Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
If the veterans among you have other tips and suggestions for the Kindle, please share in the Comments below.
Here's what Gail had to say:
"Welcome to the Kindle world. I hope you enjoy it.
1. Here are some free ebook sites, for books in the public domain. I think ManyBooks and Feedbooks get their books from Project Gutenberg, but I found the ManyBooks site easier to navigate than Project Gutenberg, and I could "shop" it from my Kindle. I have not looked at the PG site in a year, so it may have improved.
2. This is an old list of free sites, but it looks like the sidebar links have been updated so the information might still be current. There are so many, I have barely touched the surface in my surfing. There are far more books available than I have time to read, let alone surf.
3. This is a site I have started using only recently. It lists the Amazon books that recently dropped in price. I have also created a list of books that I would like to read. The site tracks the prices for me, and emails me if a book in which I am interested drops in price.
4. This lists the free Kindle books that Amazon offers. It seems to subtract those in the public domain. The list changes frequently, and it is really a toss-up as to whether it is worth checking since there is so much dross.
P.S. Here is a link to an interesting article in the Financial Times about the ebook revolution. You may have to register (for free) to read the article.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I found J.M. Coetzee’s latest novel, “Summertime” to be very interesting. The reason I use the word interesting is that the premise is so unusual. The story evolves as the rough draft of a biography of the late John Coetzee, a South African writer, written by an Englishman referred to as Mr. Vincent. The “biography” takes the form of five interviews by Mr. Vincent with people who had known Coetzee in the 1970’s when he was living in a suburb of Capetown with his elderly father. Four of the five interviewees were women who had had a “relationship” with John Coetzee. The fifth, Martin, was a colleague from Coetzee’s teaching days.
The interviews are intriguing and often very amusing. The women often describe Coetzee with the most unflattering and demoralizing rhetoric. The stories the interviewees relate of their own lives are often far more interesting than the life of the J.M. Coetzee, before he became a famous writer.
One might ask, “Why would J.M. Coetzee, the novelist, (who is very much alive in 2010) want to write about a J.M. Coetzee who is somewhat similar to himself but who is dead? and why, in such a strange and unflattering way? It seems that this author, who has received many prestigious awards including the Nobel Prize for Literature, wants to make a statement: “Why are people so interested in a man just because he is a famous writer?” But only J.M. Coetzee could present this question to his readers in such a creative and beautifully written form.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The novel “Everyman Dies Alone” was written in 1947 in twenty four days by the prolific but doomed German writer, Hans Fallada. Hans Fallada is the pen name for Rudolf Ditzer who died shortly after the novel was published.
“Everyman Dies Alone” is based on a true story that took place in Berlin in 1941. In 1945 Fallada/Ditzer was given the Gestapo file on a working-class Berlin couple, Otto and Elise Hampel, who began a surreptitious postcard campaign against the Fuhrer when a relative died in the war.
Hans Fallada took the real life events and wrote a compelling story about a non-descript working class couple, Otto and Anna Quangel, who decide to wage a silent war against Hitler when their son is killed at the front. Fallada sums up their unrelenting determination when Anna concludes “No one could risk more than his life. Each according to his strength and abilities, but the main thing was, you fought back.” This is the strength and beauty of this book. It gives the reader a lost insight into the small but meaningful resistance that some Germans took part in against unbeatable odds.
Fallada’s story involves a huge cast of characters that is not easy to follow. Fallada houses many of them in the apartment building where the Quangels live, some of the characters are downright ridiculous and others are just strange. Through the huge cast of characters Fallada seems to be illustrating the incredible level of fear and distrust that permeated the citizens of Berlin at that time. No one could be trusted. Yet, Otto and Anna persevered, writing postcards and silently distributing them week after week.
Reading this novel is difficult as we witness the unrelenting, ferocious cruelties of the Gestapo and the paralyzing fear that took over many citizens of Berlin. However, Fallada redeems himself in the ending chapters of the book. The ending is tragic, but heroic. And most important, it shows that in even the worst of circumstances human decency, determination and courage can prevail.
