Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Storm of Swords (Fire and Ice #3) by George R.R. Martin (read 11/29 to 12/7)

The next book in this epic fantasy did not disappoint, and finally I moved beyond the show and read something that I didn't already know.  Although, my library due date came, and I hadn't finished the book but I couldn't extend my time because someone else had reserved it, so I had to literally read the last 424 pages in 24 hours, whew!  But I didn't really get to digest either.  The Red Wedding was horrible but in the show, so I knew it was coming, although in the show Robb's pregnant wife was at the wedding, and in the book she wasn't so maybe he knocked her up and their is a chance for a Stark baby.  I love that Sansa married Tyrion, I just wish she wasn't such a bitch to him, he deserves a good woman.  I think Sansa could actually come to appreciate him, and the good man that he is if she could just get her head out of her ass.  He has always been kind and respectful to her, and the fact that he didn't force himself on her shows that he is more of knight than any of the stupid pretty boys she thinks she wants.  I hope that they actually work out, it would redeem Sansa in my eyes for getting her father killed, at least she would grow beyond the stupid girl she is.  I hope Ayra becomes an assassin, she would be awesome.  I'm glad she got her Needle back, now to find her wolf.  Jon deserves the command of the Wall, he will save the world!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (read 11/10 to 11/28)

I had originally planned on posting each book as a separate entry, however whenever I finished one book, I couldn't seem to take the time to write a post before starting the next one.  So I guess I will talk about them as a set.  This series consists of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.  From what I understand these were the first three in a series the author had intended to be 10 books, but sadly his death limited the vision.  His own life and death seem to be as full of intrigue as his books,  I have already gotten lost in the articles surrounding the controversy of who has the rights to his work, his family or his long time lover.
These books are about Lisabeth Salander, a girl with a photographic memory and major trust issues that have lead to poor social skills.  At first you don't realize Salander is the main character, you think it is the journalist she has been hired to do research for, Mikael Blomkvist.  And yes the first book does revolve around him a lot, but he isn't it, Salander is the first book is just a set up, and introduction so to speak to the meat of the story, to Salander and her amazing detective skills, and her amazingly complicated and in many ways tragic life.
During my book club for The Girls with the Dragon Tattoo, one of the members stated that she was annoyed about Lisabeth falling in love with Blomkvist, since he was such and obvious player and so much older.  I never saw this as a love story at all, it feels the exact opposite of a love story, it is a mystery thriller with some sex thrown in. Lisabeth falling for Blomkvist isn't really a love story, it is about a socially awkward and walled off individual finally letting some of her walls down and trusting someone besides herself, I think it is sad that she feels so betrayed by Blomkvist, because who she really is betrayed by is herself. She knew going in what he was like and she is mad at herself for falling for him anyways. And because she has never had to deal with those types of feelings she is projecting her hurt and anger at him, rather than herself, I know I have projected bad decisions not the person I made the decision with rather than myself for making that decision too. I think the love angle was thrown in at the end to give a lead in to the next book.  And Blomkvist is not bad looking, but he has the personality that puts women at ease and allows them to let their guards down, again why Lisabeth is so mad at him.
This story was about the crimes, the murders, the corruption. I really do think Larsson was trying to make a statement about the corporations in Sweden and the corruption in government. If you read between the lines he really does not like the big companies and he seems to have little faith that the Swedish Government is doing anything to regulate or correct. These books have much more social commentary than I expected, and the next book goes into a similar but new issue. I don't know much about Sweden and how the country is run or its laws, but I can see the same issues being present in the US. This book came out in 2008, right in the middle of the "recession," so I can see how a lot of people could relate because of what was happening at the time. There was so much loss of trust in traders, the stock market and banks, and I think this was published at a great time to ride that wave. At the same time I think it was more than the timing that made this book so good, we are 6 years past and it still grabbed me. Maybe it is because I work with business that are now always not the up and up, and I can see this in action. But I was way more enthralled with the mystery and the uncovering of the corruption, the love story that wasn't was a side bar for me.
In the next two books we really get into Salander's life and why she is the way she is.  It makes so much in the first book clearer, and explains why she acts the way she does.  By the end of the third book Salander is not healed or whole, but she has started down the path, I would have really loved to see where Larsson had her end up.

Getting Waisted: A Survival Guide to Being Fat in a Society That Loves Thin by Monica Parker Read (11/4/14 - 11/9/14)

This was a book that my book club won through book movement.  It is the memoir of Monica Parker, apparently a famous writer and actress in Hollywood that I have never heard of and I did't recognize her picture not the back cover either.  This is her story of her struggle with her weight and her need to be accepted and loved.  She is born in Scotland and moves to Canada during childhood, somehow she becomes involved in a Canadian Fitness show, although she is overweight, or as she puts it fat.  She meets the love of her life in Canada, then after her parents death she decides to move to Hollywood.  Why, she is already struggling with her self esteem and body issues, and she move to the most superficial place on earth and seems surprised that it causes more complexes.  At some point she comes to accept that she is a fat woman in a thin society, after a meal in complete darkness of all things.
I didn't get this book.  It was supposed to be super funny, and it wasn't.  I mean I got a few chuckles, but nothing to write home about.  Monica didn't really seem to learn to love herself, at the end of the book she is still struggling and still trying to loose weight, just not on a fad diet anymore.  I think I missed the point entirely.  I struggle with body issues, I have gained weight after my children were born that hasn't gone away.  I am lazy though, and I haven't really tried to loose the weight.  I suspect if I actually attempted and ran into a wall I would be more sympathetic to her.  She never joined a gym, and the one time she used a personal trainer she decided it was too hard and fired her.  I understand struggling to love your body, but it never seemed that Monica did learn to love herself.