This title “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was calling out to me at the book shops for many years before I answered the call and picked it up. As it happens in many of such cases, it was difficult to put it down after that. It is a story of investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and their investigation into the circumstances of missing girl. They not only end up resolving the mystery but discover much more than what they had bargained for.
Of course the investigation itself is very complex and engaging and it has all the correct elements of thriller mystery. That alone would not have made this a great book to read. It is the character of Lisbeth Salander that makes it different and much better than regular thriller mysteries. Stieg Larsson has created the character of Lisbeth that is victim and heroine at the same time. She hacks into computers without any feelings of guilt but she is not criminal. She steals millions of dollars from a corrupt businessman but she is not corrupt. Her moral standards are different from society in many ways but they are strong and good.
She likes to be independent and on her own but she shows true care for people who have been nice to her. In one scene she feels strong affinity for Mikael because he is not judgemental about her like everyone else is. Her conflicts of emotions about people and her methods to deal with unknown are all portrayed in an amazing way. As a reader you feel for Lisbeth from the very beginning once you get to know her. You also realise how wrong it can be to judge people from their appearance or first impression.
I did watch the movie and also read the sequels of this book but that story will need to wait for some other time.
Yes, that is the journey books have taken over the course of thousands of years once human beings started writing down the knowledge instead of just talking and remembering. Earliest known books were in the form of stone tablets where writers had to carve on stone using chisel and hammer. From there the books progressed to palm leaves, cloth, paper and finally the digital form on tablets. I am using the word tablet to represent all kind of digital book readers including but not limited to Kindle, iPads, computers or smart phones here.
You could write a page worth of data on a stone tablet and it would still be difficult to carry it along. Today you can load thousands of books in regular digital tablet and carry it anywhere with ease. Difficulty in creating stone tablet also meant that only most important knowledge was carved. Today everything gets published in digital form and you find it so difficult to search for real knowledge in lot of junk that gets written. Of course, the knowledge from stone tablets was available to very few privileged people but this digital abundant junk including all the knowledge is available to a much larger set of people and in coming days will be available to everybody in this world.
My book reading started with paper books and there was a time when I felt that I will never transition to digital version. It was the process of relocation from one country to another that changed my thinking. I realised that there was no way I could carry my collection of hundreds of books with me and it was time to switch to Kindle. Digital book reading is convenient, easy to carry, buy and use though not same as paper books.
I wonder if they can make my Kindle smell like a fresh or old book depending upon the kind of book I am reading. Or maybe it can be made to look and smell like stone tablet or palm leaves (the experience that I missed in book reading).
It is now close to two years that I have been away from the blogging even though I have read great many books during this time. Now I have decided to resume writing once again and hopefully I will be more regular this time. Starting now with “The Signature of all Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert that I read sometime back. Even though the book said that it is work of fiction, I did search Internet a few times to find if indeed there was such a character of Alma Whittaker or known by some other name in history that has inspired the author here. It is due to the fact that the book feels so close to reality owing to its details
The main character Alma is bold and brilliant in her field of study and spends her entire life in study of Moss. Her story not only gives us glimpse of botanical research in that time but also the life in general for people and specifically for women of that century. The story takes a dramatic turn with her marriage at late age where emotions take over rational mind of Alma. Her husband is seeking spiritual union where Alma is looking forward to physical intimacy along with cerebral union that attracted her in the first place.
The story follows Alma to Tahiti where she goes to search for answers of life. I found this part of the story most interesting. It is raw, provocative and extremely appealing. I would have really liked the book to end in Tahiti.
I was left wondering whether the game played by Tahitian women is precursor to American football in any way but did not find any link during my search on Internet. Her use of language and words that were in use during that time provide authenticity to the narrative. I find the comparison to Darwin a bit stretched out but the author manages to make it plausible as well.
My fascination with P. G. Wodehouse grows with each new book that I read by him. This time it was “Ukridge”. This is a different character than the earlier ones like Jeeves and Blandings. This is actually a collection of short stories based on the character of Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge. The stories are written from the perspective of his friend Corky Corcoran who is most of the times at the receiving end of Ukridge’s idiosyncratic money-making ideas.
The schemes are great and Ukridge refuses to see any shortcomings in his schemes. He is always most hopeful of grand success but needs just a little help from his friends. He wants to create a dog training college, earn money through accident insurance, selling fake tickets for his Aunt’s club and betting on Battling Billson. Even when he fails in all his schemes, he refuses to accept defeat and is ready with another scheme with the same confidence. He manages to convince his friends to take up completely absurd tasks for him and when it fails he simply ignores the whole incident and moves on. He may not have money in his pocket but he is ready to help anybody all the time.
It is really amazing to read about such a character in this book. There are times in our life when we all have come across such people who want that little help for their grand schemes. As usual Wodehouse is great in those simple conversations, metaphors and use of English language rather than the story idea to make it interesting. Once again a masterpiece of book and great reading.
I read this book few years ago and I had written about it during my earlier days of blogging. But I wanted to go back and read “Eat, pray, love” once again. Somehow I felt that this book had helped me in making some decisions about my life back then and I was again at crossroads and reading this book helped me once again. I have found a definite connection between myself and author Elizabeth Gilbert and that is a source of great inspiration for me. The way she handled her life and came out as winner after all the trials is amazing as well as motivating.
I also found incidents that I had not noticed during my first reading or not written about them during my earlier blog post. She manages to be funny even while writing most difficult phases of her life. The idea of writing a letter to God and getting it signed by all her well wishers in imagination is great. The way she is able to make friends everywhere in the world while travelling gives me something to think about. I have never been able to do anything like that. She celebrates thanksgiving dinner with her friends in Italy and it gets emotional for everybody present even though many of them are strangers.
I can go on writing about each chapter and how it made me think. It requires guts for somebody to give up everything and go on such a journey and then make millions of dollars and fans by writing about it. I wonder whether I will be able to take up this kind of journey in my life. You really need to be passionate about things and willing to give up pleasures of life and seek pleasure in simple and different things. I have to also make those butter fried potatoes some day that she made one night to satisfy her physical hunger but in the end she had to think about her Brazilian friend in the bed to satisfy herself.