It has taken sixty years for this novel to be translated into English and appear in the US. It is a story that needs to be told even if it is not an easy or pleasant read.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Jane Smiley’s latest novel “Private Life” is story about one woman’s life. The story begins in 1883 and closes in 1942 as this country enters World War II. It begins slowly as Margaret Mayfield, the narrator, describes her life in St. Louis. It is the end of the 19th century and life is uncomplicated but sad because of the untimely and surprising deaths that seem to be part of everyday life.
Margaret and her sisters are being trained to be “married” women. A great excitement for Margaret is getting to ride a bicycle when she is in her twenties.
But Margaret the oldest of three sisters is the one still not married. Her mother takes the matter in hand and creates a match for Margaret with Captain Andrew Jackson Jefferson Early, an famed astronomer who is eleven years older than Margaret. And so begins the story of Margaret’s “Private Life”.
The couple move to the Mare Island naval station near Vallejo, California. From the vantage of Mare Island Margaret will watch history unfold. Jane Smiley describes the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire with all its chaos and horror. She follows that with the raging Spanish influenza epidemic, World War I, the stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the incarceration of the Japanese Americans and finally World War II and the overwhelming it effects in had on the people of California and the country.
Throughout this unfolding history Margaret is trying to understand and live with her husband, a strange man who is “sucking the very air from her life.” As she lives day by day, she cooks, she drives, she types, she listens and slowly she begins to think about her life and to understand a truth she never dared to think about.
Jane Smiley’s cast of characters is a lively and memorable one. The story is one that takes over and urges the reader to find out what she is trying telling us about marriage, women and history.
Unlike Charlotte, (See Blog of "Private Life" July 2010) I enjoyed watching Margaret finally figure it out. Granted, it is a slow and painful process, but not one she was trained to do and it did take, finally, some gumption on her part. And the closing line sums up Margaret, "There are so many things that I should have dared before this."
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
But I have been reading. I just didn’t seem to have the energy to get my thoughts together. But here are some of the books that I have read during this period and can recommend:
Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. This is a memoir about the friendship between two older women that ended all too abruptly with the death of one from cancer. That is not a spoiler. These two women have more than the usual bonds: Same profession, new puppies, recovered from addiction, complicated relationships with their fathers, and a love of an athletic pursuit. Most of us are not so lucky. But women readers especially will appreciate (and envy) their discovery of each other – without any of the sexual intimacy that seems to be presumed among two single women friends.
Searching for Tamsen Donner by Gabrielle Burton. Another memoir. For a book that I really liked, it took me over a month to read and I’m not sure why. Burton is married and has five daughters (just like Tamsen Donner). One summer Burton takes her family on a road trip to recreate the journey of the Donner party. This memoir is part journal of that trip, part history of the Donner party and part record of Burton’s struggles to balance her ambition as a writer and her sense of responsibility as a mother. The history of the Donner party is fascinating. I had always thought that the stories of cannibalism were just conjecture – not so. Tamsen Donner managed to write a few letters during the journey which have been preserved; but her journal was never found. Burton tries to reimagine the thoughts and feelings of Tamsen Donner.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Fiction. If someone had told me that I could ever take an interest in professional race car driving, I would never have believed it. But for most readers, I think, that part of this book is just tangential. It’s more about the dog. The entire book is told from the dog’s point of view – which raises some interesting questions, such as: What does a dog see when the dog is in front of a television? There is a lot about race car driving and some good philosophy. “The car goes where the eyes go” works for both.
Friday, October 22, 2010
The house is full of objects that remind her of Molly, and she reminisces about their long friendship, which expanded to include the narrator's college friend Andrew, now a well-known art historian. As the day progresses scraps of information are revealed about the disparate childhoods of the three friends, and we see the various ways that each of them has created an identity in response to early circumstances. All three have brothers who have in very different ways shaped their adult lives. As one memory triggers another, the playwright narrator examines friendship – how well do we know our friends? But the examination is also about identity – how do we present ourselves to the world, and how close is that to our true selves? Can a playwright or an actress know a fictional character better than she knows her friend?
This is not a book for those who enjoy a plot-driven novel – not a lot happens, and much of the story is presented somewhat obliquely in little snatches of memory. But I was left with a lovely picture of Molly's charming Dublin home, and an interesting meditation on the meaning and the mystery of friendship.
