Inferno ~ The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

The Inferno DanteNel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, ché la diritta via era smarrita.” (Midway in life’s journey I strayed from the path and became lost in a dark wood.)

And so begins Dante Alighieri’s 14th century magnum opus, The Divine Comedy, which includes the books Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, telling of his travels through the depths of Hell and the mountain of Purgatory to discover the bliss of the Heavenly realms.

I attempted to review Inferno after my second read of it, yet never was able to put my thoughts together.  This time I was determined but without much more inspiration, however I believe I discovered why this poem is so difficult to review.  In essence, it is not only a poem; it is a story, it is history; it’s a science; it is a theological treatise, it is a creation.  As in the other two books, there are so many allusions and so many connections that Dante interweaves into them that, as modern readers, we become a little lost in a dark wood.  It’s like looking at a puzzle and having to see all the pieces individually before you can see the whole.  Without a knowledge of Italian, we can struggle; without a knowledge of medieval scientific theory, we can struggle, without a knowledge of Catholicism we can struggle.  But in spite of some of these challenges in this magnificent work, we can still see some of the pictures that Dante painted for us with bold strokes of artistic creativity.

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The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

The Secret of Chimneys Agatha Christie

Detective: Superintendent Battle of Scotland Yard

Published: 1925 (6th published book)

Length: 314 pages

Setting:  Bulawayo Zimbabwe, London, Chimneys

Written at: during a trip to South Africa, etc.

Well, what an extraordinary silly book!!  I must say I’ve been somewhat taken aback by the early works of Agatha Christie.  Being so used to Poirot and Miss Marple, I thought those types of mysteries comprised the majority of her works, but obviously during her earlier career she set sail on a different course and the focus on her two famous sleuths came later.  Who knew?

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May ~ Hail Bounteous May!

May FlowersFor those of you poetically handicapped, like me, “hail bounteous May” is from John Milton’s poem Song on May Morning, which you can read here.  And, yipes, it also reminds me that I really need to read more poetry, which in turn reminds me that I need to hop back on my Deal Me In Challenge which has been sadly neglected recently because of other interesting pursuits.  Ah, such is life!

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The Four Loves Read-Along ~ What is Love?

What are your ideas about love?  Is love an overwhelming romantic feeling?  Can it be a decision or a duty?  Can you fall out of love?  Have you wished for a better understanding of the love of God?  Can friends love each other?  What about families and our love for them?  In English, we use the same word for all these feelings … love …. but the Greeks have different words for these feelings of love and each has its different distinctions.  Do you want to learn more?  Then please join me in my read-along of C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves for the month of June!

The Four Loves

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The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit Agatha Christie

Heroine: Ann Beddingfeld

Published: 1924 (5th published book)

Length: 381 pages

Setting: Marlow, London, Southampton, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bulawayo, island in the Zambezi

Written at: during a trip to South Africa, etc.

The Man in the Brown Suit was Agatha Christie’s fifth novel published by Bodley Head, her contract of six books almost satisfied.  With it, she deviated from a pure detective novel, bleeding into the genre of a thriller which pleased some critics and dismayed others.  Some bawled for the return of Hercule Poirot while others admired her entertaining execution.  Personally, I thought the story was delightful, a page turner from beginning to end.

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