It's just a book


I got tired of feeling like I was the only person on the planet who hadn't read The Da Vinci Code. The not having read it was getting a little tiresome. Television shows and books debunking the novel. A movie coming out in a couple of minutes. And, because I do what I do, people would naturally assume I'd read the book and ask my opinion. And I do read a lot, but I don't read everything. You just can't. When January got three ARCs or whatever a couple of years ago, I took a look, smelled religious themes and passed any copy I might have read on to reviewers. Who knew?

So fast forward to 2006 and after 40,000,000 (that's 40 million!) other people had already read it, I coughed up the ten bucks or whatever for the paperback.

Upshot? It really is just a book. I didn't feel a compelling need to race through to get to the end, but I didn't feel like heaving it against a wall, either. (Word: the book that makes you wanna toss it is not a good book.)

I don't know what I expected, but The Da Vinci Code didn't change my worldview or anything. It might have if I had a lot invested in a belief system but, remember: a while back there I was shying away from religious themes.

It was a pleasant surprise to find the book doesn't have any of those dreary religious undertones or overtones or however you describe the feeling you get when you accidentally land on a Christian rock radio station. It sounds like real music, but it's not. You just know about it in your gut somewhere. I was afraid The Da Vinci Code would be like that. It isn't. It's a thriller and a good one, though not of the highest order. The prose is workmanlike though -- strictly from the point of craftsmanship -- some of the transitions are clunky, inelegant.

On the other hand, the story is compelling, the characters well drawn, the plot entertaining. Is any of it true? Is it supposed to be? I mean, really: it's just a book.

Comments

Sandra Ruttan said…
Just wanted to say welcome to the blogs, Linda.

As for DaVinci, I haven't read it, and I have no plans to read it. It is just a book and hype aside, I find myself having no interest in it whatsoever. I'm one of those people that too much hype really works against.

I haven't read Harry Potter either.
So I was the second to last person to read The Code. And so, from the sound of things, it will remain.

Seriously, though, you're right: as both of us said, it's just a book. But you haven't read Harry? That's different. Harry Potter is seriously magic. I comlpetely understand the bruhaha around those books.

Thanks for the welcome to the blogosphere. Now I get it: this is actually pretty fun!
Tania said…
Add me to the list of people who haven't read The Da Vinci Code. Like Sandra, the subject doesn't interest me and all the hype is quite off-putting.

With so many good books out there, why bother reading something that doesn't appeal to me just because everyone else is reading it or has read it? If I ever get stranded on an island and the book is there, I'll read it. ;)

I wonder if the movie will do as well as the book. Tom Hanks is a big draw...
Andi said…
If only it would have STAYED just a book I might be okay with it. Not really - I seriously disliked it for several reasons. 1) Evil creepy villains with physical deformities seem SO er, um, medieval? 2) I don't CARE about thie issues in the book and that makes it less than interesting to me - I don't CARE about the Grail, I don't care about Mary's relationship to Jesus (I'm Jewish and these things don't matter in my non-observant world) - it seemed as if the stuff was presented as "YOU WILL BE ROCKED TO THE CORE OF YOUR BEING" type writing.
Finally, I found some of the "oh my GOD, NO" stuff to be ridiculous - that after hundreds of years, thousands of people have examined Leonardo's work and what, THIS GUY sees stuff that has "always been there" but no one saw? That struck me as bad writing.
Why did I read it? I cannot figure it out - it was a convention freebie that I grabbed one day when nothing else was working for me. And sold for like $5.
And I hate hype but this was pre-hype. If I'd waited a few more months, i wouldhave reacted like Sandra and not touched it because too much hype turns me away as well. The "counter" hype now - all the books and panels and claims and presentations about how wrong it is - are just as annoying to me.
I don't get the HP thing either; I read one. It was ok. I've read books I liked gobs better. Yes, I am thrilled to bits that kids are excited about a book. But I don't get WHY that one and not ones that are it's equal or better. I so hate trendiness, even in things I love like books.
All of these points are good. But it's still just a book.

Thanks for commenting, though! My blog is alive. Thanks.
Sandra Ruttan said…
Well Linda, my niece and I have a deal - she reads a Rankin, I read a Rowling.

She's borrowed her first Rankin book from my collection - she's 11, but a CSI nut. So Rowling will be in my hands before long!

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