I don’t watch much TV. I don’t listen to top 40 radio. I’m not enticed by most of what ends up on the New York Times bestseller list. Almost invariably, my first hints that a new pop culture phenomenon is in town are articles, blog posts, or casual conversations full of mysterious references to things I’m clearly supposed to know all about. (“‘Lady Gaga?’ Are people just stringing random words together, now?”) I don’t want to drift off into an entirely different universe from the rest of America, so I sometimes try to watch or read the Hot New Thing that Everyone’s Talking About. This, plus the fact that the waiting list at the library was something like 50 hold requests long, is how I ended up buying a copy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
I did not enjoy The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. If it wasn’t a runaway bestseller—if I hadn’t been curious about why it was a runaway bestseller—I would have quit reading after fifty pages. (When I was a kid I felt honor-bound to finish everything I read. Growing up, and understanding in my gut that my life and reading time were finite, cured that.) Continue reading In which I attempt to read what everybody else is reading, and wind up depressed and horrified.