Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Steig Larsson apparently really wanted to make some points with this trilogy about women and violence. This book opens with a quote about how eighteen percent of Sweedish women have been threatened by a man. "Wow", this American thought. "Sweden is SO safe!" Perhaps not what he was going for.

The story concerns disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist's investigation of the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, a teenager who went missing 40 years ago. The Vanger family has money and power as well as many dark secrets. Along the way Blomkvist meets Lisbeth Salander, a goth girl with arguably autistic tendencies who is an ace investigator and computer hacker.

Although I found the beginning slow, and the translation annoying (for example Salander is described as "anorexic" rather than "very thin" or "anorexic looking" when two paragraphs later the reader is told she doesn't have an eating disorder.) I was eventually totally drawn in. Blomkvist leads a bit of an overly charmed life as far as women throwing themselves at him goes but Salander is a great character and the story itself is truly engaging. I'm reading the sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, so stay tuned!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bookish Questions

1. Book next to your bed right now: There are at least 10. They include a couple of Roger Ebert movie companions and The Girl Who Played With Fire

2. Favorite series: Harry Potter, The Little House books

3. Favorite book: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

4. The one book you would have with you if stranded on a desert island: Again with this question? War and Peace

5. Book/series you would take with you on a long flight: Jennifer Weiner's books are perfect airplane books. I'm glad she has a new one coming out soon.

6. Worst book you were made to read in school: The Light in the Forrest by Conrad Richter. I think I was too young. Or maybe it just wasn't very good.

7. Book that everyone should be made to read in school: To Kill a Mockingbird even if it is a little anvil-licious

8. Book that everyone should read, period: To Kill a Mockingbird and Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

9. Favorite character: Gus McCrea from Lonesome Dove

10. Best villain: Draco Malfoy. or Nellie Oleson

11. Favorite concept book/series: I liked the Ian Banks "Culture" book Player of Games

12. Favorite invented world: Lake Wobegone, Minnesota

13. Most beautifully written book: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

14. Funniest book/series: Dave Barry's Greatest Hits.

Thanks to Bloggin' About Books!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Moon

I hear these books are popular with the kids these days...

I have to say I think this book is better than Twilight. Twilight spent its first half on the relatively interesting "girl meets vamp" plot and the second on a fairly routine "girl gets chased by bad vamps" story. New Moon's first half is slow ("Bella mopes") but picks up around the time Jacob wolfs out. (SPOILER!) And bonus, far fewer descriptions of the household chores Bella does. Am I the only one to think she wants to be a vampire so she can quit cooking dinner every two pages?

So far in the series I am mystified that everyone isn't "Team Jacob". Edward is so freaking controlling and has a superiority complex like you wouldn't believe. Jacob treats her like an equal. Even though he's...A YEAR YOUNGER (gasp) (Seriously, memo to Stephanie Meyers, way to reinforce the idea that women lose value as they age, Bella finds the idea of being 30 literally worse than death, and because she is one year older than Jacob, she thinks the idea of them being together is ridiculous, PS, the fact your brother's named Jacob? SUPER CREEPY)

My understanding is that soon Jacob will also be acting like a donkey's behind, leaving me no choice but to join "Team bang my head against the wall".

Frankly I have a hard time taking vampires seriously as romantic heroes. Maybe too much Buffy, maybe because they are dead. I think the last word on vampires belongs to Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "That's not your friend, that's the thing that killed him"