Tag Archives: In The Hand of Dante

WWW Wednesday, 20-July-2016

20 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


10%Currently reading: It was a rough week at work and I didn’t get much of a chance to read. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. We were out-of-town for the weekend and I contemplated taking my eReader with me, but decided against it. Oh well, maybe next week?
I’m really loving The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. The writing is good and I love the evolution of Sarah (the main character) as she figures out her place in life. I hope this one has a happy ending because it seems it could go really really sad.
I was able to start a new audiobook and I picked 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I saw this one win the Goodreads award for nonfiction in 2014 and added it to my TBR then. I’ve been waiting for a chance to read it ever since and now seems like as good a time as any.

Stewart_DB_USA_POB_03_28_13.inddRecently finished: Though I liked it, I don’t recommend The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart as an audiobook. It was too easy to tune out and there’s no plot so it’s hard to become engrossed in it at all. For sure better as a coffee table book.

My review of In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches posted on Thursday. Not a surprise to many of you, but it was not a book for me at all. I explain why in my review but suffice it to say, I won’t be reading any more by this author.
I posted a semi-review of the Jim Kay illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. It was so fun to read alongside Kay’s illustrations. Let me know what you thought of it.

PeaceBreaksReading Next: My plan is still for Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles. I might just pick it up from the library so I’m forced to get to it before another book club selection pops up. It might tempt me to read fast so I can start it! I’ll see about the movie of A Separate Peace as well now that I know there is one.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches (1/5)

14 Jul

I’ve been fascinated by Dante since I had to read Inferno in high school. It’s an interesting concept and very influential. Many things are still being translated and discovered about this man so it’s no wonder he keeps appearing in popular literature. I’ve enjoyed other books I’d read about Dante so I decided to give this one a try. I found it in a bookshop the last time I was on vacation and decided to give it a try.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches

Summary from Goodreads:

Deep inside the Vatican library, a priest discovers the rarest and most valuable art object ever found: the manuscript of “The Divine Comedy,” written in Dante’s own hand. Via Sicily, the manuscript makes its way from the priest to a mob boss in New York City, where a writer named Nick Tosches is called to authenticate the prize. For this writer, the temptation is too great: he steals the manuscript in a last-chance bid to have it all. Some will find it offensive; others will declare it transcendent; it is certain to be the most ragingly debated novel of the decade.

From visiting Dante's house in 2010.

From visiting Dante’s house in 2010.

Ugh. The summary of this book and its execution were, to me, vastly different. The summary sounds exciting and like it will focus on the authentication of the manuscript and what follows from there. What it fails to convey is that the story jumps between Nick and the other modern characters and Dante and his contemporaries, jumping almost 700 years backward and forward in time. The scenes set in modern times read faster (except for a certain diatribe which I’ll get to) and to me, were much more interesting. The ones set in te 1300s were written in very clunky and what expect to be ‘more period-appropriate’ phrases. They were almost impossible to read and it made me put the book down in frustration more than once. These always seemed to be longer than the modern chapters they paralleled which made them all the more unbearable. The chapters at the beginning of the book were long, 40+ pages or so, and toward the end, most were 4 pages or less. This is an interesting choice but I felt the author went out of his way to make the earlier paragraphs long. There was a modern tirade about the publishing industry and how Tosches was a modern genius who wasn’t appreciated and another about the root of the name for Jesus. I wanted to pull my hair out and that’s not how I want to feel at the beginning of a book.

Tosches made the interesting choice of putting himself in the lead role of the book. In some ways, I think the main character really was him, but at the same time, I’d hope he’s not an accomplice in murder and secretly hiding in Italy with a wife and the pages of the original Dante manuscript. It was hard to pick out fact from fiction but I got the feeling Nick the author and Nick the character shared a lot of personality similarities. If that’s true, I never want to meet Tosches. He’s cocky, arrogant, and while he has some honest inner-demons that he struggles with, he’s a bit messed up and unstable.

The bits narrated by Gemma in the 1300s were the only ones I could bare. Dante was hard to read because he was so flowery, but Gemma was a bit less cultured and thus easier to read and understand. I really appreciated that.

I found all the characters in this book to be so removed from myself that I couldn’t like any of them. I just wanted it to be over and for them all to face the ends they deserved, though that didn’t happen to many of them.

Image via The Globe and Mail

Image via The Globe and Mail

For me, the only enjoyable part was Nick outrunning mob. I kind of wanted them to catch him, but it was at least interesting. I liked the authentication of the manuscript as well and how many ways he went about having it verified. That was well researched and well written.

