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View Poll Results: What do you think of Dan Brown's books
Five stars - the best of their kind 6 6.74%
Four Stars - good but not good enough to be five stars 19 21.35%
Three Stars - Average 26 29.21%
Two stars - Below average 11 12.36%
One star - Not good 5 5.62%
Zero - To line the bottom of a bird's cage with them wood be an insult to the bird 11 12.36%
The Blue one next to the Fish 11 12.36%
Voters: 89. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-20-2014, 07:57 AM   #31
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I haven't read any of his books since then which, I think, means that I've not read The Lost Symbol and Inferno. No real rush to do so which I guess says it all in terms of my rating of his writing.
I wouldn't bother with "The Lost Symbol", but I'd definitely recommend "Inferno".
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:53 AM   #32
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I wouldn't bother with "The Lost Symbol", but I'd definitely recommend "Inferno".
Thanks for the suggestion. I found Inferno this morning in a charity shop for £2 so I bought it. On my TBR pile...
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:37 AM   #33
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It's a business

I find such discussions highly interesting.
I think, the Americans phrase it best: Show BUSINESS.
It's a business after all.

13 years ago, when the first "Lord of the Rings" movie was in cinemas, a (in Germany) well known professional critic called it "garbage and trivial crap". On the other hand, he gave a German movie the highest rating. This movie was about Nazi Germany, so of course highly educational and quite serious. But: This movie in total had been seen by 70.000 people. I guess, that's what the "Lord of the Rings" movie made in his first hour or so...
Don't get me wrong: I'm not at all a fan of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I found them rather boring. But they've met the target. On the the other hand: What good is a meaningful movie, if no one is watching it?

Meaning:
In my opinion, the first and foremost task of a film maker, book author, journalist or whatever occupation you take, is to find an audience.
A film has to be seen, a book has to be read.

And then, if I choose this simple criteria, Stephen King or Dan Brown and the likes obviously understand their business.

I've read all Dan Brown books since "Angels & Demons".
I would have stopped with "Angels & Demons" (Spoiler Alert: Jumping out of a helicopter, landing in a well without any harm done), but gave it another try because of the hype around "The DaVinci Code".
From "The DaVinci Code" on I've enjoyed them all.
I take them for what they are: Entertainment. And in this they succeed.
Not every book or every movie has to be life-changing and teach a lesson. Sometimes just being entertained is more than enough.

Last edited by mgmueller; 01-24-2014 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:54 AM   #34
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In my opinion, the first and foremost task of a film maker, book author, journalist or whatever occupation you take, is to find an audience.
Nope.
Nothing wrong with show business; I like being entertained.
Nothing wrong with commercially successful art either; great if someone manages to make money with art.
Everything wrong with "first and foremost you have to find an audience"; without artists who follow their vision no matter if they have a big audience or not, we would be missing the art that really matters. Think Kafka, think van Gogh.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:53 AM   #35
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Nope.
Nothing wrong with show business; I like being entertained.
Nothing wrong with commercially successful art either; great if someone manages to make money with art.
Everything wrong with "first and foremost you have to find an audience"; without artists who follow their vision no matter if they have a big audience or not, we would be missing the art that really matters. Think Kafka, think van Gogh.
100, 50 or even 30 years ago this certainly was true.
And you're right: Many artists, nowadays considered genius and ahead of their time, in their era did suffer.
But nowadays, in the age of self-publishing, web commercials and the likes, it should be way easier to find an audience.
There are hundreds of success stories of self-published authors, making >$ 1 million, basically on their own. Is it art? Maybe not. But on the other hand, not having found an audience doesn't make anything art per-se either.
If in this age someone doesn't find an audience, he's got hundreds of options to adjust. And for obvious reasons should do so.
Just think of Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and their invention of modern art in the cafe Guerbois.

And of course, Van Gogh and the likes didn't intentionally fail to succeed. In retrospect, their suffering makes it all seem more glorious and heroic. But would it be less artful, if Van Gogh would have been successful in his lifetime?

Last edited by mgmueller; 01-24-2014 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:33 AM   #36
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I see art as a form of communication. An artist is trying to say something (to someone).
You can say something to no one, but then why publish/show your art? You could keep it in your notebook in your bedroom.

If you are trying to say something TO SOMEONE then it does not diminish your art to seek out who that someone might be, or to give (some) consideration to making your art communicate most effectively. That's finding an audience.

To publish/show otherwise is to shout from the mountaintop. Akin to posting on your Facebook page or ranting on your own blog: go ahead, but no one cares.

That's not to say an artist should stop MAKING ART even if they have not found an audience. Follow your vision, as DS said above, by all means!

