“Inferno” by Dan Brown
c.2013, Doubleday $29.95 / $30.00 Canada 465 pages
by Terri Schlichenmeyer, OW contributor
All your life, you’ve tried to be good.
As a child, you were taught kindness and compassion, honesty and trustworthiness. You learned graciousness and generosity, and embraced gratitude.
You’ve always tried to be good for several reasons, mostly because it’s the right thing to do. Also, there’s a place for evil people and you don’t want to go there, but in the new novel “Inferno” by Dan Brown, you may have no choice. Hell may be coming to Earth.
Nothing made sense – then again, nightmares rarely do.
But when Professor Robert Langdon woke up in a hospital room in Florence, Italy, the nightmares weren’t the worst of his problems. Langdon couldn’t remember how or why he’d gotten to Italy in the first place, or how he’d been grazed by a bullet aimed at his head. Though he’d been sedated, there was little time for recovery: moments after he regained consciousness, a spiky-haired woman strode down the hospital’s hall and tried to kill Langdon again. He narrowly escaped with the help of his doctor, quick-thinking Sienna Brooks, who asked Langdon about an object he’d been carrying.
Covered with text and symbols, the object was a cylinder that, once opened, yielded an odd device that became a projector. Though Langdon was an expert on Italian art and literature, Dante in particular, the image from the projector mystified him.
It was a famous painting, an impression of Dante’s “Inferno,” but it had been altered. Dante’s Rings of Hell were out of order, with additions to the painting in strange places. Slowly, Langdon came to understand that the alterations were clues to what the device was and where it had come from… but there was no time to think. Someone wanted him dead, and they’d surely kill Dr. Brooks, too.
On a ship just off the coast of Italy, the provost pondered his last client. He was glad the man’s contract was done. The Consortium had spent a year maintaining the man’s privacy and safety, but the work was troublesome and the provost regretted taking the business.
He regretted it even more when he realized what the client was about to unleash…
Okay, first the bad news: “Inferno” is a tad too long.
Author Dan Brown’s two main characters escape and are chased over and over and over again, relentlessly – which is exciting at first, but tiring as this book progresses. “Inferno” also ends rather strangely (but I won’t tell you why, because that would ruin it for you).
Now the good news: DAN BROWN HAS A NEW BOOK OUT.
And it’s a thriller with chases, intrigue, esoteric clues that require genius-level thinking, international locales, secret passages, and an evil madman. It’s complex and fast-moving. For a couple weeks’ worth of entertainment, what more could you want?
Fans of “The DaVinci Code” will feel right at home with this book in their hands, and espionage lovers will want to dive right in. If that’s you, and you crave a good book, “Inferno” is already one of this summer’s hottest.
“The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)” by Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
c.2013, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $16.99 / $19.95 40 pages
The other day, while playing outside, you spent ten minutes watching ants.
Ants are very cool: they run all over, really fast, like they don’t know where they’re going. Some of them even carry things that seem heavy – if you’re an ant, that is.
You like watching bugs, beetles, and butterflies, though you know that they make some people squirm and scream. But in the new book “The Beatles Were Fab (and They were Funny)” by Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, you’ll read about Beatles that made people dance.
Life wasn’t easy when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr grew up. Their northern England town was “scruffy” but the lads didn’t care much; they had their music and they had fun together, especially when they were coming up with a name for their band. They had a lot of possibilities, but they eventually settled on calling themselves The Beatles, and that made them laugh.
In the first few years that The Beatles were together, they played “hundreds and hundreds of shows” in small clubs in England and Germany. That didn’t pay well, but it made them very popular and it gave them a chance to be silly. Pretty soon, they got a recording contract and their first song went on the radio.
That song was followed by another and another, and fans screamed for more. The Beatles made a record that sold a million copies, and they stopped playing in small clubs. Instead, they played and sang in front of the Queen of England!
When one of their songs became a number-one hit in America, the lads naturally wanted to make their U.S. fans happy, so they came to New York. Three thousand people met The Beatles at the airport. Even more came to see them at TV studios, at the Hollywood Bowl, onstage in Denver, and in Philadelphia. At some concerts, the fans screamed so loud that The Beatles couldn’t even hear themselves!
Then, all too soon, it was over. But by the time Beatlemania ended in 1970, John, Paul, George, and Ringo had recorded more than two hundred songs together.
“The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) is a very good book. Older Beatles fans will love reading it aloud to kids and grandkids. But will little readers care about what’s inside this children’s picture book?
I questioned that – even though I liked this book quite a bit. Authors Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer tell the story of the Fab Four in a way that kids can surely understand, even if they don’t grasp the significance of it. Instead, I think the kid-appeal of this book may be found in the artwork by Stacy Innerst: it’s colorful, and there are a few good giggles hidden in each page.
Perhaps the best way to introduce your kids to this book is to start with some Beatles music. Hit PLAY, read “The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny), and your child will be saying yeah, yeah, yeah.
(The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.)