About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Handwritten Notes Are the Best

In The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver the sleuth, Colter Shaw, eschews computer technology for making notes. I was won over when Colter pulled out a “Delta Titanio Galassia fountain pen, black with three orange rings toward the nib”. At $250 it is a serious pen. 

I enjoy fountain pens. I currently have one crafted in Melfort. While Colter justifies his pen as easier on the hand for making extended notes I really think he just loves the feel of writing with a fine fountain pen. I know I appreciate a flow with a fountain pen lacking in writing with a ballpoint pen.

He has precise small writing which further appealed to me as it is the same form of writing that myself, my father and grandfather all have in our writing. My sons, while gratefully legible, do not have the same style of writing.

At times I have found it difficult to find a fountain pen with a fine enough nib. Most fountain pens have a broader nib that is ill suited to my handwriting.

Colter has a theory on writing by hand:

“When you write something by hand, slowly, you own the words. You type them, less so. You read them, even less. And you listen, hardly at all.”

I have learned to make notes effectively on the computer but I find I type more in notes because I can type significantly faster than I can write. I am as efficient with handwriting as I make more focused notes and use contractions more easily.

In Court I cannot make notes with a computer. I need to make them by hand. Using a computer I am too caught up in the note making process.

Few lawyers I know make computer notes during a trial when they are conducting examinations and cross-examinations. 

Within our office the three of us who go to court all prefer making handwritten notes. Jeff says there are studies that say handwritten notes are better.

Brandi spoke of remembering better when making notes by hand.

My son, Jonathan, says he makes notes either by handwriting or on his laptop. If he is assisting another lawyer he will make them on the computer as it is easier for senior counsel to read notes off the screen. 

Most Saskatchewan judges still make notes by hand. 

As a sports reporter I equally make handwritten notes. In the pressbox I find it easier to highlight and find important notes if they are handwritten.

I have tried making notes on the computer at trials and found I had to go back to handwritten notes. There is something in my brain that prefers handwriting notes of a live event.


  1. There is a powerful connection between thought and handwritten notes, Bill, and I can see why you prefer handwriting for a lot of things. Certainly I can imagine that, during testimony, you'd prefer to make notes by hand rather than on a laptop. And fountain pens are a special form of pen. There's just something about them. As for me, my handwriting is completely illegible. When I do use handwriting, I print. But for just about everything else (except for personal notes that might send with a gift or something), I word process. It's important to me that whoever reads what I wrote should actually be able to decipher it!

    1. Margot: Thanks for your comments. I understand your need to word process. Understanding what is written is critical! I knew a student in law school whose writing was so hard to read he would have to take each exam to the professor for each class and read it aloud.