Dante, by R.W.B Lewis, is about his seeking, finding and defining himself at every turn in this literary history. He becomes fascinated with the mythic Beatrice, the lyric poet obsessed with life and death, the grand master of dramatic narrative and allegory.
Lewis writes of Dante’s wandering the Tuscan hills to his time as a young soldier fighting for democracy, his love for his civic duties, his literary ambitions, his religion and for Beatrice who he considers. We learn of the politics Florentine politics the led to the Dante’s banishment from his native city.
Dante as a person shows his dark feelings about those who persecute him where he uses the word Purgatorio to promise vengeance as the ultimate poetic justice and predicts their depravity will be exposed in the end.
Lewis has in a small book made the life of Dante a revealing and easy to read biography.
Quote by Dante
…….and thence we issued forth to see again the stars
The secret of getting things done is to act!
There is no greater sorrow Than to be mindful of the happy time In misery.
Do not be afraid; our fate Cannot be taken from us; it is a Gift.
The path to paradise begins in hell .
The more a thing is perfect, the more it feels pleasure and pain.
In Cross Fire Alex Cross is going after a sniper who is assassinating corrupt politicians and judges. Leaks to the press by the sniper has divided public opinion with some thinking the sniper is a hero rather than a murderer. The killings are in the jurisdiction of the Washington Metro Police Department (MPD) and the FBI. Max Siegel, an FBI agent, is assigned to this case and a turf battle begins.
Kyle Craig was previously sent to prison through the efforts of Cross and he surfaces planning to kill Alex and his entire family. The book starts out telling us: “It had been months since Kyle Craig had killed a man. Once upon a time, he’d been the type who needed everything yesterday, if not sooner. But no more. If years of hellish solitude in ADX Florence in Colorado had taught him nothing else, it was how to wait for what he wanted.”
Kyle Craig’s is a considered to be very smart, even a mastermind. Now that he is out of prison, he creates a plan to get revenge by getting close to Cross and even his family. He also finds his way into the sniper case that no one sees coming.
The sniper killings and Craig’s return all come at a time when Cross is planning his wedding to Brianna Stone. The storyline is complex and gives us a view of Washington DC and the homeless population who are part of the plot.
This book is #17 in the Alex Cross series.
“Beware the anger of a patient man.” James Patterson
Viet Thanh Nguyen starts his book, The Sympathizer, saying: “I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds. I am not some misunderstood mutant from a comic book or a horror movie, although some have treated me as such. I am simply able to see any issue from both sides.”
The novel gives us a important and unfamiliar perspective on the war from the point of view of a conflicted communist sympathizer who is a Captain in the South Vietnam army.
The story begins in 1975 with Saigon in chaos. A general in the South Vietnam army is deciding who will get seats on one of the last planes. His trusted Captain, whose name we never learn, is a double agent and the trusted assistant to the general. They make it to Los Angeles and start their new lives but the Captain is secretly reporting on the group to the leadership of the Viet Cong.
The Captain is the books narrator. He had a Vietnamese mother, and French Catholic priest father and was raised in Vietnam but attended college in the U.S.
The book gives a different focus to this war and the events that followed it.
“If youth was not wasted, how could it be youth?” ...
“I could live without television, but not without books.” ...
“We don't succeed or fail because of fortune or luck. ...
“While it is better to be loved than hated, it is also far better to be hated than ignored.”
Joe Leaphorn is a former, now retired, Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn. Joes last case went unsolved and the thoughts about it still haunt him. He finds a picture of a rug that seems to be identical to what he felt was a one-of-a-kind rug that had been destroyed by fire in the still unsolved crime he just couldn’t forget. The rug was considered priceless and commemorated a terrible time in the American Indian history. The rug was felt to be cursed. The picture had been brought to Joe’s attention by a man that has now gone missing. It seems like a murderer could still be on the loose.
Joe’s former colleagues officers Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito just back from their honeymoon or else Joe would have asked them right off to get involved but instead sets out to learn what he can about who owns the house and rug in the picture. Another officer is sent to check first and he winds up dead seeming to just run off the road on the way back.
Tony Hillerman doesn’t disappoint us with the twists and turns of this story. The Shape Shifter is Hillerman’s eighteenth crime fiction novel in the Joe Leaphorn & Jim Chee Navajo Tribal Police series, first published in 2006.
Quotes by Tony Hillerman
“From where we stand the rain seems random. ...
“Everything is connected. ...
“IF you are not for yourself, who will be for you? ...
“Terrible drought, crops dead, sheep dying. ...
“An author knows his landscape best; he can stand around, smell the wind, get a feel for his place.
Harlan Coben is well known for his writing style of misdirection and catching readers off guard, his new book, “Run Away” is a masterpiece bringing unexpected twists to this mystery.
Simon Greene is a successful Wall Street executive and his wife Ingrid is a successful pediatrician. They have three kids but the oldest, Paige, recently quite college and disappeared. Simon saw his daughter, now a drug addict playing the guitar and panhandling in Central Park. She runs. Simon chases her but is confronted by her boyfriend who is also an addict named Aaron. Both Aaron and Paige get away. The confrontation is captured on video and it goes viral and Simon looks bad. It isn’t long before Aaron is found beaten to death and Simon is a suspect. Both Simon and his wife, Ingrid, focuses on finding Paige.
Several story-lines are also unfolding. One has to do with a Chicago-based private investigator named Elena Ramirez, who is searching for another missing person and several other cases are taking place in Boston and New Jersey. It becomes clear that the cases are connected but it is a surprise when it all becomes clear.
“Most religious people don’t believe the dogma, Ash. We take from it what we want, we discard what we don’t. We form whatever narrative we like—kind God, vengeful God, active God, laid-back God, whatever. We just make sure we get something out of it. Maybe we get life everlasting while people we resent burn for eternity. Maybe we get something more concrete—money, a job, friends. You just change the narrative.”
“Terrific," Simon said. "The psychos are on my side.”
“This is for Jersey, the good dog, who would be happy to share this bench with you”
“And bad stays. Bad doesn't go away. You bury bad, it digs itself out. You throw bad in the middle of the ocean, it comes back at you like a tidal wave.”
“Love your parents - while we are busy growing up, they are growing old.”
“Truth is truth. By definition. Anything else is a lie.”
Julia Camerson says of her book, “The Artist’s Way”, that it is the quasi-spiritual manual for “creative recovery.”
The book, first published in 1992, explores what creativity is. It suggests two approaches to finding that self. The first is what she refers to as “Morning Pages” which are a stream of consciousness approach to writing where there is no right or wrong way to do it, just three pages of whatever is on your mind. She tells us that this organizes your thoughts and ideas.
The second approach is to take your “inner artist” on a date once a week and do something you enjoy and want to do. The effort is a creative expression.
Camerson said of her approach to teaching that: “My students don’t get lectured to. I think they feel safe. Rather than try and fix themselves, they learn to accept themselves. I think my work makes people autonomous. I feel like people fall in love with themselves.”
Now 70, she lives in a adobe house in Santa Fe, overlooking an acre of scrub and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. A must read for the creative mind.
“Most of us are not raised to actively encounter our destiny. ...
“In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. ...
“As you move toward a dream, the dream moves toward you.” ...
“Leap, and the net will appear.”
“In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me.”