The Dante Club

A Book Review by Dianne Bynum

I’m struggling with the rating for this book. It was fun and I enjoyed the characters but the writing really got it the way. I’ve read the expression, “This book could have used a good editor.” and I’ve never understood it until now. The plot was imaginative and interesting, the characters – quirky and fun, but I caught myself wishing that the book had ended long before it did. So many elements of the plot were spelled out so literally that I wanted to scream, “I get it!” Dante is the important but never present character in the book and it is obvious he’s revered by the author, Matthew Pearl. He didn’t miss a chance to glorify the man and his writing until the reader begins to tire of hearing his name. There are too many incidental characters that aren’t important to the story and they muddle the fun. I’ve been curious about Dante ever since reading Dan Brown’s Inferno but they’re both 3-star books. So “Abandon hope” if you enter this book, it’s not worth the trip.

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“Mobituaries”

Book Review

My close friends, family and regular readers know I have a fascination with death which includes careful reading of obituaries. I don’t see it as morbid. I see it as a window into life, but be that as it may, it is no surprise that I received the book “Mobituaries” for Christmas this year. The book by Mo Rocca was just published and it is a delight to read. It really is not about obituaries, but about people and things that Rocca believes did not receive the sendoff they had coming. Some examples are dragons, Medieval science, Lawrence Welk and the station wagon.

I recommend this book for easy, fun reading. It is over three hundred pages of humor and history. I learned new information and was guided to look at old information in a different light. The book is well researched with all consulted works documented.

Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and host of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation. He is a frequent panelist on NPR and has done acting on Broadway and writing for TV including The Daily Show.

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Haiku by Dogs?

Thank you to the readers who took the Haiku challenge! You did a superb job writing your Haiku and it was fun.

Imagine if your dog could talk to you. Or even better what if he/she could write Haiku like you? One reader pointed out the book below written by Jamie Coleman. I took a look on Amazon and found it intriguing. I think it would be a good holiday gift for any dog or Haiku lover! Here’s a sample from within the pages:

You may take my balls
But I will lick what remains
And then, dear, your face

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The Un-lived Year

The Un-lived Year – Author Unknown

Midnight strikes, and the old year’s gone. We close the tablets we’ve written on. And torn ‘twixt hope and doubt and fear, we open the book of the Un-lived year!

An Un-lived year! Ah, stained with tears are the well-thumbed volumes of other years! Soiled by blunders and black regret are the pages we read with eyelids wet.

But fresh in our hands once more is laid a clean, new book by the Master made. Unmarred are the pages lying there — Twelve new chapters fresh and fair.

It is ours to write the daily tale, of how we conquer – or how we fail; Of struggle and effort and hope that makes like a song in the heart, when the bright day breaks. 

Yes, fresh in our hands with the title clear, is the challenge now of an Un-lived year!


This poem was a favorite of my Mom’s and she read it aloud to me each New Year’s Eve. I am sorry that I do not know its author. 

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Minnie Alice Sea Baugh Harp

Book Review – The Little Professor of Piney Woods

Inspiring Story

Over this past weekend, I read a book recommended to me by a fellow blogger, Christine Goodnough. You might want to check out her blog. https://christinegoodnough.com We’ve never met, but I enjoy the posts of this prolific writer in Canada. 

The book, written by Beth Day, was published in 1955 and is entitled “The Little Professor of Piney Woods.” It is about a young black man right out of college who opens a school in the deep woods of Mississippi in the early twentieth century. Laurence Jones’ obstacles were many, but he persevered and that school is still in operation today.

The story is folksy, happy, sad and at times maddening, but well worth the read if you like history and happy endings. I recommend it.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_C._Jones

http://www.pineywoods.org

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Book Review – Ghost Girls

Book Review

Recently I read the true story of young women who lost their health and their lives due to exposure to radium on their jobs. Several aspects of this tragedy stand out in my mind, but especially the fact that girls were hired as young as thirteen to work six days a week. Throughout the years that followed they were still referred to as “girls” no matter their ages. The radium dial companies they worked for kept important information about the dangers of radium from them and treated them as expendable. These young women had no way to know that the pretty glow that showed on their clothes, hair, and bodies was slowly poisoning them. 

As they suffered tooth loss, amputations, sarcomas and extreme pain these brave women eventually fought courageously for the truth and for monetary compensation. Their suffering and their efforts resulted in workplace regulations still in place today and even safeguards in the manufacture of the atomic bomb. 

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I highly recommend “The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore. The story begins around 1917 and covers the WWI and WWII eras and well into the 1970s. The results of the courage of these “ghost girls” protect us all even today in the 21st Century.  


 “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of.” Bethany Hamilton

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay