So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
I started reading this book after I heard that, in addition to the three books in the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson, two new books in the series came out in 2017 written by David Lagercrantz. That renewed my interest in the series. When I looked into it and found out that this first book was originally titled in Sweden Män som hatar kvinnor (in English: Men Who Hate Women), I decided that I wanted to at least begin reading the book. I had seen the Swedish and USA movies, so I knew the basic plot and wasn't sure the book would hold my interest. I was put off at the beginning by the large number of characters and felt I would never keep them straight. However, reading the book was as engaging as watching the movies and I devoured this 590 page book quickly. Now I am looking forward to reading others in the series.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Procedure

The Procedure by Harry Mulisch
The Procedure is about the life of a famous scientist after he has made his ground breaking research, in this case the creation of life from inorganic matter. It starts out with the biblical story of creation, then it moves on to the Jewish esoteric book that deals with how god created life, the Sefer Yetzirah (or Book of Creation), and then to the creation of the golem in the Prague ghetto in the 16th century. It is only after this introductory material that the readers are introduced to the scientist Victor Werker and his research on creating living matter from clay.
However the main body of the novel is about Victor after his famous discovery, and it is a very internal exploration of how his fame and research effect his later life. Struggles with the other scientist in the project, with the mother of their stillborn child, and with his attempts to move on to new areas of study are played out in Victor's thought processes.
The novel delves into the scientific mind as it tries to cope with the emotional and interpersonal realities of life. The translation reads well and the book, while it seemed to get bogged down in details in the middle, was compelling reading for me.