Sunday Salon: One Book Abandoned for Another

I have abandoned this:


for this:


While I didn’t mind Dan Brown’s games in The Da Vinci Code, I find myself very annoyed with them in The Lost Symbol. It’s tiresome the way he continues to scorn Christianity, in my opinion, by making it seem a pagan ritual; quotes like these go a long way with me:

Langdon nodded and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Don’t tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh.”

The class looked horrified.

Langdon shrugged. “And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.”

The classroom remained silent.

Langdon winked. “Open your minds, my friends. We all fear what we do not understand.” (p. 32)

All the winking, all the innuendo, all the cultish rituals regarding what we take for granted are a bit much the second time around.  I’ll probably finish it, sometime, but I’m not in any hurry to do so this week.

However, Jhumpa Lahiri does what she does, and that is write beautifully, the third time around with grace. Unaccustomed Earth is a breathtaking work which examines our lives, our families, our thoughts in such a way that surely it must be universal. I have come to love the Indian culture, particularly through the children I teach, but I don’t feel any division between that culture and my own when I read her work. I just feel as though we are one, with similar heartaches and similar hopes.

I’m loving Unaccustomed Earth.