Since I am a librarian I thought “What the hell, I’ll review a book or two.”
So it’s summer time. When all young librarians head to the beach or somewhere out-of-doors and reach for some trash reading. I don’t mean that to sound too judgmental; summer is the perfect excuse to catch up on the breezy paperback or the kids book you never read but should have.
1. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris.This is the most recent installment of the Sookie Stackhouse series on which the HBO show True Blood is based. If you like vampires, werewolves, et al. mixed in with some romance and mystery, these are the books for you. Are they well written? Meh. But, these are fun mental-popcorn reads that will keep you interested. Lots of characters, lots of sex (don’t think I didn’t visualize Alexander Skarsgaard, who plays the vampire Eric Northman on the show, in the love scenes. I usually don’t go for blondes but in his case I’ll make an exception.), lots of fun and mystery thrown in to boot. I bought the book on a Saturday and finished it Sunday night. Start with the first in the series then keep going. This is not a character series with which you may hop around from book to book without regard to order. Though you won’t be lost the point of reading the previous books will be. Great beach/vacation read.
Since I judge things by the drink I will look to the books setting of Louisiana for the booze/book scale. 3 out of 5 Southern Comfort and Cokes.
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larson. These are a trilogy of mystery/thrillers set in modern Sweden. If you have read any newspaper or online book reviews you know that this series is at the top of almost all must-read and top-ten summer reads lists. Mine included. And since I’m half Swedish my top list should carry more weight…have I been to Sweden? Do I speak Swedish? Do I know any of these places that are referred to in the books? I know a couple of the towns that are mentioned in the book because my grandparents were born in them and I can pronounce the names of the towns and people in the books. Do I know anything else about Sweden? No. Shut up.
Anyway, the main character Lisbeth Salander is one fucked-up chick. She has a messed up family history, is probably on the autism spectrum and is a computer hacker/genius extraordinaire with a photographic memory. The male protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, is an investigative reporter whose main focus is business ethics and corruption; thus, he’s a thorn in the side to most corporate tycoons. As expected their paths cross under unusual circumstances as they come to know and respect one another.
The writing is tight and well crafted. The stories unfold beautifully as you become more and more emotionally invested in the characters. This is not fluff reading and there are some very grim scenes in the books. Yet, there is nothing gratuitous about them; every scene gives you insight into the stories and the characters therein. I don’t want to reveal too much about the plots, just read the damn books. You WON’T be sorry.
Let’s see…set in Sweden, so… I give these books 4.5 out of 5 shots of Akvavit. (Don’t actually drink 4.5 shots of Akvavit–that shit is nasty and you will be wasted.)