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lgpiper

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 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
On The Beach (Vintage Classics)
Nevil Shute Norway
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett
Obscure Destinies
Willa Cather
A Start in Life (The Michael Cullen Novels)
Alan Sillitoe
Mobilizing Web Sites: Strategies for Mobile Web Implementation
Kristofer Layon

Tom Swift and His Wireless Message: or, the castaways of Earthquake island

Tom Swift and His Wireless Message: or, the castaways of Earthquake island - Victor Appleton I had friends who were into Tom Swift, but somehow I never read a single Tom Swift book. I figured I shouldn't go to my grave before I had read at least one. It turns out, not surprisingly in retrospect, that the Tom Swift series is another creation by Edward Stratemeyer, the same guy who came up with the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, the Rover Boys and the Bobbsey Twins. Basically, Stratemeyer would come up with outlines, and them con some poor, impoverished slob into filling out the text, like Leslie McFarlane , who wrote the Hardy Boys from necessity, apparently hating it all the while.

Anyway, back to Tom Swift. The kid is an inventor par excellence. In this story, he helps out another inventor build an air ship, which crashes on a desert island. Tom saves the day by turning some of the "electrical apparatus" salvaged from the crashed airship into a wireless radio. It reminded me of my youth when I was a radio ham...well, the part about sending out messages in Morse code.
So, I'm guessing most Tom Swift books are pretty similar. Tom does something clever and inventive and saves people from disaster.

The books, like the Hardy Boys (I've not read any of the other Stratemeyer series) are simple, fast paced and somewhat incongruous. Great writing you won't get. But if you like action and don't mind a heavy dollop of implausibility, you could do worse than Tom Swift (or the Hardy Boys for that matter). I mean, what's not to like about young boys with gadgets (or motorcycles and motorboats)?