Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The Da Vinci Code

I've been meaning to write a brief review of this novel since I finished it a few weeks ago. After reading some reviews of it online and seeing Dan Brown on the "Today" show, I thought I should check it out. My mother got the book for me for my birthday, finally giving me the opportunity to read it.

At first, I didn't care for the writing style or the story. Throughout, it reads like a typical thriller: a cliffhanger on every page, Angnot much character development, but plenty of intrigue and excitement to keep the reader's attention. It reminded me of the later Robert Ludlum novels, published after Ludlum died and penned by a cadre of ghostwriters. For all we know, Dan Brown could be one of those ghostwriters. However, as the book went on and Brown got into the codes and symbolism of the story, I found myself unable to stop reading. As much as I didn't want to like the book, I couldn't help enjoying it. At the end, I didn't know much more about the characters than I knew at the beginning, but it didn't matter. The story was gripping, and even the excess of symbolic data wasn't too overpowering, though it was annoying at times to repeatedly learn that some modern custom started as a pagan ritual two thousand years ago. I liked the book enough that I'm going to read Angels and Demons, Brown's other novel featuring the same main character, and I'm curious how the movie version of The Da Vinci Code will look.

I'm currently reading Douglas R. Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, and that's keeping my mind occupied in vastly different ways. I should be working out some of the puzzles in the book with paper and pencil, and that's hard to do on a crowded subway train in winter. I end up trying to work them out in my head instead, which is equally difficult in a crowded subway.

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