Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 9 & 10 - 2014

Book 9: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson – 746 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Salander is plotting her revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and against the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. But it is not going to be a straightforward campaign. After taking a bullet to the head, Salander is under close supervision in Intensive Care, and is set to face trial for three murders and one attempted murder on her eventual release. With the help of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his researchers at Millennium magazine, Salander must not only prove her innocence, but identify and denounce the corrupt politicians that have allowed the vulnerable to become victims of abuse and violence. Once a victim herself, Salander is now ready to fight back.

This is the final Millennium book written by Larsson before he died. Having read the first two almost two years ago, I did have to flip through them to remember the plot (particularly the second one), but this book very quickly sets up enough to remind you of the backstory without rehashing the whole thing. Larsson manages to keep several stories running at the same time, and tie them all together in a very believable fashion. Salander and Blomkvist’s relationship is rocky but it is evident they care about each other, and for the most part, Larsson manages to keep them out of clichéd territory. The story is very complex, and in some respects (and partly because I’ve never been to Sweden and know little about the country – sorry, Sweden!) seems almost too fanciful to be set somewhere like Sweden. But Larsson pulls it all together so nicely and closes the overall book (without closing it, you can totally see the possibility for future books, such a shame he died) so comfortably that you can’t help enjoy it. A nice long solid read with a solid, interesting plot and fleshed out, three-dimensional characters. Definitely recommend it.

9 / 50 books. 18% done!

3417 / 15000 pages. 23% done!

Book 10: A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Danny Pearl by Mariane Pearl with Sarah Crichton – 272 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
For five weeks the world waited for news about Danny Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan...And then came the broadcast of his shocking murder. The complete account of his abduction, the intense effort to rescue him, and the aftermath are told here - in astonishing detail, and with courage and insight - by his surviving wife Mariane. A Mighty Heart is the unforgettable story of two journalists who fell in love with their work - and with each other. Together, Mariane and Danny Pearl traveled across the globe, dedicated to journalism that increases the under-standing of international politics and of ethnic and religious conflict. In the end, Danny was caught in the dangerous fissure where warring cultures, politics, and ideologies collide. A Mighty Heart is both a portrait of a partner-ship built on the ideals of love, truth, and justice and a critical look at the methods and structure of the Al Qaeda network.

This is a really important book, and even though it’s an intense, upsetting read, its something everyone should read. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the event itself, but then I was in my teens, and in Australia, and even though it probably made our news, it wasn’t something I paid attention to. The first time I heard about the event was when the movie with Angelina Jolie came out. I’ve never seen the movie, and I didn’t know much about the story before reading the book. This is a very intense read and it took me a while to get through it. Pearl is without a doubt one of the most compassionate, forgiving people on the planet. She manages throughout to be non-judgmental, thankful and by my interpretation, true to her late husband’s wishes for the world. I can’t imagine I would have been anywhere near as understanding in the same circumstances. Moreover, given Pearl was expecting was their first child at the time, its truly a testament to the love she shared with her husband and her own convictions that she managed to remain so compassionate throughout. It’s a lesson for the world, to prevent things like Danny Pearl’s death happening again. A very important book in our polarized world.

10 / 50 books. 20% done!

3689 / 15000 pages. 25% done!

Currently reading:
-        A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Tenth: The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket – 337 pages
-        Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet B. Schor – 258 pages
-        Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs – 283 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: crime fiction, european, religion, sexual violence

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