And yes, once again I've revealed my affection for Irish writers. But this time she's from Northern Ireland so that must mean I'm expanding my horizons.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
It speaks to me - and about me - more than anything I can remember reading. But that is the irony and the point of the essay. I remember very little of what I have read over the years or even last month. Does that make it a waste of time? Collins has some very interesting answers.
Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, has a commentary on the article on his blog. He frames the question a little differently as you might expect: what is the opportunity cost of reading?
Conventional wisdom seems to suggest that book group discussions and writing down your thoughts about what you read (for example, in a blog!) should enhance retention. I can't really say that they do...but I'm not ready to give up on either.
You can read the Letters to the Editor about the essay here.
Friday, September 24, 2010
The novel is written in the third person, but it is told from David's point of view, and he initially seems to be decent if a little sad. But gradually it becomes clear that Glover's Mistake is innocently believing that David has his best interests at heart. David has the unreliable narrator's talent for self-justification as he persistently undermines the romance while pretending to be a devoted friend to both Ruth and James. It would be depressing if it weren't so funny and so cleverly written. Laird skewers the pretensions of the art world, explores the nastiness of anonymous blogs, rambles through London neighborhoods and ask questions about the meaning of love.
This is not a novel for readers who want their characters to be likable, or even admirable. Ruth is self-absorbed and insensitive, David a manipulating misanthrope, and although James is endearing he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But it's a clever and fast moving cautionary tale about the dangers of love triangles.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Jonathan Tropper’s 2009 novel “This Is Where I Leave You” is described as “A magnificently funny family saga…”, and “often side splitting”. It is the story of the Foxman family. Judd Foxman, our narrator, is one of four children, the third born and the second son, in a basically dysfunctional Jewish family. The Foxman children, now adults, have been summoned to their childhood home to sit Shiva for their father, Mort Foxman. Shiva is the weeklong ritual of sitting in your home and welcoming the friends and family who want to pay respects to the person who has died. The kids find the idea somewhat strange because as far as they knew their father was an atheist. What is making it even harder is that the rabbi, who is directing the Shiva, is a childhood friend of the Foxmans who had a few strange behaviors as a boy and who they nicknamed Boner.
The Foxman clan is an interesting group. Judd, the morose narrator, has recently walked in on his wife and his obnoxious boss having sex in his bed. Paul, Judd’s older brother by sixteen months, and his wife are trying desperately to have a baby. One afternoon the family gets to listen to them having sex over the baby monitor which their sister, Wendy, had accidentally left turned on in the baby’s room. Wendy has three children and a husband who spends the entire week on his cell phone
orchestrating million dollar deals. The youngest Foxman brother, Phillip, is a lovable fellow, who is a mystery to his family, which is fine with them because he just lies whenever anyone questions him. He appears with his “life coach” who is also his girlfriend and fifteen years older than he is. But the best character is Mrs. Foxman, the outspoken celebrity author of, “Cradle and All: A Mother’s Guide To Enlightened Parenting”. She has silicone breasts, which she loves to display, and wears miniskirts and stiletto heels. Her children cannot understand why she just can’t dress appropriately for a 63 year old woman who has just lost her husband.
A week of sitting Shiva is more than this family can take as old wounds and grudges
resurface and irreverent wisecracks and put me downs are relentlessly thrown back and forth. But in spite of themselves and their wacky relationships with each other, they learn more about their father (and their mother) in this week than all the years growing up in that house on Knob’s End.
Jonathan Tropper’s characters are funny and endearing. His one liners can be hilarious and the story and the intricate family history make for a very good novel that seems to be heading toward a movie. I definitely agree that this is a book that will make you smile if not laugh out loud!
Friday, September 3, 2010
Note: Thomas Kennedy is a New Yorker who has lived in Copenhagen for many years. He has published more than 20 books, enjoys an international reputation and has received numerous literary awards and honors. But this is his first novel to be published in the United States.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
For the next few years Kimberley is our eyes into the hidden world of these Chinese immigrants living in unimaginable poverty, working under deplorable conditions. It is all the more surprising because Aunt Paula and her husband own the sweat factory and are now living comfortably. I had never really thought about it but I guess it makes sense that the owner of the sweat factory would be Chinese in order to communicate with the workers in their own language. But the inhumanity of the conditions is startling.
