Saturday, February 12, 2011

"The Life Well-Read"

Today, February 12, in the Wall Street Journal is full page article which is a challenge as well.  "Books beget books--and sometimes writers are moved to pay tribute to the ones that formed them."  Beginning with the year 987, in Baghdad, a bookseller named Ibn-al Nadim who cataloged books, but only books that he had personally seen and touched, commenting on all of them.  He is compared to Jorge Luis Borges who imagined heaven to be a huge library of books.  And as the writer in the WSJ says, they didn't just read books, they ingested them.  Within the article, there are listed five authors who wrote about books in journals and memoirs.  An article to be saved and savored.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Swedish Thriller

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Swedish Thriller
Mari Jungstedt
243 pp.
St. Martin’s Minotaur Press

"With solid characters and powerful descriptions of the dark Swedish Winter, this newest entry in the great tradition of Scandinavian police procedurals provides an engaging and twisty narrative that will fool even the most attentive reader."

This is a hard-to-put-down thriller set on the small island of Gotland, off the coast of Sweden. The descriptions of the winter weather surround the story of two murders and add to the chilly, mysterious atmosphere.

An alcoholic photographer, Henry Dahlstrom, is violently murdered in his dark room. Robbery is the supposed motive as Dahlstrom has won a considerable amount of money at the race track. Fanny, a 14 year old girl is the second victim in the story. Quiet, unhappy with her sad home situation, she lives with her alcoholic mother. Her only pleasure is working at the local stable where she can be with her beloved horses. Jungstedt deftly portrays what it is like to have an alcoholic parent and how, indirectly, Fanny’s homelife contributes to her murder.

The investigative team led by Anders Knutas works hard to solve both cases and the story has several other characters, sub plots, and false leads to confuse the reader and those of us who try and guess the murderer before the end of the story. And these characters may be used in future books as not all the questions are answered.. For Nordic atmosphere, fine characterization and a few surprises, I highly recommend this book.