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The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown - Book Discussion

 
 
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 12:00 pm
Just finished The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Like all of his other books they are page turners and interesting reads.

I'm a lot more interested in the Masons now, ordered myself another book from B&N on the Masons today.

Anyone else read this book (it is a best seller, so I know some of you have).
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 12:02 pm
getting the audiobook next month
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  4  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:09 pm
@maporsche,
I make it a point never to read anything that's on the best-seller list until the book has the good grace to get off that silly list and become respectable. In the case of Dan Brown, of course, respectability is a bit much to ask for. I doubt this new venture can be as bad as Digital Fortress (it would be quite a trick to write anything worse than that sheaf of crapola). But if it's anywhere near as bad as, say, The DaVinci Code, it's probably a good book to avoid entirely. What the hell, it'll be made into a movie eventually and then I won't have to read it.

I can't, for the life of me, understand how pwople who write as badly as Brown or Grisham can become best sellers. They write at a high school undergraduate level. Those books aren't actually novels: they're novelized video games.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:20 pm
@Merry Andrew,
i have to agree with your assessment

however, i do find them a guilty pleasure, the only one i've read is Deception Point(?it made such an impact i'm not really sure of it's title), but i've listened to the other two in the langdon series (A&D and TDC), much better listens than reads in my opinion
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:21 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Quote:
I doubt this new venture can be as bad as Digital Fortress


I agree, but I did enjoy Da Code. Seems the plot and subject were too good for him to screw up.
Let me know how it reads, map
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:23 pm
@panzade,
I'm done reading it; like MA said, it's not a complex book. But it kept me interested for the 3 days it took to read it.
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 01:24 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I avoided getting near the Da Vinci Code but watched some of the documentary spin-offs on the History Channel, National Geographic, et al and the core concept is very enthralling. After seeing the movie, I realized it was a competent mystery suspense action thriller but that's not saying much. Those books and movies are a dime-a-dozen, even if they soak one more than $10.00 at the cineplex and more than $ 20.00 for the book.

The Masons have been documented on nearly all the same cable channels and used in book and movie thrillers ad nauseum.

It's sure cutting down on Dan Brown's research time and expense (he has help), as all of these concepts are highly interrelated, which, admittedly, makes for a good thread for a series of adventures by the same character. Think Indiana Jones. Not really much difference.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  4  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 02:59 pm
One good occult conspiracy novel written quite above the high school level is Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. It involves the Knights Templar, Kabala, alchemy, Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda among other things. If for anything else his treatment (Eco is a professor of semiotics, but is an avid medievalist. He wrote The Name of the Rose) of the Knights is a fascinating read about that order.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 03:19 pm
@InfraBlue,
Now you writing about superior writing.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 03:34 pm
@panzade,
I agreed so much with MA that I edited out my answer, not wanting to cast my dismal view on a book people will read for fun and some learning, however screwed up. Not that MA shouldn't have posted, I just decided not to pile on right then. So I'll pile on now. The Brown book - well, the only Brown book I read - that stopped me short several times re the miserable writing - was Angels and Demons. I'll check back in twenty years when the guy is a billionaire and see if I've had a Grisham-similar experience (I actually liked a recently read Grisham book on high school football; that's Bleachers),


0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 03:40 pm
@InfraBlue,
I've only read Umberto Eco once, bad me, an essay book, Travels in Hyperreality. Thanks for the reminder re his novels.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 03:58 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:
I can't, for the life of me, understand how pwople who write as badly as Brown or Grisham can become best sellers. They write at a high school undergraduate level. Those books aren't actually novels: they're novelized video games.


Some people read authors mainly to see how they can put words together. What they write about is immaterial, just as long as they write well. You seem to fall into this category. Other people read mainly to be entertained by a story, and how well the writer writes is immaterial to how good the story is.

So even though, say, Michael Crichton can't make a decent character that you actually care about, his dialogue sucks and he just isn't much of a writer, he was one of my favorite authors. It's because I liked his stories. They were deeply interesting and made me think about science.

Same with Grisham. I liked some of his stories. And as for Dan Brown, his writing is god-awful but I enjoyed the first half of DaVinci Code because of the story (and didn't enjoy the second half because the story got stupid).
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 04:13 pm
@Robert Gentel,
And there are people who treasure both together. I am probably more annoyed by precious writing than, er, stupid or grammatically out to lunch.

