Sunday, April 01, 2007

Book Reviews & Commentary

I finished Deception Point by Dan Brown this morning. Instead of watching TV yesterday, or doing anything moderately constructive, I read. It felt good to devote quality time to reading again. On the trip to and from Orlando I finished listening to Magical Thinking by Augusten Burrows, so although that was an audio book and this was an actual book, I've managed to finish two books within one week - very respectable considering how much I work.

Deception Point was well-written, and very Dan Brown. One of the aspects of DaVinci Code that I liked so well was his high level of detail when it came to religious subjects and theology. That was very much the case in this book as well. It was very scientific, and it's obvious that the author does quite a bit of research before embarking on a novel.

The downside to this book is that his characters are very much like his characters in DaVinci Code. Although the main character in this book was female, the characters from DaVinci Code and Deception Point are nearly identical in their roles in the story as well as their strengths and weaknesses. The main character from each (Robert/Rachel) is highly intelligent and inquisitive with a strong sense of self and a healthy survival instinct, while the love interest (Sophie/Michael) is equally smart and spunky with some pain or tragedy in his/her past that makes opening up and/or loving extremely difficult. The obvious antagonist at the beginning (Saunière/Hearney) turns out to be an innocent bystander whose opposition exists only because of the limited truths that he has access to, and the villain (Teabing/Pickering) starts the story as an ally, only to have his ill intentions exposed towards the end.

All good writing, but I fear that another Dan Brown novel will be even more predictable than this one. This will make reading Digital Fortress a tough sell for me, even though I have heard quite a few good comments about the book.

Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs was funny and raw, like Running with Scissors, but less shocking. The book is a collection of short stories from the author's life, all with his same twisted point of view, but also with startling honesty. I enjoyed this immensely, and am considering reading his second collection of short stories, Possible Side Effects, except for the mediocre reviews that I've read claiming that his stories are becoming less original and humorous. Maybe I'll wait on this one. It's possible that I'll appreciate it more a few months from now and not immediately following this most recent read.

So now onto which book I should read next. Below is a very short list of books that have made it onto my "next" list. I have a feeling that a visit to Barnes and Noble is forthcoming today.

1. Laura Lippman - Baltimore Blues
2. Laura Lippman - Every Secret Thing
3. Alison Brysk - Politics of Human Rights in Argentina
4. John Irving - Until I Find You
5. Adeline Yen Mah - Falling Leaves

3 Comments:

Blogger Malnurtured Snay said...

I liked your review - "formulaic" is, I think, a good analysis of Dan Brown's writing. Plus, y'know, "not very good." ;)

April 02, 2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Summer said...

I found Digital Fortress to be kind of boring and annoying. Much prefer his version of religion in the other two... but don't take them as fact on religion... there's quite a bit of untruth to them, even if they sound accurate.

April 02, 2007 4:36 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Yeah I really did not like Digital Fortress. I'd say it's probably not worth the read.

April 02, 2007 5:20 PM  

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