Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Wow! What a book. I read all 465 pages in one week's time. This was one of those "unputdownable" books. I must admit it was a bit of a slow start. As I read the first 50 pages or so I was wondering what all the praise about this book was about? But once I hit around page 50, I couldn't put this book down. It was a great story and had it all. I suppose it would be classified as a mystery, but it was so much more than that. I'm also surprised with the title of this book because it was more about Mikael Blomkvist than it was about Lisbeth Salander who was the girl with the tattoo. Mikael has been hired by the Vanger family to solve a family mystery that happened over 40 years ago. The Vanger family is a very powerful family in Sweden. Harriet Vanger disappeared over 40 years ago and her uncle has spent all those years trying to find out who murdered her. Once Mikael starts digging into the family history, he finds out more than he bargained for. With the help of Lisbeth, they crack the mystery and uncover many dark family secrets. Mikael is a journalist that co-owns a magazine and a second story of his reporting, his magazine, and a scandal is also being told. This book had it all. An excellent mystery, a family saga, international business, and a love story of sorts. I think any reader would enjoy this book.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

It was time for another memoir. This was a very touching story of a boy, Ishmael Beah, growing up in Sierra Leone in the 1990's. When he was twelve his country was invaded by soldiers. He was separated from his family and he had to survive on his own. Ishmael writes about his life on his own and what he had to do in order to live. Many boys his age ended up being forced to join an army to fight against the rebels in the country. Life changed very quickly for Ishmael. He was with weapons and killing people in order to save his life and those lives around him. He saw and experienced more at the young age than most do in a lifetime. He was exposed to drugs and became hooked. He was finally rescued and spent quite a bit of time in a rehabilitation center. Through this center he met some very important people who changed his life. This was a shocking and uplifting story.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Undiscovered Country by Lin Enger

I had read both books by Lin's brother, Leif Enger, and really enjoyed them. This book was recommended to me by a co-worker, and I thought I would give it a try. I truly enjoyed the story and found it a quick read. The story takes place right here in Minnesota so that was kind of fun to read about. The story is about Jesse who is in high school. At the beginning of the book, Jesse and his dad are hunting and his dad is shot and dies. They rule it as a suicide. Jesse knows in his heart that his dad didn't kill himself. He turns toward the one man he knows is responsible who happens to be his dad's brother Clay. No one but Jesse believes this to be true, including his mother, so it is up to Jesse to prove Clay's guilt. The story moves along smoothly and works toward an interesting and satisfying conclusion. Both Lin and Leif Enger are talented writers and I know you will enjoy all of their books.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress

This was my last read of summer 2008. I actually finished it at the beginning of September. I had read another book by this author called One Mississippi and really enjoyed it. I thought I would try another book by Mark Childress. I was not disappointed. The two books were very different, but both equally good. This was a bit on the bizarre side, but I truly enjoyed the whole story. It is actually two stories in the one book. The first story is about a young boy named Peejoe. He is living in Alabama first with his grandma and then his uncle. It is during the 1960's during the time of Dr. Martin Luther King. Peejoe and his community find themselves dealing with the issue of segregation. The second story is about Peejoe's Aunt Lucille. She has just killed her husband, has his head, and is heading to California to audition for a part on a popular television show. Yes, odd, but oddly interesting! The two stories are separate for the most part, but by the end of the book, come together quite nicely. This book has lots of humor, interesting and unique characters (especially Lucille), but also has a great and touching message.