add Harrison Fisher illustrations to the latter, and you have a charming example of English comedy.  The cover (shown here) is much, much tamer than the actual story.

Meanwhile I finished up a couple of fantasy and mystery series which did not end with all the main characters either killed or permanently maimed. That was a nice change from a recent  run of super-dark apocalypse stories.  I even stumbled across an Odd Thomas tale by Dean Koontz that ended happily with Odd and Stormy together (if you've read this first Odd Thomas book, you'll know that such an event would be very, very early in the history of Odd).

These days, I start so many books hoping that the characters will receive a good life instead of a good death, but that is not the fashion these days. Authors ... and those who critique them online .... seem to have decided that dark, serious, full of death drama is worth more than a cheerful story or a happy ending. A book I liked got trashed by a number of commentators on GoodReads because, gasp(!), the hero and heroine survived the final showdown with the villain.

Yet, as every actor knows, comedy is hard. Watch an old Danny Kaye movie and marvel at how that man could sing and dance his way through so much silliness. It's much, much more difficult to pull comedy off in writing (try a pratfall in prose some time). But when you come across an author who can make you laugh, that's worth adding a few more books to the shelf. So, to console myself for a rotten January, I'm off to find happy endings and maybe even write a few.


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