Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Cover Blog


1) "The Inferno"

2) Dante Alighieri -
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is generally considered the greatest of Italian poets,
and also one of the greatest poets that Western civilization has produced. His
reputation is primarily based upon his magnum opus The Divine Comedy. He was
active in politics during the early part of his life and took an active interest in church
Dante was born in Florence, Italy, in 1265. Heir of a poor but noble family, he
was one of the seven elected officials in charge of the government of Florence. Civil
war was common in Florence at the time and the issues were further complicated by
the question of Papal influence. In 1300, Dante along with his fellow magistrates
confirmed anti-papal measures. When in 1302, the French prince acting under orders
from the Pope captured power in Florence, Dante was sentenced on charges of
corruption and opposition to the Church and exiled from Florence on pain of execution
by burning if he ever returned.. He spent the rest of his life in exile, pining for his
native city. He withdrew from active politics to a large extent and concentrated on his
literary creations.
His first book was the Vita Nuova (The New Life), published in 1294, in which
he relates how he fell in love with a young girl Beatrice. Though Beatrice and Dante
both married other people, Dante's spiritual love for her persists and she functions as
his chief Muse and inspiration.. In 1304 or shortly thereafter he published De Vulgari
Eloquentia, an argument for writing poems and other works in the language that people
speak (in his case, Italian) rather than in Latin. At the same time he wrote Il Convivio
(The Banquet), in which he discusses grammar, and styles of poetry. In 1313 he
published De Monarchia (On Monarchy) in which he argued that the authority of a
secular prince is not derived from the authority of the church, and is not given him by
the pope, but comes directly from God.
We do not know exactly when Dante began work on Divina Commedia. He had
been moving about from court to court after his exile and 1n 1317 had settled at
Ravenna, where he completed his great work. Extant correspondence shows that the
first and second parts of The Divine Comedy, the "Inferno" and the "Purgatario" were
generally known around 1319. The last part, the "Paradiso" was completed only in
1321. Dante died at Ravenna on 14 September 1321 and the last thirteen Cantos of the
"Paradiso" were published posthumously.
The plot of The Divine Comedy is straightforward. It begins with Dante lost and
walking in a Dark Wood. The poet Virgil then appears as his Guide, sent by the Lady
Beatrice to take him through the depths of Hell and up the slopes of Purgatory, to meet
her in the country of the Blessed. Dante then follows Virgil, who conducts him
through the circles of Hell, where various kinds of evil deeds are punished. They find a
small tunnel or pathway cut through the rock that leads them finally out on the other
side of the earth, directly opposite Jerusalem, at the foot of Mount Purgatory, which is
surrounded by cornices on which the seven basic kinds of inclination to sin are purged and corrected. They climb the mount and at its summit they find the earthly Paradise,
the Eden from which our first parents were expelled. There Beatrice meets Dante, and
she conducts him upward through the planetary spheres. Finally, he soars beyond the
planets, beyond the stars, and beholds the whole company of Heaven assembled
together, and is given a vision of the glory of God Himself. The poem is an allegory of
human life and literally sums up the intellectual and theological knowledge of the
Middle Ages

3) Other works: "La Vita Nuova"

4) Synopsis:
The Divine Comedy is a narrative poem describing Dante's imaginary journey. Midway on his journey through life Dante realizes he has taken the wrong path. The Roman poet Virgil searches for the lost Dante at the request of Beatrice; he finds Dante in the woods on the evening of Good Friday in the year 1300 and serves as a guide as Dante begins his religious pilgrimage to find God. To reach his goal, Dante passes through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.

The Divine Comedy was not titled as such by Dante; his title for the work was simply Commedia or Comedy. Dante’s use of the word “comedy” is medieval by definition. To Dante and his contemporaries, the term “comedy” meant a tale with a happy ending, not a funny story as the word has since come to mean.

