Catching My Breath – Christmastime, Dante, and Beyond…

After patiently saving vacation days, today I can at last disconnect from work emails and other stressors.  I really want to slow down even more over my almost two-week holiday, beginning with these last few days of Advent.

One of my favorite family traditions is putting up a tree with my brother and sister.  My grandparents gave it to me years ago, and over time the three of us have gathered a collection of mostly red and gold ornaments for it.  Some are old pieces from our family, and others we purchased ourselves, many from Hobby Lobby.  The tree topper is new this year and being from Dollar Tree was incredibly affordable!

I have a little white tree I decorate as well (not quite so elaborately).  This is probably its last year, as it is turning yellow.

As you might imagine, it’s this time of year I like to get a lot of reading and studying in, as well as planning for next year’s reading.

I’m still perusing the archives of The Word on Fire Show, the Catholic podcast I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, and today I listened to an excellent episode about Dante’s Divine Comedy.  I’ve been “unreading” this book for a year or two, finding it difficult to get past the first cantos.  Bp. Barron gives an intriguing overview of the entire story and symbolism, and now I’m itching to give it another try. 

I have the Longfellow translation, with illustrations by Gustave Doré.  Doré’s style can well be summed up as “dramatic,” which is one of the reasons I chose this edition.  And, you know how I LOVE those woodcarvings

I’m debating whether to participate in any reading challenges next year.  These are the ones which entice me:

  • Moby-Dick 2019Fanda mentioned that 2019 is the 200th anniversary of Melville’s birth, and that Brona of Brona’s Books is hosting a read-along!  I dearly want to re-read Moby-Dick, and it would be so much fun to do it with other bloggers.  This will likely start in February or March, so I have time to decide…
  • Mount TBR 2019 – This is about reading unread books you already own.  I’ve done this before and found it very satisfying, even when I didn’t complete it.  Plus, it counts books you start during Christmas break as long as you have 50% or more remaining in January.  *cough* Dante *cough* 
  • The Classics Club – Committing to 50+ classics in at most 5 years. For someone who is terrible at challenges, the idea of an “epic” challenge oddly appeals to me. 
  • Back to the Classics 2019I attempted this in 2014 and failed miserably.  Still like the idea, though! 
  • Complete Sherlock Holmes re-read – Yeah, another personal failure.  This one I attempted to host in the past couple of years, and embarrassingly I didn’t stick to it myself.  It probably makes more sense to restructure it as a marathon, rather than spread it out over a year… Still want to do it at some point.

The other thing I’m trying to figure out is whether I’ll have the time and energy to podcast next year.  It remains to be decided…

8 responses to “Catching My Breath – Christmastime, Dante, and Beyond…”

  1. Good luck with Dante! I still haven't decided which edition to buy. I have read Inferno years ago from e-book (Longfellow's translation – which didn't quite suited me), and really want to reread a better one. I'm excited with Moby Dick readalong too! And I hope you'll reconsider Back to the Classics, because I had much fun from it. But, of course, it needs commitment to do it.Anyway… Merry Christmas, and good luck with your 2019 reads, Marian!


  2. You must do the Moby Dick read with us! It won't be the same without you! :-)I failed at Back to the Classics this year but I'm going to try again this year, so go for it!I do hope you do some challenges in 2019. Even if we fail, I think it gets us reading more. And if we don't \”talk\” again before it, Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  3. I think I need to check out that Moby Dick read-along.


  4. Thanks, Mudpuddle – Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂


  5. Barron highly recommends the Mark Musa translation. I will probably end up reading that one in the future. Have a great Christmas!


  6. You're right, it's not really failing if I make some progress. Especially for books that have been on my read or reread list for a while (like Moby-Dick!). Merry Christmas!!


  7. Yes!! That would make five or six of us?! 🙂 It is a long book but most of the chapters are short, which is good for a readalong.Hope you have a great Christmas!


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About Me

Hi, I’m Marian—sharing a fondness for classics and other books here and on my YouTube channel. I’m a Christian, designer, and avid tea drinker, and my home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest, US.


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