Printer’s Row Lit Fest and Summer Reading

Last weekend I got to experience the Printer’s Row Lit Fest here in Chicago. It is the biggest book fair in the midwest. I signed up to volunteer, although I did more shopping than volunteering! It really was a great festival with more books than I could have imagined. There were all sorts of author events, readings, and music. I was just a “greeter” this year, which wasn’t a very demanding job, but next year maybe I’ll take on a more active role.

I bought a handful of used books while there including:

  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  • A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
  • Personal Injuries by Scott Turow
  • Love Walked In by Maria de Santos
  • Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo

I’m really looking forward to diving into some of these this week. I’m going on a cruise with my entire family, 18 of us. It will be busy and we will be doing lots of the excursions, but hopefully there will also be some time for some quality reading, preferably by the pool! There is also a beautiful two story library on board that I’m looking forward to checking out!

I’ve been reading a decent amount since school ended, but I really want to make it a goal to read at least a book a week this summer, but hopefully more. I have so many books sitting on my shelf just waiting to be read. In addition to the ones listed above, I also have Old Filth by Jane Gardam, The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian, Innocent by Scott Turow, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen, and Columbine by David Cullen. Not to mention I still have to buy and read The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson. There have just been too many good book sales lately!

Ah, so much reading to do, so little time. I probably won’t update for over a week since I’ll be cruising, but I hope to have many reviews to write when I return home!

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Book: The Girl Who Played With Fire

Author: Stieg Larsson

Short Summary:
In his second installment of the Millenium trilogy, we are once again taken into the lives of Lisbeth Salander and Mikel Bloomkvist. Two of Mikel’s co-workers and friends are murdered right before a scandalous story they wrote was to be published. Lisbeth is the prime suspect and her fingerprints have been found on the murder weapon. Bloomkvist is convinced that Salander is innocent of the crime and does all he can to prove it.

My Thoughts:
This was another wonderful effort from the late Stieg Larsson. It was easy to fall right into the story because the characters were already so familiar. I also enjoyed diving deeper and deeper into the life of Lisbeth Salander and learning more about her past and what makes her the way she is.

It’s pretty hard to write about this book without giving too much away. It definitely kept me turning page after page with wonderful suspense.

I stated this in the review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but it’s worth stating again: Lisbeth Salander kicks ass. She is seriously one of the most interesting, unique, and complicated heroines that has appeared in fiction in a long time. I can’t wait to read the next installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I also can’t wait for the movie of this book to come out since I was so impressed with the first one.

My Rating: 4.25/5 stars

May in Review

Okay, so May was not a very good month in terms of blogging or reading. I only got through 4 books, two read and two audio. I had a lot going on in my personal life and the second half of the month I was MIA from my blog. But now I am back! My summer vacation has officially started which mean lots of time to read! In the past few days I have bought 7 new books, so there will be plenty to keep me busy.

Here is what I read in May:

My favorite was The Girl Who Played with Fire and I am very much looking forward to The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Secrets of Eden was fantastic as well.

I am currently reading The Red Tent which is great so far. This month I plan to read To Kill a Mockingbird which I have never read! I also have Columbine, Half a Yellow Sun, The Stormchasers, and Innocent in sight. We shall see what I get to. I am going on a family cruise for a week at the end of the month and have to decide what to bring with!

I have been flirting with the idea of reading a graphic novel. I don’t have any, but I think I might start with Persepolis. If anyone has suggestions for a graphic novel which would be good to start with I’m all ears.

While May has not been a productive reading/blogging month, I hope that I can redeem myself in June! Happy Summer everyone!

April in Review

May already? Wow. First I want to apologize for being MIA lately. I had a computer malfunction last weekend. I’m back up and running, but things are a little tricky and I’m working out some kinks.

That being said, April was a pretty good month. I started doing Soundtrack Saturday and Sunday and hope to continue that. I am such a music lover and the idea from alita.reads is a great one! I got through 6 books, 4 read, 2 audio, and 1 movie based on a book. Here is what I read:

In April I also got to go see Billy Elliot the musical and Ben Folds, my all time favorite musician!

My favorite book of the month was Let the Great World Spin, but Ella Minnow Pea comes in a close second. Very different books, but both great.

