Secrets of a long lost symbol and further journey through Dan Brown‘s world

There are writers that you fall in love with once you read their book. And it‘s always a pleasure to read something new written by them. Everyone has their own author, or maybe few of them. I do too. One of them is Dan Brown. I remember I‘ve made a post about one of his books, so pretty much I‘ve already told why I like him, so I won‘t go into the same details. All I want to say is that I like how he writes, I like his writing style, creating a story that might be completely untrue, but you will believe it as if it was true. I love how he incorporates history, historical facts, religion, science, figures and symbols from all these fields and joins them all together in this masterpiece of his. I admire this ability of his so much and I wish I could do something like that… However, at the same time in this book there‘s so much of everything that you don‘t even know whether it‘s good or not. On the one hand, you get so much interesting information and things to think about, but on the other hand, these things start to look too unreal. Oh, well… Let‘s move on and discuss „The Lost Symbol“ book.

This book also involves Robert Langdon – a character we all know. See, this is one more reason, that makes Brown‘s books interesting to read. There‘s a character that goes from book to book, so all these stories has duration and connection, and you can see how the character develops. Yes, there might be similar situation, yet it still is interesting. Remember Sherlock Holmes stories they all are the same: mystery/crime – solving it – it is solved schemed stories that are still interesting to read. The same with Robert Langdon – he‘s a scientific, nerdy superman that keeps you alert all the time as you read the story.

This time thes story involves mystries of Capitol in Washingto D.C. No more Italian history and art. This time story is filled with detective and thriller elements and of course mysteries, mysteries, mysteries that has to be solved. And these mysteries are gathered around the organization of Masons. And this organization is known for all kinds of conspiracy theories, mystique stories, so one way or another, it makes us pay attention, because there are lots of people who still think there is something mysterious about Masons. Maybe there is? Who knows. The exact same thing can be said about all these secrets on a governmental level. Sure, there are such secrets, but are they really that groundbreaking? Who knows? Maybe. And that‘s maybe why we know about them only under the title „Secret‘. And this is why we are attached to this book because of all the secrets. Everybody likes secrets and things that might be true, but known only to very few people. The same thing with gossip. Everybody likes them, even though they say the opposite. Of course, if certain things described in this book would have been so secret neither Dan Brown would know them, nor he could write about them and make fortune out of it.

Another thing that fascinates me about Brown‘s writing style is his passion about the places he writes about. Like this time, he so vividly and passionately wrote about some places in Washington that I actually felt this huge wish to go there and see everything myself. And believe it or not, not often books (and their writers) make such an effect on me like „The Lost Symbol“ did.

But more than just historical, ancient secrets, in this book is also raised family relationship issue. Especially between wealthy parents and their kids who pretty often act irresponsible due to their wealth and what they can do with their money. But sometimes kids have unexplainable hate and heartburning for their parents or certain actions made by their parents. It‘s difficult. But when a person lives with these feelings for too long bad things happen.

Religous aspect is also very interestingly developed in this book which is great, because somehow people still think religion and whatever it concerns is really boring and out of date. This is very misleading, because religion is a very interesting topic and wide topic. Moreover, nowadays lots of things are happening to different interpretation of different religions, there are lots of religious fanatics who are really dangerous and scary. So, actually, learning and  studying religions is not only interesting, but I think is also very useful for not to be misunderstood and not to misunderstand it ourselves. How can these books help us? Maybe in no way, but it can be a great trigger to start learning things. And that‘s a pretty good start.

So, all in all, every science is awesome in its own way. And I think we should stop claiming that learning things is nerdy, because actually it is great.

Millenium trilogy: Part 2.

So, today I’ve decided to get back to Millenium trilogy and discuss the second part of it “The girl who played with fire”. For me this part is more interesting than the first one, because we finally get involved into mysterious and difficult life of Lisbeth Salander. We finally are allowed to step in her personal world. We are able to observe her past and things that made her the way she is. We get a lot of personal information aboput Lisbeth but we have to pick a puzzle out of it to see entire picture of who she is. And she’s not an easy person.

