Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A Few Good Books

So I stopped at chapters a few weeks back and picked up a big pile of books.  Now I've read through them all I thought I'd highlight a few.

First off, I finally got around to reading the much-acclaimed "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson.  It was an interesting story of a journalist who attempts to solve a decades-old murder mystery with the help of a young, troubled but brilliant girl (who is also, of course, tattooed).  Hi-jinx ensue.  There are motorcycles.  I liked this book well enough, although I don't think it even came close to living up to all the hype.  There were a few scenes, mainly involving some heavy-duty violence against women, which definitely captured my attention.  Some things you'd rather not think about.  The author certainly has a way with words.  I did think that this novel could use some judicious editing though.  It was over 900 pages long in paperback format and didn't really sell me until past the 400 page mark.  I guess with the author having died shortly after writing this (and the two sequels) they felt that editing may have been disrespectful.  I don't know that I agree.  Still, I at least mildly recommend "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo".  I'll definitely pick up the sequel next time I'm at Chapters.

Next up, "Life" by Keith Richards.  I've never been a big Rolling Stones fan but I do love an autobiography and have a fascination with the music scene and lifestyles of the 60's and 70's in particular.  Considering how iconic and infamous "Keef" is, I figured there had to be some good stories in this one.  In fact, there were several very interesting tidbits.  An intriguing look into a very odd-ball life.  My only real complaint is that too many events seemed to be glossed over.  It's hard to cover 7+ decades in one book, no matter how long, so I guess this is understandable.  And I did learn how to tune my guitar to Open G and also how to win in a knife fight, so how can I complain?  Don't look for any deep, meaningful revelations about life or the world we live in though.  Just some cool stories about a crazy band and a crazy life as a Rolling Stone.

Thirdly, we have a surreal little graphic novel by "Scott Pilgrim" creator Bryan Lee O'Malley titled "Lost at Sea".  This is the story, told almost entirely in internal monologue, of an 18 year old girl on a road trip who is struggling with her own memories and her belief that she has no soul.  Rather, that she had a soul but it was stolen by a cat.  She thinks.  Maybe.  I was into this novel.  It was very well written and drawn nicely.  It also did a great job of using the road trip with strangers as a life metaphor and exploring that teenage search for identity.  If I'd read it 15 or 20 years ago "Lost at Sea" probably would have been one of my favourite books ever.  At 34, it's pleasantly nostalgic.  Still, I highly recommend it.  It's a heart-felt and touching tale.  Just don't expect it to be another "Scott Pilgrim" and you won't be disappointed.

Finally, I am once again reading "A Game of Thrones"  by George R.R. Martin.  This is, of course, book one of the greatest fantasy series ever, "A Song of Ice and Fire".  I'm sure I've gushed about it before.  If you only ever read one fantasy series, this should be it.  "A Game of Thrones" holds up quite well after multiple re-reads.  I had to reenter this world for 2 reasons.  First, this spring will mark the release of a TV show based on the novel!!  Watch the trailer and read all about it HERE.

Better yet, the long awaited 5th book in the series has finally got a release date!  "A Dance With Dragons" comes out on July 12th, 2011!!!!!  Finally a reason to live through the rest of the year!  I can't wait.


  1. We have the Richards book on our coffee table, just waiting for my curiosity. I should read it....

  2. you really should. I recommend combining it with listening to "Exile on Main Street"