Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

“She was genuinely worried. First Kalle Fucking Blomkvist, then the name Zala, and now Nils Fucking Slimebag Bjurman together with an alpha male on steroids with contacts in some gang of ex-con bikers. Within a few days, several ripples of disquiet had materialized in the orderly life Salander was trying to create for herself.” – Chapter 10, pg. 141

“The three parallel investigations into the murders in Enskede churned on. Officer Bubble’s investigation enjoyed the advantages of authority. On the surface, the solution seemed to lie within reach; they had a suspect and a murder weapon that was linked to the suspect. They had an ironclad connection to one victim and a possible connection via Blomkvist to the other two victims. For Bublanski it was now basically a matter of finding Salander and putting her in a cell in Kronoberg prison.” – Chapter 18, pg. 258

“When all the media assertions were put together, the police appeared to be hunting for a psychotic lesbian who had joined a cult of Satanists that propagandized for S&M sex and hated society in general and men in particular.” – Chapter 21, pg. 313

“I’ve never been sympathetic towards people who take the law into their own hands. But I’ve never heard of anyone who had such a good reason to do so. At the risk of sounding like a cynic, what happens tonight will happen, no matter what you or I think. It’s been written in the stars since she was born. And all that remains is for us to decide how we’re going to behave towards Lisbeth if she makes it back.” – Chapter 32, pg. 490

So those were some of my favorite quotes from The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Again, I didn’t come across too many quotes worthy of copying down. Larsson seemed more concerned with storytelling than with describing mundane events in an interesting, amusing way that has never been done before. Which is probably best because “she had cut him out of her life as surgically and decisively as she deleted files from her computer” is one ridiculous metaphor. Let’s just blame the translator, shall we? Oh, and keeping with the status quo set by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it took 200 pages for this book to finally pull me in. In fact, for the first hundred pages or so, I was completely at a loss as to where the story was headed.
Is this going to be about some super hurricane/tornado named Matilda? Bjurman? Zala? Perhaps a 503 page spread advertising IKEA furniture? For a moment there, I mistakenly thought it I had picked up my old algebra textbook. At least this time the police were involved. It made things a little bit more realistic. And I definitely did a double take (those are always fun), when reaching for my water glass as I read the most important line of the book. Now I know why so many people were anxiously waiting for the third novel in the Millennium trilogy to be released… this book just ended. Without any sort of wrap up or tying of loose ends. On to the next!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

“After putting down the telephone the eighty-two-year-old birthday boy sat for a long time looking at the pretty but meaningless flower whose name he did not yet know. Then he looked up at the wall above his desk. There hung forty-three pressed flowers in their frames. Four rows of ten, and one at the bottom with four. In the top row one was missing from the ninth slot. Desert Snow would be number forty-four.”
– Prologue, pg. 6

“Armansky’s star researcher was a pale, anorexic young woman who had hair as short as a fuse, and a pierced nose and eyebrows. She had a wasp tattoo about an inch long on her neck, a tattooed loop around the biceps of her left arm and another around her left ankle. On those occasions when she had been wearing a tank top, Armansky also saw that she had a dragon tattoo on her left shoulder blade. She was a natural redhead, but she dyed her hair raven black. She looks as though she had just emerged from a week-long orgy with a gang of hard rockers.”
– Chapter 2, pg. 32

“She frowned. Blomkvist’s strange behavior in the courtroom had presented an interesting challenge, and Salander did not like aborting an assignment once she had started. People always have secrets. It’s just a matter of finding out what they are.” – Chapter 7, pg. 102

“As far as he could tell, she had been looking towards the corner of the building that housed Sundström’s Haberdashery. It was a perfectly normal corner of a building, where a cross street vanished behind it. What did you see there, Harriet?” – Chapter 16, pg. 237

