The Twilight of American Culture by Berman, Morris
Published in 2000, The Twilight of American Culture examines American and global society at the dawn of a new millennium. Are we witnessing the beginning of a new enlightened consciousness or are we destined to plunge into another dark ages? Berman leans to the latter, but suggests that individuals leading the examined life should group together to perpetuate creativity and humanistic thinking in the face of rising corporate homogenization. -Andrew, North Branch
Purgatorio by Dante.
The second of three books comprising Dante’s Divine Comedy, this is an interlibrary loan, which I got after reading the Pinsky translation of Dante’s Inferno. This particular translation of Purgatorio was deftly crafted by husband and wife team Jean and Robert Hollander, two American scholars and teachers. Having gone through hell (literally) with his guide Virgil, Dante is making his way up the mountain of purgatory into paradise. Souls in purgatory can move up to paradise eventually, as opposed to those in hell who will stay there for eternity.
Though a more hopeful place than hell, sinners are still separated from God and punished in ways only Dante could devise. So far, my favorite punishment in purgatory has been for those guilty of envy: their eyes are stitched shut with iron threads while spirits fly overhead, intermittently thundering out admonitions against avarice and greed. Nice.
Will Dante make it to paradise? Will his guide be able to navigate the steep, upward climb? Read and find out! -Kerol, North Branch