Trilogies are awesome. Lots of everyone’s favorite things come in threes: threesomes (no, that never happens), Star Wars (before the franchise was ruined), Hanes underwear. I hate the word millenium because I can never spell it right and I think it’d be a stupid name for a newspaper, but I love these damn books.
Anyways, Larsson is a reporter who is very smart and does all sorts of cool progressive things. One day he starts writing his first book Men Who Hate Women (which could’ve totally been a stereotyping people post, like I’d probably label it Men Who Like Rush Limbaugh Hate Women but I don’t know and don’t want to know if Limbaugh has ever written any books, I’m not even going to try and google his name to figure that out, either). Then he gets a book deal for three books. So it’s (American titles) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Swedish title was The Air Castle Which Exploded which sounds like a really creative way of describing an epic fart done while sitting on a throne – get it? Get it?).
The following is an recreation of an actual conversation my friends and I had trying to describe the plot of the novels to friends who hadn’t read the books/seen the movie. We tried not to give away too many spoilers, but a couple slipped. There are several voices contributing to this, but for the sake of clarity, I’ll mush them into one:
So this girl is like, so cool. She’s a hacker. She can hack anything. And she’s little! And she kicks ass! I think she has short hair, or maybe an emo haircut. Yes, she’s like a goth! But she’s cute. Cute in a hard way. And she looks like a girl! What do you think of the fact that they chose “girl” in the title instead of “woman”? It’s probably because she’s constantly described as a girl. That’s why she’s so deadly! She gets raped and she rapes. She kills all these people or hurts them! Her dad is awful. She lights him on fire and hits him in the head with an ax! But then some other guy kills him. In the hospital!
And Blomkvist, he’s having sex! With everyone! Everyone loves to have sex with him! So he’s some awesome guy who is having sex with everyone and he gets together with Salander and they have sex and then they kick ass and solve crimes. Blomkvist isn’t very good at anything except drinking coffee, smoking and breaking hearts so Salander does everything. And she’s so little! Her shirts say things like, “I’ll bite you if you smile at me”. And Blomkvist had sex with every female in the story. Except for Salander’s mom. Probably because she died before he could. He’s like the fictional version of Larsson, so Larsson had a lot of sex! Or he thought he did. Or he didn’t at all and he’s insecure about it so he projects it into his character. But I think he probably had a lot of sex because he’s really cool.
Then Larsson died! No one knows why, he was young! But David Kamp said something funny about that.
But the girl is so cool! She’s like old, but everyone thinks she’s a little girl.
And that is what happens when you drink and try to talk books.
By the way, go read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
A thought on this subject: Many of the Larsson faithful subscribe to a belief that the author’s premature death was not of natural causes. He had been threatened in real life by skinheads and neo-Nazis; ergo, the theories go, he was made dead by the very sorts of heavies who crop up in his novels. But such talk has been emphatically dismissed by Larsson’s intimates. So let me advance my own theory: Coffee killed him. If we accept that Blomkvist is, in many respects, a romanticized version of Larsson, and that Blomkvist’s habits reflected the author’s own, Larsson overcaffeinated himself to death. Of course, the cigarettes and junk food to which both men are/were partial couldn’t have helped, either.
Great article about pissing off writers in interviews.
I share Twain’s sentiments: “haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”
**DISCLAIMER: This is the most boring blog post in the history of all the world. But I thought someone might want to talk about the pros/cons of complete work collections with me.**
I’ve already spoken of my love for Three Lives bookstore. On my way there today, I walked through Stonewall Square on Christopher Street where the famous Stonewall riots occurred in 1969. I once wrote a paper about drag queens, Warhol Superstars and Stonewall for a freshmen level class at James Madison. Aside – if you like Warhol, read “a: A Novel”. It isn’t a great piece of literature but it is a personal look into the world surrounding America’s tastemaker. Also, if you like Warhol because you loovveddd Factory Girl, find a cliff to jump off. Also, if you own the Marilyn Monroe Warhol print – find an even higher cliff.
Anyways, I found this collection of the complete works of Oscar Wilde. This brings up my feelings about “complete works” all pushed into one book. On the positive side, it is nice to have everything at hand. You can bring a smorgasbord of Wilde everywhere you go. Can’t remember if that quote is from The Young King or The Happy Prince? Both are at your fingertips so you can flip through and figure it out.
Also, the complete works are a great gift. If you know the person enjoys an author but don’t know which books they’ve already read, this is an easy solution.
However, the complete works of any author are very hard to read from – literally. They’re often so thick that the book is too heavy to easily hold.
Dagny Taggert or Dominique Francon?
BY THE WAY, did you know The Fountainhead was rejected twelve times before Rand found a publisher? What if she had given up?
I got a Wi-Fi iPad. It can’t connect to the internet at my house! I’m probably going to return it for a 3G iPad.
THAT BEING SAID, I’ve downloaded three books on iBooks. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (first chapter has the word “GhettoNerd” in the title, I know I’m going to like it), Wolf Hall and The Help.
Here is a sample of a page on iBooks:
The Good Points: Press on any word with your finger and the options “Bookmark,” “Dictionary” and “Search” appear. When you bookmark words or sections, they appear under a list in the beginning of the book so you can revisit those highlighted sections (great for book reviews/reports/research).
The Bad Points: The word count on the bottom of the page drives me insane. “62 out of 528” and “6 pages left in this chapter” – I’m reading for leisure not for a race. The dotted line with the square on it also moves as you work your way through the book. On one hand, I understand – many people probably like to look ahead in their books to see how many pages they have left and that would be hard to do if they didn’t include a page count. BUT, I wish I had the option to turn the page counts off. They distract me.
The Terrible Points: I can’t read the iPad in the sun. I can’t see the words at all. All I can see is my face and fingerprint smudges. Don’t plan on bringing iBooks to the beach this summer.
More Terrible Points: The screen rotates as you do. This probably seemed like a great idea, but the problem is that sometimes I read half laying down/half sitting up in bed or on a deck chair. When I do this, the pages constantly rotate. The option to set a permanent frame for the book would be helpful. [UPDATE: @CKD told me how to lock the screen, so consider this point moot]