I wanted to start a new instalment here on WPR about the books that I have been reading. I've been an avid reader all of my life, and I just love it. In my opinion, it offers far more to its audience than watching television does. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind television at all, but it is incredibly passive. Everything, including the plotline, the visuals, dialogue, and the performance is handed to you on commercialized and glossy plate. There is often very little, if nothing at all, that is left to the imagination. (Don't even get me started on all of the advertising. That's a whole other can of worms.)
To me, the beauty of reading is in its simplicity. First, you can grab a book (or e-reader) and take it anywhere. Whether it's in solitude, on the train heading to work, in the bathroom, or in bed before you go to sleep at night, you can read. It's unbelievably convenient. You can also go at your own pace or stop completely if you don't like the book you chose.
Reading a book also offers something incredibly vital. It invites you to use your imagination. I often create scenes in my head and imagine faces and foreign places when I read. It also invites you to contemplate different meanings and ask questions. Everything isn't offered right off the bat. You, the reader become engaged and invested in the content. It is among the most active things you can do without lifting a finger (outside of actually turning a page, that is).
So there. Reading will save the world. It is an age-old practice that has inspired great art and started revolutions. Give it a try. Find a book about something you like or are curious about at your local library. Find a cozy spot, and read.
For my first instalment of "Reading Will Save the World", I have three books to recommend. They're page turners for sure.
I spent most of last October being enamored of the late Stieg Larsson's best-selling "Girl" trilogy. By "Girl", I mean "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", "The Girl Who Played with Fire", and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest". These books have sold well over 65 MILLION copies around the world to date. They have been incredibly popular and for good reason. Even though I wouldn't call them classic literature, I'd say they offer a thrilling ride to very, very, VERY dark places.
What I loved the most about this thrilogy is the characters. The "Girl" these books refer to in their titles is a character named Lisbeth Salander. She is, quite possibly, the best female heroine that exists in this current era of modern writing. I wasn't expecting someone like her at all. She's a complex, brilliant, and all-around bad-ass character unlike anyone else I've ever read. I'm willing to bet she's the reason why 65 million people have read these books.
This story is a character-driven, manic, psycho-sexual foray into unfathomable darkness. They are not for the lighthearted but well worth the journey. I read all three books, with a combined total of just over 2,000 pages, in less than three weeks on top of my own hectic schedule. I could not, for the life of me, stop reading.
If you are thinking about reading these books, I have a couple of things left to say.
First of all, I strongly recommend reading them before seeing the recently released movie currently in theaters. I think David Fincher, who directed the film, did a fine job honoring these characters and their story, but these books are the real deal.
Lastly, don't be discouraged by the first 40 pages or so of the first book (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). You might, as I did, find them kind of boring. Well, they are kind of boring, but they exist for good reason because they offer vital information that will fuel the rest of the story.
Think of these first few pages as the calm before the storm. Because truthfully, it's gonna be one hell of a storm.