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Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Cache-Cou

Loosely translated it’s a neck hider.  I’m still trying to work out this crazy scarf idea.  (No need to explain the look she’s giving me in the picture, right?)  I’m using the turtle part of the neck of a felted wool sweater.  This is at least its third incarnation and it’s still not quite right.  Things I’ve learned: no matter what you say it’s impossible to sell a four year old on wool as not scratchy.  If you line a knit fabric with a woven to make it feel smooth and wonderful on the inside it won’t stretch anymore.  Sigh.  Lessons learned.

So now I’ve lined it with another knit and it still stretches but not enough.  I stitched it closed with some contrasting yarn and it goes on obviously but there might be some lingering turtleneck trauma.  So.  I have to figure out how to loosen it up a little.  The upside is that I don’t have to zip her jacket up quite so high.  Still, I have to think a little and maybe not look at it for a day or two.

I haven’t been working on too much.  I’ve been reading!  I just finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  I liked it.  I didn’t love it.  I was warned that it was very dark and it was.  Dark and brutal.  The book is five or six hundred pages long.  The first 200 pages are a snooze and so are the last 100 or so.  So the whole story is crammed into a couple hundred pages in the middle.

It took me months to get through the first 200 pages but once I was over the hump I finished the book in two or three days.  I read the prologue to the second book and decided to pass on it.  Seriously.  I tried to think back on books I’ve read.  Lots of good reads but about the very worst.  Lots of rape, incest and death.  And this book had a hefty dose of all of it.  I thought, is there nothing interesting in the everyday?  So when while we were at the library today I picked out the last two books that I jotted down on my to read list and you know what?  They both promise to be just right.

First, At Home by Bill Bryson “Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home.”  Yes, please!

And second, Private Life by Jane Smiley which looks like it might let a little tragedy sneak in but describes the author as an “eloquent chronicler of everyday life.”  This is the first of her novels that I’ve picked up.  We’ll see.  And I picked up this for when I’m over this because I heard it was good too.

Anyway, it was a good story but it left me feeling profoundly paranoid and a little scared.  The only other time I got so worked up over a book I was reading Dracula.  I had to turn on the lights to go to the bathroom while I was reading that one too.  I keep waiting for someone to jump out of the shadows and drag me off somewhere.  I don’t like feeling like that.

Reading the translation was challenging too.  I couldn’t figure out why some things were described in such excruciating detail.  But, after thinking about it for a while, I concluded that it was a cultural thing.  I think that Larsson describes everything for his Swedish audience that they might find unfamiliar.  So when the book is translated you’re left screaming that you don’t care that the brand of his laptop is Toshiba and wondering what it means to dance naked at Slussplan.  It’s a little bizarre.

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