Kimberley also has the world of school to negotiate - in a foreign language. Thank goodness for the language of mathematics at which she already excels. School by day; factory work helping her mother and then homework by night; inadequate food, clothing and shelter from the elements. What makes some children so resilient? When Kimberley wins a scholarship to a prestigious private high school, her problems are only compounded because now she has to lead a double life always finding excuses not to join in the activities after school lest she be expected to reciprocate. And of course a coming-of-age story would not be complete without a love interest – or two.
The final chapters of the book fast forward and cover a lot of years quickly tying up lose ends as many authors do. This is a work of fiction, but there is so much of Kwok’s own life story here that it could almost be a memoir. It will be interesting to see whether Kwok, in future works, stays close to home or wanders farther afield.
Lest we think that the days of sweatshops are over, read this.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The location is exotic: a tiny man-made island off the coast of Nagasaki called Dejima. I wasn’t even sure that it was a real place but Wikipedia now informs me that it is. The events of the novel take place between 1799 and 1817 when Dejima, occupied by the Dutch, was the sole point of trade between Japan and the outside world. How little we know even now of the hidden Oriental world of that period. Jacob de Zoet is a Dutch clerk who has come to Dejima to make his fortune so that he can return to Holland to wed his beloved Anna. He is our eyes and ears in this place.
There are other memorable characters as well. Orito Aibagawa is a samurai midwife whose forced residence for a time in a Shinto convent shows us a life and belief system that strain credulity. Ogawa Uzaemonis is a translator who introduces us to the hierarchies of rank and jealousies among translators and the difficulties of navigating between these two languages. The island physician, Dr. Marinus, has brought his harpsichord to the island and wishes nothing more than to publish his taxonomy of Japanese flora; but meanwhile he serves up the rudimentary treatments available for gall stones, appendicitis and other maladies in the best way that Western medicine in this remote outpost has to offer.
The language is breath-taking. I wish I had the space to reproduce some of Mitchell’s better descriptions. One of the very best takes a page and a half (pgs 451-452) to describe "gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight." It is eloquent testimony that “This world…contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.” But this book is also a masterpiece.To read an interview with David Mitchell, click here; and for profiles of Mitchell, click here and here.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Choosing a new book to read can be a challenge. I was rushing to catch a train when I stopped into a book store to get a book to read on the train. For some strange reason I didn’t see a familiar title or author. So I picked up a book with a gold seal that stated “Winner Pen Faulkner Award”.I had no idea who the author was or what the book was about. But I was in a hurry.
The book I inadvertently chose was “War Dances”, a collection of short stories and poems by the Native American writer, Sherman Alexie. The stories are written in a captivating, in your face style that makes them seem autobiographical. And although they may have their origins in Alexie’s own life, they are fiction. In the first story “Breaking and Entering” the narrator is a film editor working at home. Sherman Alexie has written two screen plays. The story progresses in a chatty, self deprecating style. But the reader slowly realizes that something is wrong, even before the narrator lets us know. What happened wasn’t “his” fault, but maybe he could have avoided it, all the signs were there. It is a very powerful story.
Before each story, Sherman Alexie, has written a poem. They are short, straight forward, poignant poems about contemporary issues and they relate in some way to the story that follows each poem. In “War Dances” the narrator is in the hospital with his aging, alcoholic, diabetic father. All he wants to do is find a blanket for his father. Before the story is a poem Alexie has written about playing legos with his sons.
The stories revolve around family, love, the problems of love, how American Indians are stereotyped in our society, and how race issues enter into everyday life whether we choose it to or not.
Sherman Alexie is a strong new voice who has a lot to say about life. The best part is that he can tell a great story that is sad and true, but he has that special talent that can make you laugh through the sadness, because he has been there and he knows that humor is the only way out.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Canty's story revolves around RL, a middle-aged Montana fishing guide, and his complex relationships with the people closest to him. He and June, the widowed wife of his best friend, are bound by their mutual loss, but even after eleven years they seem unable to move forward with their lives. They are painfully self-aware of their shortcomings, and futilely try to fix the problems of the people they love.