This book is a good illustration of how childhood traumas affect us in our adult life. Nothing passes by us without leaving a mark on us. Whether it’s a good or bad mark it still stays. Pretty often people don’t understand that their words or actions might bring a lot of pain to a child that with every year might grow and develop into something else more serious. I’m not talking about some mental illnesses, but it could easily grow into some depression, inferiority complex, or something like that. On some level that’s what happened to Lisbeth. Except, her trauma was more bigger – she threw a milk carton filled with gasoline onto her father and set him on fire, because he violated against her mom. And that explains why Lisbeth can‘t stand men who violate against women and if she can – she punishes them.

But this is not the case of this part. The case is that Lisbeth and Mikael got together again, but in a way different circumstances than the first time. Now Lisbeth is in trouble and Mikael has to save her.

Why I liked this part more than the first one? This time, reading 2nd part, it really felt like reading a true detective, thriller story. The tension, characters, details, not knowing what to expect. It felt great to read it. Plus, as you read and get more and more details you keep thinking how on Earth it might be related to Lisbeth and how Mikael will be involved here? I mean, it is such a tangled up story, written so smartly (I wish I could write like that).

However, you can‘t jus concentrate only and entirely on Lisbeth and and Mikael, because we are presented with new characters that are pretty shady and you don‘t know what will they bring in. So you have to stay alert all the time as you read the story, because those things that are new for the reader, are also new for most of the characters. So the plot tangles up even more.

What is more interesting, is how The System is exposed. Talking about crime and how institutions that shouldn‘t be, but sometime are involved in it and how they can easily fake information. Make someone mentally disabled even if he / she isn‘t, how our biographies can be faked. Sure it sound like secret service job, but I think that is done, more or less, in every country and that‘s actually pretty scary. That‘s exactly what was done to Lisbeth – her biography and mental condition were faked and her life ruined.

Another thing that fascinated me about this book was this sick father and daughter relationship. I mean, I understand why Lisbeth hated her father so much (he abused her mom), but where all this hatred for your own child comes from? I don‘t understand. It‘s sad, it‘s scary, because there‘s a lot of parents like that who have kids and hate them. It‘s a tough social problem and we won‘t get into it right here, right now.

All in all, it‘s a super interesting book to read. And the best part of it is that the story does not end. There‘s one more part – 3rd part and I hope that someday I‘ll discuss it too :).

Every story has its own beginning

And that is true. But sometimes we find out the story without begininig. This kind of thing happenened mv5bmtcwnte4mtuxml5bml5banbnxkftztcwmdiyodm4oa__v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_when “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy came out (movie trilogy), we saw the story without its beginning. Those who had read the books knew the beginning, those who hadn’t – didn’t. But finally, we all know it since “The Hobbit” trilogy is turned into movies. Plus, with the “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” you are returned to the very first “The Lord of the Rings” films, so you can remember how everything started in the movie.

What can I say about “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”? Well, it’s a majestic story. Beautiful in all senses story. Story about life, fight and betrayal, plus, it all goes in hand with the beautiful world J.R.R. Tolkien created and the film crew brought to life.

For me it’s still strange and at the same time interesting how and why the Hobbit story came second as a movie. And it is also strange why did it take so long to be filmed. I mean, how long was it since “The Lord of the Rings” hit the cinemas? About 10 years divides first “The Lord of the Rings” and first Hobbit movies, am I right? But it was worth of waiting.

First of all, we were introduced with this great actor Martin Freeman who played Bilbo just perfectly. I’ve 20395178never seen this actor before (my bad), but he was a really good choice. He did a great job portraying a Hobbit Bilbo who just got himself in an adventure he never thought he could ever get in.

