The Dan Brown Book Club

My list of ‘books to read’ and ‘movies to see’ keeps on expanding.

I recently took an online quiz ‘Who do you write like?” You post a recent blog or journal entry and the text is analyzed- I don’t know if they look for word frequencies, or sentence structure. I put three entries in and came up with the same answer each time. (If you want to check yourself, go to  )

Apparently I write like David Foster Wallace. I know who he is but I haven’t read anything of his. I’m going to put ‘infinite Jest’ and ‘Brief Conversations with Hideous Men’ on my to-read list- both titles seem to sum up my life. I was kind of surprised to get the same author since one post I entered was a more serious review and the next a giant complaint about the trains- where I used more vulgar language and name-dropped some Harry Potter characters. I suppose I thought with that mix I might get J.K. Rowling, or with my use of ‘crap’- Vonnegut (the ultimate wordsmith) or with my focus on art and artists, Herman Hesse. I think if I were ever to really start a book club that focused on one writer, like ‘The Jane Austen book Club’ mine would either be the “Herman Hesse’ or “Kurt Vonnegut’ book club- since I’ve read most of what they have written. I can’t really imagine reading the work of one person back to back though, can you imagine how boring that would be? Especially if you picked, say, Dan Brown or Jodi Picoult. Angels and Demons- handsome leading man saves the day with the help of his sexy female accomplice, who is avenging some male figure who was wronged by the bad guys. Da Vinci code- ooo same thing. Thanks for the formula D. Brown- if I ever want to write a best seller/beach read, I’ll keep that in mind. But in MY movie version, I won’t have Tom Hanks pretending to be 35 with a bad bad comb-over. Worst casting ever.

I’m pretty much done with my packing, now I just have to send three cardboard boxes full of stuff home since I didn’t bring enough luggage for the stuff my parents have been gradually sending me. I paid 20 bucks for THREE EMPTY BOXES. I said I hate Fedex, I’m now adding UPS to the list. The worst thing to pack that I’m mostly stuffing in my backpack since UPS/Fedex charge by the weight are the few books I have with me. I only brought one or two little paperbacks from home, but while here, I’ve somehow caved to buying three news ones, the Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell,  “F U Haiku’ a book of pissed off poetry, and a collection of Vonnegut’s short essays on War and Peace.

I’m going to be honest- I only bought the last one because I had read everything with me, I saw Vonnegut’s name, and it was 5 dollars. Post reading it, meh, it was o.k. I actually considered, while packing today, not even bringing it home. I mean, it’s hardbound and books are heavy. Never before have I wanted a kindle rather than the real books- I’ve always thought the only time I’d want a kindle would be if I was stuck on a deserted island, that and sunscreen, and I threw my almost new bottle of that out today too. I have more at home.

I understand the convenience, but I still do not want electricity mixed in with my literature, even if it is ‘the way of the future’ (this coming from the girl who doesn’t even have an ipod). I think the only genre of book safe from the grasp of technology is the art book. I am a huge sucker for big heavy glossy books with gorgeous pictures, and the one I miss the most from home is ‘Masters of Movement; Conversations with Great Choreographers’  by Rose Eichenbaum.

The book cover

I love this book for several reasons- first the insight into these amazing minds- and it is truly conducted in conversational style, you really get a sense of what it is like to TALK with these dance icons, to hear first-hand what it was like for them growing up, starting out, dealing with success,failure and getting to the status they now enjoy. Two- it is autographed to me by the author and by a few of the featured choreographers, three- the beautiful portraits of the artsits. Eichenbaum serves as interviewer, writer, and photographer here which is great because as she gets to know their stories she can help pose or create pictures that capture the ‘essence’ of the choreographer. Some pictures are color, some black and white. Reading it, I used to imagine how she might have photographed me- (accepting my nobel peace prize for choreography, or taking note from Roxy in Chicago, surrounded by ‘a whole bunch of boys- it’ll frame me better’). If I could improve at all upon it, I would want more pictures but that’s me. I don’t even read ‘Dance’ or “Pointe’ magazine until I’ve looked at all of the pictures first.

I’m all for downsizing and condensing and the kindle makes this possible. But ‘Masters of Movement’ is a book that deserves to be enjoyed in it’s fullest glory and not through an electronical device- I think somehow reading these real people’s  stories through a computer chip somehow takes away from the personal experience of it.

I think I’ll keep the Vonnegut book, even if it wasn’t my favorite and even if it makes my already stuffed backpack even heavier. I said in an earlier post about how much I hate the trains that transportation through magic is really the only answer for me. I think packing via magic, like in Disney’s Sword in the Stone, Merlin-style (magically shrinking everything in his house down to fit in one little suitcase) , would be such a great solution for my book/packing woes. I guess this is kind of what a kindle is capable of, but until I can actually take it out and enjoy it in full-size, I’ll keep on paying ridiculous fees to UPS and lugging the real thing around with me.

7 thoughts on “The Dan Brown Book Club

  1. You need to find “Backstage: Broadway Behind the Curtain.” It’s an awesome book filled with photographs taken by Rivka Shifman Katvan of Broadway’s stars of yesterday and today with quotes. I totally agree with you that books were as easy to move as packing a Kindle, but there’s nothing to replace the anticipation of turning (actually turning!) the page to discover another wonderful photograph of an artist (will it be black & white or color?!). I can’t wait to hear how things work out in St. Louis. I was just there for a wedding! And to further the thought that is truly is a “small world after all,” a friend’s partner works on the office side of the Charleston Ballet! I was down in April to see “Cabaret” at Charleston Stage and met a Butler grad (no idea on the name, she graduated in ’04 maybe?) who also dances at the Ballet. Who knew! Stay cool and enjoy the comfort of your real bed!!!

  2. It’s not a Kindle, but our home now has a Kobo e-Reader. If you had stayed in NYC, I actually thought it would have been a good gift for you for exactly the reasons you mentioned — it’s much easier to tote around something that weighs less than a pound but holds hundreds of books, to say nothing of the size of the apartment you’d need to have sufficient bookshelves. I certainly agree with you in general about actually holding books, especially ones with good pictures.

  3. If you ever were to switch over to electronic versions of your books, I would be happy to take the paper versions. (Don’t worry, I am not going to test to see if 451 degrees is actually the temperature of burning…) I want to someday have a library with a sliding ladder and a Addam’s Family-style secret door. But a library is not complete without books.

  4. I got Douglas Adams. Maybe I’ll try my hand at writing sci-fi comedy….

    “Interviews with Hideous Men” is now a movie with John Kransinski!

  5. Pingback: Masterclass: Paul Taylor | BODIES NEVER LIE

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