Friday, February 24, 2006

Hmmm...Why the Hype?

I've just finished "The Da Vinci Code", lured into doing so by the buzz about it. You have to admire the man for the sheer volume of the research that went into it. That being said, I found his prose like a dirty pane of glass--the view looks fascinating, but the flaws get in the way. The exposition on the first page is crammed with way too much information, too in-your-face. By the end I didn't give a rat's what happened to any of the protagonists, and was constantly reminded that John LeCarre would have done it so much better.

I've also read "Talk to the Hand", Lynne Truss's latest. "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" was hilarious, and I was hoping for more; this one is a lament for the passing of a considerate and compassionate society. It's witty, but too true to be comforting; starting lightheartedly, but gradually descending into a rant, rabbiting on in a way that will cause my nearest and dearest to have me put away if they catch me doing it when I'm a D.O.G. It probably started life as a single column in the Saturday "Lifestyle" section, and ends up as wonton soup--some good meaty bits, but overall pretty thin.

"Works of charity--almsgiving--are in effect a way for the rich to shirk their obligation to work for justice and a means for soothing their consciences, while preserving their own status and robbing the poor of their rights." Heavy stuff. It comes from Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, "God is Love", out this year. I'm poring over the dense prose; it's quite short, but full of good stuff, and some surprises. Who'd have thought a 79-year-old celibate could come up with some of this? More on that, later.

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