Share and Enjoy!

Recently, via the Register, I came across Oxfam’s list of the most donated and most sold books at their charity stores .

To be honest the list doesn’t contain any real surprises and (thankfully) I can only put my hand up to having read works by two of the mentioned authors – Stephen King and Terry Pratchett – and certainly nothing by Dan Brown who tops the most donated list and is at number 3 on the sellers list.

The presence of his Vatican bothering-ness however reminded me of a particularly wonderful blog post a former colleague showed me many years back that pointed out, for the uninitiated, just how bad the multimillionaire’s writing really is.

Being a kindly soul I thought I would pass it on.

I am still trying to come up with a fully convincing account of just what it was about his very first sentence, indeed the very first word, that told me instantly that I was in for a very bad time stylistically.

Enjoy! :)


  1. Justine says:

    To my shame, I’ve read – or actually more like skimmed through – a couple of Dan Brown’s works, The Da Vinci Code included. I wholeheartedly agree with the article although I wouldn’t be capable of writing such a stunning critique.

    Although not *as* bad as The Da Vinci Code, lots of ‘best-sellers’ I’ve been bought in recent years have been pretty dire. The most surprising were works by Stephen Fry of all people. I didn’t get a great grade at GCSE English but I remember some things we were taught about writing style, including the one about long lists being avoided at all costs. Fry, bless his soul fills *pages* with them. Bor-ring! Rather than say he’s long been a geek and citing some examples of the hardware he’s owned he rattles off model numbers & product names as if they’re going out of fashion. He also protests somewhat too much about name-dropping and then reels off name after name after name of people he’s worked alongside. I consider myself a bit of a geek but shopping lists are not what I expect to see in the output of somebody of his standing.

    Appealing to the lowest common denominator is how you sell a lot of books. I’ve never read Barbara Cartland, Jackie Collins et al but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were all as clumsily awful as Brown.

    Thankyou for sharing this.

  2. Coo, I’ve not read any of that list, and I can reveal myself to be the third person to not so much as have touched a Dan Brown book.

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      I think the closest I have ever gotten to a Dan Brown book is pointing and laughing.

      • RSP says:

        “….gotten…”? Are you really English? Sounds like the sort of word Mr Brown would use, along with “burglarise”.

        • Misanthrope Girl says:

          Gotten: past participle of get.

          Not a very common word I’ll admit but still part of the English language.

  3. jameshigham says:

    I’ve read none of them at all.