I just finished The Lost Symbol at lunch today. In the third installment of the Robert Langdon series, the Harvard professor is called to Washington D.C. by his good friend Peter Solomon to give a speech at a high society gala. When this turns out to be a ruse the mystery, clue-producing, adventure ensues. Let me just be honest, as much as I really like both Angles and Demons and The DaVinci Code I was not really a fan of this book. The clues and the mystery weren’t as crisp or as fun, the book took too long to get going (almost ten chapters), and the plot got muddled by too many chapters about nothing. Also, it seems like Brown got very wrapped up in his own mythology; there were whole passages and half chapters of historical info that did nothing to advance the plot and only slowed down the story. I did learn some interesting trivia (which anyone who knows me knows I love). Overall I’d give this book a C-.
I had my monthly book club meeting tonight. We were discussing Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. This is the story of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth; and one of the greatest circus tragedies of all time.The story is told by ninety (or possibly ninety-three, he can’t remember) year old, Jacob Jankowski who begins to recount the tale of his time with the show when a circus shows up down the street from his nursing home. The story that follows is fun, adventurous, romantic, sad, and even frightening.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s incredibly visual and descriptive. I felt drawn into the story by Gruen’s beautiful, yet not overly lengthy, descriptions of life surrounding the circus, traveling on the trains, working with the animals, the show itself. The descriptions are so vivid that they pull you further into the fantasy of the story and make the whole thing more realistic at the same time.
I’d definitely recommend reading this book. In fact I’ll probably read it again.