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Crashing Symbols

New York magazine's Sam Anderson gathers a club to read Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol so that you (and I) don't have to:

But who would be its members?

Heart pounding, Anderson took out a sheet of paper and drew a quadralinear grid. The ancient Foursquare of Communal Exegesis. In all his years as a book critic, he’d never had to use this. In fact, he’d always dismissed it as a myth. But tonight he saw no better option. Slowly, he filled in the grid:

Gibberish. Anderson had no idea how these unrelated figures were supposed to help him choose the members of his book club. Suddenly, all at once, it struck him like a roundhouse kick striking a kickboxer in the gut. Trans-intuitive anagrammatics ─ a mind-numbingly complex method, first pioneered by Wilson himself in a landmark unpublished interpretation of The Waste Land, in which letters are substituted more or less arbitrarily for other letters in order to yield the answers you were looking for in the first place....

Anderson solved the code quickly, then raced to his black ThinkPad x60 and typed the invitations. As he clicked "send," he knew he was setting in motion a series of events that could not be stopped. But there was no choice. The time has come. All of literate culture, it seemed, was teetering precariously on the brink of doom ─ and everyone’s eyes were on this book. Perhaps the Vulture Reading Room would uncover an answer that would echo across the centuries.

Perhaps. You can judge for yourself here.