The Divine Comedy is made up of three parts, corresponding with Dante’s three journeys: Inferno, or “Hell”; Purgatorio, or “Purgatory”; and Paradiso, or “Paradise.” Each part consists of a prologue and approximately 33 cantos. Since the narrative poem is in an exalted form with a hero as its subject, it is an epic poem.

Dante and Virgil enter the wide gates of Hell and descend through the nine circles of Hell. In each circle they see sinners being punished for their sins on earth; Dante sees the torture as Divine justice. The sinners in the circles include:

Circle One - Those in limbo
Circle Two - The lustful
Circle Three - The gluttonous
Circle Four - The hoarders
Circle Five - The wrathful
Circle Six - The heretics
Circle Seven - The violent
Ring 1. Murderers, robbers, and plunderers
Ring 2. Suicides and those harmful to the world
Ring 3. Those harmful against God, nature, and art, as well as usurers
Circle Eight - The Fraudulent
Bowge (Trench) I. Panderers and Seducers
Bowge II. Flatterers
Bowge III. Simoniacs
Bowge IV. Sorcerers
Bowge V. Barrators
Bowge VI. Hypocrites
Bowge VII. Thieves
Bowge VIII. Counselors
Bowge IX. Sowers of Discord
Bowge X. Falsifiers
Circle Nine - Traitors
Region i: Traitors to their kindred
Region ii: Traitors to their country
Region iii: Traitors to their guests
Region iv: Traitors to their lords

5) Descriptive words:
a. historical
b. hellish
c. poetic
d. epic.
e. religious.
f. terrifying.
g. guiding.
h. reference.
i. mythological.
j. mysterious.
k. depressing.
l. enlightening.

6) The message is geared towards giving the reader and personalized tour through HELL.

7) Protagonist does....get guided by the sprit of Virgil, himself, through the different layers and levels of HELL.

8) Antagonist does....well...the antagonist(s) I guess are all of the sinful souls and awful beasts of HELLm oh and the DEVIL.

9) Quotes:

"In the middle of the journey of our life,
I found myself again in [or through] a dark wood,
[so dark] that the straight way was utterly lost.
Alas how hard it is to say what it was like,
this savage and sharp and strong forest,
which even in thought renews my fear!
So bitter was it that death is little moreso;
but in order to speak of the good that I found there,
I'll tell of the other things I saw there."

The final words of the inscription on the Gate of Hell.
"'Abandon every hope, you who enter.'"

"But first each one had his tongue tight between his teeth toward their leader, for a signal, and he had made of his ass a trumpet."
In this, the most grotesque of the circle of Hell, the captain of the devils sends a troop of devils with Dante and Virgil to a bridge where they will supposedly be able to cross into the next level. In fact, the bridge is down.

10) I picked this book because I read it in high school and loved every second of it. It seemed so interesting and the fact that Dante DESIGNED hell so well just impressed me on many levels.


1) "The Book of Lost Things"

2) John Connolly -
John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute.
His first novel, Every Dead Thing, was published in 1999, and introduced the character of Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow followed in 2000. The third Parker novel, The Killing Kind, was published in 2001, with The White Road following in 2002. In 2003, John published his fifth novel—and first stand-alone book—Bad Men. In 2004, Nocturnes, a collection of novellas and short stories, was added to the list, and 2005 marked the publication of the fifth Charlie Parker novel, The Black Angel. John's seventh novel, The Book of Lost Things, a story about fairy stories and the power that books have to shape our world and our imaginations, was published in September 2006, followed by the next Parker novel, The Unquiet, in 2007, and The Reapers, in 2008. He is currently working on The Lovers which will be published in 2009.
John Connolly is based in Dublin but divides his time between his native city and the United States, where each of his novels has been set.

3) Other works: "Every Dead Ting," "Dark Hallow," "The Killing Kind," The White Road," "The Black Angel," "The Unquiet," "The Reapers," "The Lovers," "The Whisperers," "The Gates" and "Nocturnes."