Second of all, we had one more opportunity to see Gandalf. I mean, who doesn’t like Gandalf? He is awesome. He even knew how to make elfs and dwarfs come together 🙂

Thirdly, I mean it is so amazing that these kinds of movies are still made. I mean, it’s like a fairy tale come true to see all these places. I mean who wouldn’t love to stay at least for a little while in Bilbo’s house? I strongly believe in need of this kind of movies. It’s like when I wrote about “The Artist” movie – it’s black and white, it’s silent, but isn’t it a fresh breath of what cinema can give us? We get so many movies to see, not all of them are great or worth of watching, but those that are… My God they are great.

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What else I found memorable after watching this film? Well, of course the dwarf gathering – meeting scene. That was a hilarious one. Of course, very impresive were fighting scenes. And moreover, fighting is the key point of this particular story. It’s about fighting with yourself, you fears, overcoming them, leaving your comfort zone and facing adventures. It’s all about the fight between good and evil. It’s a fight of yours to stop judging people from the first meeting, because at the end, the one who you thought was weak might save your life.

Millenium trilogy: Part 1.

It’s been a while since I’ve read “The girl with the dragon tatto” book (as well as the other two), but I think p1000128the time  has come to discuss it. Not that long ago I wrote about “The girl with the dragon tattoo” film and today I will talk about the book. I probably won’t say nothing new, but still this is a very involving book and a story. Once you start reading it, you can be sure that you will definetely read the other two parts.

The first part of the Millenium trilogy, has least to do with Lisbeth Salander’s storyline, because in this part we have few plot lines that reaveals us of Lisbeth (it’s an intro to her story through other stories), but this book gives us only the surface of it. The two main plot lines: Wennerström case and Vanger family mystery (what happened to Hariet?). The book gives us more detailed and longer explanation about Wennerström case, that‘s what I missed as I watched the movie. However, book is not so limited on time, so an author (Stieg Larsson)can go on narrating his story in any direction and at any length.

However, as I mentioned on post about the film „my perception of Blomkvist was completely different when I read the book and watched the movie. As I read the book I thought of him as more slutty person, who can’t abstain from sleeping with women even though he could be in relationship with someone. In the movie I perceived his character as more interested in and concentrated on his job. Here he was softer, more of a father figure” can be transferred on all characters. Somehow exploring them while reading a book gave me a more vivid, real impression of them. There was no rush in introducing them as it was in the movie. In the book you can actually learn the tangledness of relationship.

Plus, I have to say that I missed those details about Blomkvist’s personal life in the movie, e.g. that he was divorced, had a daughter. You like it or not, but it draws completely different portrait of a person. So at this point, as you read a book and then you watch an adaption of it, you kind of feel that these are like the same stories, but at the same time different. Not to mention actual differences in the plot.

The things that fascinate me about this book, are the issues raised by the author. On the one hand it’s fascinating, but on the other hand it’s weird that a book with such dark and horrible themes got to be so popular all over the world. Child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, violence against women, murders, family incest – these are like one of the most horrible things a person can experience. Normally it’s hard to talk about these things for lots of differrent reasons. And the fact that a book, that includes all of them became a bestseller is really impresing. But when you think about it, maybe it’s a good thing. I mean, someone has to talk about these things, someone has to bring these things up even if it’s only a form of literature. But the important thing is that all these people who liked the book, would truly agree on the fact that all those issues written in this book are important, bad and should be solved. And each one of us can play a significant part in solving them. That’s the most important.

Another interesting thing for me in this book was how biblical motives were incorporated into the story. Sure, religion is an important subject. And it plays a huge role in peoples lives. Mostly it is thought that religion works good for us. But sometimes religion can be used for bad and dark things to make. And it is actually kind of scary when a book such as  the Bible (regularly used for people to look some sort of answers, to seek the good and the light) inspires someone to commit the opposite things, like kill someone. But this is probably the two sides of the medal situation when there’s no only one side. There’s always two sides – good and bad. It’s only a matter of choice. Choice made by us.

All in all, even though I enjoyed “The girl with the dragon tattoo” film and I don’t think it’s a bad movie, but if had to choose between watching it or reading a book for the second time, I would choose reading a book.

