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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Reads

I usually read books that are a little lighter during the summer.  Usually most of my reading is done on vacation.  This summer I haven't had quite as much time and have done most of my reading at night before bed.  So far, the books I've read haven't been worth the missed sleep.

"In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.  Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered."

I've read Dan brown's other books and have found them all reasonably interesting,not great literature, but usually a pretty fun read.  This was probably my least favorite.   I thought this review from Publisher's Weekly was a pretty accurate outline of some of the reason's I didn't really enjoy the book: 

"The threat of world overpopulation is the latest assignment for Brown's art historian and accidental sleuth Robert Langdon. Awakening in a Florence hospital with no memory of the preceding 36 hours, Langdon and an attractive attending physician with an oversized intellect are immediately pursued by an ominous underground organization and the Italian police. Detailed tours of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul mean to establish setting, but instead bog down the story and border on showoffmanship. Relying on a deceased villain's trail of clues threaded through the text of Dante's The Divine Comedy, the duo attempt to unravel the events leading up to Langdon's amnesia and thwart a global genocide scheme. Suspension of disbelief is required as miraculous coincidences pile upon pure luck. Near the three-quarters point everything established gets upended and Brown, hoping to draw us in deeper, nearly drives us out. Though the prose is fast-paced and sharp, the burdensome dialogue only serves plot and back story, and is interspersed with unfortunate attempts at folksy humor. It's hard not to appreciate a present day mega-selling thriller that attempts a refresher course in Italian literature and European history. But the real mystery is in the book's denouement and how Brown can possibly bring his hero back for more."


Amina Mazid is twenty-four when she moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is the twenty-first century: she is wooed by—and woos—George Stillman online. For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life for her and her parents, as well as a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn't play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when Amina returns to Bangladesh that she an'd George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together."

I picked this book up at Costco and have had it on my shelf for awhile.  It could have stayed there a lot longer and I wouldn't have missed much.  The premise sounded interesting and there were some decent parts.  But overall, it was pretty boring.  The big secrets were kind of strange and not all that shocking.   I would have loved more information about the Bangladesh culture to give the book some depth.  I mostly had a hard time caring.


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