Thursday, October 1, 2009

What to Say About Dan Brown

I posted last week about how I was starting to feel sorry for Dan Brown for being made fun of, until I read the excellent and fabuloso Maureen Johnson's*** 3-part (thus far) summary of The Lost Symbol.

I no longer feel the slight trend-push to read the Lost Symbol, which is nice because trend sort of makes me want to puke up my dinner, and I no longer feel sorry for poor wee Mr. Brown, because he has gotten away with what the rest of us cannot get away with: having an implausible plot and silly character arcs. You will see from Ms. Johnson's summary that there is no point pretending that the novel is anything but churned out pap that could have greatly benefited from....oh, cripes. Who cares. It isn't good, so why do we all want to read it?

I'm not sure. All I can say is that last week the husband and I were having a discussion about how John Grisham said (roughly) "Hey Phillip Pullman, Imma let you finish, but crappy writing is cool too, yo." The husband agreed that crap writing is okay. In fact he prefers it. (I think.) And yes, perhaps pap has its place. I'm not above reading Dan Brown. I enjoyed Angels and Demons, and somewhat enjoyed the Da Vinci one. I guess it probably comes down to the story line, or the idea. Sure, it could be executed better. But to be honest, we're not looking for physics text books when we pick up Dan Brown. Oh wait--actually, we were; didn't he set some of Angels and Demons at that awesome European physics institute (excuse the forgetting of the name, I just really can't recall it and don't feel moved enough to go find out, for various reasons that have nothing to do with Dan Brown or physics, but rather a former co-worker...oh, never mind)? Okay. Well, I still don't have the answer. Do you?

**Now, I'm pretty sure I knew a Maureen Johnson in high school (state withheld to protect me), who was nicknamed Mo and who excluded me at first sight for not being Irish and Catholic as most people in Massachusetts seemed to be (damn, I've said the state--but I had to, because then you could understand). No, my last name was not Sully, as in Sullivan, but excuse me, I AM Irish and Catholic (well, now. I wasn't then). Anyway, this is not the same Maureen Johnson, and I feel in my heart that she would not like to be called Mo. Nevertheless, I implore you to buy her books immediately because she is hilarious and smart and witty and you will like that.


Jm Diaz said...

CERN... the European institute from Angels and Demons. And I'm with you. I don't think I'll be picking Danny Boy's latest. On mere principal. I can only imagine that the query letter was as good as the story got.

Tina Lynn said...

I had an author friend tell me the other day that we WANT...yes...WANT Dan Brown's book to do well. Why? You ask. Because if it does well, it's good for the publishing industry as a whole, and the better the Dan Browns of the world do, the more likely a publisher will take a chance on an unknown author. Pray for it. Send out good vibes. Whatever you do...hope that it makes A LOT of money:D

Sierra Godfrey said...

Thanks Jm, that's the one.

Interesting question, Tina. I am not sure I can agree with your friend that Dan is good for the industry as a whole. I think it means that publishers will continue pumping money into big name authors and celebrities, and less about debut authors. Because really, look at the quality of The Lost Symbol. (That being said, I am not saying I'm above reading it--I'm sure it's an engaging plot. But....)

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