Monday, June 14, 2010

Win "The Ice Princess"

Camilla Läckberg has made it to the United States, and two American readers can win copies of The Ice Princess, newly out from Pegasus Publishing. All the two of you have to do is answer this question correctly:

The Ice Princess' English translator has translated books under at least three names in addition to the one he uses here. Tell me at least one of those names along with the title of at least one book translated under that name.

***
A reader in Washington State knew that Steven T. Murray translated Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo under the name Reg Keeland, and a California reader knew that he translated Karin Alvtegen's Shadow under the name McKinley Burnett. They win Camilla Läckberg's The Ice Princess, which Steven T. Murray translated under the name Steven T. Murray. Congratulations.

Now, based on the above, can you guess what kind of music Steven T. Murray likes?

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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43 Comments:

Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Laurie Thompson-Henning Mankell, THE DOGS OF RIGA-also Stieg Larson.
aa2579@wayne.edu

June 14, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Gosh, I didn't even see this until it was already resolved.

Did anyone read "The Ice Princess" yet to comment on?

June 14, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

This one lasted just a few minutes.

I have just started reading The Ice Princess. I had found a copy in a secondhand bookstore on my vacation, then returned to find the book was being published in the U.S.

June 14, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Faster than the speed of light!

June 14, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Pretty close to it, yes.

June 14, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I wouldn't have won, though I would have known the Swedish aspect, so might have been able to figure this out, because there was a Swedish customer in the store last weekend and while he was looking for some other mystery, his eyes alit on Camilla Läckberg's book, which I hadn't known before was part of the Swedish contingent.

And no, I can't guess the music.

June 14, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"McKinley" is from McKinley Morganfield, the real name of Muddy Waters. "Burnett" comes from Chester Arthur Burnett, the real name of Howlin' Wolf. Mr. Murray likes the blues.

I was surprised that Camilla Läckberg had not been published before in the U.S., so it's not a great shock to me that you might not have known she was among the Swedes.

She also maybe be the youngest of the lot. Though sources differ on her birthdate, all seem to indicate that she's not yet 40.

June 14, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Oh, and thanks for the blues clues.

June 14, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I'm way behind on the Swedes but there's a fan base here, so it will be nice to turn them on to her. (And eventually read her myself, I hope.)

June 14, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Better read those Swedes while they're still the next big thing.

In re blues clues, I try always to offer news readers can use, be they Christians, Muslims or Jews.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Camilla Läckberg's official English-language Web site is:

www.camillalackberg.com/

Her official Swedish-language Web site is:

www.camillalackberg.se

If you don't know Swedish, Google Translate can handle most of it.

And she's on facebook.

She was born 30 August 1974. And she's a very lovely woman.

another good crime fiction-ish v-word = methie

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"methie" sounds like the title of a hyper-violent, hyper-jokey Scottish crime novel.

I linked to Camilla Läckberg's site in the body of my post. Most of the references I came across gave 1974 as her year of birth; one gave 1971. Either way, she's young or youngish, and I think is the youngest of the Swedish writers who have made names for themselves in the English-speaking world.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"I linked to Camilla Läckberg's site in the body of my post."

Whoops! Sorry. Didn't click on that--sometimes I make assumptions (clearly, they are often erroneous ones) about what's on the other side of the link. And you know what happens when you assume...

These days when I see an aberration in a birth-year (1971 vs 1974, for ex) I tend to assume (there I go again) that, if it's not a typo, then it's a scanning error. But you're right, any way you slice it, she's just a pup.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Peter,

Steven T.Murray, translated Stieg Larsson's "The girl Who Kicked the Hornet's nest, under the psydomym of Reg Keeland.

Re: Larsson, I was speaking to the wife about "The Killee Inside Me" and the violence against women in the movie. She's has Swedish heritage, so I mentioned "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". Before I could say another word, she tells me everyone is reading that, you can't get it at he library, and she can't wait to read it. And she tells me it's part of a 3 book series. I was shocked. It appears that the often discussed violence is not such a big deal.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sean Patrick Reardon ...

I mentioned "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". Before I could say another word, she tells me everyone is reading that, you can't get it at he library, and she can't wait to read it.


Everyone is reading it, all right. Every time I see some proper older lady reading it on a plane or a bus (and this is not entirely stereotyping on my part. It is a commonplace, whether accurate or not, that women read more than men, including mysteries), I wonder why this book of all books? And, if the violence is a bad as recent discussions indicate, I wonder that they will think of it.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

The violence in Stieg Larsson's trilogy has been discussed in the blogosphere. I have seen this and commented on it many times--at Barbara Fister's blog "Scandinavian Crime Fiction," at "Books to the Ceiling," and many other places, including on this blog.

