Monday, October 20, 2014

I Still Have Time to Enter the Gates of Hell

I'm trying not to fall asleep as it's only 7:20pm and I only slept four or five hours last night. Sitting down isn't really a good option here, but that's too bad. I really don't feel like doing dishes, stacking books on the bookshelf, or vacuuming. So, here we are.

I've been listening to Dan Brown's 'Inferno.' I like when an author is compelling enough to get me to look at art and read other books. Brown's book makes me wonder if I should read Dante's 'Divine Comedy' after this. I mean, Brown even says, through his character Robert Langdon, that I should study this book as though it's the Bible. Really? I'm not sure I want to read it or listen to it, let alone study it.

There are a huge number of art pieces that derive from Dante's work. I remember seeing Botticelli's painting in an art history class. I wasn't particularly fond of that one or others like it. They were just too icky. Yup. I wished that the professor would just stand up in front of the class and tell us that it was okay to be revolted by what I was seeing because it made my stomach feel as though it was full of worms.

I try to read the classics. I do. I've read Herman Melville, Ralph Ellison, the Bronte sisters, Austen, Steinbeck, Stegner, Shelley, Shakespeare, Stoker, Orwell, Tolkien, Alcott, Bradbury, Twain, Salinger, Pirsig, Hersey, Hugo, Henry James, Verne, and even Homer. Yes, it took the voice of Ian McKellen to get me through 'The Oddessy' and it was wonderful for it.

This is what I get for studying engineering in college. I'm stuck feeling like I have an incomplete education, but I didn't have classes to tell me what I was supposed to think either. I liked 'Moby Dick,' especially learning how a whale is rendered right on the ship and the danger of it all, but Melville needed an editor. Seriously. There were places in that book where I checked out no matter how many times I went back over it. I liked the Bronte sisters work but I only tolerated Austen. I don't know why. I even read 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' and the Bible. I have to tell you that the Bible was really, really, seriously hard for me to get through. There was so much smiting and revenge. And what is it about Leviticus? Yuck. Where is the love, people?

My favorite of the classics was 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison. Why isn't this on the goodreads list? Why? And why is 'Lord of the Flies' listed twice? You know, I tried counting how many of the 100 classic I've read, but I got bored about half way through the list. I think I cheated a little by reading 'Travels with Charley' by John Steinbeck instead of 'Pearl' or 'Grapes of Wrath.' I still have time though. I'm not done reading yet.

So, do I need to read Dante? Do I really? Can't I just read 'Lord of the Flies' instead? I'm worried that my own levels of hell will come to mind if I spend two or three weeks in Dante's hell. I will tell you that I've worked seriously to get to the level of purgatory where I currently reside. I'm not quite in paradise, but I'm seriously out of the depths of hell I endured when I was a kid, a teenager, and a young woman.

I'll let you know what I decide in the end. I still have time.

Thank you for listening, jb

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