Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No More Lost Weekends

I've got to stop reading like this! When I first started training to run a marathon I had to do a lot of miles on a treadmill. I quickly figured out that it would be a lot less boring if I were listening to an audio book which I started to do. And then I figured out that the best kind of book for that situation (at least for me) was a mystery book. I had to pay close attention so that I wouldn't miss any details or plot twists thereby distracting myself from any pain or boredom. The "unintended consequence" was that I actually started to look forward to my workouts on the treadmill to continue with the story. But for any one session I was always limited by what my lungs and legs would withstand.

So when we started this blog I thought that I would continue to read some mysteries. But without the imposed physical limitations of the treadmill I find myself lost for days at a time with these books. The latest culprit was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: 465 pages in less than 48 hours. This has to stop! There's laundry to do, cooking, bills to pay,...

This would make a great episode of "Cold Case". Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist recently convicted of libel, is hired by a wealthy industrialist to look again into the still-unsolved mystery of the disappearance of his beloved granddaughter forty years earlier. The girl of the book's title is the assistant that Blomkvist hires in his search. The book is set in Sweden, the author's home country, and was originally written in Swedish. The translation has kept many original Swedish words and place names, which can take some getting used to. It's not so hard to figure out in context that "tunnelbana" is the Swedish metro system or that the Konsum store is the equivalent of our Safeway, but there were many other words that I just passed over. There are four generations of the subject family involved and fortunately the author has included a diagram of the family tree. If all of that sounds negative, it isn't meant to be. This is a great read if you want to be distracted and have the time - or the self-discipline to take it in pieces. It has left me wondering why I even bother with the firewall on my computer.

This was the author's first novel. Unfortunately he died of a heart attack at age 50 just after submitting the manuscripts for this and two other novels.

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