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I am in the process of reading Dan Brown’s latest in the adventures of Professor Langdon “Inferno”. I personally like Professor Langdon as a character; he is kind, intellectual, quiet, gracious and charming, also very respectful of the ladies. I won’t give anything away since I am halfway through the book so I really can’t give anything away because the adventure is still unfolding as it always does with Dan Brown, he keeps you jumping until the very end. The setting this time is in Florence, Italy, a place that I had visited twenty five years ago and I loved the city, the food and the people. What I am immensely enjoying with the book is the guided tour of all of the museum’s, the brilliant artwork and the historical churches, when I was in Florence all those years ago, I was twenty one, I appreciated art but not to the point that I took advantage of where I was, I hadn’t any notion of the limitless wonders that I had at my feet. I would so love to go back to Florence now after finishing Inferno just to visit first hand, the places that Dan Brown describes so beautifully in his adventure. Florence the city should perhaps give Dan Brown financial compensation because I am sure that tourism would be on the upswing.

I vaguely remember reading Dante’s Divine Comedy in junior year English class during high school. Inferno is giving me a refresher course that is enjoyable since Dante didn’t come by his reputation by accident, his work is a masterpiece and I’m sorry that I came across it in high school, I’m sure that I would have appreciated it much more in college.

I have to say that reading this is a nice change of pace from what I have been reading in the past. I was caught up in historical biographies and Jared Diamond’s two incredible works “Guns, Germs and Society” and “Collapse”, none of which are light reading by any stretch, not that Dan Brown is light reading, he is just less serious.

On that last sentence, I will give one little tidbit, one of the crisis of the book is the question of human overpopulation and our planet. I have read about this issue since I majored in political science back in the 1980’s and the problems inherent in overpopulation. However, I saw fairly recently, a scientist who on the contrary was optimistic about the question of overpopulation and his view point was almost elegant in its simplicity if we were in a perfect world. His solution was to empower women globally, in every culture, every country and every society. Once women have the power over their education, their freedom and their careers; population concerns die back because population control goes to the source, women. If we as a world banned child marriages, sex trade, restrictions on women’s rights, and promoted birth control, education, freedom to vote and everything that men take for granted, our world would be much better off.

I am stepping down from my soap box, but this scientist gave me hope, women are the key.