back to article Dan Brown is most unwanted author says Oxfam

Vatican botherer-in-chief Dan Brown has been awarded the accolade of most-donated fiction author to Oxfam shops, the charity announced today. Brown's offerings may sell in their millions, but clearly they leave people feeling the same way as an ill-advised one night stand - good idea at the time, but now you don't them hanging …


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  1. Anonymous John

    Revolving door?

    I suppose if you buy a Dan Brown book from Oxfam, you read it once and take it back a few days later. Perhaps charity shops only ever sell one actual copy of the book.

    A bit like a lending library really.

  2. Sooty

    "Complete loose-stool-water,

    Arse-gravy of the very worst kind"

    Although if i'd gained that kind of accolade, i'd have to print the quote on the book jacket!

    It's not that surprising, at the height of it's popularity, the number of people i had describing the da-vinci code it as one of the best books ever written, was unbelievable. Only to get it and think, meh! It was never really aimed at the sort of peopel who buy books and keep them long term.

  3. stu 4

    Eh: Vatican promoting Bible shock

    Er... since when has the Catholic church promoted the bible!

    To the Vatican it is just a 'technical document' used behind the scenes as input into Catholicism. I know lots of catholics - brought up in catholic schools, etc who have never read a page out the bible in their lives.

    It's the 'proddies' that tend to be the bible bashers.

    stu (a pastafarian)

  4. Yves Kurisaki


    Brown and the others make the literature equivalent of Hello magazine.

    You read it once (or not at all) and throw it away. If you have missed one, just ready the next one.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The Oxfam Conspiracy

    Soon for paperback.

    Available where all pulp fiction tat is offered*.

    *excludes stores in the Vatican City and other, more discerning, outlets.

  6. Paul 4

    I suspect it is more to do with...

    They type of people who buy Dan Brown books, and why. I get the feeling that they are not the sort that keep books for years and think a good book should be read again.

  7. Trevor 3
    Thumb Down

    @anon John

    That can't be right...I've been using Dan Browns books to wipe my arse with for ages. They are a hell of a lot cheaper than Andrex. And more suited to the task.

  8. adifferentbob

    and ?

    Seeing as he sells books by the bucketload , perhaps its not that surprising that lots of them end up at oxfam.

    what would be more interesting would be to know what proportion of books sold by particular authors end up at oxfam. e.g if A .Non-Coward sells 1000 copies of "Paris Nights" and 500 are donated to Oxfam compared to Dan Brown selling 1 million copies of "DaVinci Code" and 50 000 are donated to Oxfam.

  9. The Indomitable Gall

    Re: Revolving door?

    You know, Anonymous John (if that is your real name), it's actually cheaper (free) to get the book from your local library than from Oxfam.

    Furthermore, as he's not their best-selling author, clearly they have more copies coming in than going out, so unless Dan Brown's books are so far removed from literature and so close to pond-scum that they have evolved the ability to reproduce asexually, Oxfam is getting many virgin copies.

    Maybe by Guy Fawkes Night they'll have enough copies for a bonfire. All we need is an effigy of Tom Hanks to stick on top....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    They should do the videos handed in to their record shops next.

    Babylon 5 vs. Star Trek: The Next Generation, anyone?

  11. Gordon is not a Moron

    What I want the Pope to do...

    The next time they make one of Dan Brown's alleged novels into a film, there will doubtless be the usual press release just prior the opening :

    "We wanted to film inside the Pope's bedroom and Vatican said 'No', it's all a conspiracy to stop us from showing THE TRUTH (tm)"

    I want the Pope to come out and say

    "I read the book, it's a pile of shite and I just wanted to stop people wasting thier money this awful film"

  12. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns

    Yes But

    This doesn't mean Brown is unpopular. Terry Pratchett is in the list too, and he's not exactly disliked, is he? It all depends on how re-readable the books are, I only get rid of books' I've read a few times and don't plan to read again.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Share Alike

    Ive read this book twice now. But isnt it that people want to share the book with others so they donate it to the charity shop. Not just they dont like the book

  14. S Larti

    speaking of conspiracies...

    You mention the bible, and then in the next line

    "The chain has yet to release a similar list for non-fiction publications "

    It's a giant atheist conspiracy I tell you!

  15. steogede

    Bloody Freetards

    Bloody freetards and their book sharing.

  16. citizenx


    Wouldn't it stand to reason that books which sell the most by volume are most likely to turn up in charity shops after being read?

    Too many literary snobs for my liking!

  17. Deadly_NZ
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for the reminder

    I'd better take the copy of Angels and Demons back to the Sallie's.... Hope they got Digital fortress in ....

  18. Chris Bidmead

    In Defence of Dan

    To state the obvious, best-selling authors are going to appear more often than others in charity shops. They just have so many more books in circulation.

    To correct the less obvious, the Vatican doesn't actually promote the Bible. You're mixing those guys up with the Prods. There was a bit of a row about all this in 1521.



  19. disgruntled yank


    Strictly from hunger?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So only crap shows up in Oxfam shops?

