In times of trouble I often return to my favorite piece of fiction, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Is it a great book? I have no idea; I haven’t read nearly enough fiction to say. Is it deeply flawed? Oh, yes, even I can see that. We’ll get to the flaws by and by (as Huck might say). Is it racist? I’m no authority and can’t say, but quite frankly race doesn’t interest me much. What does interest me is individuality. As Tom Hanks says in Joe vs. the Volcano, “I don’t have any people of my own, Chief. I’m my only hope for a hero.” And this idea of finding the hero inside yourself draws me to Huck like a catfish to corn pone. Or something like that. It’s that attribute of Huck’s character that I hope to explore.

Why finally write a series of entries about my favorite book? And why on a science blog, of all places? Mostly because I hope to learn something, about the book and about myself. I’ve contrasted Huck Finn to the biblical Abraham, as well as to Ahab of Moby-Dick fame. Now it’s time for Huck to have the page all to himself. Maybe I’ll discover why I keep returning to him. Or maybe I’ll just have a good time writing about rafting and fishing and lazying in the Sun. Let’s see what happens . . .

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