Sunday, October 30, 2011

Off the boil

I must admit I've gone off the boil about Dan Brown.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't gone 'off' Dan Brown or his work. I just haven't picked up one of his books for a long time.

I guess I'm just eagerly, or impatiently, waiting for his next step, his next book, whatever it may be about. But I understand writing a novel of that quality is not a speedy process. Not with all the research that has to take place first.

Does anyone have any 'heads up' about any book that Dan Brown may be working on at the moment? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dan Brown Website Fun

I do love to spend a good deal of time at Dan Brown's websites. And one of the most fun things to do is play the games/quizzes/treasure hunts he has posted there.

First up is "The Da Vinci Code Web Quest" which I've done a few times and had such fun in the process. The mysterious background music only adds to the, erm, tension?!

Check it out at this link: Da Vinci Code Web Quest

There is also a featured "Uncover The Code" challenge with similar eerie music aiding you on your way. It starts off pretty easily for the Dan Brown fan, but soon becomes very tricky. If you don't have the book handy you can select an image of the cover on the website to help you solve the clues.

So good luck with this one! Uncover The Code

The Lost Symbol is Dan Brown's most recent novel and is packed full of symbols, many of which are found on the base of the pyramid Robert Langdon finds. On this website, there is an unbelievably difficult game called "Symbol Quest". You just have to select the correct symbol from a cluster of symbols aided by a written clue. You are allowed just 3 wrong answers before the game is up!

Of course, you can always use Google to help you out, but see how many you can find based on your own knowledge!

Here's the link: Symbol Quest

Have fun!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Le Tour de France

So I really enjoyed watching Le Tour de France for the last week or so. I previously thought watching cycling on TV was boring, but how wrong I was!

The scenery as these athletes climbed and descended the Alps was stunning and marvellous. The athletes were physical specimens with great endurance, skill and stamina.

And so on to last night where they fought out the final stage at the Champs Elysees, where some of the most famous landmarks in France lie. The aerial views of the city of Paris were amazing! 

I saw the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, a stunning building. I also observed the famous Arc de Triomphe. The cyclists also cycled past the Tuileries Gardens which sit opposite The Louvre.

Fans of Dan Brown will feel rather well-acquainted with Paris from reading The Da Vinci Code. Brown describes action in the Tuileries Gardens and at The Louvre.

Seeing these live images and monuments last night, brought The Da Vinci Code flooding back and I feel like reading that great novel all over again now that I can really place these locations in my head.

Anyone else enjoyed watching Le Tour de France?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book trumps movie

I'm sure there are many others who also think of Tom Hanks every time they read Dan Brown's works involving Robert Langdon. In fact, it can be at times a little confusing as to which character is copying the other. We know that Tom Hanks plays the role of Robert Langdon. But he seems so perfect for that role that whenever I read the Da Vinci Code, it appears that Robert Langdon is playing the role of Tom Hanks!

I must admit that I find the book a whole lot better than the movie. I would always take a book over a movie. Although Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon so well, that partnership is etched in my mind so clearly that reading the book is like a constant movie playing in my head.

Dan Brown does a fantastic job at writing a story which allows the reader to clearly 'view' the action in their minds page by page. Watching the movie takes away some of those 'scenes' I so enjoy whilst reading it.

Give me The Da Vinci Code book and I'm in my element!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Missing Dan Brown

I've not read any of Dan Brown's books for quite some time now. I had started reading The Da Vinci Code with an older English student, but he's since stopped tuition class due to work demands and little time.

The last I read was The Lost Symbol, which wasn't as good as The Da Vinci Code, and due to the enormity of the latter, The Lost Symbol came across as quite disappointing. If The Da Vinci Code didn't exist, I'm sure The Lost Symbol would be a spectacular novel. It was an interesting story revolving around the Masons, even if the final ending of the novel was a little deflating.

I wonder when his next book will be finished? What is he working on now? How long will we have to wait this time? I'm hoping for a blockbuster to follow after The Lost Symbol. But no doubt that takes time.

In the meantime I think I need to start reading Dan Brown again. Which of his novels should I dip into???

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Vitruvian Baby

Does this image look familiar?

Thought I'd try something light-hearted with my young daughter, Lauren a couple of years back.

Based on Leonardo Da Vinci's "The Vitruvian Man", a study depicting the human body and proportions with a host of other permutations:

I now introduce my version of this famous depiction . . . "The Vitruvian Baby"

You will recall Jacques Sauniere's corpse lying on the floor of the Louvre as described by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code, and as seen in the movie of the same title:

The human body in this position resembles a pentagram - a five-pointed star, a symbol of perfection, along with many other meanings explored in The Da Vinci Code.

