This week, Library Journal and School Library Journal staffers are getting cozy with tales of murder and with children’s literature. SLJ's Shelley Diaz and Chelsey Philpot are both reading Bennett Madison's September Girls (HarperCollins) and I’m listening to an audiobook full of crunchy, creaky words: armiger, chiliarch, cacogen, exultant, optimate, destrier, undine. If you see me murmuring to myself on the subway, it’s Gene Wolfe’s words, not a sign of my deteriorating sanity. (I promise.)
As Lewis Carroll’s Alice so aptly points out, “What is the use of a book…without pictures or conversations?” Welcome to RA Crossroads, where books, movies, music, and other media converge, and whole-collection reader’s advisory service goes where it may. In this column, Robert Langdon and Dante lead me down a winding path.
LJ's readers advisory expert Neal Wyatt takes on what to read after Inferno.
The power of literature!
A great gif set (minus the homophobic pejorative, Brad Pitt) to introduce LJ's review of Dan Brown’s Inferno, which we gave a star! Also if you aren’t following LJ's fiction editor, Wilda Williams on Tumblr, get on it.
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Angels and Demons; The Da Vinci Code; The Lost Symbol) returns in another thriller that invokes history, architecture, science, and conspiracy. Langdon wakes up in a hospital bed with no memory of the last two days. He’s surprised to find himself in Florence, Italy, and even more shocked to discover that someone is out to kill him for something he knows. The doctor treating him helps him to escape from an assassin, and the chase is on. Can Langdon follow clues that tie in to Dante’s epic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, and stop a plot destined to change the world forever? Verdict Brown delivers an amazing and intense read that arguably is the best Langdon thriller to date. Everything a reader expects from Brown is here, plus a well-written thriller with jaw-dropping twists as well. A high demand for the works of Dante plus a surge in Italian tourism is sure to follow. The king of the historical thriller is back, and this book will easily dominate the best sellers lists for quite some time. [See Prepub Alert, 1/15/13.]—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
“Renowned author Dan Brown got out of his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house and paced the bedroom, using the feet located at the ends of his two legs to propel him forwards.”
My reviewer loved The Da Vinci Code but I could not get past the first chapter. This brilliant parody of Brown’s clunky prose style shows why.
The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.
I laughed at loud at the last sentence. Hoo boy.
Missing renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon? Wishing you had something really juicy to recommend to diehard Da Vinci Code fans? You’re in luck. Dan Brown—whose The DaVinci Code is in fact the best-selling adult hardcover of all time, with 81 million copies in print worldwide, and whose subsequent The Lost Symbol sold 30 million copies—has a new book forthcoming on May 14. Titled Inferno (ISBN 9780385537858. $29.95), it is in fact based on Dante’s enduring masterpiece.