Monday, February 22, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Ah, to read a good book.  I picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at the library last week, along with a book called The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.

I started with the latter, but gave it up almost immediately.  Life is finite, and I couldn't force myself through another crummy book.  The Physick Book... is about a PhD candidate studying the Salem witch trials, and how comes to relate to her own past, or something.  I decided not to give it a chance.  The first chapter included something about how "she made a face as if she'd bitten into an unripe persimmon," which is just not necessary.  It also included a detailed description of the main character's appearance - set off by the character regarding herself in a mirror.  I did that sort of thing in my writing when I was about thirteen.  It just looks amateurish.  And I couldn't help but notice that the character's description sure seemed to match the author photo on the book jacket...

But The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is addicting.  It's by Stieg Larsson, a Swedish author, and is translated into English.  Mikael, the main character, is a disgraced financial journalist.  An old industrialist has hired him to look into the decades-old murder of his granddaughter.  It's exciting.  It's fast-paced.  It's intriguing.  I'm happy.

One complaint - Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator.  She's mid-twenties, tiny, pretty, decked out in tattoos and piercings and punk gear.  She plays by her own rules, she's a hacker, she's a genius.  I feel like "well, of course."  Sometimes some characters seem to exist not because they are real people that make sense in the story, but because the author thinks they would be cool or fascinating.  If she weren't 90 pounds and hot, or if she weren't a genius, or something, maybe it'd be different.

So far, Lisbeth is the only note that rings untrue.  The rest of it is exciting.  I'd much rather keep reading this than teach my class this afternoon.

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