P.S. I'm a bit surprised that I'm still the only one-star vote in the poll. Lots of zeros, but at a glance it seems most find the books about average. I wonder who else falls into the "average" category in this genre? Who's above average?

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Old 01-24-2014, 11:15 AM   #37
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...If you are trying to say something TO SOMEONE then it does not diminish your art to seek out who that someone might be, or to give (some) consideration to making your art communicate most effectively. That's finding an audience....That's not to say an artist should stop MAKING ART even if they have not found an audience. Follow your vision, as DS said above, by all means!...
That's exactly what I've meant.
There is no pre-defined audience. There is no homogenous audience.
There are dozens and hundreds of target groups.
An artist doesn't have to butcher his vision, to apply to a specific target group.
But he should find his target group(s) to be heard or seen.

This kind of reminds me of one of my former employers.
Hardware manufacturer. Famous for their quality products.
But at some stage, they forgot about the market.
They didn't analyze the needs, but simply gave the lead to the developers.
The products had been great. And there had been almost no competition.
But there hasn't been any demand = market either.
Internally, we said: "We design world class products and then tell customers, they have to adjust their demands, so their needs fit to our product. Some competitors on the other hand did listen to existing customer needs and sell like hell"...
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:52 PM   #38
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I read the Da Vinci Code and did not like it very much. I have not read another of his books. So my rating was based on that one book.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:09 PM   #39
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Rocky was up for an Oscar for its screenplay, I seem to remember.
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Won "Best Picture", "Best Director" and "Best Film Editing" in 1976
But...

If I were to compare Dan Brown to a Rocky movie, I would say he'd be Rocky V.
Rocky won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1977 up against All the President's Men, Bound for Glory, Network, and Taxi Driver. I've considered the Academy Awards a joke as far as artistic merit ever since. I've yet to see any Rocky movie that wasn't basically a repeat of the first. But than I've refused to see any beyond the first three no matter how much pressure was put on me by current lovers, friends, or family.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:13 PM   #40
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I've considered the Academy Awards a joke as far as artistic merit ever since.
Then I'd say you have a poor... sense of humor. Rocky was a great movie,
And Stallone's character was every bit as compelling and worthy as DeNiro's in Taxi Driver.
The "underdog sports champion" was a really just a framing device to the character story, and it was that element alone the later movies imitated (untill 'Rocky Balboa' which was much more in line with the original). Not the stuff that earned it it's awards.

Dan brown = Rocky II through IV
Rocky I is more like...well, whoever would rate well-above-average in this genre....

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Old 01-24-2014, 07:11 PM   #41
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Then I'd say you have a poor... sense of humor. Rocky was a great movie,
And Stallone's character was every bit as compelling and worthy as DeNiro's in Taxi Driver.
The "underdog sports champion" was a really just a framing device to the character story, and it was that element alone the later movies imitated (untill 'Rocky Balboa' which was much more in line with the original). Not the stuff that earned it it's awards.

Dan brown = Rocky II through IV
Rocky I is more like...well, whoever would rate well-above-average in this genre....

ApK
Interesting. I never considered that the Rocky films were intended to be comedies. I may have to rent one of them to see if I appreciate it more looked at in that light.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:44 PM   #42
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Rocky won the Best Picture Academy Award in 1977 up against All the President's Men, Bound for Glory, Network, and Taxi Driver. I've considered the Academy Awards a joke as far as artistic merit ever since. I've yet to see any Rocky movie that wasn't basically a repeat of the first. But than I've refused to see any beyond the first three no matter how much pressure was put on me by current lovers, friends, or family.
I'm a Rocky virgin.

As for Dan Brown, I read the first three pages of Da Vinci Code and it was so extremely badly written that I abandoned it, and him, for all time.
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Old 01-25-2014, 04:03 PM   #43
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His books are a mixed bag. I read Angels and Demons after The Da Vinci Code, so it felt like a blue print of the newer title. I didn't enjoy Digital Fortres nor Inferno (I didn't even finish that one).

I didn't vote in the poll because few authors manage to write books that I consistently enjoy, and Brown is no exception (actually, he's probably more volatile than most, but it's a matter of preference).
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:43 PM   #44
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I haven't read any of his work, so I've abused my moderatorial abilities to add an option to your poll so that I could vote.
Now that's a man who really loves the electoral process.

I mean, it's one thing to choose that option if it appears on a poll, but it's a special kind of compulsion to do what you did....
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:45 PM   #45
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Now that's a man who really loves the electoral process.

I mean, it's one thing to choose that option if it appears on a poll, but it's a special kind of compulsion to do what you did....
Every MobileRead poll deserves a "The Blue one next to the Fish" option.
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