The Millennium Trilogy Series February 25, 2012Posted by Afrozy Ara in Book Reviews, Classics.
Tags: book review, book series, crime fiction, lisbeth salander, mikael blomkvist, Steig Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, the girl who played with fire, the girl with the dragon tattoo, The Millennium Trilogy
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What are the 3 most important factors that would entice you to begin reading a 600+ page novel in the midst of a mindlessly packed office schedule?
Hmmmm..You might have your own opinion; my list goes like this:
• The first impression (name, look and feel)
• Personality and characterization of the protagonists
• The eccentric wisdom of the crowds
With these factors lingering in my subliminal consciousness, the Millennium trilogy by Steig Larsson figured at the top of my reading list for this year! This is a series of 3 books with the most riveting titles – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”. And, as the names suggest, the stories spin around this girl Lisbeth Salander who is the main protagonist of the series.
So, in the 2nd week of Jan, I embarked on mission Millennium. Reading these novels was like a 10 day phase. I used to shuffle to office every morning, worried and wondering what would happen next in the story and come back home longing to dig my hands into the book again. And the author ensured to keep the adrenaline pumping! The books had the intrigue of an Agatha Christie novel, and the brashness of Sidney Sheldon. And Lisbeth Salander is the Lara Croft of Crime fiction!.
Quite predictably, the moment Salander was introduced, the plot got me hooked. My naïve first impressions had expected her to be a Charlie’s angels sort of diva. But man, that is not even close!
Shockingly different, she is a strong, ruthless yet tragic character. A bizarre anti social anti hero with a crooked smile.. a genius hacker with an eidetic memory.. a fiercely loyal and private weirdo.. You will worry about her, you will want to protect her, but she wont let you feel sorry for her. Wandering the corridors like a stray cat, brazenly spooky, she sometimes seems more of a wiry character from anime series, than a real person! And the way she rises from the dead ( in the 2nd novel ) is … Well, I don’t have the words to describe it!!..
The other major character in the series in Mikael Blomkvist. A finance journalist, he is dedicated to revealing frauds in banking and business. He is a quite opposite Slander’s fiery personality; their queer relationship is what drives most of the story forward. A man of a somehow mild constitution, the way he is treated by his ladies (IMO, like an intelligent puppy : P ) is quite amusing!
The underlying theme of all the 3 novels is violence against women. The first novel is intriguing.. The second one is nail biting. The last one is a bit long drawn – with the secret service hocus pocus. But the climax is intensely satisfying. The story is touching, thrilling, shocking and scandalous. .. You will experience the most volatile waves of emotions..Love, hate, loyalty, disgust. All in one go. No guns, no hi tech drama. Just raw emotions.
You might not like the books if you are disturbed by immorality and violence (some scenes might be described as grotesque). But from the point of crime fiction, it’s an awesome series; and the character of Lisbeth Salander is mind-blowing! The most outrageous and flabbergasting heroine I have ever read (or seen), you have no idea what she is going to do next!
What more can I say, this one is indeed a gripping read. A book that will be difficult to forget, long after you have read it!!..
The 2012 Reading List Part-I January 8, 2012Posted by Afrozy Ara in Book Reviews, Classics, Fantasy Fiction, Mumbo Jumbo, Sci-Fi.
Tags: 2012, a hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, new year resolutions, reading list, science fiction, stieg larsson, the bourne identity, the bourne supremacy, the bourne ultimatum, the girl who played with fire, the girl with the dragon tattoo, vampire romance
2012 is in. It is a unique year; heralded by doomsday predictions and bucket-list resolutions.
Well, I am not the usual new-year-resolutions maker. But a one week vacation from office on New Years Eve gave me a lot of free time to dabble with. And, I managed to scribble my TO-DO list for this year.
The resolution topping the list was; Read… Read.. READ!
So, I’ve prepared my reading list for this Quarter ( In line with another resolution of mine! ). No specific preferences, but a mishmash of genres which I had been hoping to experiment with, but had never really got down to.
I have chosen the series form of books because it has always impressed me. IMO, this is one of the most challenging forms of writing. Being able to capture the attention of a reader through thousand and thousands of book pages, and a delicate web of entwined plots is a commendable (and tough) job!
I haven’t read all these books yet, so don’t blame me if you don’t like them. But they have this quality of beckoning you, like some sort of literary seduction, making you want to read them. I am not sure how they will turn out to be, but here is my list.
So without wasting any more time, lets go..
Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the definitive “Reading List Q1 2012.”!!
The Millennium Trilogy:
There are some books that catch your imagination – simply by an intriguing name or the imagery of a character which flashes before your eyes. When I first heard of the name – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, my first reaction was – “What?”
The trilogy is a series of the books with the most riveting names -“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl who kicked a Hornet’s Nest” and “The Girl who played with Fire”. It is written by Stieg Larsson, a journalist who came from nowhere and attained iconic status in the crime fiction world with this series of books.
