Monday, January 17, 2011
One of the reasons that I'd held off reading the Millennium Trilogy for so long is that there had always been rumors of a fourth novel. Now, that rumor's confirmed, and the timing makes "perfect" sense, since I finally caved and started The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo precisely five days before the Guardian's report. You know how at a restaurant you can always ensure that your food will arrive by getting up to go to the bathroom? Same principle here.
Anyway, the first of the much ballyhooed Millennium Trilogy started very slowly but has dramatically picked up the pace. So, yeah, I'm enjoying it, and it's gotten me to thinking about other great trilogies out there. Though I haven't read either (ashamed!) the discussion of literary trilogies usually starts with either John Dos Passos U.S.A. Trilogy or Paul Auster's New York trilogy. Beyond the literary, the fantasy and history genres seem to be rife with trilogies. Even though its prequel The Hobbit is still probably more widely read than the novels of the trilogy themselves, The Lord of the Rings trilogy may still be the most-read trilogy of all time. In regards to historical fiction, two trilogies I have read that I really loved both were Civil War-related: Jeff and Michael Shaara's trio of novels (Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full Measure) and John Jakes' epic trilogy about the Hazards and Maines (North and South, Love and War, and Heaven and Hell).
As one final note, I've always thought it interesting that many readers are afraid of long, thousand-page novels, but don't seem to have that same terror of trilogies, that when taken collectively, add up to much longer pieces of fiction. I can see how a reader with this idea would argue, "Well, if I don't like the trilogy after the first book, I can just quit, and I'm not committed to reading another two-thirds of a novel I'm not enjoying." But the kind of reader who would quit after one novel in a trilogy is also the kind of reader who would quit after one-third of a very long novel s/he isn't enjoying, right? So I'm not sure I buy that logic. Anyway, no real point here — just an observation on others' reading quirks.
What are your favorite books in threes?
Posted by Greg Zimmerman at 11:59 AM