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Group Read Discussions > June/July 2011 Group Read: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments I thought I'd get the discussion underway with some background on Jo Nesbo. I teach at the high school level and we find ourselves using YouTube more and more with our students. I found some interesting information there to share with you.
The first video is an interview with Jo Nesbo as he explains his character Harry Hole, and how he has evolved over time. Since we are not reading the first book in the series, I think it helps to understand the detective. By the way, I like the name with the Norwegian pronunciation so much better. I will hear that in my head as I read.
http://youtu.be/rdGe28r-KJg
The second video is both educational and funny. It is from a British chat show, and the interviewers are not very good. I'm being so kind! If you are the kind of reader who wants to know nothing about the plot at all before reading, then don't watch this one. There aren't any official spoilers, but there are some references to some parts of the crimes.
http://youtu.be/X3PG-JIa_g4
There are some videos of Jo Nesbo and his band on You Tube as well.
I haven't started reading yet, but after the interview I'm almost thinking of this as a Stephen King type horror story. I don't usually read those, I must confess!
Enjoy this background information and get ready for a wild ride!


message 2: by Ammar (new)

Ammar (AmmarMajali) | 22 comments I just started this book and its my first Jo Nesbo. I have read a few scandanavian/Swedish crime novels, but Jo Nesbo's look different. loving the main character Harry Hole.


message 3: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments I'm on the wait list to get this from the library to read on my Nook. Hope it doesn't take too long. I think there are 4 people in front of me.


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Patricia wrote: "I'm on the wait list to get this from the library to read on my Nook. Hope it doesn't take too long. I think there are 4 people in front of me."

I'm in line at the library as well, but there are many folks ahead of me. I may have to break down and buy the ebook for $12.99. I can get the audiobook sooner (I'm #1 for it) but I wanted to read this since I'm the discussion leader this time!
Good luck in jumping ahead in line!


message 5: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 21998 comments Do you need to have read any of the earlier books for this?


message 6: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments I read the description on Amazon and it seemed to indicate it would be nice if you had read the earlier books, but this one would stand alone.


message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Unfortunately, the English translations haven't been published in order. From what I've read, it isn't vital to read them in order.
I recommend going to the first video that I mentioned in the first post. This is an interview with Jo Nesbo in which he explains the evolution of the character of Detective Harry Hole. This will help you to a better understanding of the character without reading the series in order.


message 8: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne | 61 comments Thanks for the video links!


message 9: by Katrina (new)

Katrina | 51 comments Thanks for the links, I am listening to it on audible download I bought and it took me quite a few chapters to get into it because I just didn't feel the characters (these videos would have helped get into the grove faster), but it is finally taking off and developing. It is turning out to be a really interesting and even creepy book.


message 10: by Tammy (new)

Tammy (TammyGould) | 8 comments I have a question, the only way I was able to find this book was through an audio book. Does that count as reading? My husband said he thought that it was cheating, but that's the only way I've been able to find it around my parts.

Tammy


message 11: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2079 comments Mod
Hi Tammy, Audio, e-book, print, cassette/CD (if they still make them) any which way you can is fine by us.


message 12: by Maria (new)

Maria | 4 comments Patricia wrote: "I read the description on Amazon and it seemed to indicate it would be nice if you had read the earlier books, but this one would stand alone."

The first three books published in English--Redbreast, Nemesis, and Devil's Star--make up a trilogy of their own. They're worth reading when you get the time; even though I'm not a fan of translated fiction, I loved them.

Unfortunately, The Snowman seems to be book two of a second trilogy about Harry Hole. The book that comes between Devil's Star and The Snowman wasn't published in the US. (I wish I'd known that before I read The Snowman!) I've just ordered the only copy I could find on Amazon of "The Redeemer" from a British book store. Can't wait to fill in the gaps!

Maria


message 13: by Tammy (new)

Tammy (TammyGould) | 8 comments I've realized that I don't like audiobooks. I'd rather have a book in hand and read. I don't even mind having it on the computer to read.


message 14: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 21998 comments Tammy wrote: "I've realized that I don't like audiobooks. I'd rather have a book in hand and read. I don't even mind having it on the computer to read."