The first 120 pages were unbearable. The long tirades and minimal action that ended up not being relevant to the plot were killers for me and there were many times I almost gave up on this book. He talks about how good writers don’t need editors, but I think this one does!

 

Nick and Dante are both desperate men and the book explores what a desperate man will do. Dante, after the death of Beatrice, is lost and searching for higher meaning, desperate to escape his status on earth. Nick is looking for some action in his repetitive and suffocating life and what he finds is almost deadly. Sometimes, when we get what we want, we find out it’s not what we really wanted in the first place, but now you have to live with it because you’re stuck.

Writer’s Takeaway: I promise to never think I’m above being edited. I can always have a fault in my writing and I can always benefit from others telling me to reconsider a scene, chapter, or character. I will make cuts, I will rework scenes. I will not include long diatribes about my past successes and how that demonstrates that I’m above the criticism of others. In other words, I’ll never be as full of myself as Nick Tosches is full of himself. Or at least, as much as he seems to be.

This book was a struggle to get through and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. 1 out of 5 Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
I honestly could find none with the way I always search. It seems you all knew better than me to read this book. Kudos.

WWW Wednesday, 13-July-2016

13 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


WingsCurrently reading: I started keeping my ereader at the kitchen table to read a bit of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson during breakfast. I got to read a bit during lunch at work a few days, too. I’m making a bit of progress and still enjoying this one.
While The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart is really interesting, it’s not my favorite audiobook. I talked with a friend of mine on Goodreads about it and he’s reading it like a coffee table book, a bit at a time. I think I’d prefer reading it that way because it’s a lot of information all at once and I wish I could go back and reference some of those cocktail recipes!
I was able to pick up The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd recently. Anything is better than my last physical book but I’m still deciding how I feel about this one. Stay tuned!

DanteRecently finished: I crawled my way through In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches and I’m so glad it’s over. I did not like this book much at all. The modern setting was interesting, but the historical settings of Dante were so dense and hard to read that I struggled with it a lot. I don’t plan to read anything by this author again.

I got my review for Truth & Beauty posted on Monday. It was a really pretty book that I enjoyed. However, reading some of the Grealy family’s reactions to the book are giving me second thoughts. Please check out my review and if you have time to read some of the links at the end, let me know how you feel about them!

PeaceBreaksReading Next: For a physical book, I’d like to finally pick up a copy of Peace Breaks Out by John Knowles. I found out about this sequel when I first started with Goodreads and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since. I was a big fan of A Separate Peace in high school and would love to read more from the author.
For an audiobook, I’ll see about snatching up 10% Happier by Dan Harris. This was a Goodreads Award winner in 2014 that intrigued me and I’ve wanted to read Harris’ advice ever since.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 6-July-2016

6 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Stewart_DB_USA_POB_03_28_13.inddCurrently reading: I used my new eReader and got through a chapter or two of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. It helps that I’m struggling with my current book a lot and needed something to break the monotony so I gave this title a little more attention than I would have otherwise. I’m about 1/3 of the way done with it.
Though there’s more of a plot of In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches, there are still annoyingly long chapters about a religious theory that I hope will tie into the plot, but I’m not sure how. I’m getting tired of it and I really do not like this book. I’ll push through to the end because the modern plot line is interesting, but expect a low rating of this one!
My newest audiobook is The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. Steward did a virtual talk at my library over a year ago and I’ve been looking for a way to read her book since then. The ebook was a pain because the pages were PDFs and they didn’t come out well on my phone, so audiobook it is!

TruthBeautyRecently finished: I finished Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett over the weekend and really loved it. My review will be up next week but I have to say I’m not tempted to read some other Patchett novels and Lucy Grealy’s books because I feel like I’d have a deeper insight to all of them having read this book. I recommend this one to anyone who loves a good memoir.

No reviews this week because I’ve only finished this one book and took Monday ‘off’ from blogging to celebrate the 4th of July. Stay tuned for next week!

