Book Series’ That Get Worse Over Time

Hi friends! I have different kind of topic for you today, but it requires a bit of an explanation:

So you all know that I’ve been obsessed with Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series since the beginning of 2016. I finished the first two novels, Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code, and then began reading The Lost Symbol. Well, to be quite frank: The Lost Symbol sucks.the-lost-symbol

As you know, I’m a big supporter of what I like to call, “stop reading bad books!” It’s pretty self-explanatory, if you’re reading a bad book, stop! Don’t waste your time. Life is way to short to be reading books that aren’t contributing to your happiness.

So, I stopped reading that book and began the fourth book, Inferno, which has proven to be pretty interesting so far, with absolutely no mention of the third book – so I’m in the clear.

But anyway, I was discussing this with my sister when we switched topics to the new Chelsea Handler show on Netflix. I was always a HUGE Chelsea Handler fan. It wasn’t until her fourth book and finalĀ  seasons of Chelsea Lately, actually, that I stopped giving a crap.

Apparently my sister felt the same way about her books and our mutual disinterest made me think about the books she’s written and how, much like Dan Brown, it got worse over time.

Chelsea’s first book, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands was incredible! I could read that book a thousand times and never get bored of it. It’s her observational humor and her “who-gives-a-fuck” attitude that I am drawn in by. But what happened was she began with a great book – a really, really great book. That, to me, would be just setting her up for failure… Except her next book, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea was almost as good as the first! Who’da thunk?

my_horizontal_life_book_coverUnfortunately, her third book was not as great. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang seemed like Handler just wanted to give the reader some weird and awkward stories. It was honestly more awkward to read than her first book which was entirely about sex. This book was almost awkward and uncomfortable for the sake of being “edgy” and I didn’t like that. For example, she discusses masturbation and tells us EXACTLY when, where and how her first experience happened (Hint: it’s when she’s in third grade.) Too much, Chelsea. Too much.

Her fourth book, and the last one that I read, Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, was really kind of a bullshit book. Very few parts were written by Handler herself, and instead were just chapters written by people in her life, including the comedians that worked with her on Chelsea Lately. It was less of the humor that I was used to with Handler – drinking and sex stories, observational humor, sarcastic responses and just all around a fun read. Instead it was a novel written by everyone except Handler saying how horrible she is (in the best way). Not my kind of book.

She has a fifth book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, that I didn’t even bother reading. At the time when this book came out I had stopped watching Chelsea Lately entirely because she didn’t even want to be there anymore. Every episode she said something bad about who she was with or the network itself or would say things like “I don’t even know we’re still on the air. Stop putting us on the air.” So I just said screw it and read other books/watched other shows instead.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are so many book series, or at least books by the same author, out there that really do get worse over time. Not because the writing is worse, or the plot isn’t interesting, but rather (or at least to me) that the author kind of stops giving a shit, or tries to be something they’re not. 51febvmy-al-_sy344_bo1204203200_

You’ll all remember that I loved the first Mindy Kaling novel, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the second. I thought that even though she was trying, she was trying too hard. Her stuff wasn’t as funny anymore because she wasn’t being herself, she was being herself PLUS everything that she’s trying to sell. So instead of being Mindy Kaling, she’s being everything her brand is. It’s hard for a comedian, or any author, to write two solidly good books in a row, let alone a series of books.

I hate to say that when it comes to Chelsea or Dan Brown, their books just get worse. But it does seem to be true! For Chelsea, after the second book she ran out of material and instead of just leaving on a high note she thought, “I can still milk this and get some money off of the people who watch my show or want my books to be as good as the first one” and just went for the lazy approach of picking uncomfortable stories to tell her audience or not even really writing a book at all – having her staff do it for her. That just seems lazy.

With Dan Brown, I know he’s a great writer, I know he can come up with compelling and intriguing plots, but for whatever reason after The DaVinci Code he seemed to just stop putting as much effort into the books. It was almost like he figured his first two books were great so anything that comes after might just be filler, but he’d still be getting paid a lot of money for it, so what the hell! Let’s a write a book!

Please keep in mind, though, this is just my opinion. I’m not sure what other readers have thought on either of these topics. But for me, it’s not worth it to spend my time reading a book that I either know I won’t like or appreciate as much as I’d like to, or that just sucks. I already have limited time Dan Brown Inferno book coverto read books, I don’t want to spend that precious time not enjoying it.

Soooo, now I’m reading Inferno – the fourth and final Robert Langdon books, and this book is pretty good so far. It starts of with a bang – literally. So it’s been fun to read so far. I don’t think it’s as good as the first two, it still has the same sort of formula: Langdon is in a foreign city and has to outrun people with a beautiful woman he just met who happens to be a very strong, independent person and he brings art history and conspiracies into the mix. Every single book. But at least it’s not as bad as The Lost Symbol at this point.

I have a few more books on my reading list that I plan on getting to as soon as I’m done with the Dan Brown series, but for now I’m just enjoying the mystery of whatever the hell isĀ  going on in this book…. what the hell is going on in this book???

I actually heard a lot of people didn’t care for this novel, but I’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much!

Well, my loves, it’s been a pleasure. I hope this blog at least gets you to stop reading a bad book you’re reading and start getting into something interesting!

Until next time!

Rachel

P.S. If you’ve read any of the Chelsea Handler books and think I should give the fifth book and the new TV show on Netflix a shot, let me know in the comments or shoot me an e-mail. I’m very on the fence and want your opinion.

