One month and three books later, I’ve turned traitor.
Before I bought the iPad — to be used primarily as a book reader — I was warned that it’s not the same. Ok for travel, but not the same as cuddling up with a ‘proper’ book. That it just doesn’t feel the same.
True enough, that it doesn’t feel the same. At first, it felt different, and now it feels better.
I’ve also cuddled up with it — on 18-hour-flights, at airport waiting areas, in strange hotel beds… and now, at home in my familiar lounging areas. I take it to the dining table and to the loo (one particular book was that gripping, read review below).
To the gym I carry a regular paperback, and somehow it just didn’t feel right. What kind of a tech ‘ho am I, that I abandon a lifelong love? I used to love the feel of just touching and flipping through pages of books that didn’t even interest me as a read. Now paper books are going the way newspapers and mags did; for a long time now, I’ve been reading mostly online editions and not the print. People like me are killing the careers of people like me!
I only see a couple of problems with e-book readers.
1. It’s way too easy to buy stuff and run up a huge bill. Kindle’s one-click buy is not for user convenience alone, let me tell you. It’s a cunning marketing ploy.
2. I can’t thrust my favourites down other people’s throat. I can’t force-lend my selection.
Barring these 2 small hitches, I am hooked to the e-book format it appears. And to my iPad — a really snazzy gadget that fits snuggly in my handbag. It’s not just my book. It’s my gaming device (the Scrabble app is kick ass), my iPod, my laptop and my video player. It’s my brag-de-jour as you can see.
Now for the review of the first books I bought and read on the device. I know I am late to this party, since the titles have been on the bestseller lists for eons now.
The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
It’s so badly translated, it makes Dan Brown seem like a literary giant. The language is simply awful, and construction and repetitions that may have seemed ok in Swedish, are plain annoying in English.
The ‘hero’ fits the ‘Tom Cruise meets middle-aged Tamil film star’ mould. There is just about nothing he can’t do. He sleeps around, breaks stories, saves lives, is almost killed and is all very nonchalant about it.
His lover of 20 years is his best friend, who has her husband’s blessing to be an adulteress (let’s all move to Sweden right away).
Apart from her, he gives into the wishes of all the hot women who wish to bed him. That’s Mikael Blomkvist.
Then we have the heroine who is doll-like (every other para describes her so). A victim of social prejudices and cold war diplomacy. She is an eccentric genius, a hacker, and boxer par excellence. There’s little she can’t do, either. That’s Lizabeth Salander.
The two had a brief ‘relationship’, but otherwise they are just saving each other’s lives.
The book is full of stereotypes and promiscuity (that doesn’t involve children and prostitutes) is made out to be heroic.
But, the plot is fantastic. Larsson sure knows how to build a climax, weave a suspense and deliver a punch. I read the three books back-to-back, and every time I put it down to sleep or go to work, I was itching to get back to it. It did grip me.
The first book — The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — I liked best.
The second and third — TG Who Played With Fire & TG Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest — are basically one plot split into two.
While the first book focussed primarily on the two main characters, the other two ended up having way too many characters playing way too important roles, revolving around Blomkvist and Salander. It was not as satisfying, but are must-reads all the same.
The author apparently planned 10 installments of the Millennium (name of newspaper Blomkvist publishes) series, but he died before him books were published. I for one would have definitely bought 4 & 5 at least…