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June Book of the Month: The DaVinci Code

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Seems like we're off and running.

Here are some posts from the summer reading thread to get you going:

In response to GWTW's query, "What's it about?" BW Posted:

The author is Dan Brown. Here is a description from Amazon's pages: "In a two-day span, American symbologist Robert Langdon finds himself accused of murdering the curator of the Louvre, on the run through the streets of Paris and London, and teamed up with French cryptologist Sophie Neveu to uncover nothing less than the secret location of the Holy Grail. It appears that a conservative Catholic bishop might be on the verge of destroying the Grail, which includes an alternate history of Christ that could bring down the church. Whoever is ordering the deaths of the Grail's guardians--modern-day members of an ancient society descended from the famed Knights Templar--must be stopped before the treasure is lost forever. To do so, Langdon and Neveu have to solve a series of ciphers and riddles while evading a tireless French police commander and a ruthless albino monk. Despite being hampered by clunky flashback sequences and place descriptions that read like tourist brochures, the story is full of brain-teasing puzzles and fascinating insights into religious history and art. Ultimately, Brown's intricate plot delivers more satisfying twists than a licorice factory. Frank Sennett

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved"

Vagansmom replied:

I'm on page 154 right now. I SHOULD be cleaning the house, preparing a meal, taking a shower but all I want to do is read.

I see why people are so enthralled by it. It's chock-full of background on all kinds of topics: the Catholic Church's relationship to Opus Dei and paganism, feminism, fine arts and the lives of the artists, architecture, religious symbology, cryptology, mathematics (Fibonacci sequence is a biggie here) as well as being a really good mystery and, I hear, romance too.

Here's the link to The DaVinci Code on Amazon.

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Just last night I saw a program on the History Channel about the "Holy Grail'--and the theory states that it was not a cup---but the 'blood line' of Christ and chronicled His descendants through his union with Magdalen. I am off to the bookstore!.

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I didn't realize that this book is apart of a series featuring Robert Langdon. Before The Da Vinci Code there was Angels & Demons and a new one is currently being written. It's also about a secret society, the Illuminati, and deals with the Catholic Church. There are a few references to Langdon's experiences in Vatican City, where A&D took place, in TDVC. I think I'll have to go out and read it now.

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On the religious content, I think we should be able to discuss it. If the content offends someone, then don't read the book or read these discussions. (Again, I haven't read it, but have read enough reviews to know that the content could be contentious. My prohibition against religious comments on the site are either the signature lines that some of the teens put in that are rather like religious bumper stickers, and we fear may put off those who are of another religion, that they will think the site is a religious site; and the throwaway comments that we all sometimes make, not meaning any harm, but on the nature of "just like an atheist" -- fill in the religious/nonreligious group.)

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Well, I've now purchased the book...but I am hoping to finish my current one first. I'm worried that you all are going to be too fast for me as you've already picked out one for July!

I know, I know... It's not a race! ;)

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An administrative note: The way you all handle this is up to you. I suggested DVC for the June book because it seemed that lots of people either had read, or were reading it. And I put up Bel Canto for July to give others a head start. If you want to change that to make DaVinci for June AND July, and move Bel Canto to August, that's fine with me.

Also, if you just want to have people make comments as they read -- that's one way. Or if you want to pose questions for discussion (start a new thread, perhaps, with Da Vinci Code, or DVC, in the thread title?) that's another way to do it.

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I just ordered from Amazon yesterday. Got a decent price, but to qualify for free shipping (I ordered another book), I opted for slow shipment. Never gonna finish before the end of June. So I vote for DVC for July, and then I'll decide if I'm up to Bel Canto (I'm so backed-up with books now). But I do look forward to an exciting discussion. I'm going to invite my aunt, who's been reading DVC, to join us.:)

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Warning: those that have not finished The Da Vinci Code may not want to read this post.

For those that have already read the novel, does anyone remember the part explaining the little significant details in The Last Supper? My book is currently being borrowed by a friend, so I can't refer to it directly. I think it was either Leigh or Langdon pointing out a random, unattached hand holding a dagger. Whether this was an observation made alone by the author or that of art scholars, I don't know. I took a close look out of a HUGE picture book of a collection of Da Vinci's works, and it didn't seem to me like it was just some mysterious hand. It looks like the hand of the fourth disciple to the left, the hand which is sitting on his hip. He's the one placing his other hand on Mary Magdalene's shoulder, leaning over the fifth man with a menacing look at Mary.

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I don't remember a dagger, but I think Leigh and the British guy (whose name I completely forget) are explaining to Sophie "The Last Supper" Mary Magdalene is actually seated to the right of Jesus. Her hands and hair are situated so that they hide her bosom but you have to look to notice it's a female.

They also mention that many art books were photographed before a certain date, when the painting was still dirty And I remember all the symbolism was discussed, but I can't remember exactly what it all was.

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Dan Brown has a close-up of the hand here on his website. It's pretty hazy so you can't tell very well, but if you look up the picture in a big reference book (I think this is the one I looked in), a good poster, or the actual painting, you might see what I see.

The person seated to the right of Jesus is obviously a woman, but most people don't seem to know about it.

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"I do not understand," sexy symbologist Robert Langdon whispered to curvy French cryptologist Sophie Neveau. "Why did Ballet Alert choose the numero un, number one bestseller The Da Vinci Code as its book of the month?"

"Are you familiar with the initials SAB?" Sophie cooed impatiently.

"Symbology Academy Baccalaureate? Mine is from Harvard."

"School of American Ballet. It is located in the Rose Building."

"Mon Dieu! My God! The Name of the Rose!"

"Why do you say things first in French and then in English?"

"Have you forgotten, mon cheri, dear heart, we are characters in a 454-page novel. It takes every trick in the book to pad a puzzle to such length."

Sophie produced a piece of School of American Ballet stationery from her dance bag and illuminated it with a click of the special fountain pen she always carried. The circle of light shone eerily on the school's logo.

"Sacre bleu! Holy ...! The Vetruvian Man!"

"Exactement. Now do you see? Lincoln Kirstein was my grandfather!"

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I just finished DVC. My impression....well, one of my impressions; there are tons!....is that never have I seen a bunch of scholarly people so blind to the things about which they are scholars. And that dying Jacques Sauniere sure got a heck of a lot done in his agonizing last 15/20 minutes.

Farrell Fan, I love your bookish conversation, especially the bit about "padding the puzzle"!


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This is old hat to many of you, but inasmuch as I just finished this book last week, this article in the Chicago Tribune could not have been more timely.

In it, historians debunk the theories Dan Brown advances, and point out that the book is shelved as fiction. They seem to be reputable experts without bones to pick, except of the sort that academics love to gnaw when their areas of expertise are breached and mangled.

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