133 Following

Sarah's Library

I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad).  The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.

Currently reading

The Last Honeytrap
Louise Lee
Progress: 100/346 pages
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 17 - Favourite Quote From Your Favourite Book

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

Favourite quote from my favourite book?  Well, to start with I couldn't choose one favourite book, so I chose 3 - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Plague Town and Darkfall.  Having three books to choose from, one of which I don't own, makes this a difficult and time consuming (flicking through two long books looking for 'favourite quotes') category to post about.  Fortunately, my favourite part of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is at the beginning of the book where the owner of Milton Security, Armansky, is thinking of Lisbeth Salander and how they first started working together.  This passage and quote is copied directly from page 35-36 of the edition with ISBN 9781847245458.


The first few months she had worked full-time, well, almost full-time.  She turned up at the office now and then.  She made coffee, went to the post office and took care of the copying, but conventional office hours or work routines were anathema to her.  On the other hand, she had a talent for irritating the other employees.  She became known as "the girl with two brain cells" - one for breathing and one for standing up.  She never talked about herself.  Colleagues who tried to talk to her seldom got a response and soon gave up.  Her attitude encouraged neither trust nor friendship, and she quickly became an outsider wandering the corridors of Milton like a stray cat.  She was generally considered a hopeless case.

After a month of nothing but trouble, Armansky sent for her, fully intending to let her go.  She listened to his catalogue of her offences without objection and without even raising an eyebrow.  She did not have the "right attitude", he concluded, and was about to tell her that it would probably be a good idea if she looked for employment with another firm that could make better use of her skills.  Only then did she interrupt him.

"You know, if you just want an office serf you can get one from the temp. agency.  I can handle anything and anyone you want, and if you don't have any better use for me than sorting post, then you're an idiot."

Armansky sat there, stunned and angry, and she went on unperturbed.

"You have a man here who spent three weeks writinga  completely useless report about that yuppie they're thinking of recruiting for that dot-com company.  I copied the piece of crap for him last night, and I see it's lying on your desk now."

Armansky's eyes went to the report, and for a change he raised his voice.

"You're not supposed to read confidential reports."
"Apparently not, but the security routines in your firm have a nuber of shortcomings.  According to your directive he's supposed to copy such things himself, but he chucked the report at me before he left for the bar yesterday.  And by the way, I found his previous report in the canteen."

"You did what?"

"Calm down.  I put it in his in-box."

"Did he give you the combination to his document safe?"  Armansky was aghast.

"Not exactly, he wrote it on a piece of paper he kept underneath his blotter along with the password to his computer.  But the point is that your joke of a private detectivehas done a worthless personal investigation.  He missed the fact that the guy has old gambling debts and snorts cocaine like a vacuum cleaner.  Or that his girlfriend had to seek help from the women's crisis centre after he beat the shit out of her."

Armansky sat for a couple of minutes turning the pages of the report.  It was competently set out, written in clear language, and filled with source references as well as statements from the subject's friends and acquaintances.  Finally he raised his eyes and said two words: "Prove it."

"How much time have I got?"

"Three days.  If you can't prove your allegations by Friday afternoon you're fired."


Three days later she delivered a report which, with equally exhaustive source references, transformed the outwardly pleasant and young yuppie into an unreliable bastard.  Armansky read her report over the weekend, several times, and spent part of Monday doing a half-hearted double-check of some of her assertions.  Even before he began he knew that her information would prove to be accurate.

Armansky was bewildered and also angry with himself for having so obviously misjudged her.  He had taken her for stupid, maybe even retarded.  he had not expected that a girl who had cut so many classes in school that she did not graduate could write a report so grammatically correct.


That passage reminds me that some people can see beneath the surface, that not everyone judges a book by its cover (or they won't forever) and that just because a person doesn't have skills learned at school doesn't mean they don't have skills or a purpose in life.