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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

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Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
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M.C. Beaton
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Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
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Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
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Nevil Shute Norway
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Dashiell Hammett
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The Sapphire

The Sapphire - A.E.W. Mason This was an interesting enough story. It concerns the lives of Martin Legatt and Michael D. Crowther. Legatt is a young man who works for a logging concern in the forests of Burma. Crowther is the captain of a river boat that takes people up and down the Irrawaddy River between Rangoon and the inner depths of Burma (now Myanmar). Crowther has a Burmese "wife" and a young daughter.

Legatt meets Crowther on his trip down river and back to England for a time. They stop for a short time at the village where Crowther's wife and child live. Crowther goes off the boat to spend a short period of time with them, but then leaves them in a way that appears to cause distress (to the Burmese wife and child).

When Crowther gets back on his boat he shows Legatt the bag of "treasures" he has taken from his wife for safe keeping. He claims there are bands of robbers active in the area and he'll keep them safe. But he is surprised to find that there is a large, flawless square sapphire in the bag along with all the trinkets he had given his wife.

So begins the tale of the sapphire. It appears to be a gem cursed. It gets stolen from one owner and then stolen from the next. Sometimes violence or threatened violence accompanies it.

The stone was compacted by an earthquake on a night of eclipse. It was accursed. Its setting was misery, not platinum, and the spark which gleamed in it was the very soul of malevolence.


Crowther, who loses it first, vows to track it down and bring it back. But first, we follow the off and on again interactions between Crowther and Legatt. Legatt is the narrator of the tale, so it's mostly his tale, with Crowther showing up off and on. The Sapphire brings Legatt to his eventually spouse, Imogen Cloud, carries him to gambling dens and all manner of things that went on in early 19th century British literature when the sun was still always shining somewhere on the British Empire.

This is an interesting enough tale, but it did seem a bit of a dated period piece. No new ground here, just a tale of the good old days when Britannia ruled the world, and manly men went off to outwit the natives in far flung locales.

I find it deeply weird that I'm the first person on GoodReads to have found and read this book.