• My friend Stieg Larsson by Kurdo Baksi.

    I love books. I buy at least one pretty much every week, whether it be from a charity shop, new from a bookshop or online. I have a pile of 15 books stacked a certain way on the unit in the living room that I've yet to read. In amongst them are 2 books by Stieg Larsson, so to be asked to review a book about him was brilliant as I thought it would give me insight into the man behind the books that I was yet to read. When I asked friends about his books, the majority enthused about them and said they loved them. In general, it transpires that those that have read his novels found them hard to put down and a phenomenal read.

    It may sound silly, but I had no idea he was dead. I had no idea about who he actually was, apart from an author. I'd not seen the film interpretation of one of his books and didn't realise that there was a third book to go with the two I already have. I guess you could say I read the story of him and who he was with a totally open mind and no preconceptions.

    I think the only preconception I did have was that it would be about the man himself as told by his friend, after all, that's what the book sleeve suggested it was. There are a few subjects I don't really discuss as they very rarely stay as a discussion, very few people will ever agree, let alone agree to disagree and, to be quite honest, they bore me. One of those is Politics. You may wonder what the hell that has to do with a book review. Well, I shall explain.

    The book seemed to have more information about the politics in Sweden (and worldwide to a small extent) than about Stieg himself. Stieg was a journalist first and foremost, but he was also passionate about injustice and vehemently opposed to racism amongst other subjects. This is the main feature of this book, and for me, that's a let down. I want to know about the man himself, as promised by the sleeve, not about anti-racism and neo-nazis. Yes, mention it in passing as it was part of who he was, but to my mind there was far too much focus on this. This fact made it a really hard book to read and get into.

    I tried to think what I'd write about if I was to write a book about any of my best and closest friends, and although some of those things would not be altogether pleasant, I know it would never read like some sort of character assassination. That's how this book appears. It's almost as if Kurdo Baksi had been wronged by Stieg somewhere along the line and this was his payback. I could be well out of line with this observation, but that is how it comes across to me. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly apologise.

    If you are a Stieg fan and want a book that will give you insight and tell you who Stieg Larsson was, then I don't think this is the book for you. If you want a book that will skim over who he is and focus mainly on politics, anti-racism, neo-nazis and conspiracy theories then this is the book for you.

    I give it 2 glasses - but only because it reminded me just how much I dislike Politics.


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