I only like audiobooks in the car when I'm on a trip.


message 15: by Kim (last edited Jun 16, 2011 08:48PM) (new)

Kim (KimMR) Tammy wrote: "I have a question, the only way I was able to find this book was through an audio book. Does that count as reading? My husband said he thought that it was cheating, but that's the only way I've bee..."

I can understand that audiobooks don't appeal to everyone, but I love them and they are definitely not cheating. I listen to audiobooks while commuting (and cooking, and doing housework and brushing my teeth!) and read regular books or books on my kindle when I can just sit down. Audio books have tripled my reading time. I suspect that I "read" audiobooks somewhat better than regular books because I hear every word and I can't skim or speed read to get to the end of the chapter!

Have got The Snowman on kindle. I'm hoping to start it in the next few days!


message 16: by Diane S ⛄ (new)

Diane S ⛄ I've read this and I love the Harry Hole character, he is so real and flawed. Liked the suspense in the book but I feel that in the end may be tried a few too many twists and turns.


message 17: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments Kim, I feel the same way about audio books. I just started using them recently because I sew a lot and wanted to be able to sew and "read" at the same time. I'm finding the same as you, seems I retain more from the book than when I'm reading it to myself.


message 18: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne | 61 comments I just finished this last night and really enjoyed it. In fact, I read way more yesterday than I had planned! I thought the book stood alone just fine, and I probably wouldn't have known it was the second in a trilogy without someone mentioning that. There is certainly a little mention of past cases/characters; however that did not distract at all from the story.


message 19: by Julie (new)

Julie Flanders (Julie_Flanders) I agree with Suzanne, I read way more than I had planned over the weekend! I couldn't put this book down. I just joined this group recently and this is my first group read, I'm glad I joined in when I did as I loved this book. I had never read Nesbo before but I'm looking forward to reading more of his books, I love the Harry character.


message 20: by Kim (last edited Jun 20, 2011 11:16PM) (new)

Kim (KimMR) I'm not very far in as yet. I haven't read any of the previous novels in the series and I agree that this doesn't present a problem. I also like the Harry Hole character.

I am a bit concerned about my tolerance level for gruesome (view spoiler) stories. I've read my share of them in the past. However, for the past few months the crime fiction I've read has largely been confined to "golden age" detective novels. (I've just finished re-reading all of Dorothy L Sayers' novels and a number of Georgette Heyer's mysteries, for example). I suspect that the more older crime novels I read, the less stomach I have for modern gory ones.


message 21: by Carol (last edited Jun 21, 2011 12:15PM) (new)

Carol | 152 comments I'm so pleased that Nesbo has given us a good description of Harry Hole. My favorite part, for example: "He ran a hand over the shorn bristles of blonde hair that grew precisely seventy-five inches above the frozen heels of his feet." His relationships, his flat (yuck!) and some of his back story are covered fairly well for the reader even though this wasn't the first book in the series.
It's interesting that the children seem to notice the oddities of the snowman. I wonder if that will go anywhere as the story continues?


message 22: by Kim (new)

Kim (KimMR) Cliff wrote: "If popularity is anything to go by, this must be a very good book, because all four copies in the City of Sydney library system are out on loan and I am second on the reserve list."

Cliff, I was about to say "I'm in Sydney. You can borrow mine when I've finished", when I remembered that I'm reading it on my kindle. It's taking me a while to get used to this e-reader thing!!


message 23: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (SandyLamar) | 33 comments I've just read the first few chapters and I'm a little puzzled. How would a murderer have time to make a snowman in your front yard without anyone noticing? And (view spoiler) he must have been there way before the mother disappeared. Is this explained later? Am I letting it bother me disproportionately? I do like Harry Hole, but I see there's lots to be revealed.


message 24: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Sandy wrote: "I've just read the first few chapters and I'm a little puzzled. How would a murderer have time to make a snowman in your front yard without anyone noticing? And [spoilers removed] he must have be..."

I wondered that as well. The book opens with the first time we see a snowman. The boy in the car seems to have seen it being built. The words he uses are the same words we read later on. I'm almost halfway through the book, and the other incidents seem to allow time for the building of the snowman.
There are many threads to follow in this story, so I guess we'll see.


message 25: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Kim wrote: "Cliff wrote: "If popularity is anything to go by, this must be a very good book, because all four copies in the City of Sydney library system are out on loan and I am second on the reserve list."

..."


Kim, I just discovered that with the Nook you can have up to 6 devices on one account. This would be for your smart phone and computer ( with the Nook apps) but also for other Nooks if you share an account. The example given was a mother and her 2 daughters share an account on Barnes&Noble and thus share the ebook library for that account.
Maybe you can do that with your Kindle as well!


message 26: by Kim (new)

Kim (KimMR) Thanks Carol. I'll have to look into that. I gather that there are some rules (which I am not really all that clear about!) concerning whether a book on kindle can be "on loan" to another person's device. It hasn't been an issue for me as yet, but I'm sure it will at some point!

As for The Snowman, I'm 50% through and I think I've identified the murderer There are enough hints to make it moderately obvious. I really hope I'm wrong, because I hate working things out way before the detective does!


message 27: by Kim (last edited Jun 25, 2011 03:53PM) (new)

Kim (KimMR) I finished The Snowman last night and was disappointed to find that I had correctly identified the murderer. Now this is not something I mind doing, but I don't like being way ahead of the lead detective. Still, it was a pretty good read. Harry Hole is an attractive character, in a deeply flawed and messed up way. (You partly know that he is attractive because he has an excellent relationship with a young child: a bit predictable, but that's ok). The locale is suitably exotic. While a lot of the plot line seems is wildly implausible, I'm more or less used to that in this kind of fiction. The writing is good (or at least the translation makes it appear so) and the narrative is certainly pacy. Such (view spoiler) stories are not my favourite type of crime fiction, but I'm glad to have been introduced to Nesbo and I suspect I will read more of his work in the future.

I'm looking forward to comments from other readers.


message 28: by Michael (new)

Michael | 1 comments About the making of the Snowmen, remember the days in a Norwegian winter are very short.


message 29: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (SandyLamar) | 33 comments Kim wrote: "I finished The Snowman last night and was disappointed to find that I had correctly identified the murderer. Now this is not something I mind doing, but I don't like being way ahead of the lead det..."

I finished it with my morning coffee. Bang up ending, I thought. And unlike Kim, I had suspected everyone along the way, with the detective, and had not figured it out. So, I enjoyed the ride. I didn't ever feel the pathology and gruesome nature of the crimes was all that probable, so I never saw it as realistically scary, but it was a fascinating puzzle.


message 30: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments I'm loving the discussion on this book. Just got notified today that it's available for me from my library, so as soon as I finish the book I'm reading, I'm going to start on this one. Sounds great, from what you guys are saying!


message 31: by Kim (new)

Kim (KimMR) Sandy wrote: "I had suspected everyone along the way, with the detective, and had not figured it out. So, I enjoyed the ride. ..."

That would definitely have made this book a lot more fun to read. I know exactly what gave the game away for me. I'll share when I can do so without it being a spoiler!


message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments I finished the book and I enjoyed trying to solve the identity of the Snowman. I suspected a number of people along the way, but I don't think I guessed the identity as soon as Kim did. I'm looking forward to finding out what tipped you off.
I was surprised by all the references to American presidential elections and other US related comments. I wonder why it wasn't centered around Norway's events. Was that to make it more appealing to a US audience?
There was more sex in this book than in the mysteries I usually read. Although the Steig Larson trilogy certainly had a lot of sex (kinky!!). Perhaps the Scandinavians are more tuned in to that, but I have only read these two authors from this area so far, so I don't know.


message 33: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 94 comments Carol
Have you read Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell, it's the first to feature Wallander and I couldn't put it down.


message 34: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments I'm about 25% into this book now and I have to admit it's not really grabbing me yet. I'll continue to read some this afternoon and evening, but if I'm not more interested by 50% I'll probably give up. Don't know what it is about it that's not my 'cuppa tea'.


message 35: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Deanne wrote: "Carol
Have you read Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell, it's the first to feature Wallander and I couldn't put it down."


