February 17, 2011

Sitzbook: "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest"

This is my first official "Sitzbook" blog entry, besides the one where I introduced the project. My idea is to generally just talk about the books I'm reading and any thoughts related to them. I'd love to hear any comments or ideas you have.

Anyhow, I recently read The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. It's a new little book, pretty obscure; maybe you've heard of it? Ha ha, just kidding. Everyone --and everyone's literate dogs-- has heard of and read this book, so I won't really get into it too much here. I did have two things I wanted to mention, though:

1. I think it's great that the people in the book drink so much coffee. There's nary a point in the novel where someone isn't making it, drinking it, or talking about making or drinking it later. Apparently Sweden is only the 6th biggest coffee-drinking country in the world, so maybe Larsson was trying to rally the troops. Evidently other readers and reviewers think the amount of coffee consumption in the novels is a bit absurd, but it's helping keep Costa Rica's economy afloat. So, coffee-cup bottoms up!

2. It would seem that I'm not the only person who noticed quite a bit of product names being mentioned in these novels (people talk about this phenomenon here, here, and here). In this trilogy, people don't use computers, they use Apple iBooks. They don't call someone on a cell phone, they call someone on an Ericsson or a Palm Tungsten. They don't drink mineral water, they drink Ramlösa. Maybe it's because I read the first book in the series in German and the second in Spanish, but I didn't really notice until the third (which I read in English) that these product mentions were so frequent. I don't think I'd necessarily go as far as to call it "product placement," though. In fact, I can almost imagine that when Larsson dropped these names, he was sort of doing it semi-ironically, since so much of his writing seemed to contain a critique of modern society. Sometimes that criticism was outright, and other times it seemed more subtle. 
Then again, I suppose he could have just been really into 7-11, IKEA, and Billy's Pan Pizza. But since he died before the novels were published, I guess we'll never know.

In any case, if you've read these books, did you notice the coffee addicts or the name-brand products? If so, what did you think of them? Feel free to chime in below in the comments section.

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