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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

If you wanna see a girl do some hellacious butt kicking, this book is for you!  Not since Kill Bill 2 have I seen such a powerful female character.  Lisbeth Salander is the heart and soul of this exciting trilogy.  I did read these books in order.  For some reason, I struggled just a tiny bit with the first book in the series, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  But perserverance pays off in the end, because that was the set-up for the second book (The Girl Who Played With Fire) and this final one.  Since Stieg Larsson is no longer among us, we are lucky to have The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest to tie things up.  We want closure, right!  And I got it in spades with this one.  A great murder mystery for men and women both!

I'm Down by Mishna Barton

If you ever felt like you were the wrong color or class as a kid, you might enjoy this amusing memoir, now out in paperback.  If you listen to the free library audio, as I did, you'll get to hear this story in the author's own voice, including her hilarious impressions of her own father, who, although he was White, thought he was very, very Black.  Set in a Black neighborhood of Seattle, Mishna and her younger sister Anora are also like black and white, apples and oranges.  While Mishna is a meek, gawky kid worried about everything and everyone,  Anora is by contrast, innately charming and fearless, and lives in the present moment.  Anora continues to assimilate easily to her surroundings (think corn rows), including the revolving cast of characters brought into their home by their Dad's love life.   This is really a story of Mishna though, and how she moves through adolescence.  When Mishna does very well on some aptitude tests, her hippie mother gets her transferred to a wealthy white school where once again, Mishna is traversing alien territory.  She learns tricks along the way, such as claiming she is allergic to raisins when asked why her lunch ticket (subsidized) is a different color than everyone else's.    Mishna's values are in stark contrast to that of the most influential person in her life, her dad.  In the end, she gets by on her brains, her heart, and her competitive spirit.   This book could easily have gone astray to one extreme or another, but somehow we see different sides of each character, just the way we are in real life.  A good summer read!