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The Quilter's Apprentice

by

3.91 rating

Comment 1: I had actually started the next in the Historical Romance series, but since this book was destined to go back to the library soon, I thought I should give it a read, and darn it if it didn’t take a day to go through. Yippy for fast good reads. Jennifer Chiaverini wrote The Quilter’s Apprentice as a gift to the quilter’s she has known. The only thing I would ask for is pictures of the patterns she talks about as chapter graphics or something. This book is best for long time quilter’s who can visu Comment 2: I liked this book. It was interesting as there is a story within the story, just as a quilt isn’t just a blanket. Not being a quilter myself, nor having ever seen anyone quilt, it was very interesting when the story went into details about certain aspects of quilting. The main characters are Sarah McClure, Sylvia Compson, Elm Creek Manor and the quilts. Sarah has left her job and hometown to follow her husband, Matt, to his new job in a small college town in eastern Pennsylvania. Sarah was feel Comment 3: The author's first novel which I prefer. This is a feel-good novel about an endearing couple moves to a town in Pennsylvania where they know nobody. Sarah tries to find a job but ends up taking a 'temp' job to help a 75 year old widow. Sarah learns how to quilt, joins the circle of quilter's and befriends the old lady who lives in a family estate manor. The old lady, Mrs. Compson, asks Sarah and her husband to live with her at Elm Creek after Sarah suggests they have an annual Quilter's Conventi

The Writing Life

by

4.05 rating

Comment 1: Annie Dilliard writes some amazing sentences. So I found The Writing Life to be a fascinating look into the workings of her process. This isn't a how-to guide, but it will inspire writers, no matter where they are in the process (of writing and of becoming a published writer). Some of the passages are stunning, not only for their aesthetic beauty but their insight about writing and reading. For my writer friends, take a gander:"Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms? Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?" (72-73)"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes." (78-79)"The feeling that the work is magnificent, and the feeling that it is abominable, are both mosquitoes to be repelled, ignored, or killed, but not indulged." (15)and then this beauty, which I quote at great length:The written word is weak. Many people prefer life to it. Life gets your blood going, and it smells good. Writing is mere writing, literature is mere. It appeals only to the sublest senses – the imagination’s vision, and the imagination’s hearing – and the moral sense, and the intellect. This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else. The reader’s ear must adjust down from loud life to the subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word. An ordinary reader picking up a book can’t yet hear a thing; it will take half an hour to pick up the writing’s modulations, its ups and downs and louds and softs.An intriguing entomological experiment shows that a male butterfly will ignore a living female butterfly of his own species in favor of a painted cardboard one, if the cardboard one is big. If the cardboard one is bigger than he is, bigger than any female butterfly ever could be. He jumps the piece of cardboard over and over again, he jumps the piece of cardboard. Nearby, the real, living female butterfly opens and closes her wings in vain. Films and television stimulate the body’s senses too, in big ways. A nine-foot handsome face, and its three-foot-wide smile, are irresistible. Look at the long legs on that man, as high as a wall, and coming straight toward you. The music builds. The moving lighted screen fills your brain. You do not like filmed car chases? See if you can turn away. Try not to watch. Even knowing you are manipulated, you are still as helpless as the male butterfly drawn to painted cardboard. That is the movies. That is their ground. The printed word cannot compete with the movies on their ground, and should not. You can describe beautiful faces, car chases, or valleys full of Indians on horseback until you run out of words, and you will not approach the movies’ spectacle. Novels written with film contracts in mind have a faint but unmistakable, and ruinous odor. I cannot name what, in the text, alerts the reader to suspect the writer or mixed motives; I cannot specify which sentences, in several books, have caused me to read on with increased dismay, and finally close the books because I smelled a rat. Such books seem uneasy being books; they seem eager to fling off their disguises and jump onto screens.Why would anyone read a book instead of watching big people move on a screen? Because a book can be literature. It is a subtle thing – a poor thing, but our own. In my view, the more literary the book — the more purely verbal, crafted sentence by sentence, the more imaginative, reasoned, and deep – the more likely people are to read it. The people who read are the people who like literature, after all, whatever that might be. They like, or require, what books alone have. If they want to see films that evening, they will find films. If they do not like to read, they will not. People who read are not too lazy to flip on the television; they prefer books. I cannot imagine a sorrier pursuit than struggling for years to write a book that attempts to appeal to people who do not read in the first place. (17-19)

