When I first started hearing about Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code a year ago, I thought it was a scholarly work for the general reader along the lines of, say, Guns, Germs, and Steel. Then I learned it was just an ordinary thriller that’s easily polished off in an afternoon.
But maybe it's not so ordinary. On its first anniversary, there are now 6.8 million copies of The Da Vinci Code in print, according to this article from the Christian Science Monitor, making it one of the fastest-selling novels of all time. Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, a number of religious thinkers fear the book "may be sowing doubt about basic Christian beliefs,” and are taking active steps to rebut it.
I remember when Tom Clancy thought he was something. As Dan Brown sits back and rakes in the dough, perhaps educators should consider hiring him to recast all those dry, boring history texts into really cool legal thrillers. Retold as fiction, students might begin to think of history as something that really happened. They'd remember it better, too. (Links from Notes in the Margin.)