Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Honet's Nest

The third and final in the Lisbeth Salander series. Boy did I love the first book in this series. Then I think I read the second one shortly after it came out, which was also shortly before I went into labor with my daughter. Which means that it's been almost a year since I read it. For those of you who haven't read this series (are there any of you?) you know that these books are complicated. And have many characters. With foreign, hard to remember names that all sound similar with their crazy umlauts and gasa-stanla-stradas. So when The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest starts off with a bang and very little recap, I was all, "Wha?"

Eventually I caught on and fell back into the groove, but I will say that the language that gave me a slight rash in the second book shifted into full gear in this book. The conversation style is just so unrealistic! I suppose something has been lost in the translation from Swedish, but it's not just the dialogue, the whole book feels a bit bullet-pointish to me. It's all, "She puts on her shoes and leaves the house. It is 4:18pm. She is wearing black slacks and a light blue sweater." And I'm all, "That's all you've got for me?" In my opinion, the beauty of these books definitely lies in the story, not the writing. And the story sucks me in EVERY TIME. I don't even know if I like any of the characters, but I can't stop reading. Oh and I'm totally going to see the movie.

The Imperfectionists

Oh you guys. I don't remember much of anything about this book anymore. I read it over a month ago for my book club and was waiting to post until after our discussion. But then I put it off so long that I actually just entirely forgot about it. The Imperfectionists was actually my book club pick, so I can't really blame anyone for the fact that it gave me a major case of the bummers. The NY Times gave it a pretty fabulous review and the book IS well written; it's smart, interesting and in many ways feels very real. Maybe too real?

Perhaps I should back up and tell you the basic plot first. The book takes place in Rome at an English language newspaper. Each chapter follows one of the employees at the paper and you get a sneak into their life for 30-50 pages. One employee finds that his girlfriend is having an affair, one sad young girl starts dating a total loser and lets him take advantage of him. Their aging stringer living in Paris can't find a story and struggles with finances and his irrelevance. It had a slight short-story feel to it, which if I'm honest I'll admit that I sort of hate short stories. It's just that I like getting sucked into a plot and I love love character development. Short stories just don't have enough space to do either of these things sufficiently for me - I'm always just about sucked in when boom. It's over. Cue disappointment. But I digress. My disappointment in this book wasn't so much about it's short storiness, as much as the crushing statement it makes about humanity. People are so annoying! And petty! And I don't know. It's probably all very true and maybe that's why I didn't like reading about it. But I'm really over focusing on that part. The truth is that the book is really well written, very articulate and a fascinating study in real people. I was worried about the book club meeting, thinking that everyone might have hated it for its sadness, but it ended up making for a very lively discussion.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Outlander Series: Fiery Cross and Breath of Snow and Ashes

I know, I know. But I can't stop! Also, my holds on both of these books came up on the same day. So then I had to hurry and read both in time to return them to the library. Only these books are gigantic. So I ended up having to renew the second one and it took me forever to read them. Also, I think I forgot to review The Imperfectionists which I read over a month ago? Is that true? If so, expect a crappy review (crappily written, not crappy feedback) shortly. ANYWAYS!

So I read The Fiery Cross (book 6)

and A Breath of Snow and Ashes (book 7) of this series and I'm still enjoying them. The thing is, Diana Gabaldon is a good writer! She weaves a fascinating tale speckled with historical fiction, romance, and mystery and it's actually very smart. Granted the last book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes started to get just the teensiest bit ridiculous, but after 5 books (each over 1000 pages) I guess Diana's starting to get creative with the plot. But the truth is that I kind of like that in just one book Jamie and Claire manage to: get hit by lightening, get kidnapped (separately), be attacked and seek bloody revenge, meet historically famous people, have their house burned down, meet time travelers, be accused of murder, and get caught up in a plot involving stolen gold and marauding pirates. It's terrible yet fantastic. That said, I think I really will take a break before reading the final book of the series. I'm a little Jamie and Claire'd out.

I'm currently half way through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and then need to hurry and start the book for my next book club meeting - The Coral Thief.