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

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3.76 rating

Comment 1: Slow down. If you want to read like a writer, slow down. With so much reading ahead of you, the temptation might be to speed up, but it’s essential to slow down and to read every word whenever reading serious literature. This is the the theme of “Reading Like a Writer.” Serious writers put every word on trial before committing to them, and serious readers need to pay close attention to those words. Francine Prose attempts to teach the technique of “close reading.” This may be obvious to some, but I doubt that it is widely practiced, even among serious readers. Those of us who have to read a lot for our jobs or who read a lot of nonfiction have formed habits of judicious skimming. Perhaps we picked up these habits in school (for time management) and to read quickly to get the main ideas. But that fast-food approach destroys the nutrition offered at the banquet of serious fiction. “Skimming will not allow you to extract one fraction of what a writer’s words can teach us about how to use the language.” “Reading quickly -- for plot, for ideas, even for the psychological truth that a story reveals—can be a hindrance when the crucial revelations are in the spaces between words, in what has been left out.” You will certainly miss the subtext. The misdirection--what is not said-- is often as important as what is said. Prose compares close reading to the way you experience a master painting by viewing it from not only far away but also up close in order to see the brushstrokes. After a chapter on the words (over which writer’s agonize), she moves on to chapters about sentences; paragraphs; narration; characters; dialogue; details; and gesture (small physical actions of the characters that often betray the unconscious). In each of these chapters she gives scores of lengthy passages from her favorite writers, including: Chekhov, Joyce, Austen, George Eliot, Kafka, Tolstoy, Flannery O’Connor, Katherine Mansfield, Nabokov, Raymond Carver, James Baldwin, Alice Munro, and many more. The excerpts from the masters and then Prose's expert commentary about the passage was rewarding for me.I have always heard that a good writer shows rather than tells—Prose shows good writing rather than tells about it. People looking for rules or writing formulae may be disappointed. Prose says-- there are no rules, only individual examples to help point us in a direction which you might want to go. “Literature not only breaks the rules, but makes us realize that there are none." She believes that the most important habits for an aspiring writer are observation, consciousness, and wide and deep reading. She cites Chekhov as a master who exhibits the need for a writer to show objectivity, “to be an unbiased observer” the importance of seeing clearly, without judgment. Says Prose, “Admit that you understand nothing of life, nothing of what you see. Then go out and look at the world.” To further endear this woman to my heart, she has a final chapter entitled, “Reading for Courage”. This has been a theme of my reading as I try to take my fawn’s heart and transform it into one fit for a lion. “Literature is an endless source of courage and confirmation. Reading can give you the courage to resist all the pressure that our culture exerts on you”(applicable to readers and writers).In addition to writing 14 novels, Prose was a professor of literature. About her students, she says: I was struck by how little attention they had been taught to pay to the language, to the actual words and sentences that a writer had used. Instead they had been encouraged to form strong, critical, and often negative opinions of geniuses who had been read with delight for centuries before they were born. They had been instructed to prosecute or defend these authors, as if in a court of law, on charges having to do with the writers’ origins, their racial, cultural, and class backgrounds. They had been encouraged to rewrite the classics into the more acceptable forms that the authors might have discovered had they only shared their young critics; level of insight, tolerance, and awareness. I include this quotation, perhaps gratuitously, but I think of her words whenever I read a blistering review of a classic. ******FRANCINE PROSE'S LIST OF BOOKS "TO READ IMMEDIATELY"[i.e, just recommendations which she uses to illustrate her points](view spoiler)[Akutagawa, Ryunosuke. M. Kuwata and Tashaki Kojima (translators), Rashomon and Other StoriesAlcott, Louisa May, Little WomenAnonymous. Dorothy L. Sayers (translator), The Song of RolandAusten, Jane, Pride and PrejudiceAusten, Jane, Sense and SensibilityBabel, Isaac. Walter Morrison (translator), The Collected StoriesBaldwin, James, Vintage BaldwinBalzac, Honoré de. Kathleen Raine (translator), Cousin BetteBarthelme, Donald, Sixty StoriesBrodkey, Harold, Stories in an Almost Classical ModeBaxter, Charles, Believers: a Novella and StoriesBeckett, Samuel, The Complete Short