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Marisa Livet | all galleries >> All My Galleries >> Unnecessary rambling talks of an amateur photographer. > The worst book I have read until the end....
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01-JAN-2010 Marisa

The worst book I have read until the end....

Nyon (Switzerland)

I guarantee that I have read it until the end.
It has been a titanic task, because it’s a wordy huge book, badly written and I have disliked it from the very beginning.
Nevertheless I have read it until the last so welcome page.
It was not because of a form of masochism; it was because of my rational sense of logic, which prevents me from judging anything I don’t know directly.

I have always felt disturbed when people or groups judge a work, it can be either a movie or a book, without having seen or read it personally.

I think we have a kind of moral obligation to have at least a slight idea about what we talk of, to have a minimum of credibility in our always relative judgement.

I take all my responsibilities for the infinite ocean of boredom this novel made me sink into, because I had tried to read until the end the absurdly famous “Da Vinci Code”, by the same sly, shrewd and ungifted author and already at that time I had the same annoyed and disturbed feeling due to an approximate literary style and a total lack of depth of characters.

Just to avoid any possible misunderstanding, my disdainful disliking for “Da Vinci Code” was not due to any offended religious belief, since I could not be more distant intellectually from those matters. I was only deeply disturbed by the bad quality of the novel, from a literary point of view, and from the absurdity of the plot and its superficiality.

Oscar Wilde, who knew very well what he was talking about, said:
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.”

I suppose that the mechanism of popular success must be based on a reassuring repetitiveness, which already makes deeply shiver the individualist who is in me.
Mr. Brown is right in thinking that once he created a winning scheme, all what he has to do is repeating it.

So the ingredients to put into the magic cauldron are an improbable apprentice detective with a great physical endurance (all professors are usually gifted with great physical endurance) a confused and twisted plot based on a mixture of real and fake elements related to some important human organization, better if with some mystery and a flavour of secret society and then, last but not least the bad guy, who must be a monster in the classical meaning of the word, that is an extraordinary and amazing being, either a very cruel albino or a scaring fully tattooed giant and, of course, the bad guy must not have any nuance, but be a total summary of evil and must have suffered for lack of paternal presence or conflict with father. So it explains simply but effectively -according to Mr. Brown- the genesis of the transformation of a common person into the archetype of evil.

Once you have done that, all the rest is secondary, you can write at random in a very approximate style, in which even I, who I'm not of English mother tongue and I’m quite ignorant, can find appalling flaws.

I was totally fed up with the bizarre vicissitudes and absurd adventures of the characters, always described superficially and in a quite uninteresting way, but I could not help noticing some flagrant mistaken, presented as pure truth. Since I didn't analyse the novel, but I simply read it quickly to arrive safely to the end, always hoping to find at least a decent passage (I’m an optimist), I wonder how many other mistakes and inaccuracies are present in the book.

I simply noticed that Mr Brown makes one of his main characters declare that he devoured the Odyssey by Homer, being quite fascinated by epic fights among valiant warriors in shining armours. Unfortunately the epic fights are essential subject of the Iliad, a poem describing the war of Troy ( before Brad Pitt’s age), while there is not anything like that in the Odyssey, which treats a quite different subject.

If Mr Brown is not a fine expert in Greek classical literature, he has some limits also in philosophy.
Quoting Pythagoras he claims for sure that the great philosopher was the author of the famous aphorism
“Know thyself”
While the only sure thing is that it was carved on the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and it has been attributes to at least six or seven ancient Greek philosophers (personally I feel it more suitable for Socrates).

I know that there is never an end for the worst and it’s hard to claim anything in absolute. But at this stage I do think “The Lost symbol” is the worst book I have ready until the end.

Someone said rightly that no book can be completely bad and there is always a use for it.
If “The Lost symbols” had been thinner, it would have been good to put under a too short legs of a coffee table, maybe, but it’s too thick and heavy.
So far I have not found any destination for it.

I had thought to throw it out from my window, but it would have been dangerous because of its weight and definitely polluting for the environment.
So this last picture is only metaphorical.