It is quite a cause for discussion and disagreement. Many people think it is overly violent which isn't necessary. Others think it is needed to show why Lizbeth Salander is the way she is.

I have read so many articles and comments which deal with this, opinions, etc.

Some women readers I know won't read it due to this, others, like me, skip other overly brutal sections and descriptions. I get it without reading all of that nightmarish stuff.

It is controversial in Europe and here.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

kathy d. has ...:

others, like me, skip other overly brutal sections and descriptions. I get it without reading all of that nightmarish stuff.


I wondered about this, since I have seen quite a number of late-middle-age and older women reading the Larsson books. I may be stereotyping, but I always figured they would be less receptive to violence in crime fiction than male readers would be.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, I have women friends who won't read Larsson's trilogy and others who skip over the brutal descriptions, as I do with some of it.

And others who read it and then criticize it for not being necessary.

There have been articles criticizing Larsson's intentions, whether he's sincere in writing these violent scenes or whether he is engaging in writing gratuitous violence for its sake.

Who knows? People tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

One never knows why people do what they do, but I have read no convincing arguments that Larsson was being deliberately exploitive in his depictions of violence.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I tend to agree that Larsson wasn't trying to exploit the violence, but thought he needed it in the books.

A friend (woman) just finished the third book and is sorry it's over.

So, we'll move on to getting the Swedish-made movie of book I.

June 17, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And then, some time in the future, the American movie. This all seems to be playing out such that just when discussion could die down, a new volume or a movie or another movie comes along.

June 17, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

To let all here know, in case you didn't see it, the New York Times of June 16 had a front-page article on the Millenium series' success in the U.S. and how well bookstores sales are doing.

It mentioned as factors for the popularity: "ambitious scope, complex characters, strong writing and quick storytelling."

The article asks who will be the next Stieg Larsson? Customers who have finished all three books are asking what to read next.

Camilla Lackberg was mentioned. She's written 7 books popular in Sweden, and was paid a big advance by Pegasus,which is kicking off this week the U.S. debut of "The Ice Princess."

Also, other authors mentioned to follow Larsson were Jo Nesbo, Yrsa Siggurdadottir, Karin Fossum and Kjell Eriksson. Also, Henning Mankell, of course.

What does anyone think about this? Can any other Scandinavian writer march Larsson's popularity?
If so, who?

June 17, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

kathy d. has ... "

To let all here know, in case you didn't see it, the New York Times of June 16 had a front-page article on the Millenium series' success in the U.S. and how well bookstores sales are doing.

It mentioned as factors for the popularity: "ambitious scope, complex characters, strong writing and quick storytelling."

The article asks who will be the next Stieg Larsson? What does anyone think about this? Can any other Scandinavian writer march Larsson's popularity?

If so, who?


That's a good question. I can't answer it because I'm not sure why Stieg Larsson became the phenomenon he has.

Here's the Times article. The cautionary note sounded by the bookseller who was asked what she would recomment to readers who finished Stieg Larsson's books and want something similar is interesting:

"Which has given some booksellers pause. Mr. Larsson’s books have caught on because of their ambitious scope, complex characters, strong writing and quick storytelling, said Cathy Langer, the lead buyer for the Tattered Cover stores in Denver — maybe not because of their Scandinavian setting.

"`It’s a tricky line to walk,' Ms. Langer said. `I’d probably ask them if they’d read any Henning Mankell. But if you try to duplicate the experience, you’re likely to disappoint the customer.'"


I'd say that ambitious scope comes closest of any of those categories to describing Sieg Larsson, but I do like the suggestion that the Scandinavian setting may not be the primary factor. I suspect that publishers don't want to hear this because it would make their job harder. They'd have to do what all the commentators are doing, and figure out what the appeal is. "Scandinavian," on the other hand, is easy tag to hang on a book.

But if, purely by accident, all the hubbub over Stieg Larsson gets people reading some of those other writers, that would be a good thing.

It's weird to see all those other authors mentioned because almost none of them is similar to Stieg Larsson in any significant way that I can see. Some of Jo Nesbo's book are of similarly ambitious scope, but I don't see much similarlity between Stieg Larsson and, say, the quieter human dramas in what I've read of Karin Fossum and Kjell Eriksson.

