When I went to Canada a couple of weeks ago, I made sure to bring a book with me. For some reason, and it has always been completely accidental, it seems that I have always ended up with a fiction book about plane crashes when I flew.So this time I grabbed a non-plane crash book from the library to keep me company.
I enjoy the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. Reacher is a fascinating character that refuses to be tied down with 'ownership and documentation'. So he owns nothing and doesn't even have a drivers license -- but somehow gets around, solving the woes of the world. They are entertaining reads.
So I carried my book onto the plane and settled back for a comfortable read -- and discovered within three pages that I had read the book before. This was awful. A trip without a book to read was an unthinkable situation. So I had to be content for the four hour trip with watching Moneyball on the little screen on the back of the seat in front of me.
The notion of staying a few nights in hotels without a book was simply unthinkable.
Finally we spotted a bookstore -- one of those place with publications about the wonder of the area. I was disheartened, because I wanted a novel to read. If I am traveling I want something entertaining, not something full of non-fictional facts. The bookstore was pretty good size and had tons of books. I wandered around until I found a small table of fiction. Prominently displayed on the table were two small stacks of books. One featured The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the other was The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, both by Stieg Larsson. I asked the proprietor if he had read either book. He said he hadn't, but he had a hard time keeping them on the shelves. He went on to say that those stacks of books would be sold out today.
I had heard of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I was pretty sure there was a movie out about it. This threw me into a bit of a quandary. Many times, actually most of the time, I don't care for what seems to be popular with everyone else. It is not that I am so particular, it is just that -- well, maybe I am little particular. No one has ever heard of the movie Spitfire Grill or Picnic at Hanging Rock. I really liked them but no one else seemed to. Some will rave about the latest Sherlock Holmes movies. I saw about an hour of the first one, and didn't like it at all. This wasn't the Sherlock Holmes I appreciated. It is the same with books. Many times, with a few exceptions, I simply didn't appreciate what was on the bestseller list.
I looked at the two novels on the table. Both books were softcover but the size of a hardcover. And each was thick, which interested me. Thicker books imply that the author was serious about the whole thing. But my choice was limited, and I definitely had to buy something to read. So I grabbed The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest simply because I liked the cover better.
I didn't get a lot of reading done during the trip. It seemed that my evening hotel hours were spent with work-related stuff in preparation for the next days meetings. But I did get in a few pages of reading.
Right from the start I realized that I was going to have to concentrate a little. With characters like Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and Karl Axel Boden and locations like Sahlgrenska and Stallarholmen, I could see I was going to have to really pay attention. And I could see that for the first 100 pages great effort was spent in setting the stage for the rest of the book. There was also a lot of time spent on delving into recent history -- and I was quick to figure out that this book was the third in the series of 'The Girl' books.
I am now on page 301 and a little over halfway through. I am now staying up way too late at night reading for it has become truly intriguing. I started off mildly interested. Now I am really interested.
Interestingly it is the story of a sequence of events revolving around The Girl, Lisbeth -- but she is only playing a background part so far in the book. I am not even going to try to tell the story for it is complicated and full of twists which start building the reader's hopes, then suddenly twists, which fire up a new set of hopes.
I can only leave you with a strong recommendation for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. Will I read the two preceding books in the series? Reluctantly I think, and that is a tribute to the authors writing talent. Will I see the Dragon Tattoo movie? Probably not. I now understand that the movie would probably be a fairly dark one with a lot of incest and violence that I would rather read about than see in a movie.
Mr. Larsson never saw his books published.