Quote of the Week

“Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say, “behold!’
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.”

A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. Act I, Sc. 1, Line 132.

By William Shakespeare [1564-1616].

Pulled from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett. Published by Little, Brown and Company 1955 Page 141.

[Review] The Voyage of the Morning Light by Marina Endicott

Publisher and Publication Date: W. W. Norton Company. June 2, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 400.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of sea adventures, sister relationships, travel, and romance.
Rating: Good.

Link @ Amazon

Summary:

Thea and Kay are half sisters. They have the same father but different mothers. Thea is the older sister by several years. She is the older sister but also like a mother to Kay. Both of their mothers died when they were young. Their father recently died.
When the story begins it is 1911. The sisters are in Nova Scotia. Thea is a newlywed. Her husband is the commander of the ship, Morning Light. The sisters join Francis during his first command of the ship. Their travels will take them around the world.
Kay is a young girl of 12. While they are in Micronesia, Thea adopts a young boy and he joins the family. Kay has mixed feelings about this decision. Her feelings continue through the years until the story ends.

My Thoughts:

It is rare to come across a sea adventure story; and especially to find a story of two sisters experiencing a sea adventure and traveling around the world. This reason alone makes The Voyage of the Morning Light a standalone in historical fiction. This is the first reason why I love this story: it is a unique story and a unique environment for two females.
2. I love reading all the details related by Kay of what she saw and experienced. Life on board the ship. The waves, storms, and the various colors of the ocean. Sea life. The islands, including the people who lived there. The Anglo-Western people who lived on the islands or continents. They were often missionaries, teachers, and pastors.
3. Kay is a strong-willed and intelligent young girl. Her personality and Thea’s more Victorian thought and behavior caused friction. They are two females from different generations.
4. The sisters love one another but their relationship led to disagreements and strife. So in this story there is a family-sister theme.
5. Thea is a newly married woman who has a focus of pleasing her husband. I saw through Kay’s eyes marriage and family during this era.
6. I understand a little better the Western thought and attitude versus people who were not.

What I did not like about the story is the rushed feel towards the last part of the book. They return to life on land. Francis joins the war during World War I. Kay grows up. The story had moved at a steady pace in order to understand the characters and their individual stories. The last part of the book felt rushed, and I felt rushed and wanted to skip the whole last part except for the boy who had been adopted by Thea. Lastly, he alone should have his own story.

Themes in the story: perseverance, courage, bravery, acceptance, family honor, circle of life, honor, romance, marriage, pregnancy, resistance, conformity, hope, and tolerance.

[Review] Walking The Invisible: Following in the Brontë’s Footsteps by Michael Stewart

Publisher and Publication Date: HQ. An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd. June 24th 2021.
Genre: Nonfiction.
Pages: 288.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Brontë fans.
Rating: Good to very good.

Michael Stewart’s website and Goodreads author page.

Amazon link

Summary:

Michael Stewart takes the readers on a walking tour through Brontë country and weaves in the life stories of each of the Brontë family members in the process.
The book begins with Patrick Brontë and ends with Anne Brontë’s death (1849). Actually, the last chapter in this book is the background story of Shirley. Shirley is the last book published (1849) before Charlotte Brontë’s death (1855).

My Thoughts:

I have several thoughts:
1. Walking The Invisible is a book a Brontë fan will cherish. A person who is not a devoted fan of the Brontë clan will not be drawn to the book. It is a worthy book to add to a collection of Brontë stories and nonfiction accounts.
2. The front and back cover illustrations for the book is one of my favorites! I love it. Bravo!
3. I expected Walking The Invisible to focus on Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. I have been pleasantly surprised the book also shares the lives of the father, Patrick, and the son, Branwell. Branwell has been a little bit of a mystery for me. In the past, he came across as temperamental and troubled. I understand him a little better because of the new information and insight given by Stewart.
4. The writings of Patrick and Branwell are examined.
5. Through the eyes of Stewart I saw Haworth, the pub Branwell frequented, the school Emily taught, and Ponden Kirk.
6. I read several years ago the biography book Elizabeth Gaskell wrote about Charlotte Brontë . I am surprised the book is thought of by some people as an unfair view of the family especially towards Branwell. The book is titled, The Life of Charlotte Brontë . I’ve included the image of my edition below.
7. Walking The Invisible does not focus on a certain experience or memory for each of the Brontë family members. I consider this book to be a broad view touching on each of them.
8. I believe this is an impartial book (for the most part). However, Stewart does not like or agree with the book written about Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell.
9. The last part of the book is about five walking tours including delicious illustrations.
10. Walking The Invisible includes those who walk along with Stewart on a walking tour. I disliked this the most. I don’t know these travelers, I do not have an interest in them, and do not believe they add to the book over-all.

