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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

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
The Way Some People Die
Ross Macdonald
Envy of Angels
Matt Wallace
The Fellowship of the Frog
Edgar Wallace
Code of Conduct (The Jani Kilian Chronicles Book 1)
Kristine Smith
A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton


Cathedral - Nelson DeMille A lady perusing the offerings at my church fair's book table pretty much insisted that I take a book by this guy. Eventually I gave in and did so. I'm not sure why it was so important to her, but it was. I also have no idea why she was so chatty and insistent with a strange, bearded, old man. It's not always just the bearded, old men who are the creepy ones.

I dunno, this is not really my kind of book. It's about a fringe band of IRA rebels who take over a cathedral in downtown New York as the St. Patrick's Day parade was winding down, and the serious partying was about to begin. They have hostages with them, including a British diplomat, a Roman Catholic Cardinal and the ex-girlfriend of the leader of the IRA rebels, who herself has left the group and is now a peace activist. When they talk to the hostage negotiator, they say that either a boatload of their friends in British prisons be released, or they'll kill the hostages and blow up the cathedral.

So, we have hundreds and hundreds of pages of dick swinging negotiations between the rebels and the civil authorities on the outside; dick swinging in all interactions between the various individuals or groups on each side, e.g. NYC police, National Guard, State police, the mayor's office, the governor's office, and so forth. The only characters who aren't dick swinging are the hostage cardinal and priest, both of whom are cardboard robots programmed to spout churchy sounding things when directly addressed, but otherwise disengaged from any kind of pastoral-care duties other than being willing to sit for confession if so begged. They are also disengaged from reality, kinda like the archbishop who recently declared that he was unaware that sex between adults and children was a crime.

It's actually not a bad book if you have the mentality of a 14-year old boy, i.e. love weapons porn, military-logistics porn, tough talk, and mindless killing. It boggles my mind that in a country where half the people pretend to be pro-life, that they are also enamored by this kind of mindless violence. We've become a nation of schizophrenics.