After three years or so of picking along one chapter at a time, I finally finished Don Quixote. Don’t misunderstand and think it took me that long because it wasn’t good. It was a great book, all 982 pages of it.
The most surprising thing about it was the sense of humor. The writing is often sarcastic and translates surprisingly well around 400 years after it was written. There were a few chapters that were tedious reads, but only a few. The ending wasn’t what I expected, either, but the book doesn’t contain cliffhanging plot twists like modern, commercial fiction.
After I finished the old classic, I moved on to Dan Brown’s Origin, which is modern, commercial fiction. It’s the latest novel in Brown’s DaVinci Code series. I prefer the old classic, because modern fiction always feels like it is trying so hard to keep you reading to find the answers.
The hook to Origin is that some scientist guy has discovered where humans really came from and where they are going. Every time you think this discovery is to be revealed, something happens to keep it hidden from the reader. While this is obviously supposed to create suspense and intrigue, it does the opposite for me. It makes each chapter more predictable, because I know each chapter will end with some unanswered question.
Origin reads a lot like a modern movie script. It’s entertaining, but that’s about it. The first 50 pages or so were pretty good, but once you reach page 100, it feels like Brown is just stringing you along with predictable action scenes.
I’ve always felt this way about modern fiction, which is why I usually stick to the classics, like Don Quixote, which I highly recommend.