Monday: Gwen, my neighbor who knows a little bit about just about everything, calls to say she has finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it’s good and would I like to borrow it?
Half a dozen people have already asked me if I have read it. Half of them have told me it’s too violent and I wouldn’t like it. The other half have raved about it. I don’t want to list the number of popular books I have not read or movies I have not seen. That information is classified because I get tired of explaining the concept of free will.
I remember how Gwen could not stop enthusing about Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander series which did not interest me no matter how literate the writing and exciting the story. I say what I wish I had said then, “Sure, I’ll come get it.”
Tuesday: I go across the street and get The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I listen to Gwen’s enthusiasm about the story and how the translation is not all that good. Yeah, yeah. I wasn’t planning to read it anyway. But when I finish my current book, Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is within reaching distance and I have 35 pounds of cat on my lap, so I start it. In half a page I am hooked. Church choir rehearsals haven’t started yet so I have the evening free. I read for four hours.
Wednesday: I read most of the day. The work I need to do actually breeds. When I turn my head, extended families of work have crept out of my file cabinet and off my desk and are mounting on the floor. The OK Chorale hasn’t begun its quarter yet so I have all evening free and I read until I am falling asleep. I still have a hundred pages to go but I don’t want to rush the ending so I go to bed.
Thursday: I get up early and finish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the first of a trilogy.
Here’s where the sub-plot becomes more complicated. I know that Gwen, who is a voracious reader, is just as eager as I am to read the rest of the story. But neither of us want to actually buy the books. In my case, I don’t mind buying a book I am dying to read but I will get a used copy before I’ll buy a new one. (I may change my attitude about this when my own book is published.) Gwen, whose psyche is calibrated for coming up with everything she needs in the world using bits and pieces from her kitchen drawer, runs into her own limits when what’s needed is a book written by someone else.
Even with all the intrigue surrounding the death of Stieg Larsson, he is not to be found in Gwen’s kitchen drawer, so she has kindled the next book, The Girl Who Played With Fire — pun unintentional. I go to Couth Buzzard Used Books in Greenwood to see if they have a used copy. They do but it’s $15 unless I have an account which I don’t. To get an account, I have to bring in some books to trade.
I check Balderdash Books and Art, another used book store in Greenwood. They don’t have the The Girl Who Played With Fire but they have a UK edition of the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Coup! This is a bonus: it’s going to have cool, exotic words in it like Sellotape and lorry.
I take it across the street and pound excitedly on Gwen’s back door.
“Look what I’ve got!”
I magnanimously present it to Gwen and say that she’ll be needing it first.
Friday: I am in the Couth Buzzard Used Books three minutes after it opens with two boxes of books, get my account, buy The Girl Who Played With Fire for $7 and am home reading by a little after 10:00AM.
Saturday: I finish The Girl Who Played with Fire at 10:24, 24 hours after I start it.
I call Gwen to discuss sharing custody of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. She is only 125 pages into it but technically, it’s my book, which she concedes. But I now have several generation’s worth of work to do and my body feels tight from the week’s reading frenzy. We decide we will pass the book back and forth as our schedules allow.
Gwen reveals that she can stream the movie of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo through Netflix and we can watch it on her flat screen. In the evening, I go over in my jammies with a bottle of sherry and we watch the movie of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s excellent and very fun to watch so soon after reading the book. Halfway into it, Gwen murmurs that the other two books have also been made into movies.
We make a tentative date to watch the next movie and decide we will calm down about the third book. We want to enjoy it at our leisure.
But I think we might go out and get tattoos before all this is over.