Dan Brown Writes (and Sells) OK Books

The only reason why I never bothered to read the super famous novel The Da Vinci Code was that it was so very famous. And when it became really, really famous, it just about made people’s head explode with admiration and that turned me off because this was back in college when I was relentlessly trying to be a proper snob (although I remember being a little proud that I was ahead of my business major blockmates, literature-wise, having already read The Alchemist, a nice enough book but one which anyone who’s attempting snobbery shouldn’t be cocky about but which I think I was), and everyone who has ever heard of it are just fans of the book in an instant and these same people were so eager to give uncalled for synopsis of the supernova novel, ie, that it mixes certain historical facts with the type of by-the-numbers thriller the likes of which John Grisham and Stephen King have already popularized, and it all seemed to me too annoying for words.

Actually, I recall having only about 2 people (org mates who would not shut up about Dan Brown’s ‘genius’) tell me about How Great A Novel It Is, and the rest are just background conversations about that time’s most popular book and that it was simply a matter of being unable to escape some book’s admittedly well-deserved fame which causes some people (for all intents and purposes, me) to purposefully ignore it and curse at those who are sucking up to some book, of all things.

So I am now instinctively recollecting Da Vinci Code’s salad days as pop lit’s It book as something that annoyed me greatly, when in fact it hasn’t really. And for something that I claim to not have cared about, I sure go at great lengths to discuss just how totally indifferent I was/am to it. But then I have always had that quality in me that the things that I’m not supposed to, or claim to not like end up being the things I talk about the most and with such passion.

And sure enough, I do have a terrific point to make about Dan Brown and his books’ popularity’s inescapability, which is that no one, or just me, should shun a book or author simply because of ignorance or attitude problem. To be specific, I should not have decided to not read The Da Vinci Code simply because it was a very popular book. And all these realizations, as you would’ve guessed are brought about by my finally being able to read another Dan Brown blockbuster of which fame I’m not sure I’ve been very aware of which is a good thing as I was able to genuinely enjoy it for how it is, which in my case is a book that happened to be given away on that fateful day. My well-timed laziness paid off handsomely when our boss asked the whole of our department who wants to have The New Dan Brown, to which I’d quickly said Want it! and The New Dan Brown was mine.

But now that I’ve thought about it, no matter how much longer I talk about book snobbery and no matter how strongly I urge anyone to give bestselling writers a chance (as if), I still wouldn’t actively go to a bookstore and browse, much less, purchase anything from the Dan Brown section and spend actual money on something that I can have for free. And I don’t mean the free Lost Symbol which I got. When Da Vinci Code was still so popular, we had 2 copies of it at home and I ignored it like a disease. Which was a shame since Dan Brown is a hooker. Shit has been said about his writing and that maybe has some ground though I wouldn’t know, but he is a terrific storyteller.

I’d go on about how enjoyable it is but I feel exhausted already having said too much about that which I normally would have plenty to say about, something concerning certain attitude problem even extending to book choices. The Lost Symbol is ultimately a predictable story in that it is how I imagined it would be: thrilling, fast-paced and with a slightly corny way of describing certain characters and situations. What I didn’t expect was the enjoyment and the lessons: it’s not always beneficial to be snob-acting and that free books are enjoyable.

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