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Day: February 13, 2018

“How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig

“How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig
c.2017, Viking
$26.00 U.S.
328 pages

Book review by Terri Schlichenmeyer.


The big hand is on the “12.”

And the little hand is, well, you’ve known how to tell time since you were small. It’s something you do so naturally now that you probably don’t even think about it anymore. You just do it… but in the new novel, “How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig, there’s so much more to tell.

Tom Hazard is old – over four hundred years old, and that’s all you need to know. If you knew anything more, you might have to die.

In the late 1800s, a doctor gave Tom’s affliction a name; but Hendrich, the man who “protects” Tom, calls him an “alba,” as in Albatross, a bird with rumored longevity and the name for the society Hendrich runs. But Tom doesn’t feel very protected; in fact, he doesn’t totally trust Hendrich. All Tom wants is to be back to as normal as he was in the year 1598.

He didn’t know Hendrich then. He only knew that, at age 26, he looked as though he was not yet a teenager and people noticed, accusing him of witchcraft. He’d fallen in love then; he and Rose were poor and happy and had a daughter but in 1599, he had to leave London to protect his family from the accusers.

That meant that Rose would die a cruel death filled with fever and sores but without Tom by her side. Her sister told him Rose was ill; he hurried to her, and before she breathed her last, she whispered a truth he’s carried for more than four centuries: their daughter, Marion, inherited his affliction.

Since then, Tom has scanned the faces of every young woman he sees, in Paris, Florida, London, Iceland. What would Marion look like now? Hendrich promises that the Albatross Society will find her, but Tom has his doubts. Heartbroken, depressed, and rightfully reserved, he has his doubts about a lot, including Marion. Is his daughter, his only family, his link to Rose, even still alive?

“How to Stop Time” is many things. It’s soft sci-fi. It’s history. It’s a mystery, literary tale, romance, and drama. And it’s also exceptionally good.

It takes a minute to get into it, though, beware: author Matt Haig starts in the middle, so don’t let a second of “Huh?” deter you from reading on. The story will make sense pretty quickly and – with its aching, Tom’s memories, and a gentle chase through the centuries – becomes irresistible even faster. It helps that this is an intriguing enough premise told with the kind of details that fans of time travel tales will relish. Although, of course, Haig takes license with some real-life characters. It turns out to be part of the appeal of this truly wonderful novel.

You may not think that this kind of book is “your thing,” but give it a try and you won’t be sorry. Fans of any kind of good story will love “How to Stop Time,” and you shouldn’t wait to get your hands on it, either.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin

Parks board looks ahead to projects with new fee

Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer Parks Advisory Board has set its tentative workload for the next two to three years.

Members of the board have been working with a subgroup of stakeholders to prioritize projects that are on the deferred maintenance list throughout Keizer’s 19 parks.

“(The subgroup) rated the projects on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being those in the poorest condition,” said Matt Lawyer, a member of the subgroup and the parks board. Lawyer presented the list of priorities to the rest of the board at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 9.

The top seven priorities were all in neighborhood parks with four ranked the worst of what Keizer has to offer.

Up first is replacing a playground and paths in Meadows park in north Keizer, the stakeholder group gave the current park amenities a “5.” City staff reached out to the neighborhood in December and about two dozen area residents turned out to talk about what they wanted to see happen in Meadows Park.

Parks Supervisor Robert Johnson said the Meadows play structure is among the oldest in the city.

Between the playground and the paths, the work is expected to cost about $200,000.


• Meadows Park play structure.

• Court and parking lot Claggett Creek Park.

• Sports court at Northview Park.

• Court repair or replace at Bob Newton Park.

• Gazebo repairs at Chalmers Jones Park.

Replacing a small basketball court and resurfacing the north parking lot at Claggett Creek Park is second on the list with the court cost estimated to be $100,000 and the parking lot project expected to be about $30,000.

A sports court at Northview Park was tagged for replacement as the third item on the list. The projected cost is $50,000. Repairing or replacing a multi-use court at Bob Newton Park, at a cost of about $10,000, is fourth in the line-up.

Repairing the gazebo at Chalmer Jones Park, $10,000, and repairing paths at Willamette Manor Park and Country Glen Park round out the list.

The path repairs, alongside Americans with Disability Act upgrades, throughout the Keizer system will likely be put out to bid as a single project with a cost of approximately $150,000.

The board also took input from residents during the meeting.

Carol Doerfler, a west Keizer resident, asked about repairing a sports court at Willamette Manor Park. The court had about 200 feet of cracks in it before it was resurfaced a few years ago and a few tears in the mesh laid over the old court are already beginning to appear.

Johnson said about 10 percent of what was repaired is now beginning to reappear.

“The best thing to do would be to replace the whole court. Prior to the (parks) fee, we had no choice and we had to figure out a solution on a budget. Now that the fee is in place we can have an entirely different conversation,” Johnson said.

Because resurfacing the court was not the optimal solution, the warranty on the work was shorter than the standard five years and has already expired.

When Lawyer presented the list to the Keizer City Council on Jan. 16, it met with some pushback from City Councilor Amy Ryan.

“This list makes it look like we are in partnership with a paving business,” Ryan said.

She also questioned where projects like lighting in some of the darker parks, like Bair Park, fell on the list.

“The paths have a direct impact on accessibility and the sports courts are a significant issue,” responded Lawyer. “In terms of lighting, those are projects that are considered new and things we have to add to the master plan. In addition, the number one response on the parks survey was maintaining what we have.”