WingsReading Next: The plan is still The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I should be picking it up soon and it will be a welcome read after I finish Tosches. I hope it’s like being held by my mom after a bad swim meet. Fingers crossed.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 29-June-2016

29 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


TruthBeautyCurrently reading: I think I got through four pages of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I had been doing a lot of this reading in my phone during my lunch breaks but I had to read for my class a lot in the past weeks. Well, big news here is that MY CLASS IS OVER! I turned my final paper in on Monday and I’m free until August. I can’t tell you all how excited I am about this. I hope I can pick up reading Larson some more during lunch because I really enjoy his writing.
I’m still not a fan of In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches. Almost 100 pages in and there’s been a total of 3 pages devoted to the plot I thought I was going to find and about 25 pages devoted to Tosches talking about why he’s a great writer and what’s wrong in the publishing world. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
I began a new audiobook, Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett. I think this one was recommended to me, but it’s hard to remember who or when. I love memoirs and I haven’t read Patchett yet which I think helps because I come in with no preconceived ideas of what her writing will be like.

IceCreamRecently finished: My ceaseless cravings for ice cream will hopefully stop soon because I finished The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I adored this audiobook and the character. I really recommend it to anyone with an interest in historical fiction or business. Gilman touches on both well and it was a great combination. I kept laughing during my runs and making my husband question my sanity.

I posted my review on Monday so please go check it out! This was a 5 Star read for me.

WingsReading Next: The book club met Monday and our next selection is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I’m tempted to put down Tosches to pick this up and read it first, but with the free time from my class being over, I’m trying to be optimistic about powering through it fast(ish). We’ll see how it goes.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-June-2016

22 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


DanteCurrently reading: I thought about reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I had a lot of working lunches last week and didn’t really have the time to pull it out. I might have accidentally gotten an eReader so that might speed things up…
I’m still really enjoying The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. The audiobook is superb and I’m starting to see the connections between the current lawsuit she’s facing and the progressing memoir toward that point in time. I’m really looking forward to finding out how they converge.
I started In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches and I’m a bit iffy on it. It started off really far from the plot promised and it’s very… blatant? The main characters so far are gruff men who are honest about what they’re doing and feeling and it’s not always comfortable to read.

27 Days_HighResRecently finished: I finished 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa! I wish I’d been able to finish it a bit faster, but that’s life. Whatever, haha. School is almost over and I’ll be able to get through these faster. This was a really enjoyable book and I’m really blessed to have been part of the process and watch Kristine grow this book into the great work that it is.

I posted my review on Monday so please go check that out as well!

WingsReading Next: I’ll have to get back to book club books soon. Our next selection is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I’m excited to say that this will hit the 1800s time period in my When Are You Reading? Challenge so this is a well-timed read for me. I’m not always a fan of such popular book-club-books so we’ll see how this one goes.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 15-June-2016

15 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


BeastsCurrently reading: I think I read four pages of In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. School is still in session and going crazy. I keep telling myself it will be over in two weeks, but it’s really three more.
I’m getting to the end of 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa. I said last week I’d try to have it finished this week but with my bike event and school, that hasn’t happened. Next week?
I’m about half way done with The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I kept laughing during a run with a friend while listening to this book. The author does a great job narrating it and I’ve really enjoyed the characters so far.

Recently finished: …Nothing. It’s been a crazy week, I hope to have more to report soon!

I posted a review of The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. I really liked this book and gave it a full 5 out of 5 Stars.

DanteReading Next:  In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches is still my plan. One of my book clubs is off for the summer so I’m hoping to enjoy some books of my own choosing for a bit now!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 8-June-2016

8 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


IceCreamCurrently reading: Nothing with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. There hasn’t been much time when I’m just sitting around lately. My semester is getting crazy and it will be a while before I have any calmness again.
I’m about 2/3 of the way through 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa, I wanted to finish it over the weekend but this was a busy one for me. I’ll try to get through it before my post next week.
I started a new audiobook, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman. I forget who recommended this one to me but I have no doubt it’s because I love historical fiction. I was hesitant when I heard the author narrated it herself, but she’s been doing a great job.

DiscipleRecently finished: I finished The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose late last Wednesday. I really enjoyed this book and Roose’s style. He reminds me of A.J. Jacobs, who he trained under and who is one of my favorite writers. It was a treat of a book. My review will be up tomorrow.

I posted my review of Harry Potter y el misterio del principe on Monday. There’s not a lot to be said about this book that hasn’t been said already but pop on over and let me know how much you love it. The sixth book is my favorite of the movies and I watch it a lot but I think this is only my second time through the book.

DanteReading Next: I’ve changed my mind again. I went to another bookstore in West Michigan and found another book that I’ve been waiting to read for ages so now I plan to pick up In the Hand of Dante by Nick Tosches which has been on my list since October 2012! I went through a phase when I was obsessed with Dante’s Inferno and this intrigued me because of that. It reminded me of Matthew Pearl’s The Dante Club so I wanted to grab this one.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!