Stieg Larsson trilogy-- must resist!

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Stieg Larsson trilogy-- must resist!

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jul 15, 2010, 9:44 am

Hi, I'm Jenny--new to this group. Anyone else resisting the urge to read the trilogy by Stieg Larsson? I rarely like mysteries, or crime novels, or spy/intrigue stuff. I hear they are wonderful reads, but I'm such a snob when it comes to that sort of popular culture. I might enjoy the movies (I do kind of like the Bourn movies). I'm interested to see if anyone who doesn't usually read that sort of genre did indeed love the books The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

jul 15, 2010, 11:21 am

I've been resisting them too. One reader who I really respect who's on the Literary Snobs list, Bob McConnaghey, says they are wonderful.

The main reason I have resisted them isn't so much the snob issue (I have two teenagers and I have read Harry Potter along with them for many years, for example) but I have heard the Larsson books have a lot of graphic rape and rape revenge scenes and that would probably be disturbing to me, though I have read mysteries, true crime, noir, etc. that are kind of like that.

jul 15, 2010, 1:28 pm

>2 anna_in_pdx: My wife decided not to read them for that very reason, and gave me her copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I haven't read it yet, but I probably will. I'm not really a fan of this genre either, I've just heard they are well-written, and will eventually get around to them.

jul 15, 2010, 3:55 pm

They're not Literature with a capital L for sure and yes, they are graphically violent, but I enjoyed them as I would a comic book or action movie.

jul 15, 2010, 4:34 pm

Thank you all for your responses. It's not that they're violent that worries me. I read a lot of Stephen King and some other horror writers. I even just got the post-apocalyptic The Passage today from the library. Is it that The Girl ... trilogy has such graphic violence specifically against women? Or is it that I haven't tried that genre and I just don't trust them to be well written?

Redigeret: jul 15, 2010, 5:01 pm

Yes, the whole trilogy is about the violence and injustice some men do against women - it pretty much coalesces in the Salander's character, but Erika gets a taste in the 3rd book). It is pretty graphic, but so is the revenge. King doesn't even come close most of the time. The scenes where Bev is getting the shit kicked out of her in It come close, but that's all I can think of offhand.

jul 17, 2010, 2:42 am

I agree with above comments, that if you are sensitive to graphically rape/rape revenge scenes they are best bypassed ... I would not say the books are full of this but the scenes are crucial to the books.

I read them early on before they become a book selling explosion ... a good read but not an capital L for Literature

Haven't got the "The passage" yet would be interested to hear how it goes currently reading David Mitchell latest outing

jul 17, 2010, 7:09 am

>7 roundballnz: I read the first 80 pgs. of The Passage last night. So far, very King-like, can't wait to dig back in today. Speaking of King, he gave a hearty recommendation for the Larsson books in EW. Do I sense myself about to cave in?

OMG, roundballnz, did I finally find someone else on LT who loved Even the Dogs? I recall that I reviewed it early on and then was shocked to see how everyone started beating it up. I found the strange, gorgeous writing a perfect fit to the subject matter.

jul 17, 2010, 7:26 am

While I appreciated Even the Dogs, I found the prose tedious and the story so repetitive that I gave up. Sorry. I know what he was trying to do, but I just couldn't force myself to be a junkie even for that short while.

jul 17, 2010, 10:05 pm

Yes I loved Even the Dogs , so much so its in my top5 books for the year .... that said can see why its not everyones cup of tea - esp loved they way language was used here ..

Used a Borders voucher to buy The passage though might have been tricked by the book & now discovered its a vampire book - please tell me it isn't so ????? am afraid if its the truth it will going on the git pile without being read

jul 17, 2010, 11:51 pm

lol... well, I'd say they're more like manic zombies than your traditional, charming, mannered, cape-wearing vampires. I'm about 270 pgs in and the baddies haven't been the focus..................yet!

jul 18, 2010, 12:19 am

Hi Jenny. I also have resisted for the same reasons...

I am somewhat a snob to the popular culture. I don't read books just because they are on some list or being recommended by O (in fact, if they have her stamp of approval on them, I frequently run the other way), but if I pick up a book and it looks good to me and haven't heard about it's popularity, I'll go ahead with it.

And that genre is definitely not something I would gravitate toward. Especially now that I've seen the comments you've received which tell more about the books. I'll continue to resist!

jul 18, 2010, 1:06 am

I'm in the loved the books camp but then again crime/thrillers seem to be becoming a regular part of my reading diet recently.

jul 18, 2010, 8:15 am

>12 KinnicChick: I defend Oprah because she loves books and she got thousands to read again. (can you tell I'm a reading teacher?!) As I said in a recent review I gave for The Corrections:
I've chosen to display the Oprah tagged cover of The Corrections to show solidarity with Oprah. I'm so tired of seeing her maligned here on LT. I do understand Franzen's reasons for shirking from the Oprah label (i.e. decreased male readership). But I admire Oprah for her risky choices. I haven't liked all the Oprah endorsed books I've read, but I have loved many of them, including The Corrections.