I am currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson and Mudbound by Hilary Jordan. I am listening to Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian. All of them are great so far.

May is my last month of school, and I really don’t have much planned for the summer except a one week cruise with the family. I’m hoping to fit in a ton of reading during this summer, maybe fitting in some big ones like Beach Music or Pillars of the Earth. We shall see.

I hope everyone had a great month!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: The Movie

I recently read and reviewed Stieg Larssson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, originally titled Män Som Hatar Kvinnor; Men who Hate Women. This past weekend I had the privilege of seeing the movie. The book was translated to English, but the movie was in Stieg’s native language, Swedish, with English subtitles.

More times than not I am disappointed by a film version of a book I have read. There is often no way to translate much of what happened on the pages to the screen. I am happy to say that this film was an exception. It was excellent!

The casting was spot on when it came to Salander. Noomi Rapace’s portrayal of Lisbeth brought the character to life. Her performance was very much how I envisioned the character in my head while reading. She was dark, mysterious, and haunting. Michael Nykqvist also did a respectable job as Mikael, the journalist at Millenium investigating the disappearance of Harriet Vanger.

It is virtually impossible to have every detail of a book take place in the movie version. That being said, this film held true to the book. There were details downplayed or eliminated, such as Blomkvist’s relationship with Erika Berger, but nothing significant enough to detract from the story.

There are rumors that another version of this film is going to be made in the US. I think this is completely unnecessary. This version was excellent and the fact that it was in Swedish added to the authenticity of the story. It was a great foreign film and watching it with subtitles did not bother me in the least.

I’m not sure how many theaters around the country are showing this version. I saw it at Landmark Theaters which often plays indie or foreign films. If this is playing near you, go see it!

March in Review

I know I will say this every month, but wow March went by fast. Doesn’t it feel like it was just New Year’s Eve? How are we already a quarter of the way through the year?

March had it’s ups and downs in terms of blogging and life. I only read two books this month, and listened to three. Unfortunately, I was pretty distracted due to work related issues which made it difficult to read as much as I would have liked. However, I did write more blog entries than I have in previous months which is a trend I hope to continue.  Here are the books I read/listened to:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Little Bee were my favorites for the month, both being really good reads. I did give up on a book this month, which is rare, although I might go back to it. The book is Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin. It’s non fiction and really interesting, but fiction just kept calling me and putting this book on hold. Maybe I will finish it in April. We shall see.

One of the most interesting literary things done with month was here Lionel Shriver speak. It definitely inspired me to look into hearing more authors speak.

I looking forward to lots of good reading in April. I have spring break coming up next week so hopefully I will have lots of quality reading time. Right now I am reading Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn and next up is Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann. In the audio book world I am going to start with City of Thieves by David Benioff then possibly on to The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.

How was your March?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stieg Larsson

Short Summary:
Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist for the magazine Millenium , has recently been convicted of libel. When he takes a leave of absence from the magazine, he is hired by Henrick Vanger, a wealthy businessman. Vanger hires him to investigate the disappearance of his beloved niece Harriet who has been missing and presumed dead for forty years. Blomkvist moved away from the city to the quiet island of Hedeby to look into Harriet and an interesting assortment of possible suspects in the Vanger family. An unlikely partner, tattooed and unusual Lisabeth Salander soon joins Mikael on the case. Together they look into the Vanger family and discover secrets and scandal along the way.

My Thoughts:
Simply put, this book was awesome! I loved the characters, the mystery, and the family saga. It all just worked together so well. This one definitely had me turning the pages and I found myself gasping in surprise more than once.

The character of Lisbeth Salander, “the girl with the dragon tattoo” made this book what it was. She is one amazing and unlikely protagonist. Her intelligence and awkwardness combined with her mysterious background made her a character I really came to like and was eager to learn more about. My favorite part of the book was when she gets revenge on someone who has done her wrong. When I want revenge on someone, I dream of burning down their house or something like that. Not Lisbeth. Using her unique imagination she defined the meaning of revenge, but I won’t give it away. You will have to read it for yourself.

The combination of action, mystery, and character development made this book flow for me. I enjoyed learning about Mikael and his relationships, the intricacies of the Vanger family, and especially Lisbeth. I now feel invested in these characters and am excited to follow them through the next two installments of the Millenium trilogy.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars