Inferno.Cabin Fever.Futbol.Books.

I don't know if you've noticed, but its been really hot lately. Stupidly hot. Like 100+ degrees everyday for the past week. I've confined myself to air-conditioned spaces but I'm getting cabin fever. I watched my Germany lose to Italy in futbol. I watched my USA beat Canada today (women's) There is only so much television one can watch. But I have been reading...sort of.

Anyways, the inferno that is the United States right now (except maybe Alaska) made me think about the books I've read with hot settings--deserts, jungles, cities, anywhere the heat left an impression on the characters and/or reader. And a strange thing happened--I could only think of three!

For me, its so much easier to go the other way with this. I've read numerous books where it was cold, and the cold meant something for the characters...thematically, metaphorically etc. But not so much for the heat.

Here's what I scraped from my memory:

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
(Description via Goodreads)

Set on the island of Trinidad, characters reflect on the how the island heat enchanted a husband, detached a wife and set off island politics.

It touches on some tense topics: civil unrest, racial segregation, adultery, corruption. One character in particular constantly complains about the heat on the island. They're always sweating and whining and angry about something. The heat will do that to a person.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
(Description via Goodreads)

You know, the only reason I thought of this is because a portion of the story takes place in Mexico city. I've never been there, but I imagine it to be this hot, grimy, artsy place.

Kingsolver suprised me with this one because its oddly political. Also, despite the setting and situation, I found the protagonist to be reserved and somewhat cold.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young
(Description via Goodreads)

Technically, I haven't read this one yet...but I will read it at some point in the summer. A friend of mine read it already and thought it would fit on this post.

I like the cover.

 That's it. That's all I got.

What else is there?


Book Beginnings - Pierre and Jean and Selected Short Stories

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

"Damn it!" Monsieur Roland exclaimed abruptly. He had been sitting motionless for a quarter of an hour, with his eyes fixed on the water, occasionally giving a gentle tug on the line he had dropped deep into the sea. 
I like the beginning. I'd say its a fairly common reaction when people go fishing and don't get any bites...I always throw the fish I catch back in...I caught a turtle once. It was really heavy. Anyways, I've read three stories and am two-thirds through. What I've read so far has been very interesting. Maupassant has good ideas and the translated version I'm reading is great. I'm looking forward to one story in particular, Le Horla.


Poetry For Thought - Grasshopper

by Ron Padgett

It's funny when the mind thinks about the psyche,
as if a grasshopper could ponder a helicopter.

It's a bad idea to fall asleep
while flying a helicopter:

when you wake up, the helicopter is gone
and you are too, left behind in a dream,

and there is no way to catch up,
for catching up doesn't figure

in the scheme of things. You are
who you are, right now.

and the mind is so scared it closes its eyes
and then forgets it has eyes

and the grasshopper, the one that thinks
you're a helicopter, leaps onto your back!

He is a brave little grasshopper
and he never sleeps

for the poem he writes is the act
of always being awake, better than anything

you could ever write or do.
Then he springs away.


Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, grab your current read, open to a random page and share a few sentences. Don't include spoilers, but do include the title and author.

'Good heavens, poor Leon...our poor friend...good heavens...good heavens...he's dead!'
Tears appeared in her eyes, those silent tears of women, drops of grief from the soul that roll down their cheeks and seem so sorrowful, being so clear.
p. 35 of Pierre and Jean and Selected Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant, translated by Lowell Bair


A Few Morose Books...I did not like.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
(Description via Goodreads)

This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read and surprisingly, I didn't like it. I read it almost six years ago when I was in high school (this may have influenced my dislike a little). Times were tough. I get it...I didn't cry when I read this. In fact, I know I thought "alright, when's this going to be over"...and the ending was pretty lame, if I remember correctly. 

I'm all for revisiting text and authors--I had to try Hemingway many times before I decided I liked him, but I don't think it will be the case with this McCourt memoir-masterpiece.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair 
I had similar sentiments towards this one as I did with Angela's Ashes. A lot of bad things happen and I lost interest midway.

I'm still not convinced this is a great piece of literature, as it is an interesting piece of propaganda. But it was intriguing to know that this book influenced food safety policy by exposing the meat-packing industry. I always thought Hot dogs were weird items for human consumption. 

Where Sinclair lost me completely was the end. Socialism as the answer to all problems--gone. Point of no return. 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
(Description via Goodreads)

I'm pretty sure everyone has read this American Classic and almost everyone I know thought it was great. I didn't. 

Like Angela's Ashes, I read it in high school. Unlike Angela's Ashes, I might consider rereading it. I may have judged Steinbeck a little too harshly and prematurely at the age of 14, or whenever I read it. 


Review - Man Gone Down

Man Gone Down
Author: Michael Thomas
Pages: 400+

Description via Goodreads

This is a story about a broken man's desperate attempt to piece together his part of the puzzle, that is the American Dream. Unemployed and virtually homeless, the readers will follow his last four days in the city, as he tries to find a place to live for his family, and come up with tuition for his children's education. The pressure to provide these things is overwhelming, and the nameless narrator must succeed, or risk losing his wife and their three young children. In the concrete jungle of New York City, he has two options: fight or flight. 
It's a strange thing to go through life as a social experiment.
Ruminations on his current situation combined with flashbacks onto the past reveal how this man became broken, and arguably how this man was doomed to be broken from the start. He views himself as a social experiment, and it's clear he feels that race is a defining variable. For many who don't usually read things that offer racial discourse, his infusion of the race issue might be slightly off-putting. In this book, blackness and whiteness matter; it matters when he tries to find an apartment, when he plays golf, in his relationships, when he gets coffee. It matters. 

I found the first-person rambling/stream-of-consciousness to be poetic, raw, intellectual and true. Sometimes I felt bad for him. Sometimes I could relate. And other times I was frustrated with him. I mean, you wonder how someone so talented and with the opportunities he's had, can become so broken. Every once in awhile, he'd become too hermetic--I couldn't get into his head. For example, it was endearing to hear him talk about his kids, but sad to hear him talk about leaving them forever...You want to root for him, but there's a hopelessness. 

I did raise an eyebrow at a few things...like why couldn't his wife work too? and why couldn't his children go to public school until they were more financially stable to send them to private school? I couldn't help but think he was trying to maintain some remnant of the wasp lifestyle for his wife. When you're broke spiritually and financially, maintaining an image is usually pretty low on the priority list. And yet I know this was intentional--another challenge of marrying a blue-blood. I also thought it was interesting that he kept mentioning his Irish and Native American heritage because it didn't really help him out. It didn't make him any less black...maybe it made him more acceptable to his wife and their white friends...I don't know, it was just odd. I guess it was another struggle with identity. 

Here are a few quotes (of many) that I liked:

It's a bad idea to put on music while trying to make a plan. It may be that I need to stop listening altogether. Dylan makes me feel alienated and old; hip-hop. militant. Otis Redding is too gritty and makes me think about dying young. Robert Johnson makes me feel like catching the next thing smoking and Satan. Marley makes me feel like Jesus. (26) 
I know that drunks, madman, and corpses make for lousy dinner guests. But I also believe that there's a them and they believe that they are good, and I know that if I had what they have--privilege, money, and numbers--I'd tear this fucking place down. (124) 
There's a limited amount of space for people, any people anywhere. And on the inside of any powerful institution, especially for people of color, that space gets smaller and stranger. Most white folks believe the reason you've come in is to uplift your people. But you can't bring your people inside, except compressed into a familiar story that's already been sanctioned. And you wouldn't be there in the first place unless you were a recognizable type: the noble savage, Uncle Tom, the Afro-Centric, the Oreo, the fool. (147) 

Thomas' antihero acknowledges the subtleties of the race question in everyday life. It's a very powerful and engaging narration. If you don't like to discuss race (for whatever reason) I don't think you'll be able to appreciate this book. But I'm really glad I read this one.

Man Gone Down

Four stars.


Book Beginnings - Man Gone Down

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

I know I'm not doing well. I have an emotional relationship with a fish--Thomas Strawberry. My oldest son, C, named him, and that name was given weight because a six-year-old voiced it as though he'd had an epiphany: "He looks like a strawberry." The three adults in the room had nodded in agreement.

This is a good way to begin this book. Of course, it won't make sense until you learn the circumstances of the narrator, but his emotional relationship with Thomas Strawberry, the fish, reflects the severity of his situation--he is not doing well at all. I'm about halfway through. It's a stream-of-consciousness piece. It's sad, dark, sometimes funny, always stressful, and thought-provoking...I really like it so far. It's the first book I'm reading for what I've now dubbed 'Quest Alpha'



What's Next

I just realized I've lined up two super long books for myself: 1Q84 and A Clash of Kings. I don't know why I do this--I never look at page numbers and I'm a slow reader...Oh well, I hope they're both good.

So here's what I'll be reading relatively soon:

I need to start back up on some of my reading challenges. This is the 'Black' selection for Color Coded. It's set in the Civil war, which is cool. And I think it's somewhere between 200-250 pages--good.

I love Ursula LeGuin. The Left Hand of Darkness (review here)swept me away. This is probably amazing too. Side note: I think this is a great book cover. Copies with this style cover art are hard to find. 

I think I saw bits and pieces of a cartoon or movie based on this, when I was a child, but I don't remember much. Apparently there's a graphic novel, but I'll be reading the original book. It just seems like something I should pick up while I'm on a fantasy kick. 

So yeah, that's it for now.


Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, grab your current read, open to a random page and share a few sentences. Don't include spoilers, but do include the title and author.

In the summer he's blond and bronze--colored. He looks like a tan elf on steroids. It would seem fitting to tie a sword to his waist and strap a shield on his back.
p. 11 of Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas 



Review - The Night Circus

The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Pages: 350+

Description via Goodreads

I've never been one to complain about description--sometimes I need it more than I need dialogue. The Night Circus is not short on description by any means. The book successfully recreates the ambiance of a circus; the mystique, awe, curiosity and occasional fear. If you're unable to visualize the circus after reading this, then you should just give up on imagery (and maybe the circus) altogether. 

Overall, I liked the idea of outsiders viewing the mysterious night circus as this wonderful place full of spectacle and illusion, and those from within sometimes viewing the circus as a cage. The descriptions and undertones in the beginning set me up for a great story--and my expectations were high--but the great story was never delivered. 
"I'm not sure I understand the rules", Marco says. "You don't need to under stand the rules. You need to follow them. As I said your work has been sufficient." (115)

Morgenstern does a great job of setting up the place, but could have done a better job of expanding on characters, plot and rules to this 'competition'. Maybe if the two central characters, Marco and Celia, had a clearer idea of the rules and endgame, then they would have been more dynamic. To me, they  were flat. The book description says a 'fierce competition is underway'--yeah, well you wouldn't know from reading. It also says Marco and Celia fall into a 'deep, magical love'...I beg to differ. Minor characters like Tsukiko, Isobel, Alexander and Prospero were much more interesting than Marco and Celia. 

I felt like nothing really happened in the middle of the book...There was no actual, well-explained conflict. For awhile I accepted the ambiguous run-around because maybe it was part of the intrigue. But I'm not that type of reader. I needed to know the origins of this competition and I needed there to be more action or at least more romance. I needed plot. I'm still trying to decide if the format and all the jumping around aided in the disconnect of the story. It's quite possible. 