Quote of the Week

“Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.”

The Brothers Karamazov. Part II, Book VI, Chapter 3 by Fyodor Dostoyevsky [1821-1881]

Quote pulled from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett. Published by Little, Brown and Company in 1955. Page 618.

[Review] The Divine Comedy, The Inferno by Dante Alighieri, translated by John Ciardi

Publisher and Publication Date: New American Library. 2003. First published 1320.
Genre: Epic poem.
Pages: 928. 295 pages in The Inferno.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of classics.
Rating: Excellentia!

Goodreads author page for Dante Alighieri

This review will be for The Inferno. I have not read The Purgatorio or The Paradiso (yet) in this one volume book.

This book is read for my list in The Classics Club.
This book is also read for the Chunkster Reading Challenge 2021. I will only count this book once as the total book or volume is 928 pages. The Inferno including all the preceding chapters is 295 pages.
This book is also for Back to the Classics 2021-a book written in another language and thus translated to English.

Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321

For further reading or listening:
Britannica
Biography
Catholic Answers, an encyclopedia.
Researchomatic, an essay.


Summary and My Thoughts:

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). At the time of these poems he is 35.

Dante had been expelled from Florence, Italy with the charges of being a grafter. A grafter is a person who has been dishonest or has taken advantage of another for gain or profit. For example, money or power. In addition, Dante believed he was guilty of pride (this will be brought out in The Purgatorio). And, his sin set the poems in motion. It is because of his sin that he is in the “dark wood of Error.” The first Canto is aptly titled, “The Dark Wood of Error.”

I’d be lost without the “How to Read Dante”, “Translator’s Note”, “Introduction”, and explanatory notes. I’d done a little research on who is the best translator for the poems. I settled on John Ciardi. Another benefit to this edition is all three are in one volume.

It is a narrative type poem. It is an allegory.

The Inferno has 34 Cantos.

There are several themes. The theme most recognizable in the poem, The Inferno, is it is a journey. A journey down into The Inferno. The poem begins with the descent. It ends with the climb out of it.

The Inferno has several themes (actually packed with themes), symbols, and lessons.

Some of the themes are sin, death, perseverance, courage, bravery, justice, good and evil, suffering, judgment, temptation, self-control, grief, pride, and greed.

I believe if a reader is a Christian that person will see or understand things that a person who is not a believer will not notice, especially if the reader is Catholic.

A few favorite quotes:

1. “The light was departing. The brown air drew down all the earth’s creatures, calling them to rest from their day-roving, as I, one man alone,

prepared myself to face the double war of the journey and the pity, which memory shall here set down, nor hesitate, nor err.”

From lines 1-6 in the first Canto.

2. “‘No soul in Grace comes ever to this crossing; therefore if Charon rages at your presence you will understand the reason for his cursing.’

When he had spoken, all the twilight country shook so violently, the terror of it bathes me with sweat even in memory:

the tear-soaked ground gave out a sigh of wind that spewed itself in flame on a red sky, and all my shattered senses left me. Blind,

like one whom sleep comes over in a swoon, I stumbled into darkness and went down.”

From lines 124-134 in the third Canto.

3. “He said to me: ‘You will soon see arise what I await, and what you wonder at; soon you will see the thing before your eyes.’

To the truth which will seem falsehood every man who would not be called a liar while speaking fact should learn to seal his lips as best he can.”

From lines 121-126 in Canto 16.

Final Thoughts:

1. Dante is joined by other famous poets.

2. Dante sees interesting souls of those he knew and some he didn’t know but were infamous. For example, a few popes.

3. Those he saw are known by their sin.

4. Beasts or monsters are met on the journey.

5. There is a listing of sins and their level as to which ones are worse, etc.

6. I can understand why people do not read Dante’s works. They are daunting and intimidating. However, they are not impossible to read but only a challenge.

7. Gruesome scenes are described in several Cantos of biting, chewing, and the devouring of bodies.

8. There is a sinister feel to some of the souls and those Dante encounters.

9. The Inferno is not a feel-good happy story. It is not a romantic type story. It is serious, powerful, and memorable.

I have a question: Explain how there is a frozen lake in hell?