The Girl With/Who Trilogy (Dragon Tattoo, Played with Fire, Kicked the Hornets' Nest,) by the now-dead Swedish author Steig Larsson are the THAT books of our current hour. (As in: "Have you read that book? It's good. You should read it.") The trilogy is essentially a meticulously detailed revenge fantasy punctuated with frank sexuality and graphic violence. Of course it's more complicated than that but you've either read it or you can read a synopsis here. Or just watch the movies.
THAT books are than just best sellers. They bubble up and capture the collective imagination for a multi-year period via sequels, imitators and Oprah discussions. There is, inevitably, a film version of these books that either pleases or piques die-hard fans and then, almost without warning, the whole thing is gone. Disappeared, like a school crush or a questionable haircut. (I know its not a book but remember Avatar? Didn't think so.) So here is our incomplete list of THAT book books that, in their day, were The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo everyone was reading on their lunch hour.
DaVinci Code (2003) Yes. Yes. We all recognize that we momentarily lost our minds and thought this book was good. (I even wrote a glowing review as a critic for amazon that still haunts me). But this was THE book of about three years. If they make a movie and Tom Hanks is the star, yeah, that's a big deal.
Life of Pi (2001) A kid is on a life boat WITH A TIGER! Only of course it's not a tiger, it's awhole blind man touching a camel type thing. But, then again, you read it on the plane in 2001, remember? No movie for this one...yet.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sister Hood (1997) Every woman I knew in 1997 was reading this book about reconnecting or alcoholism or the south or something. Made into a terrible movie that was shown on planes.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994) A loosely journalistic account of a murder (or killing, depending on which side you take) in Savanah, Georgia. Still required reading for any trip to the south. Made, of course, into a inexplicably hamfisted movie directed by Clint Eastwood staring nearly every name brand actor in Hollywood from Kevin Spacey to John Cussack.
The Satantic Verses (1988) OK, unlike the DaVinci Code, NOBODY, I mean NOBODY read this book but we all remember it. Salaman Rushdie had an Ayatollah'sÂ contract put out on his head for writing this. Something about blasphemous references to Mohammed, who can recall? But this was one of those early pre-911 moments we were all like "Damn, those dudes are serious about this Mohommmed fellah."
Clan of the Cave Bear (1980) Jean M. Auel's epic hunting and gathering tale set in the pre-missionary-position period. Daryl Hannah starred in the book's 1986 film adaptation and that was pretty the end of her career. But you (or your mom) definitely read this book.
We call them "Incomplete lists" for a reason. What are your greatest hits in the category of: "Books everyone read but nobody remembers?"
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