I haven't read Faceless Killers but it's on my TBR list now. Thanks, Deanne! I like to read a number of books from a certain region to get a feel for the writing.


message 36: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Patricia wrote: "I'm about 25% into this book now and I have to admit it's not really grabbing me yet. I'll continue to read some this afternoon and evening, but if I'm not more interested by 50% I'll probably giv..."

That's just the way I felt about the Steig Larson trilogy, Patricia. There seems to be a lot of "set up" to the stories. Nesbo has been compared to Larson, of course. I found them to be similar, but I found Nesbo to be a bit better as a writer. The styles are similar, though.
I'm not sure if this is a Scandinavian thing, or just coincidence.
Deanne suggested Faceless Killers as another series from the region. I'll be interested to read this and note the style similarities.
Has anyone else read fiction from this region? I'd like to hear your opinions!


message 37: by Donna, Co-Moderator (last edited Jun 30, 2011 09:13AM) (new)

Donna | 2079 comments Mod
Sadly, I have to say that I haven't had a chance to read anything by Nesbo and I'm really sorry I haven't been able to join in this group read but I've been reading, and watching on TV, Scandinavian mysteries for a long time, Mankell, Fossum, Indridason, Nesser, Eriksson, and of course Larson and it does seem that there is a certain bleakness and slow pace to them and as you mention, Carol, a lot of set up before the resolution.

The sterotypical Scandanavian detective is an older male with something in his past which troubles him, often divorced, frequently troubled by alcohol, but he is extremely determined and dedicated to his job, (often a reason for the divorce/alcoholism), his co-workers, and the search for justice for the victim.

There also is often an understory about a social ill or problems with the govenment or politics. The government/political thread can be lost on readers outside of Scandanavia/Europe but most of the times you can get the message.


message 38: by Edana (new)

Edana Cichanowicz | 1 comments I've put Nesbo on reserve to read on my Nook. I have been on a Scandinavian mystery marathon read. Some of the authors I've read (in addition to above suggestions) are: Anders Roslund, Ajvide Lindqvist, Maj Swowall & Per Wahloo (Martin Beck series is classic!), Asa Larsson and Camilla Lackberg. Going to take out the new Liza Marklund.
There's also a couple set in Iceland that were very good.


message 39: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Edana wrote: "I've put Nesbo on reserve to read on my Nook. I have been on a Scandinavian mystery marathon read. Some of the authors I've read (in addition to above suggestions) are: Anders Roslund, Ajvide Lin..."
Thanks for the great list, Edana! I'm adding them to my list.


message 40: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Donna wrote: "Sadly, I have to say that I haven't had a chance to read anything by Nesbo and I'm really sorry I haven't been able to join in this group read but I've been reading, and watching on TV, Scandinavia..."

Even though you haven't been able to read with us, I thank you for adding your insights, Donna. I had wondered if it was a coincidence that Larson's Blomquist and Nesbo's Hole were similar characters in many ways. You've pegged them well in your post!
Yes, the bleakness and slower pace may be a turn-off for some avid mystery readers who haven't read much from Scandanavia.
I read when I was doing some background work for this discussion group that The Snowman may be made into a movie in the future. Not sure if that meant TV or full-length feature, but we'll have to watch for it.


message 41: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2079 comments Mod
If you can find them the original Swedish TV movies of Mankell's Kurt Wallander books and Maj Swowall & Per Wahloo's Martin Beck series are terrific. We have a TV station here in DC that runs an International Mysteries series and that is how I discovered Scandanavian mysteries a number of years ago.


message 42: by Joe (new)

Joe Young (smilyjo) I have the book and will read shortly. I devoured the Larsson "Girl Who..." series and look forward to another similar experience. This is my first group participation and I wonder what is expected of me?? I typically write a book review when I finish a book, is this similar. I would like a little guidance here please. Thanks!


message 43: by Patricia (last edited Jun 30, 2011 01:26PM) (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments Joe, here's my experience from reading the books selected by the group ~ nothing is "expected" from you. You can post here any questions/thoughts/discussion you want to about the book, or parts of the book. If there are spoilers, note that, so people will know before reading what you post. Some books seem to spark a lot of discussion, others not so much.