Interestingly, even though I enjoyed many of the descriptions, I also had a problem with the details ...not necessarily a problem with the abundance of detail, but the redundancy--the fluff. Certain things were repeated over and over again, and I was just like 'I get it already!' I'm not going to forget what color the tents are between pages 15 and 16. No need to mention it again on page 17. Some things were just confusing and unnecessary. I don't know, it really irked me.
At first, it is only a random pattern of lights. But as more of them ignite, it becomes clear that they are aligned in scripted letters, First a C is distinguishable, followed by more letters. A q, oddly, and several e's. When the final bulb pops alight, and the smoke and sparks dissipate, it is finally legible, this elaborate incandescent sign. Leaning to your left to gain a better view, you can see that it reads: Le Cirque des Reves  (5)
I understand why so many people like The Night Circus. The descriptions (when not too fluffed up) are fascinating. It might be a cool place to visit, if it were real. The setting is the saving grace for the book. 
The Night Circus

Three stars.


Poetry For Thought - Blood

by Naomi Shihab Nye

"A true Arab knows how to catch a fly in his hands,"
my father would say. And he'd prove it,
cupping the buzzer instantly
while the host with the swatter stared.

In the spring our palms peeled like snakes.
True Arabs believed watermelon could heal fifty ways.
I changed these to fit the occasion.

Years before, a girl knocked,
wanted to see the Arab.
I said we didn't have one.
After that, my father told me who he was,
"Shihab"--"shooting star'--
a good name, borrowed from the sky.
Once I said, "When we die, we give it back?"
He said that's what a true Arab would say.

Today the headlines clot in my blood.
A little Palestinian dangles a toy truck on the front page.
Homeless fig, this tragedy with a terrible root
is too big for us. What flag we wave?
I wave the flag of stone and seed,
table mat stitched in blue.

I call my father, we talk around the news.
It is too much for him,
neither of his two languages can reach it.
I drive into the country to find sheep, cows,
to plead with the air:
Who calls anyone civilized?
Where can the crying heart graze?
What does a true Arab do now?


Book Beginnings - The Night Circus

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

Book Beginning(s):
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers, It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 
A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. --Oscar Wilde, 1888 
The man billed as Prospero the Enchanter receives a fair amount of correspondence via the theater office, but this the first envelope addressed to him that contains a suicide note, and it is also the first to arrive carefully pinned to the coat of a five-year-old. 

This book is organized in a very interesting way. The beginning starts with what I'm going to call a 'thematic mini-passage' (titled Anticipation), followed by an epigraph, which is then followed by the actual narration. So I included a bit of each. This would be annoying if they were all boring, but as it turns out, I think they're all fantastic. These 'thematic mini-passages' continue throughout the book. I'm only 50 pages in, so I've only encountered two.

Although nothing extraordinary has happened, there are some sinister undertones and interesting character dynamics that lead me to believe something potentially amazing will happen. This is good.


Teaser Tuesdays


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, grab your current read, open to a random page and share a few sentences. Don't include spoilers, but do include the title and author.

At first, the letters Marco receives from Isobel arrive frequently, but as the circus travels to far-flung cities and countries, weeks and sometimes months stretch wordlessly between each missive. 
p. 117 of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Review - Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 400+


Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. 

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains--except Katniss. 

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsiblity for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.
I also think you're a little hard to swallow. With your tacky romantic drama and your defender-of-the-helpless act. Only it isn't an act, which makes you more unbearable. Please feel free to take this personally (218) 
A little hard to swallow and unbearable....This pretty much sums up how I felt about Katniss throughout the entire book, from start to finish; and it's interesting that Collins would write this (albeit from the view of another character)...it's like she knew just how lame Katniss was. Forget the rushed plot, vague descriptions and cop out ending. Katniss' character development--or the lack thereof--is beyond annoying. She never truly embraced the role of Mockingjay. She was too self-righteous at all the wrong times, too irresponsible at others, a silly pawn easily manipulated by both President Snow and Coin. She was numb, flat, blah.
Don't be a fool Katniss. Think for yourself (111)
And I get it, she's been through a lot, but if you're going to agree to be the Mockingjay and you know what it means for the future of the rebellion, then you should own it. But Katniss does it half-ass. Gale and Peeta progress more than she does...There is no journey for her. At one point Katniss is shot, and I almost wished she had died and then someone else took over as Mockingjay. At another point she votes for another Hunger Games to happen--Why? This makes no sense. Where's the maturation? Where's the climax? Why even write this?