>13 AHS-Wolfy: Did you give the trilogy 5 stars? What classics of the genre would you say they are equal to?

jul 18, 2010, 4:34 pm

I'm only a fairly recent devotee of the genre so not really looked at the classics as yet. The 5 star rating just reflects my own enjoyment of the books at the time I read them and I don't really use that to compare to other books. The sex and violence issue didn't bother me, I tend to be drawn towards the darker end of the spectrum anyway.

aug 8, 2010, 9:55 am

>14 GCPLreader: You missed the first part of my statement. I don't dislike Oprah and the book club. It's the whole popularity thing. I've just always been that way - it's ME. LOL I can't stand to be reading what EVERYBODY else is reading. ;-) That said, I still won't be reading this particular trilogy because they aren't my cup of tea.

As for Oprah herself, I too dig much of what she's done. And have gotten very healthy over the past few years thanks to her relationship with Dr. Oz.

Redigeret: aug 9, 2010, 3:57 am

In #4 above bookmarque said she/he had enjoyed Larsson's trilogy as she/he would enjoy a comic book/action movie. I felt much the same way, but as I don't really enjoy comic books or action movies very much I didn't get more than half way through the second of the trilogy before I gave up. Just a matter of personal preference I suppose. I look for more rounded characterisations and more illumination of the characters' thought processes than I found in these books.

I wonder how long it will be before we see copy-cat thrillers emerge. It's sure to happen.

Edited for typo.

Redigeret: nov 15, 2010, 9:18 am

I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a few weeks ago. At first I was skeptical about it , because I thought its worldwide blockbuster success was due mainly to the sudden death of the author, and in a way I’m still convinced of this, usually I’m not a thrillers reader, but when I’m in a no- reading mood usually I pick one to take up a reading rhythm, so I wanted to know what all the fuss was about , and I must say I enjoyed it. What fascinated me more, was the fact that it is a thriller but also a kind of family saga, and I found interesting the investigating method , the only means the journalist and his help researcher have , are old photographs , clippings and old police reports. I have to add that in my opinion the end is a bit too long, and the final catch is … because… since in the prologue … ok I can’t find the right words without spoiling it . I mean the end doesn’t match with the prologue.
The other two: The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest are more classical stuff. The second , in the trilogy, is readable in my opinion, I found the third rather boring
All this in my humble opinion

nov 27, 2010, 10:34 am

I'm resisting them too for the same reasons as everyone else. My Aunt was so excited when she found out I loved Scandinavian literature and said these books would be perfect for me. In fact, everyone I know who has read them uses the same rational, that I love Scandinavian literature therefore, I will love these books but I don't think so. I'm not a huge fan of crime/thriller novels so there's that and the violence thing, that's another issue for me. The Scandinavian books I read are more classical, told in a different time, full of quiet desperation and longing, filled with stoic personalities being tested by the cruelties of nature and society, I just don't think these books fit that bill. I usually tell people who recommend the trilogy to me that I may pick them up at some point and I might actually do that but for now, there are just so many other books I'd rather read so it may be awhile.

nov 27, 2010, 10:46 am

Lisa, I'm in total agreement with you, especially after reading the scathing review recently posted by CarolynSchroeder. Would you recommend your favorite Scandinavian lit. for me? I've read a couple of Per Petterson's very good novels, but that may be about it.

nov 27, 2010, 11:04 am

Oh, I can recommend lots of stuff! I will start with Independent People by Halldór Laxness. He is an Icelandic author and Nobel Prize winner. The book is about an Icelandic sheep farmer and I know that doesn't sound very exciting but it is one of the most brilliant novels I've ever read. The language is so beautiful, every line is like poetry and the characters are so memorable, the story is so tragic, it has all those elements I mentioned above and I firmly believe should be read by everyone. I have reread it several times and it never loses it's power for me.

Another great book to try is Hjalmar Söderberg's Doctor Glas. Söderberg is Swedish and the book was written in 1905 so that's where the 'classic' bit comes in. There is a more recent sequel of sorts, written in 2004 by another Swedish author, Bengt Olhsson called Gregorius that is well worth a read, especially if you read and love Doctor Glas.

nov 27, 2010, 6:44 pm

Oh no, Lisa, I'm striking out at my library with your 3 recommendations. :o( thanks so much for your quick reply, however.

nov 27, 2010, 9:30 pm

Ah, that's too bad! I didn't even think about availability at the library. If those aren't available I don't know that any of my other recommendations would be either. could try Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. She's Norwegian, another Nobel Prize winner. It takes place in medieval Norway and it's actually a series of 3 books. It's a well-known series so maybe your library would have it but then again, I grew up in a very Scandinavian area, full of Norwegian and Swedish immigrants so my idea of what is well known may be colored by that fact.

nov 28, 2010, 9:56 pm

I own Kristin Lavransdatter, though I have yet to read it. I have heard such great things about the novel. The edition I own is the full collection, though, so just be aware that it is a chunkster of a book that is also published in separate volumes. Another Scandinavian novel that I would recommend, GCPL is Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg. It is also published under the title Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow. Vendela Vida, though American, wrote a beautiful novel called Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. A large portion of the novel takes place in Lapland.

