Hosted each month by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six steps. (Here’s my one for last month starting at Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.) This month the starting book is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I read the book in the early days of this blog, but didn’t review it for some reason. I enjoyed it though, despite finding the violence and depravity in the book shocking!
Although there had been other crime novels by Swedish etc. authors available to read in English (e.g. the Martin Beck books), this was the book that really kicked off the Scandi-crime phenomenon in the UK.
2. The next big Scandi-crime book was The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, which was taken up by Richard and Judy for their telly bookclub. I reviewed it here on my old blog, where we read it in our book group.
The really annoying thing about The Snowman was that it was the first Jo Nesbo to be heavily marketed – and you’d think it was the first of the Harry Hole novels – but no, it was the fifth!
It is so annoying to read a crime series out of sequence when there is a story arc going on. Sadly this is a frequent occurrence in translated crime series.
3. It also happened with Alex by Pierre Lemaitre, which I adored and reviewed on my old blog here.
However as before, Alex is not the first novel – it’s actually the middle book of Lemaitre’s Verhœven Trilogy. The whole trilogy is marvelous (if gory) and you really should start at the beginning with Irène.
Lemaitre rekindled my love of contemporary French novels (and I gave each of the Verhœven trilogy 10/10).
4. The latest French author whose books I’ve fallen in love with is Antoine Laurain, who writes with such a lightness of touch, yet manages to be funny, bittersweet and stay just on the right side of Gallic whimsy in his books. The President’s Hat blew me away this summer, reviewed here, and dare I say it, French Rhapsody was possibly even better.
Now – a hat is something that is easy to misplace – like all sartorial accessories.
5. Accessories like my reading glasses! This leads me to another book with essential accessories on its cover – Spectacles by Sue Perkins which I reviewed for Shiny New Books here.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable memoir, full of self-deprecating humour and gossipy in a good way, if not really revealing much about its author today – except in one particular part. I defy anyone not to well up a little when reading her love letter to her dog Pickle, written after she had to have her put down.
The bond between dogs and their owners is so strong – even when you’re only a temporary owner…
6. This is the case in Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff (reviewed here) – which has a superb opening line:
Jonathan came home from work one day to find the dogs talking about him.
This is a romantic comedy about Jonathan, a copy-writer, who is flat and dog-sitting for his brother. His brother’s dogs soon adore Jonathan, who knows nothing about dogs, and thinking that they are ill rather than concerned about him, take them to the vet – who will be the love interest.
7. It’s the dog-sitting plus vet romance that leads me to my final link, and the funniest book I read in 2015. Hack by Kieran Crowley.
In Hack, F.X.Shepherd writes a column about pets for a NY tabloid newspaper, but mistakenly gets sent to a murder crime-scene by the boss. However there’s a dog there, and Frank rescues it – thus getting sucked into events like a true fish out of water. It is hysterically funny.
This is a novel that Christopher Brookmyre fans will love, and Crowley wrote a second involving Frank Shepherd called Shoot. Sadly Crowley is no longer with us, but I have Shoot in my TBR to read soon.
So from Scandinavia to France to New York – Crime to Accessories to Dogs
That’s my six degrees of separation this month.