Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lisa's Review: What I Read on my Winter Vacation

I don't remember ever being as busy as I was in 2010. I literally for the first time in my life read about three books all year. So you can imagine my excitement for a planned weeklong vacation to Mexico at the beginning of this year. Was I excited to go lay out in the sun on the beach, not doing anything all day? Sure I was but honestly I was even more excited to catch up on my non work-related reading material. Seriously! I had a ton of books to choose from, so it was difficult to decide which ones to bring with me. I didn't want to spend my little free time reading crap, so I focused on recommendations from friends. I brought along The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, borrowed from a friend who all but assured me that it was a great book and I already had Game Change CD: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime loaded on my iPad. In addition to my planned magazine reading, I felt I was ready to go.

The Reviews

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I finally fell for the hype. I resisted for as long as I could, but sometimes the hype is real,  for example Harry Potter. I resisted there as well and by the end I was one of the people in line at midnight.  Anyway, this book started slowly and the translation was clunky and I felt like I really had to slug through it, but I am glad I did.  Even though the book is titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I think Lisbeth was simply introduced and this book is more about Mikael Blomkvist. He gets invited to investigate a family tragedy after being found guilty for libel and being "fired" from his magazine. Lisbeth shows up in the beginning and we visit her throughout and you can't help but be fascinated by her. She's a bad-ass.  She joins Blomkvist in his investigation about halfway through and they finish it up together. It's a fascinating mystery too. Julie has a great in-depth review and I agree with her assessment. I felt like I didn't really know who Lisbeth was at the end, I really wanted that. Just a great read. Final Take: 4/5



The Girl Who Played with Fire (Vintage)Technically, I didn't read this on my winter vacation, but I had a short trip planned just after I got back from vacation, that I immediately borrowed The Girl Who Played with Fire as soon I got back. I read this on the very long flights to and from and was able to finish it. I gotta say, I love this one even better than I did the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  For one the translation got much better in this version. Thank goodness for that. This time the mystery was all about Lisbeth Salander. As I mentioned, I left Dragon Tattoo feeling like Lisbeth was still a bit of a mystery. This book told her story  and fleshed her character out more. You understand how and why she became this fascinating person. This one took a while to get going as well and once it did, we were off to the races once again. All in all, just another fantastic read. It's clear based on the ending Steig Larsson clearly had a plan in mind about how he wanted to tell these stories. I can't wait to find a spare moment to get into the final novel, it's going to be a while before that happens.  Final Take: 4.5/5


Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a LifetimeEven though, I followed the 2008 presidential election with much interest, I'm not a big fan of non-fiction reads nor do I care much for political reads. However, more than one friend encouraged me to read this book, so I downloaded and figured I'd get to it when I get to it. I started this the day before I left and finished on the flight back and I immediatly wished I'd read this sooner. Talk about an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at all the drama. It was great. The things that were reported aren't nearly the half of it. I was was concerned that the writing would be tedious and technical, but it was such an easy read, that I needn't have been concerned. Besides, the details are so juicy, it was almost like reading a gossip magazine. Wait it was exactly like reading a gossip magazine.  I laughed out loud in places and was even more appalled in some. And Sarah Palin.... There are just no words.  If you were the least bit fascinated by that election, then you must read this book. Doesn't matter who you voted for - it's just too fascinating. Final Take: 4/5



Allison January 22, 2011 at 10:27 PM  

Great reviews! I have yet to read The Girl with a Dragon Tatoo, but did see the movie..which I I would love to read the book..hopefully soon..and then the other 2!! Can't wait to see how the American version of the movie comes out!

Christa Banister ,  January 31, 2011 at 6:56 PM  

You are not kidding about Game Change. Such a delicious, engaging read, and I'm like you, sooo not into dry political books usually. :)

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