7 years later… The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

BB&GT RECOMMENDATIONS(1)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Cover Image


Confession: It literally took me 7 years to finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’d picked it up after loving the Swedish film in 2009… but hadn’t been able to get through the first half.

For those unfamiliar with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it’s a complex story following a curmudgeonly private investigator and a disgraced business journalist. The two balance investigating a 50 year old  missing persons case with uncovering details of a contemporary financial fraud. The two bring their ample personal issues to the table, yet make an unexpectedly productive team. If it seems as though there’s a lot going on, that’s because there is– The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is intricately woven and intelligently researched in a way  unique to Scandinavian crime thrillers.

There’s something special about the stunning minimalist settings of Scandinavian crime films/shows/books. Nordic Noir is always smartly done, usually with some of the elements Americans have grown to love in shows such as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Thus, it wasn’t far fetched to think I’d like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I picked up the 16-hour audiobook after finding an online discount.

Sixteen. Hours. For audiobook aficionados, I’m sure that’s nothing. However, for someone who has only ever listened to short stories through the New Yorker’s podcast series, this resembled a commitment second to none except marriage. Long story (extremely long story) short, I found it so much more enjoyable as an audiobook. It was truly the happy medium between the film and the novel itself, and the perfect way to pass several days of work.

I can see why people have been so taken with the entirety of the Millennium Trilogy. However, it’s also quite easy to get bogged down in the minutiae. Without basic financial literacy, it’s difficult to enjoy a book is based upon investigating large Swedish corporations. From what I remember, the film glossed over much of this. At the very least, the format made the subject matter much easier to digest.

Over 16 hours later, I can report back that I’m happy to have finally summited Mount Dragon Tattoo. I might even be ready to see what Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist get up to in the rest of the series, as well. At the very least, I’ve been inspired to go back to watch the films, and even pull up some Wallander episodes.

That’s Lisbeth. She really might be insane. I’m going to start sending this gif to my boyfriend when he angers me.

If you’ve already read the series, tell me how you felt about them in the comments! What books took you forever to finish? How did you finally get through to the end? Let me know!

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17 Comments

  1. […] and got a discounted subscription to Audible on Livingsocial. My first (very successful) listen was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I knew that for my next one, I’d want it to pick something both more recent and more in […]

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  2. I liked the books. 2 and three could’ve been combined probably, but they’re not as tedious to get into as the first one. I think it took me a month to get past chapter one of Dragon Tattoo, but once I was in, I couldn’t stop. 🙂 Hope you finish it.

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  3. […] 7 years later… The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo […]

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  4. erinclosetreader

    It took me a while to read this too. I picked up the book and put it down after a chapter. Then several years later I picked up the book again and really enjoyed it. In between this time I actually visited Stockholm and I think that helped me get into the story more. My favourite nordic noir is Arnaldur Indriðason’s series, but I am on the lookout for a new series with a strong female lead. I am getting a bit fed up of the gruff 40+ slightly alcoholic inspectors.

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  5. Hmm, interesting that you ended up enjoying it more as an audiobook. If I couldn’t get through it on paper, I certainly wouldn’t be able to listen to 16 hours of story! But I did love the movie.

    I can’t imagine you’re all that eager to listen to the second book? hah

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    1. Yeah, I’m really thinking hard before I get that second one. I found that because last week was spent on the MOST incredibly monotonous task at work, that I really had no choice but to listen to the audiobook. 16 hours sounds long, but when you have a week filled with 8 hour data entry days… it helps pass the time. It took about an hour, but I eventually got really into it. I think the narrator really helped. He was great at doing each of the different voices, which helped me think of it as more of an old school radio drama.

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      1. Oh, you got to read it at work? Excellent! I used to be able to do that, but I started a new role at work so I’m still learning the quirks of the job. I don’t have much time to read at work anymore…

        I miss taking 15 minute breaks every couple of hours to read my Kindle. Eventually, I will feel comfortable in this new role and I will have free time again. Until then, I work from the moment I get there to the moment I leave. Sigh.

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  6. jessreadingnook

    I don’t know if I’ll finish the series, but I really enjoyed the book as well. There were parts that were tedious and that I honestly skimmed over, but all in all, it was a good book. I admire you for listening to the audio though because I don’t think I could focus on listening to something that long!

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  7. Haha I only read this on this year because Deepika and I decided to readalong 🙂 I was quite taken with Lisbeth and why oh why did they have to change the title in English? Overall the economics aspect and Blomqvist weren’t as interesting and I kept getting distracted, but maybe I’ll decide to read the second book at some point.

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    1. Thats exactly how I felt!

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  8. sigh…Lawd knows I tried with this book! smh I read it manually and it was too gory for my taste. I do agree though that the book itself is well written and the usage of language was impeccable to the point it had me imagining that I was experiencing some of the more violent scenes in the book. I can only imagine how the voice narrator acted out the characters’ lines in the book.

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    1. Having tried to read the book, I can say that the audio book makes it feel less like you’re actually experiencing it. It did have me a little jumpy at my desk though. It’s definitely not for everyone!

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    2. that said, the narrator was FANTASTIC.

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  9. I’ve had this on my TBR list since it came out. I even have a copy sitting on my shelf. Not sure why, but I’ve yet to pick it up and read it… I too enjoy the thriller genre in audiobook format, so maybe I’ll go that route too.

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    1. I’m no expert on audiobooks, but it also helped that the voice actor was really great at capturing the various characters. I highly recommend the audio format for that reason. It’s up to you if you decide to go with the abridged or unabridged version, though!

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  10. I just reviewed this over on my blog. Lol. I agree, it is difficult to deal with the financial details in the book but if we get past that it is very interesting. I’ll be reading book two soon as well!

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    1. Right! There’s so much going on that outside of those financial details, its impossible to be bored by it.

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