So those were some of my favorite quotes from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I have heard that Larsson’s Millennium trilogy is supposed to be the Lord of the Rings of mystery novels. Maybe I have forgotten how bad this genre is, but I wasn’t that impressed. First off, it annoyed the heck out of me that it took 200 pages for the two main characters to meet. Not that Salamander (you can’t describe a character as lizard-like and then name her Salander) got much page time, despite the book’s misleading title. Although, I’m glad the publisher changed it from Men Who Hated Women, because that’s just plain stupid. Also, the author is clearly male – the casual sex thing Blomkvist had going with Berger would never fly in the real world. All women are jealous. At
least he got that right at the very end with Salamander …even though the age difference made me cringe (another inaccurate male fantasy). My last and biggest gripe: How freaking cliché can you get? They both independently discover who the killer is at the same time, stupidly refuse to involve the police, and then one of them confronts him ALONE leaving the other to save the day? Yeah, we’ve never seen that happen before. EVER. Of course, I’ll still be reading the next book just because Larsson never explained what ‘All The Evil’ meant and I want to find out what Robert Lindberg has to say for himself on his M-30 next Midsummer’s Eve.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Emma by Jane Austen

“The real evils, indeed, of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself: these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.” – Chapter 1, pg. 2

“I lay it down as a general rule, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him.” – Chapter 7, pg. 51

“Better to be without sense than misapply it as you do.” – Chapter 8, pg. 64

“I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing; but I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall. And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine.”
– Chapter 10, pg. 87

“The first error, and worst, lay at her door. It was foolish, it was wrong, to take so active a part in bringing any two people together. It was adventuring too far, assuming too much, making light of what ought to be serious – a trick of what ought to be simple. She was quite concerned and ashamed, and resolved to do such things no more.” – Chapter 15, pg. 140

“It is only by seeing women in their own homes, among their own set, just as they always are, that you can form any just judgment. Short of that, it is all guess and luck – and will generally be ill-luck. How many a man has committed himself on a short acquaintance, and rued it all the rest of his life!” – Chapter 43, pg. 385

“I cannot make speeches, Emma. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.” – Chapter 49, pg. 445

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from Emma by Jane Austen.

After reading Pride & Prejudice, I was planning on tackling the rest of Jane Austen’s novels in the order they were published. But back in October, BBC (which I *think* stands for Bloody British Channel) released yet another Austen remake, so I watched it and fell in love with Romola Garai as Emma Woodhouse. And I’m glad I did, because I’ve heard Emma generally isn’t the
most likeable of Austen’s heroines and that Romola’s portrayal toned down the “stuck-up bitch” aspects of her character. Also, if I didn’t know that Mr. Knightley was going to end up as Emma’s love interest, I’m 99% sure that I would have felt like that pairing came out of nowhere… which were my exact thoughts when Cher realized she loved her stepbrother at the end of Clueless (uh, yeah, for those of you that didn’t know, apparently Clueless is a remake of Emma). And knowing Frank Churchill’s secret ahead of time made the reading experience that much better because I could pick up on the subtle hints Austen dropped (er, no, he’s not gay).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

“Do you think I care if Aslan dooms me to death? That would be nothing, nothing at all. Would it not be better to be dead than to have this horrible fear that Aslan has come and is not like the Aslan we have believed in and longed for?”– Chapter 3, pg. 30

“The Sons and Daughters of Adam and Eve were brought out of their own strange world into Narnia only at times when Narnia was stirred and upset, but you mustn’t think it was always like that. In between their visits there were hundreds and thousands of years when peaceful King followed peaceful King ‘till you could hardly remember their names or count their numbers, and there was really hardly anything to put into the history books.” – Chapter 8, pg. 99

“Remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no one is too poor to buy.” – Chapter 8, pg. 103

“The spreading blackness was not a cloud at all: it was simply emptiness. The black part of the sky was the part in which there were no stars left. All the stars were falling: Aslan had called them home.” – Chapter 14, pg. 173

“I hoped that it might go on forever. I knew our world couldn’t, but I did think Narnia might. I saw it begin. I did not think I would live to see it die.”
– Chapter 14, pg. 182

“For us, this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” – Chapter 16, pg. 211

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.

