Tag Archives: The Dan Brown Paradox

A Little Fluff Never Hurt Nobody

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Let’s be clear here. A little literary fluff, in moderation, is a good thing. Like drinking a case of beer (without anyone else’s oral assistance) while watching Hockey Night in Canada. Or reciting poetry to sharpen your addled brain. Or indulging in poutine after said night of debauchery and preparing for the poetics part the following morning (a person needs energy!).

That’s all chicken noodle fluff for the soul.

Whatever the hell it is that made it onto this post as the Pic of the Day is not a good thing, in moderation or even once in your life. REPEAT: If you see the above product while shopping, call in a Code Blue, throw yourself in a tent, and rub those rosary beads you carry with you for good luck. Oh, and pray the jar doesn’t consume you.

Last week, I finished this month’s book club novel, Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach, an impressively researched story about a young lady coming of age in New York City in the late 1930s and early 1940s,  freeing me up for a bit in between Curling Was Full choices. (Spoiler alert: Everyone dies at the end of Manhattan Beach when the Manhattan Project goes south and wipes out all the main characters, who’d taken refuge on a beach. Kind of a lame ending.)

Obviously I reached for the marshmallow fluff next, and just finished my latest Jack Reacher book (#20 in the series), Lee Child’s Make Me. I am now as content as a pig in…umm…a blanket?

Anyway, one of the reasons Mr. Child has my eternal love is that he doesn’t pretend to be anyone he’s not (or should I say JR doesn’t?). He has you hanging from page one, kicks some ass along the way in Nowhere, USA, then brings everything all together with a little bow on top. Nice.

But Lee Child’s real “piece of resistance” is the way he throws in facts, figures and stats. Unlike the Dan Brown Paradox, Mr. Child is not pretending to solve a centuries-old clue (except how some guys are always jacked up on testosterone maybe) when he discusses heavy subjects like suicide, the Gettysburg Address, and the dark web, all three of which he addresses in Make Me. More than that, he somehow makes it relevant to chasing bad guys around places like Mother’s Rest, Nebraska.

This got me to thinking, though. Trusting Goodreads as I do, I was curious what readers around the world considered the biggest pile of fluffy fluffiness. Well, I – and by extension you – now have the answer. Here’s the full list, but the Top 10 Most Popular Fluff Books goes like this, with Stephenie Meyer wearing the Empress’s New Clothes, Sophie Kinsella donning the queen’s crown, and Stephanie Perkins taking home the raciest title award.

1. Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella

2. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

3. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding

4. The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger

5. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer

6. Can You Keep a Secret?, Sophie Kinsella

7. One for the Money, Janet Evanovich

8. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer

9. Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer

10. Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins

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The Dan Brown Paradox

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Dan Brown has a new book out, Origin, which means it’s time for The Dan Brown Paradox (DBP) once again. You know the DBP, that part of the Olympic Read-a-thon (he seems to publish once every four years or so) calendar to debate whether you will join in the chorus of groans and sighs, or whether you’ll remain a casual observer off to the side, knowing deep down you want to read it because it’s a win-win situation: if it completely stinks, you have much to gossip about at your next book club meeting (after revealing you didn’t read the club’s book o’ the month ’cause you were too “crazy super busy”); if you do like it, you get to trash it and feel somehow more cultured than the rest of society because you found the clues Langdon missed, and you can dissecting the grammer, Spelling and lexical diction of his writing gooder than any any other hacker.

I’ve read two of his “opi,” The Da Vinci Code and Inferno, and have to admit that he knows how to pen a page-turner. The history is questionable at times, the characters are coarsely wooden to the point of being full-time stiffies, and the dialogues are, umm…Surreptitious? Clandestine? Furtive? Sexy yet mild?

Still – and for reasons nobody can really explain – we want more, more, and more! of Mr. Brown’s trunk-filled junk. (Plus, in all the interviews I’ve seen of him, he seems like a genuinely nice guy, so whoever the hell said nice guys finish last can go and suck it because his net worth is now somewhere around $200 million.)

Whatever the case, I’m still an ardent believer that if someone can get you to read, there is, at the very least, value in that.

But there’s also value in poking fun at the super-rich guy because he’s, well, uber rich. That got me to thinking of what others were writing online about Mr. Browndon, and here are the three best reviews of Mr. Langrown I came across:

“Renowned author Dan Brown gazed admiringly at the pulchritudinous brunette’s blonde tresses, flowing from her head like a stream but made from hair instead of water and without any fish in them.”

“It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket. The voice at the other end of the line gave a sigh, like a mighty oak toppling into a great river, or something else that didn’t sound like a sigh if you gave it a moment’s thought.”

“The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. However, they added, it was also repetitive in some places, yet repetitive in others.”

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