I don't know why, but I always seem to read Dan Brown in the large print editions. It just works out that way. And when you factor in all the funny looking pictures he gives you, it’s almost like reading a children's book. An unfair characterization, especially coming from me, since I never figure out the clues hidden in the symbols. (Figuring out how a marching band can morph from the “OHIO STATE” formation into “OH SHIT!” is more my speed.)
Take Angels and Demons (please), which was as big as two bricks but not nearly as heavy. Even though I’m a notoriously slow reader (I barely get through a line before a new Burger King commercial catches my eye.) I read it in a weekend. Yet, I still feel somewhat shortchanged.
Still, one thing you have to give Dan Brown is that he’s fun. Good clean silly fun, disguised as serious fun. He even seems a little edgy when he goes up against Religions With No Sense of Humor that I’m a member of but that shall go unnamed (begins with a C).
And for me, possessor of at least a dozen pairs of cheap reading glasses (you can get good cheap ones at my old nemesis, Costco) the large type adds immensely to the fun. It’s not that the large type allows me to read without them. I’m a little too far gone for that. But when I put the glasses on and read the large type, it’s not just the fonts that appear huge. The silliness factor itself seems to multiply. The exclamation points become humungous. And, believe me, there are a lot of them.
Now before you go thinking I'm some kind of snob, let me explain that I'm an equal opportunity disdainer - I don't care if it's Shakespeare, if I hate it, I hate it. And if all I’m looking for is a good time, who am I to blame Dan when he provides it? Sometimes even unintentionally, like this line from The Lost Symbol:
"He stood beneath the frigid water for a full minute to close his pores and trap the heat and energy within his core."
Okay, I know the character's supposed to be a nut, and Dan's just writing it from his point of view, but, Jesus, where the hell is his core? He spends a lot of time walking around naked, so you have many opportunities to ponder the possibilities. By they way, do you have a core? Do I? If I do, please don't tell me.
But by all means read one of these books. If you have to, go for two. But for heaven’s sake, don’t read three. I did, and I really want that weekend back. But I kid. A&D wasn’t bad. It’s just when you read three or more Dan Brown’s you risk a case of terminal silliness. I’m not going anywhere near Deception Point.
My advice is to go with The DaVinci Code for the cool concept and smooth execution. You can skip Angels and Demons, which is practically the same book, plot-wise. The Lost Symbol isn’t bad, and it’s got the wildest bad guy (who’s really no more over the top than Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal, core and all). Plus, the mixture of American and Masonic history is a blast. (I was feeling inferior to those smart-ass Europeans after reading DaVinci. Seems like our guys were just as crafty as those bastards. In your face, Rennaissance! USA! USA! USA!)
Sorry about that. The silliness is contagious…