Christmas Reading

This Christmas week is my traditional plough through tomes of fiction week – and this year hasn’t disappointed. Here are some of the books I’ve read this Christmas with quick reviews.

The Collaborator

This came with a money back guarantee from the publisher so I had high hopes. It also had “Puzo eat your heart out” written on the back cover. Mario Puzo wrote the Godfather – and the Godfather this aint.

The Godfather is an odd book that gets you cheering for the bad guys. The antiheroes. It’s like any autobiographical account of former Mafia members – somehow crime is glorified and we forget the untold damage organised crime causes. In my last year of uni I was determined to write a great gangster novel. I’ve read heaps of Mafia fiction and I scoured second hand bookshops for testimonies from famous gangsters. In all this reading I’ve never come across a crime family – real or imagined – as easy to loathe as the family at the heart of the Collaborator.

I won’t give it away, but I won’t be seeking my money back from the publisher. It was a pretty gripping story about a Camorra (they are to Naples what La Cosa Nostra are to Sicily) daughter who dobs in her depraved family an unleashes a chain of desperate actions from her family.

You can get it here from the Book Depository.

The Millenium Trilogy

Next, I took on the Swedish sensation that is Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy. There won’t be any more from Mr Larsson. He was killed in a car accident shortly after delivering all three manuscripts for his novels (currently taking the world by storm). Any books published posthumously generate a fair bit of media buzz – but these lived up to the hype.

Be warned though – they contain pretty graphic accounts of sexual assault, and a heady dose of Swedish sexual morality (that is to say no real morality). But on the whole the three books are unputdownable. I was completely antisocial for three days as I read the final two installments in the trilogy.

The synopsis: a Swedish investigative journalist teams up with an antisocial, but brilliant, computer hacker to solve mysterious disappearances, unravel conspiracies, uncover widespread corruption in the Swedish intelligence agencies, and avoid the clutches of spies, motorcycle gangs and the police.

Here are the links to the Book Depository entries (the last one is the hardback version):

Book One – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Book Two – The Girl Who Played With Fire
Book Three – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest

Coming Up
Now I’m on to Ben Elton’s latest – Meltdown.

And then it will be Mark Kurlansky’s Basque History of the World for a non-fictional change.

And if I get through all of those it’ll be something from possibly my favourite action writers – the incredibly B-grade Barry Eisler.


Anika Q says:

Mark Kurlansky is quite a good writer. I ended up being annoyed by his book on "Nonviolence" – but that's because I disagreed with him.

Paul says:

Swedish sexual morality > You