I don't have much else to say. As a reader, I prefer lots of description, a lot of show and less tell. There is a lot of 'telling' going on in this series, with cheesy dialogue and an inactive protagonist...The writing was not that much better in the previous two books, but at least they were fun to read. This one bombed. 


Two stars.


Review - Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Pages: 400+


Barbara Kingsolver's fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of Southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel's intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place. 

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is earthy, romantic, didactic, sensual and eloquent. More importantly, her writing is familiar and comforting. In other words, she gets me. The familiarity of her writing is endearing, it really is. Growing up along the outskirts of Appalachia, I can relate to the frustration over the damn Kudzu that overtakes native scenery, the annoying stinkbugs that find a way into everything, the irksome pain of cockleburs stuck to your clothing and the awe-inspiring  perfection of apple orchards. I know the country, 'hillbilly' accent that is unavoidable if you wander north of Baltimore towards the mountains, or across the Bay to the eastern shore's blend of marsh and farmland. This book is reminiscent of all of that...she gets me. 

'Why does everything make you so mad?' she asked finally. 'I only wish you could see the beauty in it.'

     'In what?' he asked. A cloud passed briefly over the sun, causing everything to shift a little.

'Everything'. She flung out an arm.'This world! A field of plants and bugs working out a balance in their own way.'

     'That's a happy view of it. They're killing each other, is what they're doing.'

'Yes, sir, eating others and reproducing their own, that's true. Eating and reproducing, that's the most of what God's creation is all about.'

     'I'm going to have to take exception to that.'

'Oh? Are you thinking you got here some way different than the rest of us?'

     'No', he said irritably. 'I just don't choose to wallow in it.'

'It's not mud, Mr. Walker. It's glory, to be part of a bigger something. The glory of an evolving world.' (277)
Not only does Kingsolver give readers beautiful descriptions of nature, she offers them great, authentic characters. The super-long exchange from above is between Nannie Rawley; hardcore anti-pesticide/insecticide activist and organic apple grower, and Garnett Walker; bitter, old man and American Chestnut revivalist. They're neighbors and they disagree on basically everything. Most of their interactions are philosophical debates, which are quite comical. Garnett Walker's narrow-mindedness and conservative simplicity is so cute-- he's just old-fashioned, I guess.

The reader will also encounter Deanna Wolfe and Eddie Bondo. She lives on the mountain as a park ranger and he's sort of a vagabond hunter. He wanders onto her mountain one day, they meet and play house for the summer, until he decides its time to find another mountain. They share some intimate moments (nothing over the top) but they also disagree on a singular, pressing issue that neither will budge on. Deanna is tied up as my favorite character. I can empathize with her in a way; comfort in solitude and living as a 'tall'. 

Last but not least is Lusa Landowski, and her painful integration into the Widener family. She's my other favorite--an outsider, an educated, city girl. In my opinion, she faces the most difficult obstacles, but is able to overcome them like a champ. I don't know if I would have done the same in her situation.
Solitude is a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot, a tug of impalpable thread on the web pulling mate to mate and predator to prey, a beginning or an end. Every choice is a world made new for the chosen. (444)
This is a story about the different kinds of love one can experience and the interconnectedness (I think that's a word) of everyone and everything.

I didn't want this book to end. I liked everything. I purposefully avoided it and read even slower than usual, to delay the inevitable. 

It's a new favorite. 

Prodigal Summer

Five stars.


