Apr 4, 2009

January, February, and March's Book of the Month

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- Stieg Larsson

It's about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthest families in Sweden...and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes is murder.
It's about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case hired to get the bottom of Harriet's disappearance...and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four year old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard earned wisdom of someone twice her age-and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it- who assist Blomkvist with the investigation.
This Unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running thorugh the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism, and an unexpected connection between themselves.

After losing a libel suit against a shady businessman Mikael wants to get away from it all. A perfect opportunity comes when a aging tycoon offers him a cabin on his property in the country, and money to investigate the disappearance of his neice. Thinking that nothing will come of it but relaxation, and easy money considering that the case is old, and many detectives have investigated it and come up with nothing he takes the tycoon up on his offer, little does he know that he's stubbled upon a crazy, dysfunctional family. He soon meets Lisbeth, and together dodging attempts on their lives they start to unravel what happened. I'm not a big fan of mysteries, but I really enjoyed this novel. It was fast-paced, and plot driven. The charcters Mikael, and Lisbeth were both realistic, and well-rounded. The author didn't really give us a detail background on Lisbeth, leaving her mysterious, and wanted more. Why is she so angry, and cold? We are led to believe she had a terrible past, but what was it? Stay tuned, book 2 comes out in June and we find out more about this wonderful character, Lisbeth.

About the Author

Stieg Larsson (Born August 15, 1954 in Skelleftehamn, Sweden as Karl Stig-Erland Larsson, died November 9, 2004 in Stockholm of a massive heart attack) was a Swedish journalist and writer.

As a journalist and editor of the magazine Expo, Larsson was active in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organisations. When he died at the age of 50, Larsson left three unpublished thrillers which have since been printed. These books are all bestsellers in Sweden and in several other countries.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Knopf (September 16, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307269752

Rena's Promise- Rena Kornreich Gelissen

Sent to Auschwitz on the first Jewish transport, Rena Kornreich survived the Nazi death camps for over three years. While there she was reunited with her sister Danka. Each day became a struggle to fulfill the promise Rena made to her mother when the family was forced to split apart--a promise to take care of her sister. One of the few Holocaust memoirs about the lives of women in the camps, Rena's Promise is a compelling story of the fleeting human connections that fostered determination and made survival a possibility. From the bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters, to the links between prisoners, and even prisoners and guards, Rena's Promise reminds us of the humanity and hope that survives inordinate inhumanity.

Rena's Promise was heartbreaking, and touching. Rena and her sister Danka survived three hard years in Auschwitz and in this memoir she describes with detail what that was like. She would do anything to keep her promise to her mom, who she would never see again, that no matter what she and Danka would survive, and return home. Rena's bravery, and strength is admiring, and made me think that in trying, unforgettable times I too could be brave, hopeful and strong.
On the other side of this story is the cruel, inhumane treatment that so many people went through. As I was reading those parts I would find myself flinching. It is disturbing to read but all the more important. That is history, ugly as it may be.

“I love because there is not enough room in my heart to hate--to hate is to let Hitler win.”

-Rena Kornreich Gelissen

About the Author

Partnered with writer Heather Dune Macadam, Rena told her moving story of surviving the Nazi concentration camps with her younger sister Danka. The story was made into a book, titled Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz, which was published in 1995. The book was well-received, earning her spots in numerous interviews and guest appearances.

Rena was the mother to one daughter, Sylvia and three sons, Joseph, Peter and Robert. In 2006, she died in North Carolina, at the age of 85.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (October 30, 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0807070718

The Given Day- Dennis Lehane

Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times best-selling author Dennis Lehane's long-awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future. Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created, The Given Day tells the story of two families—one black, one white—swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power. Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.

Here, too, are some of the most influential figures of the era—Babe Ruth; Eugene O'Neill; leftist activist Jack Reed; NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois; Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson's ruthless Red-chasing attorney general; cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge; and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John Hoover.

Coursing through some of the pivotal events of the time—including the Spanish Influenza pandemic—and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.

This book follows two men, Danny Coughlin and Luther laurence. Set in 1918-1919, this book covers terrorist, race, and the Boston Police strikes. There's also alittle baseball, and Babe Ruth.
Luther is running from his past in Tulsa, and Danny is trying to be his own man, even if his family doesn't agree. So many things happen in this novel, yet they are done so that they intwine flawlessly. I found myself rooting for Luther, and hoping everything turned out well for him in the end. Most of the topics written about in this book are relevant today. Lehane's writing is to the point, and again he can do no wrong. The book is long, but well worth the read.

About the Author

Dennis Lehane (born Aug 4th, 1966) is an American author. He has written several novels, including the New York Times bestseller Mystic River, which was later made into an Academy Award winning film, also called Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon (Lehane can be briefly seen waving from a car in the parade scene at the end of the film). The novel was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award and won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best Novel, the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction, and France's Prix Mystere de la Critique.

Hardcover: 720 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (September 23, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0688163181

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