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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


Penrod - Booth Tarkington, Jonathan Yardley This is another of those books my dad said he read as a kid. Penrod is an 11-year old boy, living in the midwest a hundred years ago. He has the kinds of adventures, one presumes, that boys had back then. I expect much of it will be foreign to today's video-game boys, but us geezers who remember Eisenhower, and whose fathers were more-or-less contemporaries of Penrod, can feel some vague sense of familiarity. Whatever, it was a fun read. I may well look into snagging the second Penrod book, Penrod and Sam.

Many years ago, also at my dad's urging, I read Tarkinton's Seventeen, and didn't particularly like it. I think I was too close to being ridiculous in my first loves myself and didn't much like reading about someone else's being similarly ridiculous. I think I might be far enough removed from being a silly 11-year old that the victories and vicissitudes Penrod experienced didn't affect me so much. As always, I'm a bit appalled as how racist we all were a century ago, but then again, looking at today's Tea Party Movement, I see that some of us haven't evolved much. Still, as I mentioned, it was a fun book.

Interesting that this book is basically a series of short stories, albeit tied together from one day to the next. My previous book, The Wisdom of Father Brown, was also short stories, and I didn't much care for that format. But I think, while they contained the same central character, they didn't flow smoothly from one to the next. I doubt anyone would say Tarkington is more of a literary giant than Chesterton, but between these two books, Tarkington wins hands down.