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Stieg Larsson, you genius

20120306-234826.jpg

A quote taken from the book The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo.

The prior line was “Never engage…” This paragraph had a profound impact on me when I first read it. It made so much sense, even more so when my mentor said almost the same thing to me few days ago over lunch. What an coincidental symmetry.

So I have been reading crime novels written by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson recently and I’ve been completely blown away. Which led me to a conundrum about the original books which were published in Swedish. Either he’s such a brilliant writer that his talent shines through despite the languages that the books were published in or he quite simply had a brilliant English translator.

The prose is written in a clear direct style that shows a strong journalistic background – short, direct, active sentences. Yet it also manages to draw the reader in an absorbing and engaging manner without losing its focus. (Remember how I said previously that Larsson managed to weave many layers of puzzles together without sounding confusing?)

The author is also unafraid to throw in big words to educate the reader (it is most likely just me being educated here but hey, I’m proud to admit my vocabulary has expanded from reading his books) or insert social issues to raise the reader’s awareness or add in strong Swedish-centric elements that may alienate non-Swedes. I have never been to Sweden but I feel that I know a bit more about the country now.

What I’m trying to say is Larsson treats his readers as a bunch of intelligent, objective and knowledge-thirsty audience. Which quite frankly is the opposite of what newsrooms and magazine publishers all over the world have been secretly telling journalists for years. Yes, we have been told to always keep our copy simple and treat the readers like idiots. “Explain succinctly, use simple words, don’t overload your readers with too much technical jargon or boring stuff, get right to the issue” are some of the often heard mantras.

So yes, this is refreshing and a style I’d aspire to emulate if I were to write a book.

Standard
0

Stieg Larsson, you genius

20120306-234826.jpg

A quote taken from the book The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo.

The prior line was “Never engage…” This paragraph had a profound impact on me when I first read it. It made so much sense, even more so when my mentor said almost the same thing to me few days ago over lunch. What an coincidental symmetry.

So I have been reading crime novels written by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson recently and I’ve been completely blown away. Which led me to a conundrum about the original books which were published in Swedish. Either he’s such a brilliant writer that his talent shines through despite the languages that the books were published in or he quite simply had a brilliant English translator.

The prose is written in a clear direct style that shows a strong journalistic background – short, direct, active sentences. Yet it also manages to draw the reader in an absorbing and engaging manner without losing its focus. (Remember how I said previously that Larsson managed to weave many layers of puzzles together without sounding confusing?)

The author is also unafraid to throw in big words to educate the reader (it is most likely just me being educated here but hey, I’m proud to admit my vocabulary has expanded from reading his books) or insert social issues to raise the reader’s awareness or add in strong Swedish-centric elements that may alienate non-Swedes. I have never been to Sweden but I feel that I know a bit more about the country now.

What I’m trying to say is Larsson treats his readers as a bunch of intelligent, objective and knowledge-thirsty audience. Which quite frankly is the opposite of what newsrooms and magazine publishers all over the world have been secretly telling journalists for years. Yes, we have been told to always keep our copy simple and treat the readers like idiots. “Explain succinctly, use simple words, don’t overload your readers with too much technical jargon or boring stuff, get right to the issue” are some of the often heard mantras.

So yes, this is refreshing and a style I’d aspire to emulate if I were to write a book.

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Mutual weirdness

I meant to post this on Valentine’s Day but WordPress decided to crash after I finished writing and it kept giving me the same error message so I gave up.

Now that the hectic past few weeks have died down a little, I have some time to repost this again and to go on a mad blogging frenzy.

“You want my opinion? We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.” - Robert Fulghum in True Love (1998)

Or as what my favourite children books’ author Dr. Seuss might say: love (and compatibility) is when two people with “mutual weirdness” get together and enjoy exploring “oh the places you will go” with each other.

Have you found your mutually weird other half who makes you incredibly happy yet?

Happy [belated] Valentine’s Day.

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss