Two correlated trends are evident this year: my time spent at home on the computer (Facebook) and watching TV is way down, while time spent reading is way up! I recently finished reading two terrific book trilogies.
The first is The Hunger Games series, or what I think should most appropriately be called the “Mockingjay” trilogy, as that nickname for the main character best sums up the whole story.
I absolutely loved all three books, which is not surprising, as everyone I’ve talked to about them things they’re fabulous. Anyone who calls them “young adult literature” is barking up the wrong tree — they are simply good literature. They are real page-turners. Karen and I both read all three in about one week, which for me is jamming. It’s nice that they are so action-packed and yet relatively short.
Immediately after finishing Mockingjay, I went to the library and picked up the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson.
This trilogy is way longer than Mockinjay, and it took me just under three weeks to zip through them. They are very dark and intense, but I did not find them so disturbing as to be any kind of turn-off. Lisbeth Salander, the “girl” character in the titles, is a great character whom I really cared about, and these stories about what she goes through are — for lack of a better word than what is written all over the dust jackets — gripping!
The major criticism I have of the books is that the other main character, Michael Blomqvist, and investigative reporter, became more and more unlikable as the books went on. Even though he is great at what he does and is obviously indispensable to the stories, ultimately I just couldn’t put up with the author’s wet-dream caraciture of a man (probably to some extent the author’s narcissistic vision of himself) who is incredibly too perfect a womanizer. His sexual relationship with Lisbeth is highly unethical and manipulative. His long-time romance with his perfect f***-buddy Berger strikes me as a laughable male fantasy. When he implausibly beds the mysterious femme fatale Harriet Vanger, there is no chemistry. Finally, his love affair with the cop in the third book is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The author asks us one time too many to take as a matter of faith Blomqvist’s emotionally detached yet smarmy sensitivity toward women without credibly painting any picture of why the cop would fall in love with him. Again, I think the author must have had some deluded vision of himself as god’s gift to women. And yet, never speak ill of the dead, so I do not really wish to pass such harsh judgment on a writer whom I cannot interview and ask tough questions the dark recesses from which he drew his material.
Despite those issues with Blomqvist’s character, I couldn’t help be impressed with his intelligence as an investigative journalist and with the smart, intricate plot lines. As long as you can get comfortable with reading about a lot of horrible crimes against women in particular, the Milennium series is a great thriller.
As if all of that weren’t enough, I’ve now begun the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. There are four books in the set I was given as a birthday gift, and each of them is at least a thousand pages of small print, so it may take me all year to read them! I certainly don’t have to think much about where my reading material will come from for the near future. 🙂