viernes, 23 de mayo de 2014


I recently (finally!) read Dan Brown's Inferno.

Have you read it?

If you haven't, in a bit I'll go into plot discussion, so when you see the big SPOILER ALERT, please stop reading. Or not. If you are like me, you will want to know, just a bit, what is in store for you.

Dan Brown has a way with words. And with plots. He really seems to grab your hand and lead you on a wild race where you find yourself willingly going despite the trepidation of the chase. This guy can really work a thriller. I like the little details that tell you that he must have been in the place he has his characters in or at least has made an exhaustive investigation. He DOES take several artistic liberties, but really, one reads novels to escape reality, or to lose yourself in a world of fiction, and if you expect the equivalent of a documentary or a History book in a novel, well, I would go about finding a documentary or a History book.

If truth be told, I was a bit reluctant to begin reading this book. I am Catholic, and in the past books he has flirted with outright slander of the Catholic Church. He always seems to stop just short of it, and as I said before, he is a writer and must take artistic liberties, and a novel is no place to find your facts about religion but still it makes me a bit uncomfortable, because I've found disinformed Catholics (let alone our Separate Brethren) that believe said "facts". It's a novel, and should be treated like that! So I picked up the book (a present from my brother) and began reading it.

(this is where I ruin the book for you if you keep reading and you've not read the book. Consider yourself warned!)

One thing Dan Brown has down pat is a good plot twist. I believe he is a very careful note taker: you must keep attention to detail while reading, because seemingly small things have a great impact later on in the story. This is a book that you really should read twice, because with prior knowledge of the plot, some character action has a world of meaning that you cannot get the first time. (the assasin in the beams, for example)

The theme of the mistery, that bag of plague to be unleashed on an unsuspected population... Dan Brown really had a great idea. This "plague" could be happening right now, and you'd think Mr. Brown merely discovered the explanation to it!

I really like the fact that for most of  the novel, the characters seem to float in a grey haze, not really good but not blatantly bad and vice versa. Even Prof. Langdon at one point could be suspect of having done something really, really bad. Why does he have amnesia? why are some people trying to kill him? why did he have that cilinder with him?

The  story leads us through some of the most beautiful places in Europe, and as always its a pleasure to "see" it through Langdon's eyes.

Bottom line: grab your coffe cup, some cookies and this book. And go hide yourself so you can read without interruptions!

miércoles, 23 de enero de 2013

Kindle vs paper (or rather, e-book vs paper?)

Recently a couple of friends and I got into a friendly (cough!) argument about the superiority of E-books vs Paper books. I've been in love with my Kindle  and lately with my Kindle for iPhone for a while now, but I'm also a lover of "real books" as they came  to be known during our discussion.

I've never denied the beauty of a well written book. Of a lovingly ilustrated, put together, wisely edited book. But during our chat it became aparent that form was shadowing  the content.

It all started almost in jest. One friend mentioned that e-books were great to read, but bad for intellectual ego: you could not impress people by whipping out a big book and reading it in public. We started stating pros and cons of both forms, going from the ease of carrying dozens of books in  one slim piece of technology to the romance of opening a book for the first time and enjoying the aroma of ink and paper. But then it degenerated into a free for all, with someone acusing us of "hating hipsters" and "demeaning hipsters" (noting a trend here...) and -my personal favorite - hating books. As in, the general notion of, not a particular book.Oh, and of being snobs.

I kept my opinions for myself from then on. How do you answer to such statements that come more from a visceral response to what is falsely perceived as an attack on the way they see themselves? I was holding my Kindle in my hands, thus I hated hipsters. How do you reason with that?

I love books. If you came to my house you would not be able to ignore that fact. There are several bookcases, almost one in every room except bathroom and kitchen (humidity and grease are no friends of books). While I have one set of the Harry Potter movies, I own several sets of the books in different languages, in hard cover and paper back. I don't think that makes me a "real book" hater if I happen to have over 1800 titles stored in my Kindle.

It makes me sad that people read for status or recognition alone. That they prefer paper books because it goes with their  image. The most common question I get when reading in my iPhone is "what are you playing?" followed by "chatting, uh?" I don't care. I read because I love it. I love it so much that it's what I do most. I'd rather read than play, rather read than dance, rather read than sing , and I am an avid singer, dancer and love playing! My girls when they want to play mommy they either cook or grab a book. That should tell you a lot.

If I could re-do that discussion, I'd rather start with "what genre do you prefer?", "which is your favourite author in that genre?" or "why do you read?"

Now those question I'd really love to hear their answers!!!