Monday, June 3, 2013

Forgive Me for Ranting!

This much anticipated offering - certain to be a blockbuster - turned out to be nearly as exhausting and disappointing as Barbara Walter's Audition.  The success of both of these is clearly built on reputation and not substance.

The premise is worth consideration.  I don't want to give too much away for those of you die-hard Brown fans, but the plot  involves a plan to inusre the longevity of mankind.  The anagonist, who commits suicide on page seven, worked for an organization dedicated to eliminating segments of the population to ensure there would be enough natural resources to sustain coming generations.  That's scary - especially since Brown's disccliamer on the opening page asserts that such an organization exists, but he has changed the name.  Scary also is the truth that we are consuming far too much, far too fast and are not looking at the big picture when it comes to preservation and replenishment.

For me, the book's weaknesses begin with  assumptions  Brown makes about his readers.   He assumes we need to be schooled in the whereabouts of Venice, for example, and the fact that the city is floating amid a series of interconnected canals.  He assumes we need to be remined time and time again who carved The David, that Dante's The Divine Comedy is composed of three parts, along with teaching us the purpose of a baptisimal font.  Thanks Dan. 

Granted, the guy did a tremendous amount of reserach , but he sure doesn't weave it smoothly into his plot.  Instead., the story often comes to a sudden halt while he shifts gears.  At the lowest points, the book reads like the trascript of a Humanities class lecture.  Yet other sections seem  like a guide commissioned by some Italian tourist organization.

Then there is the product placement.  It appears that Dan Brown sold out.  I stopped counting how many times he mentioned Armani suits, along with an exclusive Italain shoe designer, and a fancy French eyewear company.  It has to be product placement because there are far too many instances where he could have, but did not name a specifice brand.  With all the drinking some characters did, he problably could have negotialted a geat deal with some high end liquor companies. 

Should I even mention the blatant plug for Ereaders?  Yes, he did plug them, and for emphasis, he put that sentence in Italics.  Cheesy, transparant and insulting.  Now, I know this is not the way for me to sell  books, right?  But when a writer thinks he can command a whopping $29.95 for a work of fiction, it better be built on something more solid than reputation.  I have ahe same gripe with JK Rawling, whose final Harry Potter boook retailed for $34.99.  In her case, the greed was even more egregious because it invoved kids.  Those books were like crack.  Kids were hooked on the first one in the series, and anguished of cries of children in withdrawal waiting for the next fix  could be heard throughout the land.  Yup, she gave some money to charity, but was it really charity when she went an made a big production out of it?  And in reality, who was actually making those contributions?

Oh, it appears that this has been an installment of  Big Rants Monday.  I will end now but not before telling you I still have some fun news to let you all in on real soon.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by.

One more's a great quote, and an even greater decision, by the CEO of Barefoot Books

Quotation of the Day

'Life's Too Short'

"At a certain point, you realize life's too short for this. We couldn't even talk to a human being. It's not a very satisfying way of doing business."

--Nancy Traversy, co-founder and CEO of Barefoot Books, speaking with IBTimes about why the publisher decided to stop selling to Amazon, a decision that came after years of "lowball price-fixing, delayed payments and frustrating interactions with Amazon's automated publisher services