Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

I've said it before and I'll say it again. One of the best things about working at a bookstore is getting to read Advance Reader Copies of new books, especially highly anticipated ones like the new Stieg Larsson!

I just finished THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST by Stieg Larsson. The American publication date is May 25, 2010. This is the third (and sadly, last) installment in Larsson's excellent mystery series starring Lisbeth Salander.

I devoured the book, just as I did the first two, but this time was different. I knew it was the last one. And not intended to be so.

As most Stieg Larsson fans know, Larsson died shortly after delivering the first three manuscripts to his Swedish publisher. But it was not supposed to be a trilogy. He apparently was planning to write a 10 book series. Unfortunately for us, that will never be.

Without giving anything away, I will say I was disappointed at the end of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST. It was a great "middle novel," meaning it moved us along and answered many questions raised at the end of the second book. But, by no means did this feel like a final book. Why? Way too many loose ends were left open.

There is a literary technique known as Checkov's gun that basically says, "If you place a rifle on the wall in chapter 1, it had better go off by the last chapter." In other words, when you include an intriguing plot element, you need to follow it through. In my opinion, Larsson skillfully laid out several "rifles" for us in the first two books, but some of these are never "fired." The epilogue in book three ties up a few loose ends, but not nearly enough.

I have heard rumor of a fourth partial manuscript by Larsson. But there may be a legal battle going on regarding it's ownership. We can only hope it is substantial enough to one day make a fourth novel in the series.

Until then, read THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST with relish since it's the last chance you'll get, at least for a while.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Waiting for Baby

At Micawber's, we are in a waiting game this week. When will Baby W show up? Han's wife is due on Saturday, but you never know with babies. They come when they feel like it.

Today I'm "on call" just in case. With all the excitement and anticipation, I bet Baby will decide to come late.

Either way, it's a great time for babies and new life and all things growing. Spring has definitely sprung and I can't say enough about how happy that makes me (and most Minnesotans)!

Last night was our first big thunderstorm. Today everything genuinely looks greener. And it smells good too.

So, hurry up Baby W! We can't wait to meet you and share Springtime with you.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Garbage Police Strikes Twice

There is a Garbage Police in our Micawber's neighborhood. And he (or she) has now struck twice!

Last week I was closing the store. It was around 8:30 pm and I had two small bags of garbage to take out. We are supposed to put our garbage in the big dumpster out back. But, I was heading the other way. And frankly, I don't love going to the dumpster at night. It's dark and creepy and recently I saw a rubber glove of unknown origin on the ground. Plus, when you share a dumpster with a restaurant, all manner of nasty can appear.

So, I took my two small bags of garbage with me out the front door when I left. I placed them into the garbage receptacle on the sidewalk and went home.

The next morning, poor Karen found the same two garbage bags plopped on Micawber's front stoop! They had been ravaged by squirrels. (Apparently, there was 1/2 a sandwich in one bag.)
She wondered if I had forgotten to throw the trash away. But, when I arrived at work that day, I assured everyone that I had indeed put the bags in the garbage can.

So, someone actually dug into the garbage can, took out our two bags, and put them on our front steps.

I felt embarrassed. Apparently someone had seen me throw our trash into the city garbage can on the sidewalk. I know these cans are primarily meant for lunch-time strollers, dog walkers and coffee drinkers, but I had no idea it was such an enormous deal to deposit two, small bags of garbage there as well. I was wrong.

That day I vowed to never put Micawber's garbage into the city can again. I am, once again, facing chicken guts and possible kidnappers in order to place our garbage in the correct receptacle.

I thought the garbage drama was over. But then, the Garbage Police (dare I say Trash Nazi) struck again!

Yesterday morning, I opened the store and found a single bag of garbage sitting on our front steps. When I questioned Hans about it, he admitted to hurriedly putting a bag in the sidewalk can the night before.

The ever-vigilant protector of the city waste had discovered the bag and brought it back home. This time I noticed there was an envelope in the bag that had our address right on it. Aaah. Perhaps the Garbage Police is not a nosy neighbor watching us each night, but rather the trash collector himself in the morning.

Either way, I am tempted (slightly) to put some garbage bags in the can, sleep overnight at the store, and catch the Garbage Police in action. This is probably the only way to find out his/her true identity. Remember, this is Minnesota so the garbage is placed on our steps without a note. Just a Minnesota reprimand to not use the city garbage cans.