Ask (Feb. 3, 2009)


Question: When I first watched ANTM cycle 11, I totally fell in love with Elina…I was wondering what’s happening with her now, has she been picked up by any modeling agencies so that I can follow (read: stalk) her career as a model?

— Mary, Sydney, Australia

Answer: Elina Ivanova was recently signed by Seattle modeling agency TCM Models & Talent, and they have two new photos of her available:

Speaking of Top Model, I checked with The CW after the contestants for Cycle 12 were announced last week, and their publicist confirmed there are no openly gay or bisexual women among them.

Question: Hi. Will there be another season of Dante’s Cove?

— Patty, Chicago, IL

Answer: here TV announced last year that there will be a fourth season of the campy supernatural drama but no production dates have been scheduled yet, according to here. We’ll let you know when we know more.

Question: So now that Sugar Rush is coming to here! TV, is there any word on if or when it will be coming to DVD in the US???

Denise, San Ramon, Ca

Answer: Regent tells me they do plan to release the series on DVD sometime this Spring, but they don’t have an exact date yet.

Question: I recently read a Swedish novel translated into English called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that I absolutely loved. Do you know if there are any sequels planned?

— Chris, Bethesda, MD

Answer: All three books in this trilogy by Steig Larsson are already available in Swedish, and the second book (The Girl Who Played with Fire) will be released in English on July 28, 2009.

Fans of good fiction, and good thrillers (it works as both) should definitely check out this award-winning series, which was a bestseller in Europe.

I picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by chance in a bookstore a few months ago, and although it took a few chapters to reel me in (the writing is uneven and heavy-handed in places), I soon couldn’t put it down.

The novel is a somewhat complicated story about journalism, business, and the unlikely friendship between a disgraced-but-honorable older male journalist and a 24-year-old female hacker with an attitude problem (for good reason), so I’m just going to provide the Publisher’s Weekly description for you:

At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden’s dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker.

Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman.

As you might have guessed from the description, violence against women is at the core of this novel (as is anti-Semitism), but not in an exploitive way. Quite the contrary, really — I’m glad the author included at least a few good male characters like Blomkvist to balance out the parade of men in this book who really do hate women.

Although I have never been to Sweden and don’t know much in particular about modern Swedish culture, the themes and characters are so universal, it felt like it could just as easily been set in Massachusetts. And both Mikael Blomkvist and the "feral but vulnerable superhacker" Lisbeth Salandar are engaging and multifaceted characters (Lisbeth is also bisexual, with a preference for men, although this facet of her character only minutely factors into the story). I can see why Paramount is reportedly considering turning the novel into a feature film, although the cynic in me says they’d probably just reduce it to another boilerplate violence-against-women crime thriller that centers around Blomkvist.

They’ve already made it into a movie in Scandanavia, with Noomi Rapace playing Lisbeth; it opens in Denmark in March (thanks to AE reader Kathrine for the tip!).

Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salandar

Larsson had outlined seven books in the series before he died unexpectedly in 2004, after completing the third. Fortunately, reports by Swedish readers have indicated the third books does end satisfactorily — not on a cliff-hanger — so it still works as a trilogy. If any Swedish readers have read all three books and can verify this for us in the comments, please do (without giving away any spoilers)! And those who are already fans of the trilogy can discuss it in this forum thread (thanks Bente!).

NEXT PAGE: The Winning Season, and the Dead Like Me movie

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