Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Million Seller, But Is It Literature?

Those of us who find it enourmously satisfying to sell 1,000 or 2,000 copies of a book will take special note of Dan Brown's new sizzler, The Lost Symbol, which sold a million copies its first day out (this past Tuesday), setting a record.

Knopf Doubleday immediately printed another 600,000 hardcovers. There were 5 million already in print. The million sales includes e-books, the NYTimes says in its report.

Brown, of course, wrote The Da Vinci Code and re-issued Angels and Demons (remarkably similar to Da Vinci, but written years beforehand) to capitalize on Da Vinci's success.

Brown is generally noted as a pedestrian writer who tells a good story--as was The Bridges of Madison County phenom Robert James Waller. I have had to hide my admiration of his books (which I enjoyed much as I enjoy shopping at Big Lots or watching a snake eat a rat) from more literary friends lest they show either outrage or pity at my total lack of literary sophistication. But, hey, I grew up poor and stupid. I can't be expected to be sophisticated.


  1. Of course this isn't literature. It's a novel. That's all Dan Brown writes. And even though we writer snobs think he's an all-right writer with sometimes a good story line, he sells like crazy. Maybe those of us who aspire to be published novelists should think more about being a hack writer and not polish our books so much. As for me, it's time for Mr. Clean!

  2. Betsy: Am I hearing you say novels aren't literature? Dan

  3. It may not be literature, but then "literature" can sometimes be a really crappy read. I bought it, and plan to enjoy every last word of it :)