Book Beginnings - Mockingjay

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

Book Beginning:
I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table. The bricks of the chimney, which collapsed  in a charred heap, provide a point of reference for the rest of the house. How else could I orient myself in this sea of gray?
My thoughts:

Initially, I was only going to include the first few sentences from the beginning, but when I read it over it didn't provoke any feeling. So then I included the next two, and it was a little better. But the truth is, this beginning is a little disappointing...not only with the first lines, but generally speaking, with where Collins is going with the story. Maybe I'm just disenchanted (it happens sometimes).

Thoughts? No thoughts? I wouldn't blame you if didn't have any. I certainly don't have many. 


Poetry For Thought - Homage to My Hips

Homage to My Hips
by Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top


Following The Herd

I think the last time I posted on 'following the herd' I mentioned The Hunger Games and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Mockingjay. I have Mockingjay in my Kindle and I finished the the first book of the popular Larsson trilogy. I think I'm going to leave that series alone for awhile. Oh yeah, the paperback of 1Q84 was released a few weeks ago, so I'll be picking that up soon.

Honestly, I don't even know what's trending at the moment...Fifty Shades of Grey? -- Hell to the no!

Here's what I'm thinking:

I don't remember where or when I discovered this...I just know it was a big deal at one point or another.

I think I'm ready to read this one. My goal is to read them all  before George R.R. Martin releases the next one... which is apparently titled The Winds of Winter.

That's it for now.


Review - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Steig Larsson
Pages: 600+


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 unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

My thoughts:

Bits and pieces...I liked bits and pieces of this book: the delving into photo archives, passages from Leviticus and the near death experiences of Blomkvist. The plot reveals family tensions, secrets and perversions -- but as a whole, I was bored.

I didn't care for the girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander; investigative genius and hacker who helps Blomkvist solve the mystery behind the serial rapes and murders of women in Sweden (which are somewhat religiously motivated, but not really). I guess what I really mean to say is that I didn't get Lisbeth Salander. I didn't believe her. Her actions didn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm not talking about her tendency to be distant. I'm mostly referring to her encounters with her creepy guardian, which I think could have easily been avoided. I get that she was playing victim to the system, but sexual exploitation is never the way to go. I didn't understand her relationship with Blomkvist either, but whatever, some things just are the way they are. And can someone please explain to me why Salander didn't want the police involved after they discovered the identity and torture chamber of a rapist/murderer? 

It was interesting that Blomkvist couldn't solve the mystery without Salander. I thought their collaboration on the case was rushed, vague and therefore slightly unbelievable. I also thought the dialogue was poor and a little boring (do we blame the translator?) and it took a while for even an ounce of 'thrill' to find its way into the pages. A charred cat comes to mind.  

There was an unusually frequent mention of coffee...

I don't know -- the word 'overhyped' comes to mind. I expected a little more. Not sure when I'll be reading the next book, but I have a few general predictions on what it will be about. (1) We'll learn more about a heart-broken Salander (2) Salander will get into more sexually exploitative dilemmas (3) I suppose Blomkvist will make another cameo.

I'm hoping the movies are more entertaining.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Three stars.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, grab your current read, open to a random page and share a few sentences. Don't include spoilers, but do include the title and author. 
She had some respect for the poetry of country people's language, if not for the veracity of their perceptions: mountains breathe and a snake won't die till the sun goes down, even if you chop off it's head. If a snapping turtle gets hold of you, he won't let go till it thunders.

p. 31 of Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver 


Book Beginnings - Prodigal Summer

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits. But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.
First, let me say that I love reading Barbara Kingsolver. I really do. I'm going to save my rant about my adoration of her writing for the review of this book. But just know that I really enjoy her writing.

Okay, back to the beginning. I like it, especially the third sentence. Sure, she's simply describing nature, both human and non-human, but it's how she describes these things. Her descriptions of Appalachian life are wonderful and the book is filled with them. I'm enjoying it.

Last, I leave you with a picture. It's the first thing you see when you open the book. I don't really like bugs that much in person, but I like these illustrations.