Fact: I am 30 pages into The Lost Symbol. Fact: every minute I spend writing this post is a minute I will not be reading. Fact: I don't care that a lot of you are Dan Brown haters—I, too, am often a DBH. But I am also a complete and utter hypocrite who is secretly into both mysteries and scoffing, and this book lends itself to both! So round up ahoy, the weekly contest makes its triumphant return, and if you mock my reading habits in the comments I will totally disemvowel you (and that, Nathan, is how you deal with sucky anonymous comments—castrate them by nom-ing their vowels).
Although I'm reading The Lost Symbol, I'm super sick of reading about it (and exposing myself to potential spoilers for you people—you're welcome), so here is the super condensed version of everything about the book that happened this week: TLS was embargoed, but rules don't apply to the New York Times or the LA Times, which kind of sucked for the Waterstone and Borders people who were going to speed read it and be the first to review. If you don't want to read it, the Guardian spoils it, but otherwise you can read embargo respecting reviews from the National Post and Omnivoracious, or read Gawker and Phillip Pullman give Brown some serious shit. The book broke the one day sales record by selling a million books, set a UK sales record, sold more e-books than print books on Amazon, and saved Random House, hurray!
Feelings are mixed about good old Dan—he'll either be the ruin of us all, or is a great student of human nature, highlighting our need for secrets. We shouldn't hate him, even though he's totally wrong about everything in DC, and lied about professors of symbology existing at all. Maybe he just needed an unsolicited editor, or a plot generator, or some good theories. If only he weren't fettered by the golden handcuffs of bestseller-dom...
I'm sure Robert Langdon didn't need this, but just in case, here's a guide to books that teach manliness. I'm sure Dan Brown doesn't need this either, but T-Rex has broken new ground in post-modern detective novels. That's right. Dinosaurs explain everything. Except for, well, why publishers hate books. Or why no one will read your script, or publish your book (but Jeff VanderMeer will read it for cookies—thanks Jeff!).
If you, in your infinite kindness, want to read the work of others, Fantasy Magazine needs slush readers. Before you apply you should read this steampunk FAQ, and this explanation of all sorts of punks (not the street corner kind, the sci-fi kind), even though some people think the punks are dumb. We'll see what they say when the street corner and sci-fi punks band together, become the Warriors, and come out to play.
Punk haters are, of course, literary snobs. They tell us that having a volunteer army is the reason there hasn't been any great war literature in Iraq and Afghanistan (because living through a war—not good enough for the hoi polloi, oh no!). From America, anyway—Denmark isn't having that problem. That arbiter of taste, Bin Laden, has thrown his literary choices into the ring, yet he didn't choose any Kafka, which we all know makes you smarter.
The publishing elite tell us why the industry doomed—because "[g]enuine literary discernment is often a liability in editors." Sales show that illiterate inbred hicks are buying books (they don't read them, just buy them), so true literary taste is a problem. And good God, Muffy, the e-books are coming! How will people know you're reading Proust on the subway now?
Speaking of literary discernment, I turn to you, great wide world of readers, with an important question. Moonrat and I have been having a discussion about our literary boyfriends. First, a question: can you call Shakespeare? Really? Not cool. And second, this week's contest: tell me about your magical, romantic first date with your literary crush (author or character). Funniest and most emotionally scarring experience (scarring for you, not me) wins eternal glory next week! And, potentially, therapy.