Finally done with Narnia! I was getting tired of reading children’s books. It makes no sense for Aslan to call on a bunch of kids to save his country. Why not John McClane or Jack Bauer? And what enjoyment do they get out of
visiting Narnia anyway? The world is three hundred years behind on technology. If some centaur told me to skin and gut my own dinner I’d be like, 'No thanks, take me to KFC, please.' I did, however, enjoy how the last few chapters tied everything together. James McAvoy (er, I mean Mr. Tumnus) even made an appearance! By this point in the series, despite my embarrassingly limited knowledge of Christian fairy tales, I figured Lewis was going to pull some apocalyptic stunt. But I wasn't expecting his vision of heaven to be so confusing: Narnias within Narnias, Englands within Englands? Let’s just get to the explanation of how they all died. Oh, train derailment. I guess technology isn’t so great after all…

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

“We’ve brought the anger of Aslan on us. That’s what comes of not attending to the signs. We’re under a curse, I expect. If it was allowed, it would be the best thing we could do, to take these knives and drive them into our own hearts.”
– Chapter 9, pg. 129

“That is old Father Time, who was once a King in Overland. And now he has sunk down into the Deep Realm and lies dreaming of all the things that are done in the upper world. Many sink down, and few return to the sunlit lands. They say he will wake at the end of the world.” – Chapter 10, pg. 146

“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.” – Chapter 12, pg. 182

“Then he opened his mouth and blew. But this time they had no sense of flying through the air: instead, it seemed that they remained still, and the wild breath of Aslan blew away the ship and the dead King and the castle and the snow and the winter sky." – Chapter 16, pg. 237

“The opening into the hillside was left open, and often in hot summer days the Narnians go in there with ships and lanterns and down to the water and sail to and fro, singing, on the cool, dark underground sea, telling each other stories of the cities that lie fathoms deep below. If ever you have the luck to go to Narnia yourself, do not forget to have a look at those caves.”
– Chapter 16, pg. 243

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis.

Wow, that Jill Pole girl really sucks at obeying simple instructions. I like how they still saved Prince Rilian (which, for some strange
reason, I kept reading in my head as Prince Ritalin) without following Aslan’s word. Allegory fail. I’m still not 100% sure what is meant by marsh-wiggle or Puddleglum, but I loved the description of the underworld. I’d like to see what Andrew Adamson and a little CGI could do with the Land of Bism. My only question: Where did this Queen of the Underland come from? How did she get into Narnia? C.S. Lewis never said anything about Digory and Polly bringing two witches into Narnia during The Magician’s Nephew. Ah, those tricky witches and their totalitarianism dictatorships...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
by C.S. Lewis

“What awaited them on this island was going to concern Eustace more than anyone else, but it cannot be told in his words because after September 11 he forgot about keeping his diary for a long time.” – Chapter 5, pg. 75

“Sleeping on a dragon’s hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.”
– Chapter 6, pg. 91

“But here part of the magic of the book came into play. You couldn’t turn back. The right-hand pages, the ones ahead, could be turned; the left-hand pages could not. And she could never remember what she had read; and ever since that day what Lucy means by a good story is a story which reminds her of the forgotten story in the Magician’s book.” – Chapter 10, pg. 157

“And every night they saw that there rose in the east new constellations which no one had ever seen in Narnia and perhaps, as Lucy thought with a mixture of joy and fear, no living eye had seen at all.” – Chapter 13, pg. 190

“Very soon after they had left Ramandu’s country they began to feel that they had already sailed beyond the world. All was different. For one thing they all found that they needed less sleep. One did not want to go to bed nor eat much, nor even to talk except in low voices. Another thing was the light. There was too much of it. The sun when it came up each morning looked twice, if not three times, its usual size.” – Chapter 15, pg. 218

“Do you mean to say that you three come from a round world and you’ve never told me? It’s really too bad of you. Because we have fairy-tales in which there are round worlds and I always loved them. I never believed there were any real ones. But I’ve always wished there were and I’ve always longed to live in one. I wonder why you can get into our world and we never get into yours? If I only had the chance! It must be exciting to live on a thing like a ball.” – Chapter 15, pg. 231

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.

