I only took one book with me to Korea, the first in the three-volume action series by Swedish author Steig Larsson. The heavy tome of nearly five-hundred pages is entitled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Knowing that I would be in class every day, I figured that it would be more than enough to last the week. Foolish me! The book is so good - as millions of people already know - that I literally had it devoured before the end of the week and flew home without a requisite book to read on the plane.
Last night, safely back on Okinawa, I began the second volume - The Girl Who Played with Fire - and found that those pages turn just as quickly as the ones of the first volume.
Larsson's books feature a panoply of characters, mostly in and around the capital of Stockholm. The two main characters are a quirky, tattooed and plentifully-pierced young lady named Lisbeth Salander, who is an expert computer hacker and professional investigator, and an investigative journalist by the name of Mikael Blomkvist who works for a struggling magazine that he owns with friends. Salander is plagued with a wealth of psychological issues due to unspecified abuse during her youth, and Blomkvist is trying to revive his professional reputation after being suckered by a shifty billionaire. Together Salander and Blomquist are a formidible duo who have the power to engage with readers at the gut level.
The author, Steig Larsson, was an investigative journalist who worked for a small magazine in Sweden, much like his character, Blomquist. Larsson banged out the three novels quickly, found a publisher, and was preparing to enjoy the fruits of his labor when he died suddenly of a heart attack in 2004. He was in the middle of a fourth book at the time of his death.
His three completed novels are collectively called Millennium, which is also the name of the fictional investigative magazine. Millennium has been made into a movie by a Swedish production company. I have yet to see that movie, and won't until I finish reading the series. But the reviews that I have read say that the movie is very true to the books and that the acting is excellent.
Unfortunately, while Americans like action movies, we do not enjoy reading subtitles. We like to believe that America is the center of the universe, and therefore everyone should walk, talk, think, act, and speak like we do. The good folks in Hollywood therefore have decided to "fix " this concern by coming out with an American version of Millennium - soon to be at a local theatre near you.
Forgive me if I don't sound too eager to see the Hollywood version. The one thing that this great material does not need is to be "fixed" by Hollywood!