Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reading The Girl

I've been busy reading. I just finished "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson. It is one of those books that I could not put down. I won't go into any details of the plot. This will avoid any potential spoilers for those of you who wish to read the book. If you enjoy a mystery/whodunit, pick up a copy immediately. You will not be disappointed.

The reason I bring up this book is because of the author; Stieg Larsson. He has a very sad story. This man spent years writing "The Millennium Trilogy." "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was the first, followed by "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and then "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest." These books were written in Swedish, Larsson's native language. He spent years writing, during which time he was married, divorced, and moved in with another women. When he finally completed the series, he took the manuscripts to a publisher. The publisher bought the stories and made plans for the release. Stieg was paid roughly $5000, and would get a percentage of the book sales. The books were printed in Swedish and did not sell very well. Stieg would not receive any more money.

One of the people who bought a copy was a British publisher, who was in Sweden on other matters. He loved the book, negotiated for the English rights, and made arrangements to translate it for re-release in Great Briton. Stieg was so happy about this, that he had a heart attack and died.

The English version of the book sold like hotcakes. (I never understood this analogy. Do hotcakes really sell that well? IHOP must be making out like bandits.) The first book ended up being translated to most every language on the planet. The sales of this book equaled that of Harry Potter. It was a #1 best-seller the world over. The following year, the second book did better than the first. The third book is currently the #1 fiction hardcover. The money this trilogy has generated is in limbo. Stieg's divorced wife has a lawsuit claiming she should get it. The girl who was living with Stieg at the time of his death has a similar lawsuit. So does Stieg's parents. Not one of the three parties are willing to split the multi-million dollar estate. Whoever wins, it will be the lawyers who will end up with the lion's share.

I don't have the slightest clue on who should get the money. I just find it very sad that the man who generated the books and money died before realizing an iota of the fame and fortune.

Stieg did not sit around between the sale of his books and their release. He was working on another manuscript at the time of his death. For the most part, it is complete but in need of editing. It was left on his laptop. The girl he was cohabiting with has it in her possession. She will reap the benefits of at least one publication no matter the results of the lawsuit. Or so I have been led to believe.

Sweden already released a movie based on "Dragon Tattoo," but I do not like subtitles. The U.S. is currently casting for it's own English version. This one I will see. Two of the main characters will be portrayed by Daniel Craig (Bond, James Bond) and a newcomer named Rooney Mara. Max Van Sydow is currently in talks to play a major supporting character. I know which actors will play which characters but I will let your own curiosity discover this yourself.

If you have read this far, I can guarantee that if you go buy a copy of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," your next few days will be a reading fury. As for myself, I will be headed to the store as soon as I finish these words and pick up "The Girl Who Played With Fire." And off I go...

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