I get lots of good book recommendations at my book club meetings.
What a radical idea.
This is my shout-out to the fellow members of my book club. Intelligent and thoughtful women all, they are also astute reviewers of their latest reading. Recently, one of them recommended The Snowman by Jo Nesbø. Since I respect the woman who recommended it, I picked it up right before Christmas.
Folks, this is not a light holiday book. One other thing: you can’t put it down.
If you have read any of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series, you will feel at home in the hands of Nesbø, one of several “hot” Scandinavian mystery writers [Henning Mankell is another].
I did not have any difficulty figuring out who the murderer was early on, a point worth making only because I am usually not very good at that part of the mystery reading experience. I am going to assume it was not Nesbø’s intention to fool the reader. Though I will say he sprinkled in plenty of false leads and red herrings [There!—that’s my Scandinavian pun for this review]. Beware, too, that the violence in these books is particularly horrifying—again, not unlike the Larsson books. Though be forewarned that Nesbø himself does not like being compared to Larsson.
What made this a book I could hardly stop myself from reading—despite being surrounded by my children and grandchildren, who seemed to want to focus on Christmas, of all things—was the relationships between Harry Hole, the detective and central character, and two women. One was his colleague, Katrine Bratt, and the other was the love of his life, Rakel.
If you like books that emphasize relationships between people in a cold winter setting, and if you don’t mind some pretty violent action, this book should be worth your time. Just don’t plan to eat or sleep until you are done.
On another note, let me encourage you to resolve, for 2012, to track the books you read. You can do this the way my mom did. She had a recipe file box and 3×5 cards. She had everything alphabetized by authors, and she noted on the author’s card which works she had read and when, along with a brief review. Or, if you want to be twenty-first century about it, try an online service such as Goodreads [www.goodreads.com] or Library Thing [www.librarything.com]. If you do this, I think you’ll find it to be a beneficial way to give structure to your reading as well as helpful when you try to remember specific characteristics of a book.
One more thing before I sign off for 2011. Here’s a link to a list of books Nancy Pearl, librarian extraordinaire, reviewed during a webinar I took recently: http://www.ala.org/pla/sites/ala.org.pla/files/content/onlinelearning/webinars/archive/nancy_pearl_handout_1211.pdf
My husband asked me if I had read them all. I told him, “Read them all? I haven’t even heard of them all!” Nancy will expand your reading horizons if you let her. Don’t be afraid to stretch!
See you next year.
 Nesbo, Jo. The Snowman. Random House, 2010. I read the ebook version via our Overdrive service at the library.