Prse, 1929-1989Bowen, Elizabeth, The House in ParisBowles, Jane, Two Serious LadiesBowles, Paul, Paul Bowles: Collected Stories and Later WritingsBrontë, Emily, Wuthering HeightsCalvino, Italo, CosmicomicsCarver, Raymond, Where I’m Calling From: Selected StoriesCarver, Raymond, CathedralCervantes, Miguel De. Tobias Smollett (translator), Don QuixoteChandler, Raymond, The Big SleepCheever, John, The Stories of John CheeverChekhov, Anton. Constance Garnett (translator), A Life in LettersChekhov, Anton. Constance Garnett (translator), Tales of Anton Chekhov: Volumes 1-13Diaz, Junot, DrownDickens, Charles, Bleak HouseDickens, Charles, Dombey and SonDostoyevsky, Fyodor. Constance Garnett (translator), Crime and PunishmentDybek, Stuart, I Sailed With MagellanEisenberg, Deborah, The Stories (So Far) of Deborah EisenbergEliot, George, MiddlemarchElkin, Stanley, Searches and SeizuresFitzgerald, F. Scott, The Great GatsbyFitzgerald, F. Scott, Tender is the NightFlaubert, Gustave. Geoffrey Wall (translator), Madame BovaryFlaubert, Gustave. Robert Baldick (translator), A Sentimental EducationFox, Paula. Jonathan Franzen (introduction), Desperate CharactersFranzen, Jonathan, The CorrectionsGallant, Mavis, Paris StoriesGaddis, William, The RecognitionsGates, David, The Wonders of the Invisible World: StoriesGibbon, Edward, Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireGogol, Nikolai. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (translators), Dead Souls: A NovelGreen, Henry, DotingGreen, Henry, LovingHartley, L.P., The Go-BetweenHemingway, Ernest, A Moveable FeastHemingway, Earnest, The Sun Also RisesHerbert, Zbigniew. Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott (translators), Selected PoemsJames, Henry, The Portrait of a LadyJames, Henry, The Turn of the ScrewJarell, Randall, Pictures from an InstitutionJohnson, Denis, AngelsJohnson, Denis, Jesus’ SonJohnson, Diane, Le DivorceJohnson, Diane, Persian NightsJohnson, Samuel, The Life of SavageJoyce, James, DublinersKafka, Franz. Malcolm Pasley (translator), The Judgment and In the Penal Colony and Metamorphosis and Other StoriesKafka, Franz. Willa and Edmund Muir (translators) The TrialLe Carré, John, A Perfect SpyMandelstam, Nadezdha, Hope Against Hope: A MemoirMansfield, Kathrine, Collected Stories of Katherine MansfieldMárquez, Gabriel Garcia. Gregory Rabassa (translator), One Hundred Years of SolitudeMárquez, Gabriel Garcia. Gregory Rabassa (translator), The Autumn of the PatriarchMcInerney, Jay, Bright Lights, Big CityMelville, Herman, Bartleby the Scrivener and Benito CerenoMelville, Herman, Moby DickMilton, John, Paradise LostMunro, Alice, Selected StoriesNabokov, Vladimir, Lectures on Russian LiteratureNabokov, Vladimir, LolitaO’Brien, Tim, The Things They CarriedO’Connor, Flannery, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other StoriesO’Connor, Flannery, Collected StoriesO’Connor, Flannery, Wise BloodPacker, ZZ, Drinking Coffee ElsewherePaustovsky, Konstantin. Joseph Barnes (translator), Years of Hope: The Story of a LifePrice, Richard, FreedomlandProust, Marcel. Lydia Davis (translator), Swann’s WayPynchon, Thomas, Gravity’s RainbowRichardson, Samuel, Pamela: Or Virtue RewardedRoth, Philip, American PastoralRoth, Philip, Philip Roth: Novels and Stories 1959-1962Rulfo, Juan. Margaret Sayers Peden (translator), Pedro PáramoSalinger, J.D., Franny and ZooeyShakespeare, William, King LearShteyngart, Gary, The Russian Debutante’s HandbookSophocles. Sir George Young (translator), Oedipus RexSpencer, Scott, A Ship Made of PaperSt. Aubyn, Edward, Mother’s MilkSt. Aubyn, Edward, Some Hope: A TrilogyStead, Christina, The Man Who Loved ChildrenSteegmuller, Francis, Flaubert and Madame Bovary: A Double PortraitStein, Gertrude, The Autobiography of Alice B. ToklasStendhal. Roger Gard (translator), The Red and the BlackStout, Rex, Plot It YourselfStrunk, William and E.B. White. Maira Kalman (translator), The Elements of Style, IllustratedTaylor, Peter, A Summons to MemphisTolstaya, Tatyana, Sleepwalker in a FogTolstoy, Leo. Constance Garnett (translator), Anna KareninaTolstoy, Leo. Aylmer Maude (translator), The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other StoriesTolstoy, Leo. David McDuff (translator), The Kreutzer Sonata and Other StoriesTolstoy, Leo. Rosemary Edmonds (translator), ResurrectionTolstoy, Leo. Constance Garnett (translator), War and PeaceTrevor, William, The Children of DynmouthTrevor, William, The Collected StoriesTrevor, William, Fools of FortuneTurgenev, Ivan Sergeevich. Isaiah Berlin (translator), First LoveTwain, Mark, The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnVon Kleist, Heinrich. Martin Greenberg (translator) and Thomas Mann (preface), The Marquise of O— and Other StoriesWest, Rebecca, The Birds Fall DownWest, Rebecca, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through YugoslaviaWilliams, Joy, EscapesWoods, James, Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and BeliefWoolf, Virginia, On Being IllYates, Richard, Revolutionary Road (hide spoiler)]

