Friday, August 13, 2010

The Danger of - If you liked that book, you'll love this book

My dream job involves a card table and a chair and me sitting in Daley Plaza and as people go to and from work they can stop by and ask me what they should read next. Now, of course, I would have to know about a lot of different genres and books. And there could be the temptation to get lazy and think "well, if you liked this book, you might like this other book".

Books are no different than musical trends. The new song by a singer-songwriter means other singer-songwriters might get their chance at stardom by riding on the tails of a trend. But not all singer-songwriters are the same. The point? Not all books set in Sweden featuring murder and mystery are "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". Henning Mankell is receiving attention in the United States because of the success of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. But Kurt Wallander, the police detective, in Mankell's books is nothing like Lisbeth Salander. I don't think he ever turned on a computer, or even got near a computer, in this book. He's internal but not as socially introverted. The story features his family and everyday complications. Ok, yes, he has to investigate a murder and is sometimes in danger, but the story is not at the same pace. So I would not compare the two. Picked this one up at the Newberry sale because I recognized the author and series from The New York Times article about Swedish authors.

"The Dogs of Riga" reminded me of books such as the "The Maltese Falcon" or "The Big Sleep". The pace is a little slower. The discoveries made during the course of the book can be personal and not always about the case. I enjoyed the book because I like the older style mysteries. I really like Wallander. He seems to operate a slow burn. I would hate to piss him off. He seems to have an internal struggle questioning if his police work is doing any good.

Kenneth Branagh stars in the PBS "Wallander" series. I rented the set from the library that has the first season on it. Watched "Sidetracked" tonight and really enjoyed it. Was hoping it might be winter in Sweden so I could pretend I was cold during the Chicago summer. No such luck but I will watch the other episodes.

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