Parting with illusions: sometimes it‘s hard, sometimes it‘s necessary

Some time ago I had a pleasure (a truly pleasure) to read this wonderful autobiography of a person I 6630654-madmire and respect. So, I’d like to share some thoughts on TV journalist’s Vladimir Posner (sometimes spelled as Pozner) (Western (especially American people) might remember him from those famous US-Soviet TV bridges) autobiography “Parting with illusions”.

It’s not a new book, it was published back in 1990 when the world was facing enormous changes, when everything was going upside down, when people did not know what’s true and what’s not. And this book gives you the story of a man, whose entire life was marked with divisions. All kinds of division: between countries you live in, ideologie you admire or hate.

First of all, why do I admire him? Well, let’s start with the fact that Posner is well educated, super intelligent, he can discuss probably every question you ask him. Moreover, I admire his working style and ethics as journalist, his journalist qualities: insightfulness, 300px-pozner_and_donahuetact, good manners while talking to someone he might not like or disagrees with. And as you read his book you get all that, it’s like you actually see him talking those things right in front of you, but instead you read it. For me it was so interesting to read this book, that I’ve even took notes on the most interesting quotes and thoughts of Posner. And it doesn’t mean I agree with him upon all of them, but his insights makes analyze and start a discussion in your head with your own arguments and his.

For example, this thought of his, expressed on page 28:

„The right to travel is the basic human right. Anyone who wishes to leave his or her country, be it for a while or for good, is born with the right to do so, regardless of the laws of the land. But personally, I have always felt that if you wish to leave your country, there is only one truly valid reason – the feeling that you simply cannot live there any longer. Either your life is in danger, the welfare of your children or your beloved is threatened, or life is so stifling that you cannot tolerate it. You don‘t leave because the grass over there is greener, or because there are more and better consumer goods, or because you want to make a million dollars. You go because you can‘t stand staying“.

300px-vladimir_pozner_by_augustas_didzgalvisI don’t agree with his personal opinion that  one reason he said is valid for leaving the country. I mean every person has its reason(s) why he is leaving his country and for him it will be valid. So judging generally from your own perspective doesn’t mean it is right. However, look how he states it: he doesn’t say that his opinion is right, he just expresess it and we are able to agree or disagree with it. Pretty often people of the same status as Posner just drop on us things that we should consider as good or bad ones, just because they said so.

But, for example, his thought expressed in page 132 I support:

„Any society that, for whatever reasons, fears independent thought is schizophrenic in its attitude toward the writer. On the one hand, it perceives the writer as a possible asset, someone who, through the power of the written word, can further the society’s goals in a much more profound way than politicians or a controlled media. But by the same token, the writer can just as effectively undermine the establishment view and therefore is seen as a potential threat. That schizophrenia manifests itself, I believe, in all societies to a greater or lesser degree, depending on historical tradition”.

I think these words today are as relevant as never, because of all this propaganda ghost floating all over the world and this cold again relations between America, Russia (involving alsoUkraine, Syria). When things go so dramatically, like  if you write something that does not go in hand with others opinion you might be announced as an enemy. And all this just  spreads some  sort of a fear, hate and anger. This schoziphrenic atittude exists, it just expects a trigger to show up.

I could go on discussing other thoughts and quotes of Posner (yeah, I took a lot of notes), but I think those who are interested will read the book, believe me it’s really worth it. Even though it’s twenty six years old, but lots of things fit for our times. On some level it’s scary how many thing from the past fits today. It’s like we learned nothing from the past.

Short notice. In the book it can be found this so called comparison of American and Soviet societies, ideologies and other things. Back then, because of the Cold War it made much sense. The thing I liked, was that Posner didn’t take sides, he just tried to discuss and explain those differences, or, at times similarities. When we see today all this tension between America and Russia (again) I think that it would be interesting to read observations discussing the same. Would he point out the same issues and thoughts he did twenty six years ago? Probably, because looking from todays perspective it doesn’t look like much have changed.

*The quotes were taken from “Parting with illusions” (by Vladimir Pozner (with Brian Kahn), The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York 1990.