My Constantly Evolving List of All-Time Favorites.

Kyle 's favorites books montage

Gone Girl
The Night Circus
The Woodcutter
The Graveyard Book
Sharp Objects
Dark Places
Shutter Island
The Passage
The Twelve
Rules of Civility
The Aviary
Heir to the Glimmering World
Wool Omnibus
The Weird Sisters
A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones

Kyle Uniss's favorite books »

Friday, March 15, 2013

Getting to the gym and my new obsession with Harry Hole

Silly me. I signed up for a gym challenge at our wonderful YMCA for the month of March. The challenge gives us a whole month to finish an Ironman triathlon.  A whole month. That's 2.4 miles of swimming, 26.2 miles of running and 112 miles of biking. The swimming isn't bad--I swam in high school and college and it came back to me pretty easily. Even the running isn't horrid--the elliptical counts and I like the elliptical. The hardest for me? You guessed it; it's the biking.

Biking kills me, and not because of the strain on my legs. I like that--I feel like I'm gaining muscle and losing fat. It's the strain on my tailbone. I have done something to my tailbone in the last year or so that exacerbated an old injury, and every time I do something that means contact with my tailbone it HURTS! That means sitting for too long (at my desk, in the car, on a bike) or jarring it up and down (in a spin class, for example). You know it's gotten bad when sitting in your office chair makes you cry.

BUT I will prevail. I am more than half way done, and feeling pretty good (other than the bike). I have loved getting back in the water and think I will continue swimming after my month is up. I even think I have convinced my hubs to get me a waterproof iPod for Mother's Day. If that does happen, I will HAVE to continue swimming.

Well, enough about me. It's time for books. And today it is a wonderful character named Harry Hole and the mysteries of Norway.


"Sick is a relative concept. We’re all sick. The question is, what degree of functionality do we have with respect to the rules society sets for desirable behaviour? No actions are in themselves symptoms of sickness. You have to look at the context within which these actions are performed."

  I have been intrigued with Scandinavian mysteries lately. Some of the most interesting and complex works have been coming out of the Scandinavian countries. If you don’t count Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg in 1993, which was well written but very slow moving, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy was my first endeavor—and I was HOOKED!!! Next I read The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler, a pretty good mystery that takes place in Sweden. I heard wonderful things about Jo Nesbø, but was reluctant to switch to another unknown country (I did a lot of research on Sweden while reading Larsson so I could sort of understand where everything was taking place), so instead I went to Germany (I know a little about Germany—that was my thinking) and read Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus. It was pretty good, but not as good as Larsson’s books. So I finally succumbed to the siren of Norwegian mysteries and jumped into Nesbø and Harry Hole. I am hooked. 

I started with The Redbreast, which is actually the third in the Harry Hole series. It was a good place to start, but I will have to go back and read the first two. The Redbreast is amazing. The pace of the book is wonderful and the writing is easy to read but not simple—part of the credit for this (and all translated books) has to go to the translator; in this case, Don Bartlett. 

 This book is written in the present (well, the past, but present tense)of 1999-2000, but it flashes back to World War II. At first the flashbacks seem out of place, but they add to the mystery of the book and come to make sense. 

 Hole is a great detective with some jarring flaws that only make him more likable and believable. He’s an alcoholic loner, a lonely man afraid to let his defenses down. He does let them down, though, and we like him for it. He follows his gut and it usually takes him to the right place. Hole is a hero we can believe in, flawed but trying to find his way. The villain in this story is also wonderfully complex, spanning time and probability. I even liked him a bit, and I think Hole did, too. I have a feeling he will be returning in some shape or form. 

 This book is wonderfully written; Nesbø writes not only a great mystery but also a great piece of literature. This is definitely a book with reading.

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