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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

Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens It seems that I'm destined to read all of Dickens...eventually. So, I can now check off yet another of his lengthy, but engaging stories. This is the third of his novels, and the eighth or ninth one I've read. Dickens can be a bit long winded at times, but he never fails to entertain.

As with most Dickens that I've read, we have the struggle between good and evil, between malevolent and benign. Nicholas Nickelby is a young gentleman whose father lost his fortune. He, his mother (who is so silly that she makes Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice seem like a sane, rational, intelligent woman) and his sister (obviously intelligent, lovely, and saintly, right?) are thrown upon the good graces, so to speak, of Nicholas uncle Ralph, the avaricious brother of his father. Ralph is a miser and usurer who doesn't do anything without thought of personal gain. So he farms Nicholas out as an assistant schoolmaster at a boarding school in Yorkshire. The sister is sent to work for a dress maker. Naturally, both endeavors are somewhat sketchy.

So, we have a long, engaging tale of Nicholas' slow rise in fortunes and Ralph's slow descent into the pit, so to speak. Along the way, we meet all manner of strange characters, the good and righteous ones eventually succeeding and living lives of happiness and good fellowship, and the malevolent ones, failing. But the victory of good over evil is not at all obvious until we near the end. Before then, we've oodles of worries and tension. Dickens is rather a nineteenth-century version of a sit-com. The episodes appeared at regular intervals, and Dickens' readers found themselves totally engaged in finding out what happened next.