Canon Powershot G11
1/30s f/2.8 at 6.1mm iso160 full exif

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Barry S Moore07-Aug-2013 06:05
I deeply disliked the da Vinci code as a movie - seeing only 1/2 before stopping. I avoided the book of course. You have saved me the bother of looking at this tome. Thanks
Marina Arimany10-Jan-2010 20:23
Hi Marisa, thank you very much for your advise.
After reading Code da Vinci until the end, I will not read this one for sure.
William Barletta08-Jan-2010 22:34
You persevere far more that I would have; I doubt I'd last up to 100 pages. And if the last part of the book is a masterpiece but I have pronounced it bad, well, I would not feel bad about that. I have walked out of plays and operas having spent much more than I would have on a book. Thank you for providing specifics about the pretentiousness of the author. Yes, it is fiction, but written in a way as if a great secret is authoritatively revealed. Brava Marisa!
Doug Cruden02-Jan-2010 18:05
LOL, fantastic review! I thought I was alone in abhorring Brown's 'literary' style and the way he plays fast and loose with facts to earn his living. Best thing to do with it? Make it serve a useful purpose, throw it on the fire and feel the warmth...:o))) V
marko gregoric02-Jan-2010 07:31
Wow.. Marisa. Very good work. V.
Steve Mockford02-Jan-2010 01:38
Thank you for the insightful review Marisa, and for the opportunity to start my year with a smile. ~V~
lou_rozensteins02-Jan-2010 01:12
A pretty good judgement, I would say! I couldn't even be bothered starting after the Da Vinci Code ... so now Iknow I'm not missing anything at all. Why not try "Foucalt's Pendulum" ..... about the same stuff, but very much more readable, and funny!! Anyway.Happy New Year!
slhoornstra01-Jan-2010 23:28
You have saved me from frustration since I had almost ordered it myself, nice shot and thank you for your excellent review!! I need something to read, guess it will be back to "Understanding Your Camera", which all my friends know, is likely impossible . V
runcible01-Jan-2010 23:15
Congatulations on your fortitude. I only managed the first thirty pages or so of "The Da Vinci Code" before I was able to confirm what I had suspected. As Nathaniel Hawthorne said of certain novels: "...worse they could not be, and better they need not be, when they sell by the 100,000."
Steve Sharp01-Jan-2010 20:49
You have missed your true vocation as a literary critic Marisa! Still, I suspect that I found more entertainment in your review of the book than I probably would in reading the book itself! (and it took me much less time to get that entertainment too!).
Ps Happy New Year to you :)
FrankB01-Jan-2010 20:05
Dan Brown, like most authors today, writes books to sell a lot and ultimately to make movies. That being said, you can't expect latter day Dostoyevsky's! :-))))) So I just leave them be. Life is too short.
Máire Uí Mhaicín01-Jan-2010 19:50
It goes against the grain for me to give up reading a book, and I salute you for sticking it out with this one. But at this stage of my life, I don't think I'd have the patience to plough past the first 100 pages if it hadn't engaged me.
Curt G.01-Jan-2010 18:29
Excellent way to launch the new year! Thank you. Your essay and image reveal what commercial interests want to keep secret from the public. Interesting and revealing how the most prominent words on the book's cover and spine are the author's name, rather than the title. So many codes used by the media, secret codes that are either invisible or denied by the consumer. Hope some major publications hire you to write reviews, and will pay you well. P. T. Barnum knew what he was doing. You inspired me to start re-reading his 1888 book, "Life of P. T. Barnum: Written by Himself, including his Golden Rules for Money-Making."
Earl Misanchuk01-Jan-2010 17:53
I couldn't agree with you more. I tried several times--very hard--to read it, but simply couldn't get past about page 15. I think that was about Chapter 72, wasn't it? :-)
BrigitteKrede01-Jan-2010 16:38
i receive this book at christmas day....and im beginning to read it....i dont care if its the true or not....its only a fiction ....we have to know that 150 000 books was sold in one week...
Johnny JAG01-Jan-2010 14:42
LOL, it's true what they say, you don't have to be good to be popular. Mr Brown proves the point.
Jola Dziubinska01-Jan-2010 14:17
Marisa, thanks for a good reading I started my New Year's Day with.
Congratulations on your bravery to make it untill the end.
I'm wishing you many good books of talented writers that you can find and read with pleasure in 2010.
Best to you,