There will be times this year where getting ‘out there’ might not be feasible. This flu-infested second week of the year, for example. As such a fall-back is needed; something that ‘really is a hobby’ but not the most exciting to write about. Like reading.

So instead I’ll briefly review a recent read; the English translation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Which, as of last night, also became a recent watch.

Initially the politically scandalous start to the first of the trilogy dragged on, and, were it not for recommendations to press-on, I may have abandoned the boring ship. But a few chapters in, I couldn’t put it down, stealing time to read just a few digital pages more.

Story synopsis – the Book

In brief; set in the chilly Swedish countryside (the author’s origin), the story follows political journalist, Mikael Blomkvist. We join when his life collapses under the strain of the story of his life going to court for lack of evidence against a corrupt business mogul.

A retired wealthy tycoon and previous owner of a hefty family corporation seizes the opportunity to employ Blomkvist. He is tasked with writing a ‘memoir’ of the old man and his controversial family’s lives, as a ruse for a final push to solve the mystery of his favourite granddaughter going missing 40 years before.

Blomkvist partners up with the bird with the tattoo, (who is both brilliant and psycho in equal measures and like a stock cube to the read) and together they uncover more about the family than he expected. Including the true reason for the disappearance of the 16-year-old girl, who started uncovering the work of a serial killer.

The Movie (David Fincher Directed)

There’s something in reading a novel that makes you feel you’ve put in the groundwork, so that when the film does actually come along you feel you have every right to become a critic. About how the story was captured; how the actors compare to your ‘mind pictures’ and always, without fail, ‘what they left out’.

As such, watching Girl With A Dragon Tattoo with someone who’d never read the book (I know right?) was enlightening as, being an avid movie-goer, his opinion was that it was ‘really good’. Three hours of really good is, well, you know. Although I do feel the strength of the story carried the movie, meaning that, whether the roles had been well cast or not, it would be hard not to be a great film.

Though shot in Stockholm and the surrounds, the cast features just one native Swede in a main role; Viking-sounding Stellan Starsgard. They have a mean-ass Lisbeth Salander character covered by Rooney Mara, and an I’m-so-cool-I-won’t-put-on-an-accent-like-every-other-actor-in-the-film Daniel Craig as protagonist Blomkvist. Both expertly cast in this 2011 remake.

Don’t take your Nan, there are one or two hard-to-swallow rape scenes (as you’d expect from Fincher at the helm). More likely to be anticipated from the direct translation of the Swedish novel’s title; ‘Men Who Hate Women’. But go and enjoy, whether you’ve read the book or not. But read the book too. Because reading is a cheap, brain-growing hobby that you can do anywhere at any time, light provided.

Next week I’ll be out there again and less waffling. Promise.

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