Monday, May 22, 2006

Da Vinci Mode

Where do I stand on The Da Vinci Code? I was curious when the book came out, I thought of sampling Dan Brown's earlier work. Then reviews came in from some of my favorite writers saying the book was poorly written. Their word was enough for me. While I can never learn enough from well structured, well paced, emotionally rich writing, I avoid padded, cliched prose whenever possible.

Similarly, I hear the movie is poorly executed at the cost of characters. Why would I want to watch people I don't care about?

The thorny relationship between Brown's premises and the truth also turns me off. I'm not one to solve puzzles for pleasure. And that's what the book and movie are, leisure. I don't see them as important or threatening at all. If anyone wants to challenge another's beliefs, do so with unmistakably serious theses supported not by theories, but by facts.


Dave White said...

Eh, I thought the book was meh (the history was interesting, but BROWN CHEATS) and the movie was a bit better but only because Tom Hanks is a better actor than Brown is a writer (not that that's saying much.)

Plot Baby Plot said...

Don't be such a snob. I am a writer, and read a wide variety of books. Not ones that merely get good reviews by the literati.

Dan Brown is popular for a reason -- like John Grisham, he really knows how to plot a book. I suggest reading Dan Brown's first Langdon book, "Angels and Demons," which I personally consider a masterpiece of plot construction.

Gerald So said...

When I say "favorite writers," I mean writers I've enjoyed and learned from, not necessarily the most renowned.

I'm all for reading more widely, but I don't have the budget or the time to sample everything. Some subjects are more appealing to me than others. Mystery appeals more than thriller; hardboiled appeals more than cozy; private eye appeals more than police procedural. Horror appeals almost not at all.

I might read Brown if I find something in the bargain bin. I'm just not intrigued enough to try his books this minute or at these prices.

Dave White said...

and Plot Baby, if you're talking to me... i actually like Grisham... he doesn't cheat like Brown does... and if you're talking to Gerald, well he already smacketh you down.

and I mean, if Brown was such a great plotter (like say a Deaver or a Grisham) he would have been able to know that a man wouldn't think of someone as The Teacher one minute and then by his real name the next... people don't do that... I don't think of you as Plot Baby one minute and then Bob the next.

Plot Baby Plot said...

Obviously, you're not required to like Dan Brown, or even read Dan Brown. You obviously haven't. But then what's the point of bashing his work as cliched, badly written etc.?

I'm always amazed by the number of people who bash Dan Brown who HAVE NEVER READ his work. Mostly, it's just snobbery. People look down on what's popular.

I don't think shelling out $7.99 for a paperback is that big of a financial sacrifice, especially to learn about a writer who has sold 60 million copies.

That's more copies sold than any other adult writer in my lifetime, and I'm an old guy, around Dave White's age. Brown is a true phenomenon.

Also, I don't think Brown "cheats" at all. The only major downside of DVC was that it was too easy to figure out who the villain was.

Besides, if readers felt cheated by DVC, they wouldn't be buying Dan Brown's backlist, would they?

Gerald So said...

My original post only stated what I'd heard from others who had read the book. I've passed on The Da Vinci Code based on those opinions because I wasn't all that interested to begin with.

Brown's writing prowess and marketability aside, international thrillers don't appeal to me much anymore. I like some genres more than others. Don't we all?