Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Poetry Wednesday: Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
m not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,They think I'm telling lies.
I say,It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

~Maya Angelou

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finally Finished The Lost Symbol

I know it’s been a while, but yes it did take me this long to read The Lost Symbol – partly because I’ve been busy with work but mostly because it was not the page-turner I thought it would be. As a thriller, it is quite predictable. If you’ve read more than one Dan Brown book, you can tell his writing is quite formulaic. However, I found that The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons were much more intriguing, thought-provoking, and fast-paced. The Lost Symbol started out the same, but somewhere along the way the plot failed to maintain my attention. The underlying themes and message were quite profound but their delivery was not as powerful as they are in his other books.

In The Lost Symbol, Langdon is quickly caught up in an adventure from the very beginning as usual. This time, his lifelong friend, Peter Solomon, and his family are central to the narrative. Peter is a Freemason of the highest degree and harbors the organization’s most captivating secrets. His sister, Katherine, is a scientist who is secretly conducting experiments on Noetic Science – the study and explorations of the nature and potential power of the mind ( its consciousness, soul, and spirit). However, he and his family are under attack by a lone perpetrator who seeks to reveal the secrets of the Masons and destroy Katherine’s research. Sounds interesting, right? It is! But extraneous dialogue, excessive descriptions, and irrelevant character development all detract from the central storyline instead of developing a sense of suspense.

In the end, the ultimate message is that much of what is written in the Bible is a celebration of the human mind and the potential that humans can achieve when they use their mind to its fullest potential. It is about the untapped power of the human mind and the collective unconscious of humanity. It is about how science and religion can eventually coexist - a common theme throughout Dan Brown's works. This can happen not so much by having blind faith but simply by changing one’s perspective.

While not my favorite Dan Brown novel, I still recommend The Lost Symbol to fans of The Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Poetry Wednesday: A Poem by Me

L'isola bella
e piena di felicita.
Nessuno m'annoia
perche non c'e nessuno qui.
Guardo le nuvole,
e guardo l'acqua azzurra.
Non c'e il tempo,
soltanto ci sono la nature ed Io.
L'isola e l'immortalita,
la morte non mi puo trovare qui.
Qui, Io fugo di tutto,
qui Io sono allegre.
Qui l'amore, la vita, e la morte
sono tutti insieme di me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roman Holiday

It seems like that trip to Italy is going to be a reality. We are only in the planning stages, but we expect to spend Christmas and New Year's in Italia! Our itinerary consists of 3 days in Venice, 3 days in Florence, 3 days in Rome, and a couple of day trips to Vicenza and Siena if time permits. Unfortunately, we will be purchasing round-trip tickets. Although our time there will be limited, it will surely be unforgettable. I will get to live out all the daydreams I had while reading The Glassblower of Murano (click here for post). This will be my second trip to Italy and the first one for my husband, so the teacher side of me can't wait to be his tour guide. The first time I was there was almost 13 years ago. It was a gift for my quinces (eek! am I aging myself?!). But, I remember every second of it and I look forward to making new memories in La Serenissima, in The City of Lilies, and in The Eternal City.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Banned Books Week!

This week, the American Library Association (ALA) celebrates the freedom to read through Banned Books Week. Chicago will be hosting the Banned Books Readout in which six of the ten most challenged books, including And Tango Makes Three, TTYL, and The Gossip Girls Novels, will be read by their authors.

I'm glad to know that many of the books I have read are on the 2008-2009 list: The Twilight Saga, The Kite Runner, To Kill a Mockingbird, My Sister's Keeper, etc.

Ironically, the next book on my nightstand, The Book Thief, deals with this very issue. In it, a little girls becomes obsessed with reading and turns to stealing banned books to satiate her hunger for reading. Wouldn't it be funny if it made the banned/challenged books list?!

Here's to exercising our FREEDOM TO READ!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Poetry Wednesday: A Psalm of Life

What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
"Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act to each to-morrow
Finds us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labor and to wait.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, September 21, 2009

The History Channel and Discovery Channel Go All Out for Dan Brown's New Novel

With the release of Dan Brown's new novel, The Lost Symbol, The History Channel's line up has now been flooded with programming relating to the themes in his novels. Beyond the DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons Decoded, The Templar Code, Secret Societies, and The Holy Grail were among the shows that aired this weekend. Tonight, you can catch The Templar Code, again, as well as Cities of the Underground: Freemason Underground and Secrets of the Founding Fathers. For the complete History Channel weekly schedule, click here. Disovery Channel has a similar lineup with Secret History of the Freemasons and Secret America on Thursday, September 24, 2009.

I love learning the true history behind Dan Brown's novels, but I tend to wonder how much of these special programs is factual and how much of it is just hype.

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