    I was going to say this was false logic but I can't bring myself to.

  21. The Mighty Quin
    Jobs Horns

    Nice to see...

    ...the literary snobbery of papers like the Times and Guardian alive and well online.

  22. John Savard


    Suggesting that people would rather not have a book on their shelves because it disturbs the Vatican....

    You're not trying to tell us that people are actually starting to expect the Spanish Inquisition now, are you?

  23. Anonymous Coward


    "Too many literary snobs for my liking!"

    100% agreee.

    Fast paced, and for some, very exciting books. His novels have engaged people that would have happily gone the rest of their lives without reading a book. Inspiring those people to go on and explore other authors.

    They may not be the 'best' written books around, but their fun and entertain millions (I love them).

    The literary elite (Snobs) may turn their nose up at Dan Brown's writing, but their probably to busy being socially elite… on their own.

  24. Neil 4

    Completely Obvious Statistic Shocker!

    So... Dan Brown sells 10 trillion books and 1,000 end up at the charity shop. Nobby McNobody sells 500 books and 50 end up at the charity shop.

    Nobby is then regarded as great author and Dan Brown as a complete loser.

    Statistical twats.

  25. Bassey
    Thumb Up

    Re: Stu 4

    > Er... since when has the Catholic church promoted the bible!

    promoted/wrote, tomaytoes/tomahtoes....

  26. Chad H.


    Well considering Dan Brown has successfully written the same book 4 times, I'm not suprised

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complete BS

    Just because they are the most donated, does not mean that they are the most unwanted. It's probably that they're the most purchased.

    No, I've never read any of the "authors" mentioned. Except for one attempt at an Ian "M" Banks - shite.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Catholic bible?

    Two versions of the bible. There's the catholic one which is more behind the scenes and then there's the Prod one which is the same as the catholic one except they tore out the bits they didn't like and started shouting that God only liked the bits they left in and that the pope is the devil.

    They needed something to burn when they where protesting back in the good old 1500s.

    Anyway. I have all of Dan Brown's books and enjoy them. Pride and Prejudice is sooo last century.

    Anon because last time I mentioned this I was told I was going to hell. Pity I'm an atheist so he looked like a twat.

  29. AlistairJ

    At last the secret is revealed

    Now we know where all the fat goth girls hang out on a Saturday.

    Another use for Dan Brown books is as firewood. Think log.

  30. Cameron Colley


    I'd be too embarrassed to go to a charity shop and admit to them that I bought some Dan Brown. I'm even more embarrassed that I bought 3 of his books just to confirm to myself that he was as shite as I thought.

    No, this is not literary snobbery -- his work really is shit. He has very little command of what I assume is his native language and his work is reminiscent of the types of story which would earn a 'D' when handed in to my GCSE English teacher.

  31. Gav
    Thumb Down

    @William Claude Dukenfield

    "No, I've never read any of the "authors" mentioned. Except for one attempt at an Ian "M" Banks - shite"

    Except he isn't one of the authors mentioned. Never mind, I think we've safely established that reading comprehension isn't your forte.

  32. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    WHAT! No Michael Crichton?

    How is that even possible?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's a fair cop. It was Ian Rankin. Never read him either.

  34. Bryce Prewitt

    Speaking of DOS...

    Just this past winter, in one of the blue line subway stops just a mile outside of downtown Chicago, I found a pristine copy - looked like it'd never been thumbed through or read - manual for DOS 6. I flipped through the pages for any hidden messages - alas, none.

    Maybe someone was kindly taking it to the charity shop before realizing no one in their right mind would ever read a DOS manual.

  35. Tommy The Turtle


    "but now you don't them hanging around your house"

    Don't you mean "but now you don't WANT them hanging around your house" (except in lower case)...

    The Grammar-Gestapo strikes AGAIN! MWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!!

  36. adifferentbob

    saucer of milk for all the literary snobs..

    "He has very little command of what I assume is his native language and his work is reminiscent of the types of story which would earn a 'D' when handed in to my GCSE English teacher."

    Considering that Dan Brown is worth $88 Million* and your GCSE teacher probably earns £30K, you might want to dust off those old essays.

    Me - I'm astonished at all the vitriol expressed for Dan Brown and anyone who dares enjoy his work . I didn't think much of his books myself but compared to some sci-fi I've read he's up there with Tolstoy, Hemingway etc. And I can completely understand why people like his books.

    Anyway must go as I've got a Jilly Cooper on the go...

    * according to a very brief google query.

  37. Graham Marsden

    What about El Ron Hubbard?

    He's so unwanted that some Charity Shops and Second Hand Bookshops won't even *buy* (or take for free) his stuff!

  38. I didn't do IT.

    Re: John Savard


  39. Tyson Boellstorff

    To: John Savard

    Seriously, no one expects the spanish inquisition. Among their chief weapons are such elements as fear, surprise...

  40. Anonymous Coward


    I see all the snobs are saying they don't like the crap books of Dan Brown because they like to be better than everyone else by not liking shit thrillers.

