Inspired by the bold sacrifice recently reported by resident paranormalist Chris Parizo, I am go to do his exact opposite: risk my reputation around Contrarian HQ in support of my outside work. There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m going to just come out with it.
I, Wesley Covey, Contrarian Librarian, love the work of Dan Brown.
There. I said it. And posted it online. Go ahead, Mr. Editor, take away my badge! (Author’s note: I am well aware that this is a mixed metaphor, and yes, I am making fun of Dan Brown as I praise him.)
I am, as mentioned, a librarian. I am also a book geek and a writer. Here’s my picture:
(Author’s note: this is not me. I am not nearly as good looking.)
I do not deny Mr. Brown’s writing reads like that of a mediocre undergrad. Check out this excerpt from his new book, The Lost Symbol: “(Character who fell into a river found himself) dragged by a powerful force across rocks in an impossibly cold void.” Rocks in a void? Interesting.
That said, I love Dan Brown. Sure, he spins an amusing yarn (see Mr. Brown? Spin… yarn: the metaphor makes sense. Try it!), but that’s not why I like him. I like him because of the size of our reserve list for his new book at my library. I like him for the same reason I like Stephanie Meyer, though I haven’t read her books. Mr. Brown and Ms. Meyer get people reading, and for that, I love them.
The thing people need to remember about Dan Brown is that he is a popular novelist. What he is writing isn’t literature, nor is it history. He writes cheesy, exciting thrillers with fun historical information. Of course I wish we had half the waiting list for Roberto Bolano and Haruki Murakami that we have for Brown, but as a professional I know that people want to curl up by the fire and read something dumb and amusing more than they want to be challenged. Mr. Brown’s books, for all their flaws, fulfill this desire.
There you have it. Kick me out of the club if you will. But remember: someday you too will want to read something below your level. I’ll be waiting behind the desk when you do.