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Books, yeah? They're a thing.
SSar's Beast
Before I leave my job, there is one task I must complete. I must read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. I must do this because my team leader, in a surprisingly well-chosen attempt to bond with me, offered to loan it to me... oh, six months ago. "We'll have something to talk about!" I thought. "It's got to be better than listening to her tell the other office staff that she's giving her grandchildren copies of Twilight!"

Then, the Robert Langdon Omnibus sat on my office desk for three months, while I pleaded university readings which left me no time for fiction. Sadly true.

Then it sat on my floor for another three months because it did not appeal and I kept telling myself, I'll read it over Christmas, oh whoops it's January, oh whoops it's February.

I really meant to read it. But I've been a terrible reader lately. Blame it on too long spent on an English degree, blame it on Facebook, blame it on my personal willpower, but I am very very ashamed to confess that Stephenie Meyer probably made up a quarter of my entire fiction consumption last year. It's horrible! I go into secondhand book shops and spend really happy hours and come away with things that... just join the pile on my floor. I bought an awesome little book about 12th-century universities that was printed 99 years ago! A biography of a witty editor! Other stuff! My friends talk sternly about not buying any more yarn until they've finished a project. I tell myself I can't buy books until I read them.

In short: If I went in for New Year's Resolutions, they would involve reading. Books. This year.

So anyway. I have 451 pages of Angels and Demons; I have two nights in which to read it. Let's see how this goes.

9th February
-"Acknowledgements": Wow. Slightly daunted by the length of this. I would try to be sarcastic about Brown's acknowledgement of CERN and many multi-culturally-surnamed-people and a personal audience with the Pope</i> but I really can't be. It sounds like research.

-"Fact": Aww. We're onto meta-reality already. I feel a glow of fondness, and nostalgia for The Things They Carried essays.

-"Prologue": I am too impatient with this reading speed to pick this apart; suffice it to say that if you can tell someone's glaring at you, then you must be able to describe them as more than a "dark figure". Work out your uses of sensory data logically, Brown, and read more Poe.

-"1": So Langdon is a super-athletic college professor who gets on well with both students and colleagues and who gets offered sex from across the country on the FIRST PAGE. I'd say we're done here. Indiana Jones: behind the desk. Except that I'm sure I can convince myself that this ties into nostalgia for the crushes I used to have on teachers, and tell myself I always wanted to believe their lives were like this.

Oh, an ambigram! Which he has to turn upside down to convince himself is one. Makes sense in narration - demonstrate to the audience what an ambigram is - except for the GASP of the reveal, which is awfully silly.

-"2": Spilled wine on the book already. Well. We can see how THIS is going. Also, CERN invented the internet. Lol. And symbols = fossils = hearsay. So THAT's how your interview with the Pope went, Brown? Also, typographical failure involved in reproducing the book in this hardcopy format. Also: 'Langdon felt his mouth go dry. An hour's flight...' - are you scared because of the short time, the long time, the flying, the... seriously, Brown, I should be able to tell, or you shouldn't use ellipsis.

-"3": This is not a description. It is a parody of a description.

-"4": Okay, you've described a make of car and the layout of Boston. Research again. Story?
...Oh. I think I need to stop skimming the dialogue for its plot holes. Okay, technoplane! Which I can't visualise because I fail at that. YES, LABS GET COOL TOYS. Except... no, they don't, unless they can justify them in ten pages of budget. I like the world you think in, Brown. I wish it looked like mine. The claustrophobia bit isn't too ham-handed, though. Except for the part where it is prefaced by a remark about how comfortable he normally is when flying. Sigh.

-"5": WE TALK IN CODE. Nay, IN SCRIPT. All followers of our respective brethrenhoods knowen this script! Because otherwise, no way would this conversation make sense. Or, you know, happen.

Hm. As much fun as it would be to go chapter by chapter through this thing and pick it apart - for me, anyway - it would somewhat defeat my original goal of reading it in time. I guess I'll have to just - sigh - read the book.


(Note to self: Its possession of 451 pages is not an excuse to burn this book. Bad SSar. Morbane disapproves.)

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I read that first one he got famous for, the name of which I've forgotten, and really hated it. Is Angels and Demons any improvement?

Not so far. I read the Da Vinci Code years ago, and it has happily escaped my memory, except for the part where I went, "What, the big reveal is that XX is the villain? But of course he's the villain! I was hoping he was the distraction so that someone interesting would be the villain."

Oh, dear lord, that sounds so bad. I have yet to read any Dan Brown, although I will confess to reading at least one Meyer book. At least it was a pirated ebook, so she got no profit from my shame.

I bought an awesome little book about 12th-century universities that was printed 99 years ago!

...this might be relevant to my interests. May I have a look at it sometime, please?

You would be very welcome to borrow the book. In the first two chapters, it seems to be about the origin of university culture in Bologna and Paris. The first two chapters are the extent of my foray so far. 'Life in the Medieval University', R. S. Rait, 1912, Cambridge University Press.

Possibly you could borrow it at that lunch we were thinking of having?

That icon, and its variants, always makes me smile.

Stephenie Meyer's enterprise has so far profited $5 in books (library bestsellers fee) and about $40 in movies from me. Which is far too much already. Huzzah to you for helping to re-adjust that balance.

In fairness, the World Wide Web (though not the Internet) was indeed invented at CERN.

Well, that's kind of cool. Although in the book, CERN Guy on Phone says, roughly, "Of course we found your personal details by hacking a website which had the publishing details of your book! We invented the internet!"

I guess that's on my list of things to do next time I win an internet...

Don't try to fight the yarn..the yarn always wins.

Not against me. I am quite immune to the call of yarn. Beads, however...

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