My daughter looked a little uncomfortable didn't she?!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I do love a juicy conspiracy

Dan Brown could be labelled as a revolutionary writer as he magically creates masterpieces from very real settings mingled with a real scientific phenomenon and fictitious characters and plots. Due to this merging of reality and story, one eventually loses track of the hazy line which separates fact from fiction. And this is no mistake by Brown. Critics have attempted to identify errors in his writing and story lines, but I think they are missing the best part of his work - the fascination of conspiracy theories - something which has been forced upon the world today to the point of obsession, and the split in opinion they cause.

For example, one may read "The Da Vinci Code" and be extremely offended, or another may get through it and profess the best read of their lives, stimulating pondering about things they hadn't considered before. You either love Dan Brown or you find you have no time for his wild, page-turning thrills.

The most shocking example of how we believe in and conjure up conspiracies is shown in the aftermath of the alarming events of 9/11. Were the planes really filled with passengers? Were terrorists really able to get through American security and onto those planes? How did one of the alleged terrorist's passport turn up unharmed under all the rubble of the World Trade Centre (WTC)? Was the way the WTC towers fell, the result of a plane flying into it? Or did it look rather suspiciously like a controlled explosion? Could America, the self-proclaimed most powerful country in the world, really not possess sufficient intelligence to know of the coming attacks, or even the ability to scramble in reinforcements before it was tragically too late?

Either there was something fishy going on, or all of these circumstantial events came together in one terrible, against-the-odds coincidence. Once a conspiracy starts it's rather difficult to ever stop it, its assumptions, and quite possibly, its false claims.

Dan Brown reflects the world's suspicious attitude with conspiracies of his own, leaving us wondering what the truth really is. "The Da Vinci Code" has the on-running saga of Opus Dei, a branch of the Catholic Church, and their efforts to kill off the royal bloodline of Jesus Christ. In "Angels and Demons" the Illuminati, a secret cult, seek to bring down the Vatican. In "The Lost Symbol" what eventually turns out to be Peter Solomon's own son, seeks to kill his father.

As with all of Brown's works, it's up to the reader to pick out the genuine facts, and generally, to just enjoy the fiction!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Was Jesus married?

Firstly, I love Dan Brown's writing because of it's intriguing plots and conspiracy theory-type story lines. The Da Vinci Code is undoubtedly his biggest selling book to date and the most popular among his fans. I've read it over and over again and it's a real page-turner. Entire weekends can be occupied with this great book. I've also learned a plethora of new words which has enriched my vocabulary as I've feverishly fingered through the dictionary. As an aspiring writer myself, I must say that Dan Brown has had the biggest impact upon my trail of thinking.

Dan Brown has the ability to mix fact with fiction so well that it generates discussion which can be heated and sensitive at times between people of different religions and Christian denominations, scientific circles and ethical supporters. I think one of Dan Brown's aims is to create awareness of certain issues, to make us think more closely about things and to learn to find out for ourselves what is true and what is not. We should learn to not just accept something as a fact because certain others say so. This is how many great religious founders began their search for truth, and how the great religions of the modern world started. 

Secondly, Dan Brown does refer a lot to the Catholic church and attempts to highlight how it has strayed considerably from a certain Christian ideal presented by Jesus and his followers. The fact that there are thousands of different Christian churches today teaching various doctrines will tell you just how much it has deviated. But it is the same with Islam, which has different groups or bodies, most notably the "Shia" and "Shi'ite" populations in Iraq and close by. Buddhism today finds itself in a similar situation, with three main  schools known as Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, presenting differing teachings of Buddhism.

The Da Vinci Code goes through a lengthy process explaining how Jesus was married and his royal bloodline is still alive today through the character "Sophie". This however is a 'story' in the book and does not represent reality. There are no verses in the Bible that either reject or clarify the fact that Jesus could have been married during his mortal life, and I don't think there are any similar evidences in Quranic text either. We don't rule out the possibility that Jesus could have married during his mortal life, neither do we proclaim that he did enter into such a relationship. The fact that it is not included in current canonical scriptural text doesn't necessarily confirm that such a wedding didn't take place, but it's absence clearly demonstrates that such an event is not essentail to our spiritual well-being and life journey. Dan Brown merely uses this plot to reinforce his fictional work, and as a secondary reason, to promote an interest in the topic.

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