ETA: Also wanted to say just because you belong to the group, you are not required to read any book you don't want to. Nobody follows up to see if you read it, there are no 'group police' so you can choose which ones interest you.

The main thing that I've gotten from reading the books chosen by the group is that it has encouraged me to read some books outside my usual genre, books I never would have even chosen on my own. So I feel like I've grown from that, and it's been a good thing.


message 44: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2079 comments Mod
Thanks for the kind words and great explanation Patricia. Hayes and I really hope that our members do expand their reading tastes - I know I have - as we read, group reads or books recommended in any thread.

I might also add that we never "close" a group read thread so you can always look back, read an earlier group read, and continue the conversation.


message 45: by Carol (new)

Carol | 152 comments Joe wrote: "I have the book and will read shortly. I devoured the Larsson "Girl Who..." series and look forward to another similar experience. This is my first group participation and I wonder what is expect..."

Hi Joe! Welcome! Patricia has given a superb explanation of how our group reads work. I, too, find that it stretches me to reach beyond my usual choices. These threads remain open so you can read the book at a later time and look back at the discussion whenever you want to do so.
There are no requirements unless your book nomination is selected for reading by the group. Then you are the discussion leader. That's my role this month. Even then, there isn't much to do, but get the group started and add some comments now and then.
There is no final exam, or even a quiz! Just a group of folks with common interests enjoying some good books.
I hope you enjoy The Snowman. Looking forward to hearing what you think!


message 46: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments I finished this book today, and gave it a 5-star rating, and I don't often give 5-stars. I almost gave up on this book, but am so glad I stayed with it. It just kept getting better and better, an excellent read.

Carol, if you were the one who recommended this book, all I have to say is Good Job!! Read this one, people, you'll really like it.


message 47: by Carol (last edited Jul 03, 2011 09:48AM) (new)

Carol | 152 comments Patricia wrote: "I finished this book today, and gave it a 5-star rating, and I don't often give 5-stars. I almost gave up on this book, but am so glad I stayed with it. It just kept getting better and better, an..."

Thanks, Patricia! This is my first time attempting to lead a discussion and I have been worried that people would be wondering why someone would select such a bad book!! I hadn't read it. I just had heard buzz about it and wanted to read it myself.
A question for you and everyone else:
Did you find yourself suspecting a number of people along the way? Was the Snowman one of your earlier suspects or a later revelation?
Remember to use spoiler if you reveal vital information!
Just as a review you can post (view spoiler) by using < spoiler > whatever you want to be hidden spoiler > without the spaces.


message 48: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments Carol, yes I suspected everybody along the way! (view spoiler)
You did a good job choosing this book, I've recommended it to friends already. Might go back and read the first two books now! Well, maybe some day....I've just started A Clash of Kings for another reading group, and this is a long one.


message 49: by Sandy (last edited Jul 03, 2011 11:10AM) (new)

Sandy (SandyLamar) | 33 comments Patricia wrote: "....I've just started A Clash of Kings for another reading group, and this is a long one. ..."

What group is that, Patricia? I put it on my "to read", would enjoy getting the group discussion as a plus.


message 50: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (PG4003) | 50 comments Sandy, it's a Yahoo reading group. Very small group, but it's fun, they do quizzes and stuff all the time, keeps it interesting. It's called the League of Extraordinary Ladies. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/the-lea...
If you sign up, tell them I referred you, I get points for recruiting new members!!
We have a program (totally voluntary) where members can earn Points. You get points for reading the main book selection, points for reading the bonus book selection, points for reading books outside the group, points for participating in quizzes and discussions, it's just a fun thing. But guess what, I won the points thing for the last quarter, and I had a choice between a Kindle book or a paper book, I chose Kindle, and I was gifted a copy of Sister: A Novel by Rosamund Lupton, which is one of the top 10 of 2011 in Mysteries/Thrillers, and it was on my wish list. I was so happy!! The quizzes and stuff are all "open book", you can look up the answers on the internet.
Join us if it sounds like something you would enjoy.


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