I almost liked this one as much as The Magician’s Nephew. It was a nice break from the format of the three previous books in the series (which all culminate
in some epic battle between your choice of witch, tyrant or neighboring nation). Instead, the characters sailed from undiscovered island to undiscovered island, allowing Lewis to put that crazy imagination of his to good use. And apparently Stardust wasn’t the first book about a star-person falling out of the sky (I’m on to you, Neil Gaiman). My only qualm with this story was when Aslan appeared as a lamb instead of a lion (I’m guessing that was some religious reference and not Twilight-related) and told the kids he has a different name in their/our world. I’m sure he meant God, but the first thing that came to my mind was 'Endangered species?'

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

“If I hadn’t believed in Aslan before, I would now. Back there among the Humans the people who laughed at Aslan would have laughed at stories about Talking Beasts and Dwarfs. Sometimes I did wonder if there really was such a person as Aslan: but then sometimes I wondered if there were really people like you. Yet there you are.” – Chapter 5, pg. 70

“Lucy had the feeling (as you sometimes have when you are trying to remember a name or a date and almost get it, but it vanishes before you really do) that she had just missed something: as if she had spoken to the trees a split second too soon or a split second too late, or used all the right words except one, or put in one word that was just wrong.”
– Chapter 9, pg. 118

“They even thought they had struck an old path; but if you know anything about woods, you will know that one is always finding imaginary paths. They disappear after about five minutes and then you think you have found another (and hope it is not another but more of the same one) and it also disappears, and after you have been well lured out of your right direction you realize that none of them were paths at all.” – Chapter 9, pg. 120

“I’m hunger. I’m thirst. Where I bite, I hold till I die, and even after death they must cut out my mouthful from my enemy’s body and bury it with me. I can fast a hundred years and not die. I can lie a hundred nights on the ice and not freeze. I can drink a river of blood and not burst. Show me your enemies.”
– Chapter 12, pg. 166

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve. And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.” – Chapter 15, pg. 218

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis.

I haven’t watched the movie yet, but now I am curious to see what Hollywood does with the storyline. Prince Caspian’s rise to “leader of the rebellion”
seemed much too rushed. And Lewis certainly has a way of ditching the big battle to describe some boring side story (this time Aslan skipped around Narnia fixing water wells). I already dislike apples (to be specific: whole apples; sliced apples are fine), so all the apple eating they did in this book put me off a bit. Although, I liked when Aslan explained that the Telmarines are actually the descendants of shipwrecked pirates from our own world. I definitely rolled my eyes when right after this explanation, Aslan tells Peter and Susan they aren’t allowed back into Narnia because they are getting too old. Yes, older than a bunch of middle-aged pirates.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

“She immediately began, sitting quite still and using a rather different tone and style from her usual one. For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you’re taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay writing. The difference is that people want to hear stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.”
– Chapter 2, pg. 35

“Bree was not in the least trying to leave Shasta out of things, though Shasta sometimes nearly thought he was. People who know a lot of the same things can hardly help talking about them, and if you’re there you can hardly help feeling that you’re out of it.” – Chapter 3, pg. 44

“Having been brought up by a hard, closefisted man like Arsheesh, he had a fixed habit of never telling grown-ups anything if he could help it: he thought they would always spoil or stop whatever you were trying to do.”
– Chapter 5, pg. 74

“One of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.” – Chapter 9, pg. 137

“Shasta’s heart fainted at these words for he felt he had no strength left. And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand. He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.” – Chapter 10, pg. 146

“I have now lived a hundred and nine winters in this world and have never yet met any such thing as Luck. There is something about all this that I do not understand: but if ever we need to know it, you may be sure that we shall.”
– Chapter 10, pg. 148

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis.

