I agree with all of that. Apart from the defending him part.
I also read it as a holiday book, it’s a page turner and it keeps chugging along nicely but he’s absolutely nothing special as a writer, and I think his success is in capturing people’s imaginations with the subject matter (which as you say rips off previous works shamelessly anyway). Otherwise he’s indistinguishable from a sea of other authors of ‘airport books’.
Still, he’s inspired some fun mockery. Stewart Lee does a great bit about him, but even better might be this Telegraph review.
In American Pig Latin, the cypher just has the vowel followed by ay, separated by whats known in phonetics by a glottal stop, the sound in represented by the hyphen in “uh-oh” or how cockneys and Geordies (I think) pronounce the t in Bottle. In America, it’s common to reduce the sound of the word < a > to Uh, so it would be uh’ay, not ay’ay.
Da Vinci Code the movie is great. Hanks sells Langdon very well, questionable hairstyle and all. But it’s really Ian McKellen’s movie. That’s probably my favorite McKellen performance (maybe Fellowship of the Ring is competition). It’s Howard’s two subsequent Langdon movies that don’t work as well.
Before actually reading Brown, I thought he was a terrible writer. I’ve now read two of his Langdon thrillers. He’s more consistent than Brad Meltzer.
Have you seen his Richard III? If not, do it! Just be prepared to suffer through a Reductio ad Hitlerum of Richard III; ignore it, and let Sir Ian’s performance flow over you (Also, where else can you see Magneto stab Iron Man?)
I’ll keep an eye out for them. I’m sure there’ll be plenty cheap copies kicking about on eBay.
I’ve made a start on Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s Father Gaetano’s Puppet Catechism tonight after @njerry recommended it ages ago. A few chapters in and it feels a bit Guillermo del Toro-y (mainly due to the WW2 era orphanage setting).
Not a great movie. But I thought it was better than the book, because it spends less time agonizing over puzzles that are so simple you want to slap the charatcers, and just lets the plot rattle along. Nice scenery, too
Whilst I found Angels and Demons quite hard to enjoy, I read The Lost Symbol a few years ago (pre kids!) on holiday whilst sipping beers on a sun lounger and I rattled through it in a couple of days - which I never do as I’m a pretty slow reader, despite having read pretty much every day since I was able to read on my own.
I found it it really engrossing and ridiculously entertaining.
His books do provide a lot of enjoyment for a lot of people and being so mainstream friendly, anything that encourages people to read - particlulary those who do not read regularly, is a good thing.
Which is why I would always defend JK Rowling to the hilt, despite not finishing the first HP due to the style and over familiarity of the story, she made millions of kids passionate about picking up a book.
This is a great point and a good argument against the sense of snobbery that you often get from his critics (like me). I might not think he’s a great writer, but getting so many people to pick up books - and books that might teach them a bit about history along the way - is a good thing.