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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   100 Greatest Novels Lists (& the 5th best Russian Novel) (153 comments)

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  •  Very interesting points, from both of you, thanks. (4+ / 0-)

    I'll read them more carefully and weigh in again, when I've finished dinner.

    What does it say for The Da Vinci Code, that it's sold 80,000,000 copies around the world? Books just don't do that. It must have several strengths, to achieve such legs.

    My definition of greatness is much closer to yours, WB Reeves. But I do think it's useful, in exploring a complex subject, to hold your own beliefs and opinions, but also be willing to step outside them, to question and consider other possible perspectives.

    So, actually, my feeling for greatness in a novel is akin to yours. Intellectually, I just try on different spectacles, to see what I can see through them.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:42:58 PM PDT

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    •  Haven't read The Da Vinci Code (5+ / 0-)

      so I can't opine on its literary merits. However, I can observe that there has long been a market for "revelatory secret histories", particularly when they come wrapped in a compelling suspense/intrigue narrative. Particularly so at present when there is a large popular appetite for conspiracy fiction.

      I concur with you on the value of alternate viewpoints. Sometimes I even change my opinion :)

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:56:54 PM PDT

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    •  I had the misfortune of reading the da Vinci code (4+ / 0-)

      It is hack work.  Pure and simple junk.  The equivalent (at best) to prints of dogs playing poker.  

      Dogs playing poker captures the imagination because so many people have dogs and identify dogs.  Da Vinci is popular worldwide because so many people are Catholics or are interested in dirt on Catholics wrapped up as a third rate Ludlum novel.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 05:27:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Third-Rate Ludlum Novel (4+ / 0-)

        I'll take exception to that as well, in that Robert Ludlum was a ghastly bad writer.  Cool stories, to be sure.  

        A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

        by deminva on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:43:03 AM PDT

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        •  You may be right. The only Ludlum novel I ever (4+ / 0-)

          Read was road to gandolfo.  A slightly amusing plot about kidnapping the pope...

          I certainly didn't mean to imply that Ludlum was a good writer by any means...

          Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

          by No Exit on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:24:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  While your poker-playing dogs comparison is sound, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, translatorpro

        there must be more to it then that. Also, it went supernova, and became the book for non-readers to try, for a year or so. I'll let you know if I ever figure it out the rest of the formula. A satanic pact?

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:30:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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