Pages turned

It is not often these days that I get lost in a book. Work requires me to read a lot and as a result that reading as a hobby has gone by the wayside. My hands and brain need balance. If I have a manual job I tend to read a lot, when I have a job that requires reading I tend to use my handy hobbies. However my love for reading resurfaces when I am not working and unwinding. But even when it does resurface it is rare that I cannot put away a book. There are only rare instances that a book takes me in to an extend that I want to forget the world around me and would happily skip a good night sleep. SO cannot remember seeing me so utterly engrossed in a book ever. Given that we just celebrated 5 years together that says a lot.

In fact this time it was not one but three books; known as the millenium trilogy I resisted reading these books for one reason only; everybody else was reading them and raving about them. Usually to me that is a declaration of a book as not readable and junk. I submit the Da Vinci Code as evidence. What a terrible book with the most stupid ending ever that was. My conclusions when I finally gave in and read it.. I am happy to report that in the case of the trilogy the whole world was right. They are fantastic.

Anyway, the three books were on our e-reader. SO had bought and downloaded them and had read the first book, the girl with the dragon tattoo (Swedish title is more to the point and real: Men who hate women), which he described as a page turner. Over christmas in between things I read it and loved it. The second and third installment of the trilogy can be read separately from the first, but the latter two need to be read really as one. So between the first and the other two I had a bit of a break. About 2 days worth.

The last few days I spent most of my time reading, wanting to know what happens next. Needing to know what happened to the main characters and the story. I was lost. It is a crimi and a damn good one. Without giving too much away Lisbeths laywer is of A Few good men quality in the courtroom.

I have something of a thing about Nordic crime books. When I grew up the Sjowall and Wahloo Martin Beck books had been converted to radio drama and I listened to them late at nigh falling asleep to them. I liked the down to earth, the gruff, the fact that the detectives are real people, not glammed up, bombastic slippery, gun happy eels you often find in this genre. The people feel real, the people have faults, bad habits and even the heroes are prone to make bad decisions on occasion. The have a scratch and a dent here and there. With respect to the Martin Beck plays, I’d love to hear them again :-).

The Milenium trilogy has that gruff and sense of reality. Nothing is obvious from the start. Yet is at the same time clearly laid out for the reader. The outcome is not a surprise, but makes sense. It is kinda handy to have a basic knowledge of Swedish society, geography, politics, and position within Europe but not a requirement. It does help to understand some background and the people better and also knowing the Pippi books is beneficial. Knowing Pippi adds depth to the story in a very funny way.

The two main characters are a strange combination of people, but it works. There is a set of characters surrounding it that is constant but these two are the real centre pieces.  Lisbeth slowly takes over the primary role from Mikael. Lisbeth is a strange creature, but the reason why becomes clear. I am quite taken with her survival instincts. The story unfolds in a way that seems too weird to be true, yet something rings as possible. No matter what it is fun to read though. I am glad that I did.

It is clear that Stieg Larsson wrote the books in a way that allowed for a continuation of the series. Unfortunately he never will write another one, he died even before publication. There is a lot of controversy surrounding what happened after his death with regards to his GF and his inheritance. A shame really.

Now do I want to see the movies? My first thought is “oh yes” followed by “no way”. There are very few movies of books I liked that stood up to the books. Even with LOTR I still prefer the books. You develop your own thoughts and faces with the people in the book. The surrounds in the book are yours, not the cinematographers. The reader becomes an intricate part of the lives of the characters and your own thought and experience are part of the the story and its interpretation.No matter what at least some of that is lost in a movie and why I almost always prefer the book.

So at present it is possibly but I’d want to see only the Swedish ones, not the American remake. The latter is primarily based experience of American remakes of movies and series. Quite frankly none of them ever lived up to the original IMO (three man and a baby, men behaving badly, what not to wear etc etc). I am not even going there therefore. I also have some opinions about the casting that I do not find befitting with my thoughts on the books., so I am staying away from it.


About Gilraen

My blog is simply about my life. I moved countries for the first time in 1993. I lived in the Netherlands, UK and NZ. The initial idea was to keep my overseas friends up-to-date with what was going on in my life. The blog, like me, is always changing and evolving.
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5 Responses to Pages turned

  1. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a book. I know what you mean about not always wanting to see the movie adaptations though. I recently started reading We Have to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. About half way through I read an article in the newspaper saying that Tilda Swinton was to play the part of the mother in the film of this book. Damn it really messed things up for me. It didn’t fit with the character in my head and in reading the rest of the book all I could visualise was Tilda Swinton – my imagination was hijacked! The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I got as a Christmas present – looking forward to reading it next.

    • Gilraen says:

      I know who is Lisbeth in the American version and that fact alone has done it in for me. My feelings were enhanced by reading some of the things she said in interviews. She is so utterly not a Lisbeth.
      I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I have. Do let me know 🙂

  2. Robin says:

    I enjoyed Larson’s trilogy, too. I had a difficult time putting the books down, and that’s always a good sign. 🙂

    I saw the Swedish version of the first book and thought they did a really good job, something I usually don’t think when it comes to a movie version of a book I enjoyed. I’m not sure I will like the American version, but will probably give it a try when it comes out on DVD.

  3. Pingback: revisiting old friends | Gilraensblog

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