When half a book is about some never-ending journey through a forest (or worse, desert), I find it rather boring. Riding, walking, eating and sleeping. Riding, walking, eating and sleeping. Just freaking get there already! And this
book was a tad bit more predictable than the last. Twins separated at birth? One is a prince and one is pauper? Now, that's original! At least the Christian subtext was kept to a minimum. Although, I take it C.S. Lewis has beef with the Middle East? He explains that the people of Calormen don’t like overgrown cats, so instead of killing others in the name of Aslan, they pray (and make human sacrifices) to a different being named Tash. They are basically described as an evil, dark-skinned race (with bad tasting food and turbans) who are far inferior to the decent, white-skinned inhabitants of the North. I guess we know why Aladdin never came to Narnia’s rescue…

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

“She took a step further in – then two or three steps – always expecting to feel the woodwork against the tips of her fingers. But she could not feel it.”
– Chapter 1, pg. 7

“Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning – either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again.” – Chapter 7, pg. 68

“Though the Witch knew the deep magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation.”
– Chapter 15, pg. 163

“One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down – and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild you know. Not like a tame lion.” – Chapter 17, pg. 182

“Yes, of course you’ll get back to Narnia again someday. Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it. And don’t talk too much about it even amongst yourselves. And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves. What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know all right. Odd things they say – even their looks – will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open.” – Chapter 17, pg. 189

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

I really dislike reading a book after I have already seen the movie. And while I’m on the subject, was not the 1979 animated version the scariest kid’s
movie ever?? I doubt parents nowadays would approve. The scene where they murdered Aslan was freaky as hell. At any rate, reading The Magician’s Nephew before this book was rather helpful. When Aslan says the White Witch knew of deep magic present at the dawn of time, it actually makes sense because she was there when Narnia was first created. Only one part – where Mr. Beaver explained the Witch’s bloodlines – had me on Google for 15 minutes searching for terms like ‘Lilith’ and ‘Jinn’. I’m still a little confused, but apparently Eve was not Adam’s first wife (man whore!) and the White Witch is related to Jafar. I’m guessing Aladdin didn’t own a wardrobe.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

“This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child. It is a very important story because it shows how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began.” – Chapter 1, pg. 3

“You must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys – and even people in general – can’t possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.” – Chapter 2, pg. 21

“Make your choice, adventurous stranger. Strike the bell and bide the danger. Or wonder, till it drives you mad. What would have followed if you had?”
– Chapter 4, pg. 54

“The lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song. It was softer and more lilting than the song by which he had called up the stars and the sun; a gentle, rippling music. And as he walked and sang, the valley grew green with grass. It spread out from the lion like a pool. It ran up the sides of the little hills like a wave.” – Chapter 9, pg. 112

“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” – Chapter 10, pg. 136

“When you were last here, that hollow was a pool, and when you jumped into it you came to the world where a dying sun shone over the ruins of Charn. There is no pool now. That world has ended, as if it had never been. Let the race of Adam and Eve take warning.” – Chapter 15, pg. 193

“There was a great storm all over the south of England which blew the tree down. He couldn’t bear to have it simply chopped up for firewood, so he had part of the timber made into a wardrobe, which he put in his big house in the country.”– Chapter 15, pg. 201

So those were some of my favorite book quotes from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the origins of the lamppost and the wardrobe (funny, it never seemed odd to me that Narnia should have a lamppost), and the back-story of the White Witch was pretty interesting

(I guess it also never seemed odd to me that Narnia should have a witch). I definitely agree the books should be read in the order they were published. Well, at least read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe before this book. Otherwise the fun of learning about the origins of everything is lost. No doubt, Lewis is one gifted fantasy writer – the yellow and green rings, the Woods between the Worlds, Charn… it was all fine and dandy until the book turned into the freaking Bible. Son of Adam? A forbidden apple tree in the middle of a garden? I had been warned these books had Christian undertones, but I didn’t expect outright plagiarism! Try to annoy me more.