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Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas
Jules Verne
The Spirit of the Border
Zane Grey
Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)
Beverly Cleary
The Underground Man (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Ross Macdonald
Delilah of the Snows
Harold Bindloss
Mrs. Miniver
Jan Struther
Betsy-Tacy Treasury (P.S.)
Maud Hart Lovelace
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace

No Hero

No Hero - John P. Marquand While I was searching for Charlie Chan, I discovered a cache of Mr. Moto books on the Canadian Gutenberg site (Charlie Chan comes from the Australian Gutenberg site). Anyway, I had some vague recollections of, or references to anyway, Mr. Moto from my childhood and thought perhaps he was similar to Charlie Chan, albeit Japanese instead of Chinese American. Nope, Charlie is an American police detective, albeit of Chinese extraction. Mr. Moto, on the other hand is a Japanese spy working for the glory of Imperial Japan in the 1930s.

The protagonist of this book is actually not Mr. Moto, but an American aviator, K. C. Lee. He is in Tokyo, expecting to fly across the Pacific in a publicity stunt arranged to advertise a tobacco company. But the flight falls through, and K.C., who has become rather a disreputable drunk, whines and complains and blames his troubles on his home country, i.e. America. Mr. Moto happens to overhear him and thinks perhaps he can get K.C. to help him find some secret naval plans that have gone missing. He, Mr. Moto, gets a beautiful white Russian ex-pat who grew up in Northern China to vamp K.C. and see if he might be recruited to help find the missing plans. Needless there's lots of skullduggery and attempts to kill K.C. and others and it all ends "adequately" for all sides.

While Mr. Moto is a spy, he is a polite one. He doesn't hold any animosity toward the people he's working against. It's almost like the old-fashioned view of sports from the Victorian era, you fight like hell for the victory, then go off at the end to have tea together, the best of friends, hoping for another "good show" another day. Or something like that. I'm vaguely undecided whether I'll read the next Mr. Moto or not, but likely I well. The story is well plotted and well written.