4) Synopsis:
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the loss of his mother. He is angry and he is alone, with only the books on his shelf for company.
But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother he finds that the real world and the fantasy world have begun to meld. The Crooked Man has come, with his mocking smile and his enigmatic words: 'Welcome, your majesty. All hail the new king.'
And as war rages across Europe, David is violently propelled into a land that is both a construct of his imagination yet frighteningly real, a strange reflection of his own world composed of myths and stories, populated by wolves and worse-than-wolves, and ruled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a legendary book . . .
The Book of Lost Things.

5) Descriptive words:
a. fairytale
b. childish
c. fantasy.
d. family.
e. eerie.
f. adventure.
g. classic.
h. dreams.
i. dangerous.
j. mystery.
k. reality.
l. dark.

6) The message is that the power of the imagination can sometimes be VERY powerful indeed.

7) Protagonist does....get propelled into this other world where all his favorite fairytales are true and he can escape the perils of war...for now that is...

8) Antagonist does....tries to cause the protagonist to lose touch with his own reality and state of mind.

9) Quotes:

"For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be."

"You mean they killed her?" asked David.
They ate her," said Brother Number One. "With porridge. That's what 'ran away and was never seen again' means in these parts. It means 'eaten.'"
Um and what about 'happily ever after'?" asked David, a little uncertainly. "What does that mean?"
Eaten quickly," said Brother Number One."

"He had quite liked the dwarfs. He often had no idea what they were talking about, but for a group of homicidal, class-obsessed small people, they were really rather good fun."

10) I picked this book because I felt like the fairytale quality of the story and the basis of the imagination would be a super easy and super fun design standpoint.


1) "Waiter Rant"

2) Steve Dublanica -
A seminary dropout-cum-mental-health-care worker, The Waiter, Steve Dublanica, waited his first table at age thirty-one. In 2004, he started his wildly popular blog, Waiter Rant, eventually winning the 2006 Bloggie Award for Best Writing of a Weblog. He has been interviewed by media outlets nationwide, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Today, as a voice for many of the two million waiters in the United States. The Waiter lives in the New York metropolitan area with his joint-custody dog, Buster, and is at work on his second book.

3) Other works: "Keep The Change"

4) Synopsis:
According to The Waiter, 80 percent of customers are nice people just looking for something to eat. The remaining 20 percent, however, are socially maladjusted psychopaths. Eye-opening, outrageous, and unabashed—replete with tales of customer stupidity, arrogant misbehavior, and unseen tidbits of human grace in the most unlikely places—Waiter Rant presents the server's unique point of view, revealing surefire secrets to getting good service, proper tipping etiquette, and ways to ensure that your waiter won't spit on your food.

5) Descriptive words:
a. humorous.
b. restaurant setting.
c. witty.
d. eye-opening.
e. laughable.
f. truthful.
g. in depth.
h. diagrammatical.
i. exampling.
j. hard working.
k. behind the scenes.
l. commercial.

6) The message is to display to the world the efforts and lifestyle of a waiter working at a restaurant. and how IMPORTANT they really are!!

7) Protagonist as a server and shares the goods and the bads of his existence.

8) Antagonist does....tries to make the protagonist feel inferior.

9) Quotes:

"I once read cooking is something you do for your family. But when you’re alone you sometimes have to treat yourself like family. And now that my apartment’s redolent with the smell of food it feels more like a home than a box where I hang my hat."

"Character is forged in the smallest of struggles. Then, when the big challenges come, we’re ready."

"My mom grew up in Spanish Harlem and the Bronx and gave me an invaluable piece of advice for dealing with people in New York - if someone's bugging you just act crazy. I've modified her approach somewhat. Public displays of religiosity work just as well as feigning psychosis."

10) I picked this book because I have had personal experience being a server at a restaurant for over 3 years and can deeply relate to a lot of situations in this novel.

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