Thursday, July 15, 2004

Summertime Reading

So, if one more person says how much they loved The Davinci Code, I'm going to scream! I'm not sure I've ever read a worse book. It might make beginning writers feel better abut themselves, for example, if a book with such stereotyped, hollow characters and poor writing could be published and be a smash success, why not me? (Also, where were the editors for that book? Asleep on the job, I guess. There was more than its fair share of redundancy, more adverbs than you can shake a stick at, and tons of wording that could be cut.)

Meanwhile, The New York Times recently published an article that pretty much said Americans don't read. It said that a little more than 50% of respondents to a 2002 U.S. Census Bureau survey said they hadn't read a book in the last year, and about half of adults over the age of 18 hadn't read a novel, poem, or play. What gives?

At any rate, I'm sure there's a market for beautiful writing that has something to say, if people gobbled up The DaVinci Code at the rate they did.

First I'd like to recommend Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. It has a quiet humor, a great way at looking at philosophy and religion, and celebrates a return to the story, in observing life and how we live it. It's the kind of book that makes you sad when it ends.

Next, Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides. It knocked me on my ass within the first few pages and didn't stop. I was pleasantly surprised that it won the Pulitzer; who knew that a book that took that many chances would win that award? Great stuff. It's not for the faint of heart, but again, it's the kind of book -- sweeping family epic that it is, with a twist -- that makes you remember what a wonderful thing it is to be able to write... and read. Plus, I can't even count the little observations on people that Eugenides had the guts to expose, that are so, so true.

With so few people reading these days, it's good to know that there are still great books out there. The DaVinci Code had me worried, but these two books renewed my belief that there's true talent out there.

Thanks for reading,



Blogger Stephen said...

Not only is The Davinci Code a crappy book for a lot of reasons that has had more attention than it deserves, there is controversy it is plagiarised from a little known book published in 1983 called The Davinci Legacy, which has oddly not received much press attention despite the damning evidence. Figures a crappy book that makes millions is plagiarised.

6:12 PM  

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