Sunday, March 16, 2014

Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I have to put both covers on here, because fun fact: the novel was not published as "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." It was published in Sweden as "Men Who Hate Women." Honestly, a better title, but too harsh for us Americans, probably. Why put such an innocent title on a book that discusses rape, abuse and incest?
Where do I even begin with this one? I read this book as part of a project for my sociology senior seminar class, thinking that I could use it effectively in application of Marxist literary and sociological theory. I was NOT disappointed in that regard. Not only is it a great example of a popular contemporary novel, but it just... wow. There was just so many complexities in the novel, so many subplots and great scenes, I can't really do anything but praise it as a noteworthy piece of modern literature.

This was kind of my reaction the entire time I was reading it.
I mean, holy crap, you never saw a lot of the scenes in the book coming. That was what was so great about it. I could relate to the main characters somewhat. I'm thinking of how to describe the characters as effectively as I can, and all I can think of is the "good neutral evil" 9 tiered chart that apparently originated in D&D but is used for so much more now. I mean, it's definitely a good way to put it. It's just that the characters are so complex that they aren't pure good and evil. One of the protagonists is always skirting the law in order to get the truth, and the other protagonist is a good person but in some aspects is kind of a sexist jerk (if you've read the book you'll know who I'm talking about). The antagonists are also, just wow--some of them are pure evil, and the others have good intentions but, well, can be jerks as well.

I haven't read a mystery book in quite a while, but I remember now why I would read them occasionally. There were some parts of the book I had to read right through. And if you truly love a mystery, you will really love this because there are two mysteries--a financial, capitalist (white collar crime) mystery, and a nail-biting, violent crime aspect of the novel that will seriously shock you. Underneath all of the complexities of the characters and motivations, is a running theme of how wrong misogyny is and that hidden under the surface, women are still treated as wholly inferior today. You can relate it to the rape culture that is still perpetuated in American society--"oh, she was wearing provocative clothing; she was drunk; she was asking for it". Some people will tell you that this doesn't exist anymore. Unfortunately, this kind of stuff still happens to women every day. Throughout the entire novel, Larrson is screaming, "stop this inequality now!!" How awesome is that?!

Through his novel(s) about corruption and violence against women, Larrson cracked wide open all of those stereotypes and inequalities that perpetuate today. Through his believable and relatable characters, realistic motivations, and unbelievable plot, he crafted such a masterpiece. If you like mysteries or even if you don't like mysteries, you should read this book. You seriously won't regret it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What's in My Mailbox?

Hey folks,

I try to update this every week, but it's hard to do so when I feel like I'm being pulled in about five thousand directions by everything from work to internship to future planning. But, in the meantime, I have been getting some great packages and letters from people! My next blog entry will probably be about the squares I've received from everyone so far for the square exchange we had going on at DeviantArt. But I've gotten some pretty cool stuff in the mail lately, that I wanted to share with everyone.

Last week, my good friend Lizzy sent me a package! We had decided to do a chocolate trade with our squares, and not only did she send me chocolate and squares, but she also sent me two wonderful pairs of wool socks!!
The entire package! How she managed to fit it all in there, I have no idea!

Very pretty!

I got a really nice card that talked about what was in the package! She has really nice handwriting.

Woo, socks! They are really warm and comfy.
The "Melkesjokolade" bar is about twice to three times the size of a normal bar of chocolate here. It's definitely true that American chocolate can't hold up to non-American chocolate!

 There's a variety of wool and acrylic in this bunch of scraps. I've already started using the lime green stuff with no label.
All in all, I got a lot of cool stuff! It was a really pleasant surprise to get the yarn, the socks and the chocolate!!!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Speed Knitting: Cosplay Hat

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to talk about a cosplay hat I did over the weekend! My close friend and roommate is doing a group cosplay at a big anime convention this upcoming weekend. When she found out that she was doing the cosplay, she got really excited and started hurrying about, trying to get the things together for the cosplay that she was doing. She decided to ask me to knit the hat for the cosplay. Last weekend, I got to work and whipped it up over the weekend, so she would have it in time for the anime convention.

This is what the anime character looks like. He's from a visual yaoi novel called "DRAMAtical Murder." Because the visual novel (video game) is yaoi, that means the content is mature [18+]. So if you do decide to play the game, please be aware that there is mature sexual and violent content in it.

I personally know nothing about the game, but I was more than happy to make this for her. She gave me the chart for the fair-isle that is on the hat (which can be found here), and another close friend of mine helped me with the earflaps [I'd never made them before and needed some help]. Once I had made the earflaps, the hat was a breeze. The fair-isle, which looked simple to begin with, ended up being much easier than was expected. I started the hat on Friday and finished it on Sunday, which is actually a personal record for me in terms of hats. Then again, probably the main reason that this hat worked up so quickly was because there was no ribbing involved. Thank goodness. Ribbing looks really great, and I love the aesthetic appeal of a ribbed knit hat, but actually knitting it is a little frustrating. Wonderfully, there was no ribbing involved here!

Here are some pictures of the hat itself:

 The cords, required as part of the hat, were done by my friend in rope braid. The pom-poms and tassles I made after I had finished the body of the hat.

I also had my friend model the hat!
An awesome side view!

So in conclusion, when compared to the actual character, the hat looks something like this:
Although the costume is decidedly odd, who can resist the geometric bunnies on the hat? Answer: No one.

So now that this hat is finished, my friend can wear it at the convention and we're both happy campers. I'd happily do a cosplay hat like this again--it was fun to get out of my comfort zone in terms of earflaps and other new techniques.

David Tennant approves this project.
Until next time, my followers! I actually have another blog post in mind for the very near future! If I get the time, of course. Enjoy your week!