Ann Parker here, in my Saturday frame-of-mind, still swimming back to reality after a week of vacation on the high seas.
Surprises: I love them in books, but (if I am to be honest) not so much in real life. No surprise parties on my behalf please, I'm likely to seize up at the sudden shrieks and keel over (now there's a unique murder weapon for a mystery: a surprise birthday party!). Other situations (announcment of winners, for instance) that might have folks giddy with anticipation just have me shaking and wishing to climb under a chair.
So although I don't mind seeing characters knocked sidewise by surprise in a story, I sure don't like it in my day-to-day experiences. So often, life's surprises end up on the nasty side: sudden illness of a loved one, unforseen loss of a job (or in current parlance, being "let go"), unexpected expenses (uncovered and expensive but absolutely necessary dental treatments, for instance, are famous for blowing our family budget clear out of the water at least once and more often twice a year).
I read a book that has been lurking on my TBR shelves for a long time, and what a lovely surprise it was! Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas had wonderful characters, nuanced historical detail, and a fun (but not overly challenging) plot. It was a perfect vacation book for me, and I'm definitely going to read the rest in the series, when I can get my hands on them.
The second surprise has to do with my vacation. My sister and I went on a cruise, for the first time in our lives. I was a little nervous about it, as I am not a fan of deep water or boats that rock 'n roll. Before this, I'd been out on sailboats in the San Francisco Bay, and a small motor boat on a lake now and again. I was VERY pleasantly surprised to discover that a cruise ship is nothing like a wildly bobbing sailboat, but more like a floating city that just rocks gently side to side (of course, we might have been lucky with the good weather for that particular week). No responsibilities. No internet. No need to plan meals or cleanup or do any of the million-and-one things that fill a normal day. Just read, relax, nap, EAT (and eat... and eat...) and take in the endless ocean and vast blue skies.
I loved it.
And THAT was definitely a surprise!