I have not read much of Crime fiction earlier. The most I had read were the Agatha Christie novels, and the occasional classics like “The God Father” . And of late, had been bit too preoccupied with Wizards and Vampires.
So this is my first detour into crime fiction in a long long time.
I have just orders a Box set of the trilogy from Flipkart, and the books seem to be pretty long (600+ pages each ). Yet, every review I have read has called these books a page turner, so it is No 1 on my reading list.
And the biggest motivation of course is the character of Lisbeth Salander. Weird, enigmatic, brilliant, dangerous security specialist; she simply cannot be missed!.
The Shiva Trilogy:
This is a series of books by an Indian author Amish Tripathi. The first 2 books – “The Immortals of Meluha” and “The Secret of the Nagas” are bestsellers. The third book of the series has not been released yet.
It is an unusual genre – Mythology, and I don’t remember having read any books of that genre yet.
OK, you may count Lord of the Rings as Mythology, but Indian mythology is unique – it is such a dense and spiritual subject. And taking a culturally sensitive subject like mythology and converting it to believable fiction is an awesome feat !.
I have spent most of my childhood reading books by great English authors. The characters in my mind, the novel settings.. Everything is foreign. The last great book that I read set in Indian settings was the “White tiger” by Arvind Adiga. So I am really looking forward to how the author has pulled it off.
Another thing that attracted me to this book is this haunting quote from “The Secret of the Nagas” – “The opposite of love is not hate, its apathy”.
Well..Age old thoughts spun into a tale relevant in the modern context. This is a must-read book!.
The Hitch hiker’s guide to the Galaxy Series:
The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy is a crazy book.
It tickles you out of your senses. Gives the absurdist, stupidest, most bizarre ideas in the most matter of fact way, expecting it to be funny and it actually is!!
This is the first in a series of 5 books by Douglas Adams. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” , “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, “Life, the Universe and Everything” ,”So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish “, “Mostly Harmless” and “And Another Thing…”. The last book was written by 2 other authors after Doulas Adams’ death.
The author’s line of thinking, the way the arguments are constructed, the anecdotes will make you ROFL, BWL, LMFAO.. ( OK, I am running out of expressions now! )
Wickedly funny and geeky, it is an absolute must read for any SF or Humor enthusiast. Douglas Adams actually has a cult status among Science Fiction enthusiasts – Just Google “Meaning of life 42”
Taking the most ordinary mundane daily happenings, and spinning it into the weirdest anecdotes, this book has intellectual gems thrown in the most the most unassuming way!..
Want a peek? Well, this is one of my favorite passages (out of the countless others) in the first book.
“People of Earth, your attention, please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system. And regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.
There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now. … What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that’s your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams.
I don’t know, apathetic bloody planet, I’ve no sympathy at all.
There was a terribly ghastly silence.
There was a terribly ghastly noise.
There was a terribly ghastly silence.”
The Bourne Trilogy:
Oh, I know. Don’t give me that pitiful look. I know this series is ancient. I should have read it like 10 years ago! But then, it’s better late than never. And what best way to start a New Year than make up for all the good things you missed in the past!. So, the Bourne series makes it to my list.
There are 9 books in the series; out of which the first 3 are “The Bourne Identity”, “the Bourne Ultimatum” and the “The Bourne Supremacy” written by Robert Ludlum. The rest 6 have been written by some other author. Don’t know how long the series will be able to hold my attention, but at least the first 3 are a must!
There is something very touching about a man who is constantly trying to understand who he is. And, when he is painfully deducting his past by analyzing his instant reactions to situations and things. It is sort of scary yet tragic in a very poignant way.
The book is an absolute edge of the seat thriller. I have read the first one halfway through and it is quite promising. Am determined to make the rest this Quarter.
The Vampire Diaries:
What is life without any romance?. So here is my last entry – a dash of romance to the reading list. And what is the best form of romance other than Vampire love stories – it’s the hot flavor of the day!
I have read the first 2 books of the series – The Awakening, and The Struggle, and there are 7 more to read. Since the novels are only 100+ pages each, it isn’t much of a challenge really..
The books are not much of a literary genius (is sort of Mills and Boons sometimes), but the plot somehow got me hooked. It has all the elements which will make you want to read it more – romance, suspense, drama.
Actually the motivation for me to read this book came from the Vampire Diaries TV series. The series is awesome, with impossibly handsome vampires and equally ravishing vampire-victims stuck in a world with witches and werewolves. Gosh!
I don’t know, but there is something very enticing about these Vampire love stories . Perhaps it is the idea of an impossible romance – a relationship so volatile that it cannot exist naturally.. Hunter loves the hunted.. Guy thirsting for the blood of the woman he loves. The conflict between extreme emotions.. Lion falling in love with the lamb.
But then, writers are crazy people – the readers even more!
So, here is my list for Q1 of 2012.
Hope I’ll be able to keep up my New Year resolution and post my reviews as I read along!
See you later, Alligator! 😛