    For anyone who hasn't read The Da Vinci Code, it's about a professor who does crosswords and sudoku while travelling across Europe. Then he discovers that a small group of people have been keeping a secret which would be a threat to some religious organisations if their ancestors had actually remembered to leave them some evidence.

    I haven't read Digital Fortress but I imagine it follows an accountant who stumbles into the weekly meeting of some UFO nuts while playing Tetris on an old Gameboy.

  41. unitron

    Re: Bryce Prewitt Speaking of DOS...

    "I found a pristine copy - looked like it'd never been thumbed through or read - manual for DOS 6. I flipped through the pages for any hidden messages - alas, none."

    You forgot to use the /a/h switches. : - )

  42. Anonymous Coward

    I don't think

    literary merit is weighed in volumes sold.

    This would put top 100 by sales authors Agatha Christie, Harold Robbins and Enid Blyton's literary merit beyond Nobel prize for literature (to my simple mind a measure of literary merit) winners Wole Soyinka, Samuel Beckett (very funny stuff) and Elias Canetti (boring).

    Not all popular fiction is crap literature. The top 100 by sales includes Jeffrey Archer for instance....(humour)

    An expert's account of just why Dan Brown is a crap writer can be found here:

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Like fuck. People don't dislike Dan Brown because they're literature snobs; they dislike him because he produces the most brain-atrophying, mindless, banal, puerile crap ever written.

  44. W

    Re: They should do the videos handed in to their record shops next

    Full Monty vs Bridget Jones' Diary is the big rivalry.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    an easy mistake

    "People don't dislike Dan Brown because they're literature snobs; they dislike him because he produces the most brain-atrophying, mindless, banal, puerile crap ever written."

    I think you're confusing him with El Reg commentards.

  46. mrweekender


    Oxfam courting controversy, whatever next, an OAP special on leather chaps with the arse cut out of them? Angels & Demons wasn't so bad as a books go, the Da Vinci Code was also not bad, perhaps people just want to pass them on because it's about fucking time educated people started doing some kind of recycling. Therefore, bollocks Oxfam, just be grateful of the free books I'd have thought!

  47. Neoc

    I must admit...

    I must admit to having read all 4 of his books and having only found 2 storylines between them - one re-used between "The daVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" and one shared between "Digital Fortress" and... erm... dammit, can't remember the last one. That's how memorable it was.

    Point being, if you're reading the second book of either pair, by the third chapter it's possible for you to tell who the "bad guy" is, and what the "secret" is. (C'mon people, how hard is it to do primary-school-level mathematics? <sigh>)

  48. Trygve

    The literary Atomic Kitten...

    Honestly, I was forced to read all three of his books during a wet week in Wales, and they really are pap, and not worth paying any attention to whatsoever. Not worth reading, and not worth arguing about. It seems to offend a lot of people that he's made so much money out of them, but I don't understand why - it's not exactly a secret that mediocrity sells.

    If you want some good DB ranting, take a look at - hell hath no fury like an expert in the english language who is reduced to earning a crust by writing articles about Dan Brown. I particularly recommend "Learning the ropes in the trenches with Dan Brown".

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Me and a mate

    have been rating charity chops on the "Full Monty" scale for some time, based on how many VHS copies of it they have on sale.

    I suspect, like Mr Brown's "literature", that the reason there are so many donated is because they sold so many copies, because the great unwashed enjoyed them.

  50. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge


    I can confirm that I have read that article and I am the fifth living person who has not read, nor has any intention of ever reading, a Dan Brown novel. From the excerpts given from the beginning of the book, it can quite clearly be seen that it is the sort of piffle that would hurt the brain of anyone adequately versed in the English language to be able to read anything more advanced than 'Heat' magazine. Call me a literary snob for saying so if you like, I'll respond by calling you a thicko.

  51. John Ozimek

    The Oxfam Cod

    Robert pushed open the door to his local Oxfam. He scanned the bookshelves, noting instantly that the crime fiction was sorted into alpha order: but the DIY was in reverse alpha. Could this seemingly innocuous re-arrangement of texts hold the key.

    His eye lit upon a small hook behind the counter. From it a small bunch of keys dangled alluringly, temptingly. Darn! Perhaps the hook held the key.

    Should he just grab the keys and run?

    But why? Where would he run to?

    What day was it? If it was Tuesday it was already too late, and the net was closing in.

    Nets? Furtively, he fondled the display of stockings next to the section containing ladies’ undergarments. “Pants!”, he breathed heavily.

    Behind the counter stood a man with a limp. “Dick!”, he cried out, surprising even himself with a high C and extensive damage to the glassware section. “I think the Pope is planning to have me assassinated”.

    Dick sighed, heavily. He was a large man, but a light sleeper. Most nights, he lost two stone before dawn.

    “Robert. Oh, Robert: you’ve not been taking your medication again, have you?”

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Supermarket value = Charity Shop seconds?

    I wonder what the correlation is between the titles sold in Supermarkets and the ones that turn up in charity shops? Whenever I see a book in the supermarket and think that looks interesting, I wait a few weeks and go and get a copy from my local Oxfam shop.

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