Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Club and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

(Photo via Unabashedly Prep)

For a while now, it has been my goal to read more. However, I have fallen short of that goal for several reasons: a) I am usually wiped out after work and end up zoning out in front of the TV, b) I browse my favorite blogs instead or, c) I work on this blog.

So I thought, why not try to incorporate more of the books I read on the blog. I clearly can’t hold myself accountable so I was hoping you could by joining me in a monthly feature called Book Club. I would like to select a book to read every month, and I would like to invite you along for the challenge. Hopefully we can all hold each other accountable. We can take it easy at first because we all know how hard it is to get started. So don’t worry, you won’t be voted off the island if life takes over and you don’t finish within the span of a month. Let’s take baby steps. I would really just love to start a dialogue on good books.

So please let me know if you would be interested and what kind of books you would like to read. Personally, I have wanted to read Freedom by Jonathan Franzen for a while. What do think?


To start things off with a bang, I thought I’d share with you my most recent obsession: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I started listening to these books on CD for my long commute to work and frequent trips out of town to see the boy. He was the one to recommend this series to me.

This series is nothing new. I was, as usual, late to catch on. If you haven’t read the books, you may be familiar with the controversy surrounding them. The fourth book was left unfinished by the Swedish journalist and author Stieg Larsson who suffered an untimely death. Currently, his girlfriend and established life partner has in her possession the fourth book. However, because they were not married only his family was left with anything from his estate. Right now the girlfriend and his family are battling over the rights.

However incomplete the series may be, it is definitely still worth reading. When I started the first book, I was extremely skeptical because I generally don’t enjoy books that fall under the mystery/thriller genre. Pretty soon into the first book the reader is introduced to the fact that there are going to be some very dark moments and that the villains are of the most ruthless and disgusting variety. Certain scenes almost caused me to stop reading because I was so turned off, but I was encouraged to keep reading. Like any good writer, Larrson keeps you guessing. As I soon found out, the twists and turns despite the dark nature of the content, keep you hooked to the point of obsession. I rarely feel this enthralled by a story line. I found myself sitting in my car long after I had arrived somewhere to keep listening.

What I love most about the series are all of the female heroines you encounter. The main character, Lisbeth Salander, is described as antisocial, pale, anorexic looking, and covered in tattoos and piercings. Part of the ploy of her look is that society as a whole underestimates her. As a reader you will be gratified time after time by her abilities and resourcefulness.

The theme of the series throughout deals with violence against women, hence the Swedish title of the first book: Men Who Hate Women. Larrson addresses and pinpoints the ability of men to get away with mistreating and essentially disregarding women, an occurrence that you quickly realize is very plausible in today's society. The message is expressed very strongly in all three books.

That is perhaps why you end up loving, but also hating the character of Mikael Blomkvist. He is depicted as a womanizing journalist, but at the same time I believe he is meant to represent the polar opposite of the villains as he is described by a number of the female characters as someone who makes them feel safe and protected. He holds the more progressive view of relationships that not everyone is meant to be with one person forever and ever, but that often times comes off as just being noncommittal. I have to say that his relations seem Soap Operaish at times, but they don't do harm to the story line.

I don't want to give away too much plot detail as it would ruin the experience for you, but as nerdy as it sounds, I haven’t been this obsessed with a series since Harry Potter. I would highly highly recommend them. These books would be perfect beach reads this summer. If you have read the books or plan on reading the books please let me know in the comments. I would love to discuss! Happy reading!

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