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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

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

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower - C.S. Forester When I was a kid, my parents' friends, the Bricelands moved to Sparta Lake, NJ. We visited them there a number of times. My older brother, Hal, and their son, Allen, were enamored at the time with the stories of Horatio Hornblower. Hornblower sailed the seas for Her Majesty's Royal Navy back in the 1790s, fighting the French, Spanish, and Barbary Pirates. Something like that. Anyway, Hal and Allen seemed to think the stories were oh so fascinating. I was too young to read myself, and was intensely jealous.

Somehow, I never came across Hornblower after I was able to read competently, at least not until now. My friends in Canada have released the first of the Hornblower "novels" to the public domain. That is, the first in terms of Hornblower's life adventures, not the first actually to have been published. This book tells how he began his life at sea, but it was published some 13 years after the first book in the series, and another five or six books after that. So naturally, international criminal that I am, I snagged myself a copy. Bless the Canadians.

I used the word "novel" in quotes because this isn't so much a novel as a collection of short stories. The stories are chronological, in terms of the life of Hornblower, but there's really no significant thread wending through them, other than Hornblower gets older and more experienced with each adventure, and some tales have some characters that appeared in earlier ones. But, wikipedia says the Hornblower books are novels, so who am I to say differently?

Whatever, there are some books for 11-12-year old boys that are still worth reading in one's later years, such as Penrod or Tom Sawyer, and some, like Hornblower, that can't retain their interest for more mature, jaded folks. This book didn't much excite me, and I doubt I'll be looking for other Hornblower books any time soon. Were I allowed to give plusses and minuses, I'd put a minus on the 3*s. The book wasn't odious, but not all that interesting either.