The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By: Stieg Larsson

Series: Millennium Trilogy, Book 1

Published: 2005 - English version in 2008

# of pages: 631

Official description:

Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into a complex and atmospheric novel, with an unpredictable style, intriguing scenes, and giant twists to the plot in many places.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of iniquity and corruption.

It also could be described as another thriller with romantic affairs, that Salander cannot cope with.

My opinion: It took awhile for me to become interested in this book. It wasn't until about 80 pages in that I started enjoying it. I think it may be that way with most readers. The first part concentrates on the character Mikael Blomkvist's financial journalism career, so unless the reader is interested in financial affairs, this part won't be interesting. Although as soon as the mystery started unraveling I was hooked! I'm surprised I enjoyed this book so much because it's very violent and graphic. There's a theme of sexual abuse and violence against women.

However, I loved the mystery. It was intricate, but not too complicated. I was able to work out a couple of the pieces, but the whole thing wasn't spoiled. I couldn't put the book down because I just had to know what happened next!

The only thing I disliked is how there's a story within a story. There's the beginning and end which concentrate on Blomkvist's financial journalism career and then there's the middle, which consists of the mystery. Thankfully the mystery makes up most of the novel, but then again, that makes the end feel especially out of place. I felt like the book had already ended, but I still had to read a lot more before the actual end. It didn't tie together very well.

Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Very well written (and translated since it was originally written in Swedish), good character development, unique and thought provoking subject matter.

Other reviews:
You Can Never Have Too Many Books

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls

By: Lisa See

Series: Shanghai Girls (Sisters Pearl and May), Book 1

Published: 2009

# of pages: 309

Quote: "I focus my eyes on my jade bracelet. . . it is an object that ties me to the past, to people and places that are gone forever. Its continued perfection serves as a physical reminder to keep living, to look to the future, to cherish what I have. It reminds me to endure. I'll live one morning after another, one step after another, because my will to continue is so strong." -Pearl pg. 232

Official description:

In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls.

My opinion: This is a tragic book, a lot of terrible things happen to Pearl and May. However, I still enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. I related to Pearl and her thoughts and feelings. All of the tragedies add up to an adventure that is hard for modern Americans to comprehend, but that's part of what makes it so hard to stop reading.

I was impressed with See's storytelling and the obvious research she did for the historic aspects of the novel. I like reading about this time period (WWII and the surrounding years) from another point of view. A few months ago I read Snow Falling on Cedars, a book that is written from the view point of Japanese Americans. I learned so much from that book and now even more from Shanghai Girls, which taught me about how the war and politics affected Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans.

I also liked how See brings together both Pearl's and May's opinions and ways of interpreting everything that happened to them at the end. I'm glad there's a sequel to the story because otherwise I'd be unhappy with the ending! Dreams of Joy was released in May 2011, I'm on a LONG waiting list for it at the library!

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars: Well written, realistic characters, interesting story & setting. However, very graphic - violence & sex. It may be too much for readers who are sensitive about these subjects or who have been sexually abused.

Other reviews:
Royal Reviews

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Names I loved from the book:

Literary Names

My husband and I have already had 2 boys, but before we found out their gender (while I was pregnant) we made a long list that included both boy and girl names. Several of the names on the girl list were literary names. I'm going to start including names I love from each book I post about. I'll put the section under the review & links to other reviews so that it won't distract people who aren't name nerds like I am!

Evangeline (Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow & Uncle Tom's Cabin by: Harriet Beecher Stowe)
Juliet (Romeo & Juliet by: William Shakespeare) - my first son (Evan) would most likely have been given this name if he'd been a girl.
Lorelei - (German mythology)
Lenore (The Raven by: Edgar Allan Poe) - my husband nixed this one pretty quickly, unfortunately.
Eliza (Pygmalion - My Fair Lady! - by: George Bernard Shaw)
Delilah - Biblical
Lydia - Biblical
Clara (The Nutcracker - I know this isn't literature, but the ballet was based on a story)

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R.I.P. VI Challenge

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Dark Fantasy.

September 1 - October 31

I will be participating in "Peril the First" - read 4 books, "Peril of the Short Story" - read a short story, and "Peril on the Screen" - watch a movie or TV show.

The Woman in Black by: Susan Hill
Handling the Undead by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
The Moving Finger by: Agatha Christie
The Lantern by: Deborah Lawrenson

Short Story:
"The Yellow Wallpaper" by: Charlotte Perkins Gilman - I read this in my Gothic Lit class in college. Recently I read a fellow blogger's review and it made me want to go back and read this again.

Not sure yet! Suggestions would be nice. I noticed a movie is being made of The Woman in Black, but it won't be out in time for me to watch for this year's challenge. My husband and I always watch a scary movie on Halloween. Past movies include: "Psycho," "The Birds," "The Rear Window," "The Oath" (original), and a collection of Hawthorne stories directed by Hitchcock. We do watch modern suspense movies like "Skeleton Key," "The Burbs," "Disturbia," "The Others," "White Noise," etc. Nothing too graphic.

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Wife, mother, bookworm.
This is a place where you can read book reviews, discover links, and learn about the reading challenges in which I'm taking part.


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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
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