The article's reference to publishers' "rush to find more Nordic noir" is alliterative silliness on the reporter's part. None of these Nordic books is noir to anyone who thinks much about the term, I think.

June 17, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, I don't think any of the authors are anything like Larsson.

Nesbo is the only one of those I haven't yet read and will. However, I've been told to read "The Redbreast first," though "The Snowman," and "Nemesis" keep being recommended.

Mankell isn't like Larsson.

Nordic noir--yes, publishers are eager, salivating even, at the possible next Larsson phenomenon, and they'll try.

Lackberg, too, I haven't read her yet, but I don't think she's like Larsson either. But she is surely being promoted.

June 17, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

I think I agree with Zanger about the scope, characters, writing and storytelling in Larsson's trilogy. I think any one of these elements wouldn't be sufficient to render them bestsellers; it's all of these aspects that make them popular.

June 17, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I have to confess that though I liked the first Steig Larsson pretty well (though I thought the actually mystery element pretty much sucked), as a bookseller, I feel pretty sure that this one has leapt out of the pack because of some pretty felicitous marketing. I accept in advance that I may be jaded, but I find it hard to believe that the story itself is better by such a factor than the other work I've read coming out of Northernmost Europe. I also think that the actual merits of the story fail to account for the mega success of Harry Potter, and I certainly don't think the writing level is the main reason for the success of either the Twilight series or Dan Brown.

Color me skeptical.

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

kathy d. has left a new comment ...

I think I agree with Zanger about the scope, characters, writing and storytelling in Larsson's trilogy. I think any one of these elements wouldn't be sufficient to render them bestsellers; it's all of these aspects that make them popular.


I haven't followed the critical discussion and debate about Larsson carefully, but it seems to me that early on, opinion was that Lisbeth Salander was the major reason for the the books' popularity. More recently, Mikael Blomkvist and the story's scope have been coming in for praise.

It could be that those elements come to the fore in the second and third books. It could also be that critics and opinion makers feel pressed to come up with new explanations, either as honest groping for insight, or simply to keep milking the story.

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, you likely bring more insight than most into why people buy the books they do, so thanks.

I take it for granted that good writing and storytelling are not entirely responsible for the success of the megahits you mention. But the question, should one wish to pursue it, then becomes how the marketers decide which books will get all that felicitous marketing. Marketing can probably make a book a greater success than it would have been otherwise, but how much greater?

Another thing: You probably are familiar with that phenomenon of books that everyone buys but few people read. These generally are non-fiction books that carry a sheen of intellectual respectability (Stephen Hawking's name has come up in these discussions). I wonder to what extent a similar phenomenon exists for fiction. How many people buy a megabook because everyone else is reading it or because they want to see what the fuss is about, then are embarrassed to say they don't get it or simply opt out of the discussion?

June 18, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, I second those recommendations about the order of reading Nesbø's novels. You should read The Redbreast, Nemesis and The Devil's Star in that order if you can. Sequence is less important for The Redeemer and The Snowman.

Perhaps the question of which authors are like or unlike which other authors is more important to marketers and sellers of books than to readers.

June 18, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, it's more important to publishers, marketers and booksellers, true.

If someone, though, reads a book he/she loves, and it's finished, then with enthusiasm, one may want to find another book like that one.

Sometimes one has to readjust and get over a book to move on to something new and different. This is why so many people like series, as they're used to a character and a scenario.

One may look for something similar and then find a book which has some similarities, but ultimately, one has to move on.

June 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've never thought systematically about what attracts me to a new book or author. Sometimes the publisher is a factor. If an imprint publishes an author I like, it may publish others I'll like as well. This may be especially easy in my niche, as some houses tend to make a specialty of translated or other non-American crime fiction. Soho Press and Europa Editions come to mind.

June 24, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

That's an interesting way to look at it.

I like series but also stand-alones and the Internet with lots of websites and blogs with reviews and comments and recommendations has expanded my reading a lot, in addition to the NYTBR.

How else would I even know about Nordic fiction, Fred Vargas, so many other authors, even U.S. authors.

I wouldn't have read "The Maltese Falcon," without seeing the discussion about Hammett on this blog, and so on.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's nice to hear; thanks.

Most newspapers no longer take books seriously, so blogs have assumed a greater role. And blogs have flexibility that newspaper and magazine coverage could possess but generally lacks.

When I write about a book for my newspaper, I stick to that book, with an occasional mention of others by the same author, from the same country, or in the same genre.

