Friday, August 21, 2009

Laughing on the way ...

... The key to Dan Brown’s success.

I first wrote about Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code because the features editor of the Inquirer had been at a dinner party attended, she told me, mostly by Ph.D.s (husbands and wives), most of whom had read the book and praised it for the revelatory nature of its historical accuracy. I hadn't even assigned it for review, having been unimpressed when I gave it a look while it was still in galley. Anyway, I started reading and realized immediately that my boss's Ph.D. dinner companions obviously had their degrees in something other than literature and history.
By the way, Brown wasn't always so reclusive. He stopped talking when people started asking questions he couldn't answer, like "why do you portray the Council of Nicaea as having decided by vote whether Jesus was the son of God when all the participants already believed that and were tryng to decide how he, as son, related precisely to the father?"
The fact is there is nothing so dumb that you can't find some self-styled intellectual to buy into it.


  1. Usually, though not always, the warning sign that a book is not really worth the time needed to read it can be pinpointed in its status as a "runaway bestseller." For example, the New York Times bestseller list is generally a list of books that I avoid. Perhaps that makes me an arrogant philistine with arbitrary tastes in the eyes of book publicists who are eager to have their books praised to high heaven, but I nevertheless avoid following the crowd. Because of my reviewing commitments in the past (which I have recently terminated), I have had to read plenty of books that I should have avoided (and did not write about those books), and I do not wish to complicate further my already too complicated life by following the crowd that falls all over itself by reading and reviewing the latest "runaway bestseller." Of course, I suppose this means I miss out on some good books now and then, though I doubt it. Finally, though, to answer the inevitable question: "No, I have not read any of Dan Brown's books."