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Book vs Movie: The DaVinci Code // Review

Whaddup peeps? As of exactly seven days ago, I finished the second book in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code.

First things first: I would like to preface this by saying that this book was amazing. But I would also like to say that the movie, while similar, was not as good as the book.

I think I told you guys a while ago that I had re-watched the movie The DaVinci Code for the first time in like 10 years. I really, really enjoyed the movie and was so excited about it that I went to straight to the bookstore to pick up the first two books in the series, Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code. The first book, A&D, was spectacular. I was so enthralled in this book from beginning to end, it was just really fun and interesting and I loved it.

I felt the same way about The DaVinci Code – it was extremely well written, well researched, and put together. It had everything and more that I could want from a murder mystery book, and it really made me think back on history and Bible versus and things that I never could have put together to make an interesting chain of historical evidence (whether it’s fiction or not, it’s very intriguing.)

That being said, by reading this book I was actually a little more disappointed in the movie version. First of all, I don’t think they should have released the movie counterpart BEFORE A&D. Since it technically comes first in the series I think it would have made more sense to continue with releasing the movies in chronological order simply because of the character development that happens in Angels & Demons.

Here’s where I want to clarify something: I was super excited when I realized that the first movie was actually the second book. I thought it was really cool that they could switch up stories like that and still make everything in the plot make sense.

What I didn’t like was the fact that Robert Langdon, the main character and symbologist, was used in the movie to promote the fact that Sophie was related to Jesus and therefore had healing powers. In the first book, Angels & Demons, Langdon goes through a lot of difficult situations involving tight quarters and closed off spaces. Langdon, you may have guessed, is claustrophobic. He doesn’t like elevators, he doesn’t like planes, he doesn’t like anything small and enclosed.

Well, in the first book that’s never resolved; that’s just his character flaw. Good ol’ Langdon, always finding himself in tiny closed off places! That scamp! In the second book, this flaw is still not resolved. But in the first movie The DaVinci Code it is! In the movie Sophie has this weird healing power that allows her to touch people’s foreheads and cure them. So what does Sophie do? She puts her hand on Robert Langdons head and he all of a sudden can be stuck in tight corners. WHAT?!

Fine. I get that you’re trying to make a point to really prove that she has these mystical ties to Jesus and that Mary Magdalene and Jesus are her ancestors. But are you really going to sit there and tell me that she can frickin’ heal people by touching their heads but then never mention that AT ALL in the book? Like where do you even come up with that part of the plot? It’s never alluded to in the novel, it’s never mentioned that some ancestors had magical healing powers – there’s nothing even remotely close to that to give anyone that idea, and yet in the movie here she is just healing people whenever she wants.

I don’t know, I know this is a small flaw to find but it actually really irks me. I feel like if you’re going to make this HUGE point of proving that this woman is related to Jesus then you should back it up. In the book it would have been pretty easy to squeeze that little piece in because it is, after all, the second book in the series. There’s already been one book where we learn of his claustrophobia, so why not get rid of it in the second book? But they didn’t do that.

Instead, they let him stay claustrophobic and continue on to find the murderer. But in the movie they make it a big spectacle that she can heal him because that’s what her mother used to do to her and oh by the way did I mention she’s related to Jesus?

It all just seems too convenient. I was perfectly fine with having The DaVinci Code come out in film version first, I figure that each book is different enough that they can get away with it. But I just can’t condone putting magic healing powers in a movie that barely goes into his extreme fears simply to prove a point.

I can’t speak for everyone but I’m pretty sure that if we’re reading The DaVinci Code we’re not really going to second guess magical powers in the middle of the novel. It’s just not going to happen. Everyone is too involved in the book to care. I mean you could throw in a gorilla riding a unicorn with Gollum on his back yelling “I’M THE REAL JESUS” and I don’t think anyone would question it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would be fine with this whole healing power thing in the movie if it was alluded to in the book. But there was nothing that I read that would support that theory. And I’ve seen a lot of movies where they take away plot to fit it into the movie, I can’t remember a movie that added extra plot to it. I feel like they could have gone without it, or at least explained it a little bit in the book.

All that said, though, I thought this book was really great. If you’re someone who enjoys history, who likes reading about secret societies or if you just really like mystery novels this book is for you. It has everything in it: action, adventure, murder, love, car chases. Everything.

Dan Brown does an amazing job of really getting his readers to accept the theories he’s putting out there because without them none of the book would make sense. You can tell that he really did a lot of research and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to secret societies and rituals. He also consistently blows my mind with all of his symbolism work. I know that the main character is a symbologist, but it has to take a lot of time and effort to truly understand the meanings behind so many of the pictures, architecture and random trinkets discussed in the books.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone at all who loves mysteries. The book is about 600 pages but it goes by so fast with all of the craziness going on! I guarantee you’ll love this book. I do recommend that you read the book first in this case just because the book does a much better job at explaining all of the complicated rituals and beliefs than the movie does. The movie gives you more of a bare minimum or an overview instead of a solid explanation.

I’m going to start the next book in the series The Lost Symbol – this one is about Freemasons!! I’m very excited to read it and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it’s going! My only complaint so far is that they are working on the third movie which will be Inferno, but the order goes Angels & Demons, The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno. I don’t know what it is about the movies, but they just want everything to be all outta whack.

If you’ve read any of the Robert Langdon series comment down below and let me know what you thought so we can talk about it and I won’t feel like a crazy person just sitting here obsessing over these books!

Until next time, friends!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com