But don't be put off – it's not as depressing as it sounds. Canty's minimalist style allows for flashes of humor and moments of redemption. His love of the stark pure beauty of Montana permeates the book, and as his story spans the seasons of a year he paints heartfelt pictures of the mountain landscape and tough and tender people who inhabit it.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Let me jump to the conclusion: Every book group should read this book. It is short (193 undersized pages) and I guarantee that your group will have a long and very spirited discussion. I will go even further and say: don't read this book alone because you surely will want to discuss it when you finish.
The setting: Winter in the Ozarks
The set-up: Sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly has dropped out of high-school to care for her two younger brothers and her mother whose mind long ago succumbed to the effects of life or drugs or both. If that isn’t hard enough, her father Jessup has disappeared just before an upcoming court date for his latest drug offence. If he doesn’t show up, Ree and family will lose their house that Jessup had posted as security for his bail bond.
The story: Ree’s search for her father
Especially for those of us outside of Missouri, this is a view into the crystal meth culture and rural clan life that are largely hidden. The language is rich, the descriptions of the natural surroundings vivid, the characters memorable, the relationships confounding. Life there is raw and violent but forms of love and loyalty will not be denied. There is so much to savor. The author’s artistry and economy of language are at times breathtaking. There are scenes and sentiments here that will stay with me for a long time. I think that I will just have to read it again.
Woodrell’s own life story is compelling. He was born in the Ozarks, dropped out of high school to join the Marines…and ten years later had an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
I hope you haven’t seen the movie. Read the book first.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The range of topics and speakers is vast. Many are short - less than 20 minutes. I have listened to:
Edith Widder on Glowing Life in an Underwater World
Simon Sinek on How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Dan Pink on the Science of Motivation
Trying to make a selection is almost paralyzing. One way to get started:
- Go to the Home Page
- Select "Talks" at the top
- Along the left side select "Most favorited (is that really a word?) all-time"
Or listen to Elif Shafak's talk on The Politics of Fiction.
Think of this as another arrow in our Alzheimer's Prevention quiver. Let me know what you think. I can't imagine that you will be disappointed. If you find a particularly noteworthy talk, please share.
PS: Many thanks to my friend Jill for introducing me to this wonderful resource.
Related articles by Zemanta
- How did TED start? (laf.ee)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Mezrich does such a good job of explaining the nuances of card counting (and the boundaries that keep it legal) that you ALMOST think you could have done it, too - in the days before continuous shuffling in the casinos. The point is made repeatedly: blackjack is the only game offered by casinos that is beatable over an extended period of time. Absent a shuffle of the deck, the cards you see affect the cards that you are going to see. But the story makes another point: casinos and the corporations that own them don’t like to lose. As the team leader said to the new recruit: “The most important decision a card counter ever has to make is the decision to walk away.” That’s good advice not just for card counters.
I’m not sure whom to blame for what I consider the double-cross: the author or the publisher, probably both. It’s right there on the last page in About the Author: “Bringing Down the House is his seventh book and his first foray into nonfiction.” Even the Library of Congress cataloging is misleading: “Biography.” Except that it isn’t nonfiction and it isn’t biography as a very careful reading of the Copyright page discloses: “Some of the events and characters are also composites of several individual events or persons.” That makes it Fiction in my mind. No footnotes, no bibliography. And I am left to wonder: if the author was not constrained by facts and the truth, how much may have been invented to make a good story even better?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Paul Auster has written fifteen novels, six non-fiction works, two screen plays and a collection of poems. I have read one of his novels “The Brooklyn Follies” and I didn’t really like it, although most of our book club did. When I saw his latest novel “Invisible” I was intrigued. The description on the book itself, sounded very interesting. The New York Times critic, Clancy Martin, states that “Invisible” is Paul Auster’s finest novel. I would like to agree because I really enjoyed this novel, but I haven’t read enough of Paul Auster to make that claim.
