Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The next 3 Books!

We have 3 winners, with 42% of the votes each!! I have added them to the sidebar for our next 3 months.

I have also added a 'Working List' a bit further down the side bar. I suggest that when any of us thinks of a book they would like to read here, just add the title to this list. Any of the 'contributors/authors' of the blog can do this by going to the edit layout page from the dashboard. Alternatively leave a comment and one of us will do it. It just makes it easier to see at a glance what has been proposed without trawling back through all the comments. I have added all the books which we recently voted on which had one or more vote- and have left off those which had no votes!

Hope everyone is ok with this? I suppose at some stage we should have an explanation of how we choose books on the side bar, but as this is still a work in progress perhaps that should be for later. Feel free to comment if you think anything needs changing....!

Oh one other thing...if we write what we think about each book on one post (ie by adding our comments to the first person's post either by editing that post- because we can edit each other's- or by writing in the comments page) we can link the picture of the books we have read to that post- to make it quicker/easier to find past posts....not sure if I am making sense here...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Voting Open!

Having read e's post below and Jo's comments, I would like to propose that e chooses the book for October, as she has been having trouble getting books. therefore she can choose one she knows she can get hold of. Then I thought I would try to add a poll to the side bar to see if we can choose the next book few books after that.

I am not sure if it will work, because most of us who read here are co-authors of the blog, will it count as one vote? So I have enable 'multilpe votes' to see if that helps. Of course anyone who visits here who is not a 'co-author' can still vote!

I have tried to include all books suggestions from previous comments pages. I am sorry if I have missed anyone's choice- just leave a comment and we can add it in for next time. I propose that we take the 3 top chioces for our next 3 books. Any suggestions about how this progresses welcome....

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Apologies...

I have yet to receive the Bowles book from my library system. The latest information is that I should get it by September 30, at which time I'll be away and the VBC will have begun the October selection.

Obtaining several of the selections for the VBC has been a persistent problem over the last months. I wonder if we might consider coming up with a short list of reading possibilities through December so that I and others can have a bit of advance time to secure the books via either the library or Amazon?

Also, I wonder if anyone has read any of the novels of Philippe Claudel?

Is anyone open to perhaps reading a play or some poetry?

As we've not yet settled on a selection for October, these are some ideas...

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo- Cinnamon's thoughts

note- this may give away details of the plot....

A satisfying read. All the loose ends tied up at the end. A substantial plot with several climaxes. As a crime thriller though, not for the fainthearted. If this were a film it would have a rating of '18' at least. The scenes of sadistic rape and torture were painful to read. Each section of the book is introduced by a presumably accurate statistic about the extent of sexual violence and domestic abuse against women in Sweden. Shocking. I am uncertain whether the cause of these women is served by fictionalising this violence. Larsson makes good points about the role of power and its misuse in these situations. Although Lisbeth's revenge (against her guardian) is clever, I was uncomfortable knowing that our justice systems today are up against people of such cunning evil that no other option would be open to a victim. Abduction, torture and murder of disenfranchised women continues today and the novel seems to suggest that the high-profile serial-killer cases that come to light are just the tip of the iceberg.

The evil of fascist, neo-Nazi politics and the criminal activities of big corporations are other causes for reflection. As is the apparent ease with which it is possible for someone with the know-how to hack into a computer. I have been so naive!

I was surprised when the name of Enid Blyton came up when the authors on a bookshelf (was it Henrik's?) were listed. I later read that Larsson was a fan, also of Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking- on whom he based the character of Lisbeth ( a grown-up version). Mmmm.. a very grown up version!

There were many autobiographical elements- the author himself was a journalist, a vehement anti-nazi campaigner, a publisher of Expo, an independent Swedish anti-racist magazine, and himself a veteran of death threats. So we can surmise the character of Blomkvist is based on Larsson. Sadly the author, a 60-a-day smoker and a workaholic, died aged 50 from a heart attack in 2004- take note any driven authors out there.

I thought the pacing of the book was brilliant- considering the 2 main investigators do not even meet until the middle of the book, the threads of the strory were very cleverly woven. I thought all the characters were plausible (even Lisbeth)- but it is not edifying to think that we are so flawed as these characters are portrayed. It is not edifying to think that relationships are carried on in the absence of love. It is not edifying to think of the skeletons in our family histories- but all sadly plausible.

When we read the Martha Grimes I felt I was an outsider trying to get to grips with a group of characters that had a history together. The same is true of other series of books- Enid Blyton's 'The Famous Five', for example- you can't just read one in isolation- you have to read to read them in sequence. Larsson has 2 more in this trilogy. I am very tempted to see where he takes these characters next...

Friday, September 4, 2009