Here, I can write about old books, new ones, movies, or about just one aspect of a book. So, good reading about books may be harder to find on the Internet than it used to be in newspapers, but it is there, at its best arguable richer and better than mainstream media coverage.

June 24, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, it's there if one knows where to look and also the lists of related blogs on various websites or links to reviews or following names on reviews at blogs is helpful.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Searches, labels and keywords can all help. The labels at the end of each of my posts will lead to other discussion on my blog. I also try to provide useful links in the body of a post where appropriate.

The problem with an open medium like the internet is sorting out what's worth reading from what isn't. One has to find sources one can trust.

June 24, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, one does and also one has to evaluate what a particular reviewer and/or blogger compliments or criticizes and see if their words complement one's own reading preferences or dislikes. Or what one finds intolerable in a book.

That's one way to know if one wants to try a book or not. Of course, after one has read a book, then the reader has his/her own evaluation.

June 24, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In the past, a review's appearance in a newspaper conferred a certain legitimacy. You might think a review was full of beans, but you took it seriously. Those who write about books on the Internet have to build up that legitimacy and trust on our own.

June 25, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Thinking about this a bit, I'd say that a reviewer always had to drum up a fanbase. What I think a paper provides and provided was a kind of guaranteed audience, who might judge in the positive or the negative, but would probably still check in regularly, even if only to dissent. What's good about the blogosphere is that people can develop a following of people who appreciate someone's opinion. But what's bad is that there is no regular context where you have to confront the opinion of someone you might not agree with right off, which means you don't have to reformulate your own thoughts quite so often. It's easier to escape from irritating opinions, which is personally soothing but bad for the commonweal.

June 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I notice the Internet's drawbacks the more I use those features exclusive to the Internet. If I subscribe to e-mail alerts about, say, Peter Temple, I won't get just the online equvalents of discussions in the New York Review of Books and the Sunday Times, I'll get comments from people the sum of whose opinion is "I like Peter Temple." That's well and good for them, but I don't need to read it.

I may misunderstand you, but I'd say there's more opportunity to confront opposing opinions in the blogosphere than in newspapers.

June 25, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Potentially, yes. But what I mean is that there is something to be said for having a base that has nothing to do with you. So, for example, we have two local free
'entertainment' papers. (They actually are often a bit more substantive than our local paper of record, but never mind.) They review books more sporadically, but they review movies all the time. People are going to look at those movie reviews because they picked up the paper and are thinking about the weekend's entertainment possibilities. They don't have to seek out the review, it's just there. If they're familiar with the reviewer, they know where to take a grain of sal with the review and where to follow the advise. They don't have to be a big fan of the reviewer to glean information from the review. The blogosphere seems the inverse of that. It's a cult of personality, and I don't mean anything pejorative in that, I just mean that's the way I think people approach it. You go to an individual person's blog, which usually means you have some sort of positive feeling about it on the whole.

June 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, personal contact or the illusion thereof is an actively fostered feature of the Internet. During my recent shopping for a blog host, I found an article that either encouraged bloggers to know their commenters or vice versa, and showed how to do whis through detailed user profiles. That is odd, and one wonders how this will influence other forms of communication and what we expect of them.

You go to an individual person's blog, which usually means you have some sort of positive feeling about it on the whole.

I'm sure communications theorists have already compared and contrasted this with the sort of trust said to be essential to a successful, say, newspaper.

June 25, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

However, individual taste and preference still prevails., even when one reads a reviewer's positive review.

For instance, I like to read Marilyn Stasio's "Crime" column in the NYTBR every two weeks. Her writing is crisp and to the point, often hilarious. She gets to the essence of a book in fewer words than any other reviewer I've read. And when she has enthusiasm, she has it.

However, when I read a good review of hers, I can tell if the book is one I'd like to read or not--based on theme, plot, violence level, time period, main characters, if it's based in reality or not, etc.

So I can make a judgment call based on reading a review by her. And this hasn't failed so far.

And this is true of some bloggers. I can tell enough by the gist of the review if I want to attempt to read the book and give it a try or forget it.

I know what I like to read--as we all do--and what I do not like.

And I'm tempted to try new books, authors, countries, based on a reviewer's enthusiasm, but not if some elements of the book would be offensive to me. But I'm glad to be adventurous.

June 25, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ideally a review ought to stand on its own as a piece of writing, bringing the reader into fruitful engagement with the book even if one does not wind up reading it.

June 26, 2010  

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