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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


Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter This was a surprisingly good book. Pollyanna is not an insipid character. Rather, she is a strong, young woman who makes a game of finding silver linings in gray clouds. But more importantly, by her irrepressibly, she brings a town full of repressed, early 20th-century Yankees, into people who begin to find themselves able to "count their blessings" (as my grandmother might say it). Pollyanna has a glad game. When something happens, she ponders what is it about that happening for which one can be glad? Sort of along the line, "I'm glad I had my accident, because it enabled two estranged lovers to reconnect". Well, it sounds a bit silly and saccharin, but Pollyanna has a way of making it more sensible.

Referring to someone as a Pollyanna has become, in our cynical society, a rather pejorative term. We now think of Pollyannas as being mindlessly cheerful and insipid. But if people could reconnect with the original Pollyanna, perhaps they'd see that being upbeat doesn't necessarily require one to be insipid.

The only real problem I had with this book, a cognitive one on my part, is that Pollyanna was continually referred to as being a "little girl". Well, she was 11. Even as late as the 1950s, girls of 11 were only removed by a year or two from the age at which their parents could marry them off in some states (like New Hampshire, for example). It's weird how our perceptions change.