Saturday, October 30, 2010

Airplane Books

I don't knit on planes any more- there's not enough elbow room. I'd much rather read, and with all of the connecting flights and layovers, I had plenty of time for reading on my SAFF trip (also in the evenings while I was too tired to do anything except cough.)
I resisted The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for a very long time. I often find translations hard going- they don't flow very well for me (I hated Smilla's Sense of Snow, for that reason, though I'll admit that the name Smilla pulled me out of the story every time I saw it). I had also heard from multiple reliable sources that the book was slow going, that it took a long time to get to the real story. But I knew that I was going to spend a very long day in several airports, with nothing better to do, so that seemed like the perfect time to give it a try (knowing that I would have access to other bookstores if I really couldn't stomach the story).

The multiple reliable sources were right- it did take a long time to get to the real plot, and the names were difficult for me- Blomkvist strikes me as nearly unpronouncable (even mentally) and the spelling of Mikael tripped me up constantly. However, I did fall into the story totally, and I read 3/4 of it on the way to North Carolina.

I don't usually enjoy the *beautiful, brilliant, misunderstood, anti-social, loner* characters, but I did like Lisabeth Salander, and I willingly suspended my disbelief that this little dynamo could actually take on baddies twice her age and size and come out the victor. I had a bit harder time with Blomkvist- we're told that he's a brilliant, handsome, gifted writer and editor, and we're shown multiple times that women immediately fall into love/bed with him. But I was never convinced that he was anything more than a cardboard jerk. Actually, he was worse than a jerk (character-wise)- he was totally boring. Nothing about him interested me (and I have been known to fall in literary love with fictional heroes). So mostly, I skimmed the Blomkvist-centric portions, and loved the Salander stuff.

I found Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero, in the Asheville Wal-Mart as I was waiting for the pharmacy to open so I could buy some Advil Cold and Sinus (you have to show a drivers license and sign to buy it there, just like in SD). Voracious Reader and I both loved the Percy Jackson Books, and I was thrilled to find that Riordan had begun another series set in that same universe. This first book in the Heroes of Olympus Series visits Camp Half-Blood. Old favorites have cameos (Annabeth, Chiron), but the story centers on three new characters who are sent on a dangerous quest. I'm not going to bother with a synopsis- if you loved the Percy books, you'll love this one. It's on the way to VR even as I type.

I've had Dead and Gone for awhile. In fact, it went to SoCal with me, but I got distracted by Laura Lippman's latest, and The Hunger Games Trilogy, and by that whole 3 hour, non-stop flight thing. I stuffed it in my carry-on for NC, but still didn't get around to it until I was on my way home. The 9th entry into the Sookie Stackhouse  Southern Vampire series has no surprises, nothing that you don't expect from a Sookie story- it's a sort of goofy comfort read. A very quick, goofy comfort read. So quick in fact, that I finished it shortly after takeoff from Detroit, and had to make do with the in-flight magazine for the rest of that leg.

I picked up The Girl Who Played With Fire in the Minneapolis airport and dove right in. The story took up almost immediately after the ending of Dragon Tattoo. All of the things that I enjoyed about the first book were in this one, and all of the things I didn't like were there too (Blomkvist is still a non-entity). The plot of this book is a bit harder to process- there were an incredible number of amazing coincidences driving the story (more than once, random characters just happened to be in the exact perfect place at the exact perfect time to witness the exact perfect incidents), and the whole of the story revolved around a fairly mighty coincidence. That said, I checked my disbelief with my bag and enjoyed it. There's one more book in the series (Larsson died after completing the first 3, though there are rumors of a nearly completed fourth novel in the series), and I'll buy it when it comes out in paperback (or perhaps I'll check it out from the library). I don't love them enough to buy the hardback just to finish the series.

Four books in a very busy week is a pretty good record- and those books will have to tide me over for awhile, because I have a book of my own to write. And December 1 is barreling down the pike.


Anonymous said...

Synchronicity strikes - I'm reading the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo right now too (also, after resisting the series for a long while). And I have to rush to tell you that Blomkvist makes much more sense as a character if you read the *first book* first. I.e. the one you haven't yet read, which is more about him, and in which he does more than prove an unlikely lothario (and possibly dubious projection of the author's fantasties of himself?)

mrae said...

Thanks for the reviews Kathleen. I always love to see what other people are reading. And what they think of the books!!!

Fríða said...

funny how book titles are translated sometimes, the original title is "Men who hate women", and the last one, called "The girl who kicked the hornet´s nest" in english, is originally named "The castle which was blown up".
best wishes from Iceland