On Angels and Demons, it did occur to me that Brown's editor was in absentia.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 04:20 pm
@ossobuco,
I don't know the correct word for this so I'll use continuity. Last book that bugged me enough to stop reading for a few days was C. Hibbert's The Medici, a non fiction book. It started out with Cosimo being brought to the tower of Palazzo Signoria in Florence. He looks out the window. Thirty nine pages follow this opening, all about life in Florence, including the typical slave meal. Cosimo could not see that from the window, of course. We get one sentence, maybe two, about his being in the tower when we arrive back to see what Cosimo is up to.

Pah!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 04:27 pm
@maporsche,
His writing is so awful, I have never managed to get past the first few pages of whatever the big seller was...was it the Da Vinci Code?

And yes, I could handle Crichton's, in my view, not quite so awful writing, when his subjects were interesting.

But....aren't the Dan Brown books full of silly conspiracy theories?

Is any of the info accurate?

Like, the Opus Dei stuff....are they remotely as sinister?

What grabs you about his writing, maporsche?

maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 04:32 pm
@dlowan,
I'm not saying he's a great writer. He stories manage to keep me turning the pages though.

Lots of consipricy theories, which is mainly what I like about the stories.

I wouldn't say that my reading list is all that sophisticated. While I do enjoy some of the great writers of the past; for entertainment, I mainly read science fiction and fantasy books (Star Wars, Forgotten Realms). I do read quite a few non-fiction books (auto-biographies, economics, sports, business), some of which are entertaining, but mainly thought provoking.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 05:22 pm
@maporsche,
I actually enjoyed reading Da Vinci Code. The reason I got a kick out of it was because I saw the humor. I was laughing my head off every few pages. And I don't think it was a case of sarcasm; I believe Brown was having his readers on, making sly jokes that nobody wanted to see because they were too busy following the idiotic story. So many readers wanted to believe that Brown's take on the Jesus/Mary Magdalene story was sincere that they missed the whole point of the plot.

And what was that point, Mr. Bones? Well, Mr. Interlocutor, if'n you look carefully the whole story is just a tale of a scavenger hunt, the kind that they used to stage at frat parties at university. Here's your first clue. It'll lead you to the next clue which is on a slip of paper buried between pages 325 and 326 in the (insert name of book). And then you realize you've been set up because pages 325 and 326 are not adjacent but are printed on opposite sides of the same piece of paper so you . . .etc. Well, you prob'ly get the point. It was fun.

Some of the more humorous details in DaVinci:
--suggesting that there is mystic significance in the fact that a particular clue is a quatrain written entirely in -- get ready for this -- iambic pentameter!!! My Gawd, the whole thing with the number five and so forth. (Never mind that about 80 percent of all poetry in the English language is written in iambic pentameter; it's not because there's a mystic streak in English poets but because it's the most natural rhythm in this language).

-- suggesting that Walt Disney's Little Mermaid (Ariel) has hidden mystic significance becasue -- and get this -- Walt Disney was a known Freemason!!! So ******* what? Brown does not intend you to take any of this seriously. But most people miss these tidbits.

A & D is, in my opinion, a better book because these little inside jokes are better hidden and because the plot moves at a more stately pace. But, of course, the climax is so over-the-top and expected that it just ruins everything that went before. Anyone who couldn't see what was coming and who the ultimate villain is just hasn't read enough fifth-rate pulp fiction.

0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2009 06:45 pm
I think Dan Brown's books are fun to read. I was thinking of getting the latest for a little overnight trip we have coming up -- Mo and Mr. B have plans and I'll be stuck at the hotel with the dog. I'm looking for a page turner.

So what if he isn't the best writer? I mean, really, is that what someone expects when they buy the latest best seller? I like to read all kinds of stuff, there have only been a few books I've put down as "unreadable" and some of those were insanely well reviewed by "serious" critics.

Did you like it marporche? Would it be a good "stuck in the hotel with the dog" page turner? I usually wait for the paperbacks (or Goodwill) for books since I'm kind of a cheapskate but I'm thinking this might be just what the doctor ordered.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 06:10 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Did you like it marporche? Would it be a good "stuck in the hotel with the dog" page turner? I usually wait for the paperbacks (or Goodwill) for books since I'm kind of a cheapskate but I'm thinking this might be just what the doctor ordered.


Yeah, it would serve that purpose.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 06:18 pm
Thanks! I'm betting it is 40% off at B&N right now. Our trip is next week. I haven't been able to lock myself up with a page turner for a long time. I was hoping to hear about a good one.
 

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