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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

The Jovial Ghosts: The Misadventures of Topper

The Jovial Ghosts: The Misadventures of Topper - Thorne Smith My spouse got hold of a set of 100 more-or-less mystery movies from the 1930s and 1940s. One of them was called Topper Returns. It was hilariously funny. Then I had a vague recollection that the Topper TV show that ran back during the Eisenhower administration was amusing as well. But who can really remember much from the days when Republicans still believed in facts and thought there was some merit in having a competently run government, you know, simple stuff like paved roads, functioning sewers, and decent public schools? Whatever, I figured I'd look up the origin of such nonsense, and this was it.

Mostly, this book is merely entitled Topper, but some editions are called the The Jovial Ghosts: The Misadventures of Topper. That was the title of the edition I read. It was a decent enough book and mildly amusing, but not deathless literature.

Anyway, Cosmo Topper is a drudge who works in a bank and lives a very ordered and boring life with a cat, whom he adores, and a neurotic spouse, who is dull and boring and who basically manipulates Topper via her "indigestion". In a very mild bit of defiance, Topper decides to buy a flashy car and learn to drive. The car was once owned by a fun-loving pair named George and Marion Kerby. But one day, they had a fatal meeting with a tree that had been inappropriately placed just past the end of a bridge.

Shortly after passing his driving test, Topper goes for a jaunt, crosses the bridge, passes the tree, and next thing you know, he's hearing voices, finding the car difficult to control, and so forth. It turns out, that George and Marion, living as ghosts on a low plane, have joined him in the car. Over time they have many silly adventures, most of which involve rather a lot of drinking.

Mostly this is frivolous humor, but with occasional sage observations on the human condition. It's just the thing to read, if one needs a break from more meaty literature for a bit. Not that I've indulged in much meaty stuff recently.