If you hate my fellow New Hampshirite Dan Brown and/or have no plan to read his most recent book, this post is kind-of a throwaway. Feel free to skip it! :)
So on my lunch break yesterday, I popped by my local indie bookstore (Longfellow Books, in case you were wondering) to pick up the new Dan Brown novel, "The Lost Symbol." I then proceeded to do absolutely no art in between sessions of reading the aforementioned book and I finished it this evening. Now I'm no real believer in conspiracy theories, but I do love fiction works that involve them (I think in real life, there'd have to be waaaaay more efficiency and intelligence to pull off what most conspiracy theorists claim)! So I really enjoyed the book! Not as much as I liked "The DaVinci Code" or "Angels & Demons," which seemed to flow a bit better (and as a former European Lit. & Languages student married to an Art History major, we both really liked the scenes in France and Italy and all of the artworks mentioned), but still a fun read! Don't worry! No spoilers included here!
I think I also enjoy the fact that you can attempt to solve the riddles on your own whilst reading the book (and the fact that the book jacket alone has several codes for you to attempt to decipher)! Who doesn't want to be an armchair dectective? Pretending that you're an expert codebreaker who needs to solve this puzzle because someone's life is hanging in the balance (but without the REAL pressure, since this person is just a fictional character)? I love it when you can figure it out before our good ol' buddy Robert Langdon! And if you're into solving puzzles that have nothing to do with the story and everything to do with internet games, try out their Lost Symbol game! Minutes upon minutes of procrastination and googling await you!
Now while I read the book, I place little post-it notes next to things mentioned that I want to look up/research. I had a decent amount of these post-its, believe you me. Below I have included links that I found that may be useful to you during or after you've read the book. I make no claims that these sites have completely reliable information (I've got a decent amount of wikis in there), but they have enough relevant stuff to give you a good idea about things. Some of the links are directly related to the search for the Lost Symbol and others were just places or ideas mentioned (no real relevance other than to give an idea of setting) and some were red herrings (you think you're getting somewhere, but oh ho! Sneaky Dan Brown pulled a fast one on you)! Hope this helps you enjoy the book a little bit more (I always enjoy things more when I know what the heck people are talking/writing about, don't you?). Happy reading!
Oh and just one last word: Fiction. The book is fiction. Keep that in mind and you'll be just fine. :)
The House of the Temple, the headquarters building of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
Smithsonian Museum Support Center
The Intention Experiment
The US Capitol Vistor Center
The Apotheosis of George Washington info
The Apotheosis of GW large image
George Washington as Zeus Sculpture
The Architect of the Capitol
United States Botanical Garden
The Hand of The Mysteries
The Institute of Noetic Sciences
Institute of Noetic Sciences wiki
The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies
Melancolia I image
The Washington National Cathedral
Order of the Eastern Star
The Franklin Square
The Smithsonian Castle
The Washington Monument
And of course, the book's website here and Dan Brown's site here.
There. That's my shtick about the new book. You won't hear another word about it from me (unless something crazy happens, like Kanye West telling Dan Brown that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was WAY more important)!