Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some people will be happy, I guess

So I understand that Dan Brown has a new book out this week. Robert Langdon returns, this time to undercover a lot of nasty stuff about the Masons in a plot that will be loaded with cliffhangers and car chases and conspiracy theories.


I got an offer for a review copy of The Lost Symbol a couple weeks back (I bet you did, too!), but The Da Vinci Code was the worst book I read in 2003, and I'd rather the worst book I've read this year remain in that position instead of being substantially elevated by the Brown, so thank you very much, Dan Brown people, but no.

So what I thought I'd do, since Brown is no doubt recycling his plot, is recycle what I had to say about The Da Vinci Code elsewhere back in September 2003:

A. foisted The Da Vinci Code off on me last week when I gave her The Time Traveler's Wife and I took it with me to the polls Tuesday. M. came in to vote, saw that I had it, got all excited, and said she wanted to discuss it with me after I'd finished. At that point I was still reading the [Jon] Krakauer.

Her excitement, plus not wanting to make L. bring me other reading material, kept me going. God, I hate the best sellerese writing style. I know most people would much rather read a poorly written thriller than the [Julie] Hecht and [Nicholson] Baker I'd just finished in which nothing really happens, but the pet duck in A Box of Matches and the unnamed narrator in The Unprofessionals are going to stay with me. What's there to remember about Dan Brown's characters besides an absurd Mickey Mouse watch on a Harrison Ford stand-in and the realization that the lovely burgundy-haired/olive-eyed Sophie is actually the inbred descendant of Jesus Christ himself. (And how fitting is it that the "divine wisdom" of Sophia has devolved into Sophie, who sheds brain cells rapidly in order to keep the plot going. As do they all. Ah, well. At least her hair manages to smell alluringly throughout. And eventually the plot requires them to figure things out. But never until long after the reader's done so.)

The premise and the theories were the best part, although I understand most of Dan Brown's research came from only one or two hotly-contested sources and he managed to distort lots of actual history to suit his plot. Or because he was lazy. Any time the lectures in a book are the most interesting thing, you know your time would be better spent reading other material.

The elevating of Disney movies into a subversive celebration of the goddess was hilarious. (I wonder if Disney's already optioned this one? Maybe that's why whatshisface wore a Mickey Mouse watch?)

C. said the book reminded her of Cold Comfort Farm with all its "I saw something nasty in the woodshed" hoohah. I wonder why Brown couldn't write a better female lead for a book that's supposed to pique a reader's interest in the female divine.

Oh, well.


I was wrong about one thing: the inevitable movie was made by Sony.


  1. Ha. I remember the pet duck in A Box of Matches!

    I couldn't read the Dan Brown writing past the third page..

  2. Your reading list disappeared--at least I tried the link and it didn't lead to your book page. I'm afraid I don't travel in your high circles--I didn't get an offer for the Dan Brown book! :) Not that it matters as I don't think I'll be reading it.

  3. It was the best pet duck. . .

    The reading list is back! I accidentally hit draft instead of post last time I updated. Thanks for mentioning that there was a problem or it might have been m.i.a. until next week or so when I update again.

    High circles? Snerk. Getting pitched a Dan Brown is rather lowbrow.

  4. I got the email offering a copy of the new Dan Brown too! When I saw it I thought, you've got to be kidding! And immediately deleted it. I didn't read Da Vinci code and have no desire to, especially after being reminded about it by your blast from the past write up. No doubt the movie for the new one will be out next summer and the Masons will pitch a fit about how wrongly they are portrayed. Ugh.


A bang, not a whimper

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