I know I am a little late to the table on these books, but I am with just about all popular books. I almost missed "Water for Elephants" too which would have been a shame because that is now my favorite book of all time. I hope the upcoming movie doesn't ruin it for me.
Anyway, I was going to Houston for my work's company Christmas Party in December and realized that I had nothing to read. I ran into the Hudson's book store and paid -gasp!- full price for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". I was hesitant to read it because it is set in Sweden and has a bunch of names I don't recognize, but the clerk assured me that it was a great book and I would not be disappointed. I was a captive audience once the plane door shut, and I had paid -gasp- full price, so I started to read it. When I am faced with a book that has a name I can't easily read or pronounce in my head, I usually make it into a different name. For instance, "Mikhel" becomes "Michael". This is usually not a big deal because it is only a name or two and not a disruption to the plot. That was not the case with this book. Every name, every location, and even the money was unfamiliar. I should have made a list to keep them straight. At any rate, once I got through the first 40 or pages or so, it was FANTASTIC!
I then quickly checked "The Girl Who Played with Fire" out of the library and read through that one, too. LOVED IT! I went back to the library and tried to find "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", but it was not in. Here is where I ran into a problem. I put it on reserve, but so had about 15 other people, so since I am too cheap to pay for two books, I waited my turn.
About 6 weeks later the book finally came in. It was basically a continuation of the second book. Since I had not made a chart I could not remember who was who and had to figure it out all over again. That paired with the fact that I was reading it about 5 pages at a time between the crazy schedule I have had over the last two weeks, kind of ruined a great book.
I loved these books. I started to read them just to see what everyone had been talking about. While reading the first book, the first 40 or so pages set up a very intricate plot to scam someone out of a ton of money. If I was not stuck on a plane with nothing else to do I would have stopped reading it. That and I was going to read every word of this book, even if it killed me, because I had spent so much money on it. I am so glad I did.
My point is, these are great books and well worth the good press that they have received. Don't give up on them. Also, I would like to point out that I am not really a cheap skate, but I hate to spend money on things I could get for free from the library. Besides, what would I do with it after I finish reading it? I have no space to store books. I guess I should investigate an e-reader, but I am not willing to give up a real book.
Anyway, if you have the opportunity, please read these books and I hope you enjoy them.