The story begins in 1967, in New York City. The protagonist, Adam Walker, is a second year student at Columbia University, majoring in poetry. Adam finds himself at a party in Manhattan, not sure why he is there. At the party Adam meets, Rodolf Born, a Swiss citizen teaching at Columbia and his beautiful French girlfriend, Margot. This chance encounter sets off a series of events that lead to an act of violence that changes Adam’s life.
The novel is presented in four parts, Spring, Summer, Fall and Cecile‘s diary. The first section is narrated by Adam. The second section jumps to 2007 as Jim Freeman, a college friend of Adam, tells us that he has received a letter and a manuscript from Adam. Adam fills him in on what has happened to him over the past forty years and asks him to read the manuscript he has written. The manuscript is entitled Summer, and it took place the summer after Adam’s encounter with Born. This section is a difficult read for the Jim and for the reader because it is about incest. It is the natural, beautiful prose of Auster that makes this section work for the reader. But it is in this section that the reader begins to question the reliability of Adam as a narrator.
In the next section, Fall of 1967, Adam finds himself in Paris on a mission. A mission that reunites Adam with Born and introduces him to Born’s fiancée, Helene Juin, and Helene’s daughter Cecile. Adam’s mission in Paris fails and he finds himself back in the United States. The final section of the book is entitled, Cecile Juin’s Diary, and takes place in 2007. This section tells the reader what ultimately happens to the characters but doesn’t end the story in a true sense.
The story has tree different narrators and as many perspectives on what really happened during the year of 1967. It is a story of love and how difficult it is to define love because it is invisible. Paul Auster’s writing is so good, so brisk, that you glide through the pages, but his sentences are filled with innuendo and he is a master of intrigue. “Invisible” is a wonderful novel and although it may be his best, I am tempted to try another.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This is a novel but there is no attempt to disguise that fact that it presents itself as a biography of the real Pearl Buck told by an imagined Chinese friend Willow. Certain facts of Buck’s life as portrayed in the book are undoubtedly true. She grew up in China because her father was an American missionary there trying to convert the Chinese from Buddhism to Christianity. She married an American agriculturist who came to China trying to teach poor peasants who had farmed the land for centuries the ways of Western agriculture. She gave birth to a severely handicapped daughter. She was twice driven out of China, first by the Boxer Rebellion and finally by the Nationalists when she was in her 40’s. (Questions: Does the fact that this book is presented as a novel remove any legal issues for the author? What if the portrayal were unflattering and factually inaccurate? What if Buck were still alive?)
Before leaving China for good, Buck had already started to find her escape and strength through writing, first by contributing articles under assumed male names to Chinese newspapers (the Chinese were not likely to accept the opinions of a blond female Westerner) and then essays and stories to publications outside China about what life was really like in the Orient for the greater number of Chinese people. All of that takes place in the first half of the book. The second half is really Willow’s story as she remains in China during the Communist struggle and the Cultural Revolution.
Min’s descriptions of life in China are vivid and detailed especially when it comes to weddings and funerals. The internal political struggles, the repression of Mao’s regime, the intrigues of Madame Mao are just as fascinating as Buck’s early life. A perfect follow-up has to be Pearl Buck in China by Hilary Spurling, a non-fiction account of Buck’s life during the same period. And, of course, The Good Earth itself.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
For myself, I still had trouble with all of the multi-syllabic Scandinavian names. I still think that having a better sense of the geography of the country would have helped but lacking it was probably not a serious handicap. Some of the violence is over the top, especially the part with the nail gun - what an imagination! AND there are some very thoughtful passages about the role of a Secret Police in a democratic society: think CIA in the United States. In the end it is this social commentary that I think was Larsson's mission although it is not that for which he is being read or may be remembered. How much of Mikael Blomkvist is Larsson's alter-ego?
In a recent article by Charles McGrath in the The New York Times Magazine, there was mention that Larsson's long-time girlfriend may have possession of a 4th manuscript on a laptop computer. There was also an assertion from some quarters that Larsson never had enough talent as a writer to have authored the three books in the series. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, develops along either of these lines.
PS: The icing on this three-layer cake may be the article in the July 5, 2010 issue of The New Yorker by Nora Ephron: "The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut." It is very clever and very funny. Read it as soon as you finish Hornet's Nest while you still remember the details.