Joshgun KarimovJoshgun Karimov 07 APRIL 2020 894 views 4 min. read

Two days in Barcelona with Dan Brown

894 views 4 min. read
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Reading allows us to travel at times when we are doomed to stay at home. Suddenly you find out that there are so many destinations at your disposal, and now it is quite hard to make a choice. One of these destinations allured me to a point where I picked a book and dived into it for two days in a row. This book was telling a story of our "Origin." The story began in Spain, revealed inside of Barcelona, and ended up in Catalonia's paradise consequentially.

I have never read any of Dan Brown books before, but I always heard people praising his books. I must admit that the Da Vinci Code was an exciting movie, and professor Langdon did spark my interest in his desire to unleash the meaning of symbols. I, myself, really love symbolism.

Before the pandemic, I have purchased some books, and the book "Origin" lured me with its attractive cover. In a short time, this book traveled its own way to my shelf and waited for its moment.

Dan Brown is not a master of prose. This was my conclusion of the first chapter, but after some point, I found myself reading page 421 and was eagerly willing to turn the page to see what will happen next. He could leave me furious and confused from time to time. On the other hand, he is very good at visual description. This ability stands out during the entire story. You can feel that he was there, and know that he traveled and carefully collected every detail mentioned in the book.

Dan Brown gave Langdon to this world. Langdon is the main character of the book, who is a puzzle-solver. The book reflects his tireless search for a universal question that puzzles millions. You can instantly feel his vivid presence in the described buildings. Langdon will guide you to Bilbao at first, where you will feel the magnificence of the Guggenheim Museum and its extravagant showrooms. He is a fascinating scholar who happens to have "special" students at this disposal. One of them is Edmond Kirsch, a tech billionaire who is motivated to find out pre-historic origin. Edmond is very stubborn and wealthy. He has no intention to stop and is on the way to crush the prestige of religious institutions. As you will turn page after the page, you will be absorbed by "Church and Science" dualism.

Thus, Langdon got invited to Spain to assist Edmond with his provocative presentation. Although, a professor was not aware that the chain of events will rapidly change and will leave him speechless and forcing him to run with Ambra Vidal, the elegant lady who has a royal wedding to take place. Guggenheim museum becomes a place where Langdon and Ambra transition from being witnesses of murder to suspects. The story begins with the upsetting drama of Edmond and a world that waits for his revealing presentation that promises to smash religion to its own traditional walls. It is a book that a non-believer reads with great enthusiasm, and the believer reads with discontent. Although the situation and perspectives change at the end for both of the sides.

I will not go deep into the plot, as this might spoil many things in many ways. What I will do instead, I will definitely give credit to Dan Brown for taking me to Barcelona and showing me some exciting places.

Barcelona is a place of beautiful landscapes, pleasant weather, authentic cuisine, football, and one of Gaudi's masterpieces Sagrada La Familia. I would dare to say that the entire city is nothing but a working studio of Antonio Gaudi and his remarkable sense of beauty. Observing Langdon looking for clues inside of Gaudi's buildings can be easily compared to working in the chocolate factory. It is when you actually work, but you enjoy the smell the irresistible chocolate.

Sagrada La Familia is a place where tourists get to witness a synergy between nature and architectural solution. This is a place that enchants you. As you read "Origin," you eventually decide to check this city and go the spots where Langdon went. You want to stand next to the central park and Casa Mila, and then to enter the cathedrals and royal buildings. You want to boast about your actions. Surely, you will thank Dan and his professor for being excellent guides.

The main question of the book consists of several questions:

"Where do we come from? Where are we going?"

The author tackles the central topic with an "e4" chess move, which is considered to be a book move. He gives both perspectives and does not directly answer the questions. He simply refers to those who search for the answer before him. He mentions William Blake and his poetry. He mentions Paul Gaugin and his famous painting. He leaves us with a feeling of hope. He gives a new collaboration between technology and man's uncanny ability to find answers.

Barcelona feels sunny at the end of the book. You feel the sunflashes inside the cathedral, and you feel warm and hopeful. You want to rush out of your sofa and hug the professor for his "code and pattern" answer.

"Origin" is the first book I read and the first reliable guide to the land of Basques. I might read other books from the author. One thing I know for sure is that when we all get back to our usual lives, I will start implementing my priority-travel- list and will definitely put Barcelona above other cities. Gaudi and his buildings are worth seeing and experience. His "no straight line" philosophy created magic amid Spanish traditionalism. He gave a church to humanity, which is out of this universe. He unlocks our passion for something new and fresh.

Meanwhile, I can guess that the professor is busy unlocking his new mission. I can hear Dan Brown creating his next story. I can hear the cheerings of "El Classico" fans witnessing the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona. I can see people enjoying Spain, Italy, and France again. Sitting at home makes me a bit sentimental, and I feel relieved to have a chance to feel like I am in Spain, by reading this book.

This makes me hungry for my next "travel," which might be to Tahiti. I am thinking of re-reading Paul Gaugin's diary Noa Noa, where he notes about his Tahitian life as an artist.

Gaugin lives a life of high contrast. He is happy about his art but sad about his life that he left in Europe. He misses his friend Monfred and regularly writes letters to him during his exotic stay.

I think I went too far. Further than Barcelona. So, I will stop and leave some space for your further interest in "traveling by reading. "

Origin's leading questions were: 

"Where do we come from, and where do we go?"

And I will leave you with these questions:

What book have you finished, and what book will you start next?


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Joshgun Karimov is an author and a public speaking coach.

He wrote KVAN, which is one of the best-selling personal development books in Azerbaijan. This book was personally endorsed by world’s leading personal development coach and author Brian Tracy.

Joshgun does training and mentoring for Azerbaijan Public Speaking Competition and Social Innovation Lab. He delivered trainings on communication and presentation skills to such corporate clients as Four Seasons Hotel, Fairmont Hotel, McDonalds, Formula 1 (Baku City Circuit Academy), Kapital Bank.

He won at startup competitions such as “Yeni Fikir” and “Seedstars-Baku” for the presentation of mobile application for book readers - Kvotter.

He has received Global Influencer Day Award for a positive social media impact. 

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