While reading about Memoirs of a Geisha, I learned that the woman Arthur Golden interviewed the most for his book was Mineko Iwasaki, and that when Me...moreWhile reading about Memoirs of a Geisha, I learned that the woman Arthur Golden interviewed the most for his book was Mineko Iwasaki, and that when Memoirs came out, she was angry at Golden's portrayal of geishas. So then she wrote her own book, which is this one. Intrigued, I checked this book out and expected there to be a lot of either "What Golden said is wrong. Life is really like *this*" or at least similarities in their stories. Instead, they're like two completely different stories that just happen to take place in the same country.
Iwasaki's book has a few similarities (I found a couple of people in her memoir that seemed like people in Memoirs), and a few places where it *seemed* like she was kind of taking it to Golden by saying "I understand that there are some scholars of Japan in foreign countries who ... believe these misconceptions [that geisha prostitute themselves] to be true." Other than that, though, I could see no parallels between her story and Golden's, so it wasn't really the rebuttal I was expecting it to be. Rather, they seem like two completely different and unrelated stories that just happen to be about the same(ish) profession.
This book started out nice enough. Iwasaki and her co-writer, Rande Brown, tell a good story, use good language, and the story itself was interesting. About halfway through, though, Iwasaki just kind of started getting on my nerves. She was a very precocious child at times, knowing what she wanted and thinking that she had the right to voice her opinion on how to change life in Kyoto, but other times was very childlike, even after she got older, throwing tantrums and hiding in closets. As the story progressed into her adult life, she continued to sound like "I'm so wonderful. Did I mention that I was the highest-paid geiko? I'm so great." There was just something about her attitude and the way she came across in the book that made her much less likable.
It's not a bad book, especially if you want a second (and perhaps a more true, but I'm not even sure how true it is. There were just a few too many incredible moments for them to have been 100% real. Either that, or she has the strangest luck of anyone alive) perspective on the life of a geisha/geiko. If you're looking for a rebuttal from someone who was outspoken about Golden's inaccuracies in Memoirs of a Geisha, though, you're not going to get it here.(less)
I gave this book 1 star because it almost always contradicts all of the other books I've been reading about The Da Vinci Code that I don't know if I c...moreI gave this book 1 star because it almost always contradicts all of the other books I've been reading about The Da Vinci Code that I don't know if I can believe it. Don't get me wrong--I don't think those books are 100% correct (I don't know one way or another), and I have no problem with the idea that this book might be correct (conspiracy theories and alternate histories and all that); my problem comes with the fact that 9 books I've read say one thing, and this one, lonely book says the opposite. Maybe this book is the one telling the truth, I don't know. But that whole Law of Large Numbers-type thing would seem to imply (roughly) that if 9 books say one thing, and *1* book says the opposite, maybe that 1 book is the one that's ... wrong? Maybe "wrong" isn't the right word, but ... it doesn't fit with the others. And again, I have no problem with the idea that maybe *this* is the one that's telling it like it is, but the other thing that bothers me is that Lunn doesn't cite sources. Yes, he gives a Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading in the back, but he doesn't match up the "facts" he states with where he got them. If he could point to me *where* or from what source he decided that Jesus WAS DEFINITELY MARRIED (despite what all of the other books say), then I'd be more likely to trust this book. As it is, though, there's no source, so this could either be a poorly documented Truth, or the rambling of a mad man. How is the reader supposed to know? Without sources, he's basically just preaching to his choir -- those who already share the same beliefs will believe his book, but those who don't share the beliefs or just aren't sure won't (or shouldn't) be swayed. Some of the books in the Bibliography/Recommended Reading are also books that other books have said are misguided and fooled, so ... that adds to the "Wha??" aspect. Lunn also seems to sound like the Priory of Sion *wasn't* a hoax, which most of the other books agree it was, or at least the Pierre Plantard incarnation of it (Lunn doesn't sound like he thinks Plantard forged anything), so that was another red flag for me that maybe something's a little hinky here.
The book is published by The Disinformation Company, and *that* makes me wonder if it's supposed to be a joke.(less)
I'm not sure how much of a "codebreaker" I'd call this. I only made it a little way into section B (it's arranged alphabetically), and there were a lo...moreI'm not sure how much of a "codebreaker" I'd call this. I only made it a little way into section B (it's arranged alphabetically), and there were a lot of facts that I'm not sure are related to The Da Vinci Code, and some that are just random. For example, do we need to know what "AD," "BC," and "BCE" mean? Are there really that many people who don't know what those mean? Okay, include them, for shiggles, just in case. However, how is Ceasar Augustus related to Dan Brown's book, or to Christianity (I'm giving Garlow some leeway on some of the terms, thinking maybe he included them because they're related to Christianity/Catholicism, and so he's giving those as background information, since The Da Vinci Code is about Christianity/Catholicism)? Nothing in the entry makes it seem relevant at all, except the sentence "Jesus Christ was born during this era, and the speed with which Christianity spread throughout the ancient world may be partly attributed to the roads and shipping routes associated with Caesar Augustus." Really? That's worthy of an entry? Hmmm.... And do authors (like Richard Abanes) who wrote other books about The Da Vinci Code really warrant their own entries in this book?
Final analysis: There are some terms I can see being useful as reference while you're reading Dan Brown's book, but if you've already read other books about The Da Vinci Code, this book isn't really revolutionary. Check it out from the library and return it when you're done reading The Da Vinci Code, but don't buy it.(less)
This is a REALLY good book, even though it rarely relates its content to The Da Vinci Code. It's just a really nice, thorough, well-written study of t...moreThis is a REALLY good book, even though it rarely relates its content to The Da Vinci Code. It's just a really nice, thorough, well-written study of the history of Christianity, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Gnostic texts.
I shouldn't say that it rarely relates its content back to tDVC -- Mostly it's a nice (really nice) history, and it does relate points back to The Da Vinci Code -- it's just that there's SO MUCH history... It's much more of a study of Christianity than one of the "Dan Brown got this wrong, and this wrong, and this wrong" books. Definitely a great book, and even though Witherington doesn't always say "See how Dan Brown got things wrong?!?!", he either wraps back around to topics (like Mary Magdalene) in The Da Vinci Code or the reader is able to make the connections for herself. Really good book.(less)
This book is just okay. It goes through "100 facts ... of The Da Vinci Code," but one of the "facts" it discusses is basically "Why does the...more1.5 stars
This book is just okay. It goes through "100 facts ... of The Da Vinci Code," but one of the "facts" it discusses is basically "Why does the character of Sophie Neveu suck?" I don't think that really counts as a "fact" that this book needs to correct. Sure, set people straight on the Christianity or art that Dan Brown gets wrong; but criticizing/critiquing Brown's writing seems petty. We already know that the point of the book is to cut down Brown for his historical inaccuracies; to carry that on to "Boy, he writes and develops his characters suckily" is completely unnecessary.
The authors also don't cite sources, so can we trust what they say any more than we're supposed to trust what Dan Brown says?
The book got a little preachy at times, especially towards the end, but it's a good book about the history of Christianity as well as a well-written a...moreThe book got a little preachy at times, especially towards the end, but it's a good book about the history of Christianity as well as a well-written and well-researched refutation of The Da Vinci Code.(less)