I get so excited when I hear of people who have read and enjoyed Per Petersson. His novel Out Stealing Horses is one of my favourites.

I find, with the Scandinavian authors I have read, they seem to possess a wonderful ability to treat the weather almost like a character in their story. As well, the prose is more sparse, but so perfect.

nov 29, 2010, 8:44 am

#24, jojo~ Yes! The weather and just nature in general is always a huge factor in Scandinavian lit. And yes about the prose being more sparse but perfect. I have often commented on their ability to take the most profound thoughts and emotions and sum them up so perfectly in simple but beautiful sentences. You'll be reading along, enjoying the often almost poetic-like prose and all of the sudden you'll hit upon a sentence that just blows you away, to the point where you have to take a moment and let it sink in. There is a sense of magic and poetry and wonder in Scandinavian lit that balances the despair and longing very well.

The funny thing is, I didn't really care for Kristin Lavransdatter. I recommended it because I thought it might be easier to find and because everyone I know who has read it loved it, I'm the only one who didn't so I'm assuming I'm the problem. I did enjoy Out Stealing Horses but haven't read any of Petersson's other works.

nov 29, 2010, 4:02 pm

Lisa, I did see that you were up in cold North Dakota and I assumed that you were probably of Scandinavian descent. I will certainly keep your recommendations in mind next time I'm book shopping.

JoJo, I've postponed reading Smilla's Sense of Snow because I thought it was mainly a crime drama, but I will reconsider. I've read 2 of Vida's novels, and you're absolutely right--her descriptions of the Lapland were spot on. I remember after finishing her book that I headed over to YouTube to research videos on the Sami people and reindeerherding and ice hotels. I liked her newest novel The Lovers even better. It's set in Turkey and once again she has her character staying at an unusual hotel--this time a cave hotel as opposed to the ice hotel from Northern Lights. --Jenny :o)

nov 29, 2010, 7:42 pm

Hi Lisa and Jenny.

Hmm, what was it about Kristin Lavransdatter that you didn't care for, Lisa? I thought I would have gotten to it at some point during 2010, but it just didn't happen. (Something about too many books...) You added to my thoughts about Scandinavian writers beautifully! It is a talent with writing I wish I possessed! LOL! (See, the good Scandinavian writers likely don't go: LOL!) Out Stealing Horses has been my favourite Petersson novel, so far. But I have his newest novel, I Curse the River of Time on my shelf, so hope to get to it before year's end.

Jenny, I was hesitant with Smilla too because it isn't my usual go-to genre, but I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the novel. I recently read The Lovers too and while I liked it a lot (4 stars), it wasn't as moving (for me) as Northern Lights (5 stars).

I have enjoyed this exchange with both of you!


Redigeret: nov 29, 2010, 9:18 pm

And cold it is, Jenny! In fact, we are in the throes of a blizzard as I type...oh the joys of the north. ;)

JoJo, my main issue with the books is just the character of Kristin. I loved the historical aspect to it, I loved the setting, both in time and place, the writing was excellent but Kristin just drove me nuts. She makes a decision, does something in her youth that disappoints her family, goes against her faith and changes the course of her life and then spends the rest of the novel whining about it. She was a willing participant in the events and yet she is never able to take responsibility or to let it go, it torments her the rest of her life and she, in turn, torments those around her. And yet, she is considered a heroine. These books are a favorite of my mother's, she is the one that really pushed for me to read them and it killed me to tell her I didn't like Kristin. My mom considered her such a strong, independent woman, finding comfort and strength in her faith and that wasn't what I saw in her at all. But I seem to be in the minority, everyone I know that has the read the book feels as my mother does, maybe I'm just heartless and judgmental. :p

dec 1, 2010, 4:46 pm

Hi Lisa. Okay, wow! That is a long time for a character to whine about the choices she made early on ~ that novel is one chunkster of a read! I really must get to this novel soon!!!

dec 1, 2010, 8:09 pm

It IS a long time to whine! I'll be really curious to hear what impression you get of her when you read it. Maybe I'm being too hard on her.

feb 17, 2011, 10:24 pm

I, too, have been resisting these, even though they are cheap as e-books. Mainly because I am sick of everything being a series these days. Don't get me wrong, I am into several series but it seems as though everything must be a franchise now. Finding good standalone books is getting difficult.

feb 18, 2011, 7:08 am

try Robert Goddard, jldarden. He's British and writes excellent mysteries/thrillers and I think they're all stand-alones, or nearly so. I've read two and they're very satisfying.

jul 13, 2011, 3:23 pm

@ 18 - It's as though you read my mind! My thoughts exactly - except you are much kinder than I in regards to Hornet's Nest. I was actually angry after reading that one - it was so drawn-out and boooooooooring. Ugh.