Monday, December 26, 2005

Dan Brown books


Over the Christmas holiday I am reading another Dan Brown book Digital Fortress. Although in some way these books are trashy adventure novels they are strangely addictive. Other books by this author I have read compulsively staying up late at night in long sessions. However this somewhat spoils the experience, as there are plenty of puzzles and clues to work out if you give yourself time to reflect.

One annoying feature is the factual errors -- for example in Angels and Demons Vittoria Vetra practices Hatha Yoga, which Dan Brown thinks is from the Buddhist rather than Hindu tradition (I know about this: my wife is a yoga teacher and a Buddhist). In Digital Fortress he does not seem to have grasped the distinction between a cryptographer and cryptanalyst. In some cases I wonder if these obvious errors are actually clues to some other level of puzzle in the books. If not they seem too elementary.

The most fun I had reading Angels and Demons was sitting on the beech in Cyprus trying to check the formula relating the golden ratio to the diagonals on a pentagon. But what do you expect I am a mathematician!

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