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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

Animal Farm

Animal Farm - George Orwell This was a short, easy read. It's an allegory as to the human condition, I suppose. Basically, the animals on a farm rebel, throw out the farmer and decide to run the place themselves. At first, they work in community, agreeing that all are equal and all should have an equal say. Your basic theoretical Communist society. But then, a few of the animals, pigs in this case, take over bit by bit, begin putting on airs, begin providing extra privileges for themselves, and so forth.

While some read this as a condemnation of Communism, it's really broader than that. Any time people take unchecked power to themselves, they begin to exploit the rest of society. The lies, and brutality when necessary, that keep most of us under control exist just as much in so-called capitalist societies as in communist ones, in religious societies, even so-called Christian ones, as in secular societies. What's needed, of course, is a strong system of checks and balances, a system that is difficult to set up and difficult to maintain. Even in the U.S., which prides itself on such a system, it's been breaking down rather rapidly the past few years. Just lie unrelentingly until you get most people buying into a bogus "War on Terror", and you can take away all manner of privileges from the "lower classes" and extract all manner of extra costs from them. Yeah, even in the good old USofA, the pigs are putting themselves back in control. Who'd have ever believed the we'd find ourselves waxing nostalgic about the good old days when we had presidents with the moral integrity of Richard Nixon managing our futures?