Double-Fisting

30 Nov

So I’m cheating a bit this week. Despite my resolution to only read one book at a time, and despite my two-paper-cut rating of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” I found myself on Sunday gazing somewhat longingly at the second book in the series, “The Girl Who Played with Fire.” (For the record, I can often be found standing idly in bookstores, staring in the general direction of the shelves and daydreaming). In any case, next thing I know I’m walking away from Borders with a shopping bag and a receipt. Seems I bought the thing.

This fairly minor relapse was compounded by a two-hour train ride on Sunday, during which I found myself unable to nap (I suspect it had something to do with the toddler behind me, who was engaged in a high-volume recitation of the alphabet). So I casually started “Played with Fire,” and now I’m 100 pages in and refuse to put it down.

None of this would really break my resolution—after all, reading a sequel is still reading—were it not for my other book obligation this week: “Ms. Hempel Chronicles,” which I am reading for a book club that meets on Friday. True, said book club is comprised entirely of a small circle of friends, and we spend more time gossiping and drinking than discussing our latest read, and this particular book and associated meeting have been postponed for no less than six months. But I am not one to walk away from goals. Unless they’re related to my intake of ice cream, or a lessening thereof.

And so I find myself in a conundrum that can only be solved by an even more dedicated focus on the written word: Since “Hempel” is a mere 190 pages, I have decided that I will finish both books this week, primarily by thinking of them as one very long book (around 900 pages) called “Ms. Hempel Played with Fire.” I see it as a novel set in Sweden, where relatively young and inexperienced teacher Ms. Hempel becomes involved with a student, which leads to some sort of murder mystery that can be solved exclusively by Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth and Hempel become good friends (post-mystery of course) and spend their days hacking into mainframes and kicking hornets’ nests.

And I guess teaching.

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