Back on Blossom Street

by

4.13 rating

Comment 1: Bu serinin dört kitabının yorumunu ortak yapacağım. Zaten o kadar beğendiğim bir seri de değildi. A101'e gelmişti 4 kitabı. Hem de 5 liraydı sadece! Benim de okuyacak kitabım yoktu, aldım öylesine. Çerez kitaplardı hepsi. Okunması o kadar da gerekli değildi bence. Şirinlerdi aslında ve kitapları okuduktan sonra bir süre örgüye merak saldığımı hatırlıyorum ama öylesineydi işte. Aslında kitaplar gerçekten okumamı sağlayan Alix ve Jordan ikilisiydi. Hatta kitaplarda ilk önce aralardaki sayfaları at Comment 2: This is number 4, I can't believe how out of order I have read these. I like this because Lydia is the narrator, and Lydia, Alix and a new character, Colette, exchange chapters, and I prefer when Macomber writes like this. I have 7 and * to go. The stories are contiguos as we continue to find out what happens to the characters on Blossom St. Alix is getting married, Colette is a widow who is hiding out, and many ptoblems happen to Lydia and her family. These are just nice stories about people wh Comment 3: I have to say I absolutely loved this book. It was the first book by Debbie Macomber I have ever read but I don't think it will be the last. I love how she tells the story of these women, all with very different lives and backgrounds, but coming together in a knitting class. I also love that the prayer shawls that the class is knitting play such a part in each individual story. In the background is the sad story of an aging mother diagnosed with Alzheimer's and the feelings her family deal with.

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

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4.25 rating

Comment 1: Великолепная вещь, позволяющая становиться значительно лучше. Книги по драматургии обычно начинают упоминать Аристотеля и несут чушь про трехчастное построение книг. У меня от них припадки. Но книга Труби дьявольски хороша, он знает толк в построении повествования и многое, что делается писателями интуитивно, по наитию, обрекает в четкие схемы. Книга настолько блестяща, что каждый автор найдет в ней для себя что-то полезное. Не все техники близки именно мне, но вот интересно - от этого они ничут Comment 2: پس از سالها که از خواندن کتابهای سیدفیلد و کتاب مقدس داستان رابرت مکی میگذرد خواندن آناتومی تروبی برایام یک حادثه بود. هر چند سالهاست داستان و فیلمنامه مینویسم اما خواندن این کتاب نکات تازهیی را برایام روشن کرد. نوشتن بدون خواندن ممکن نیست و بدون خواندن دربارهی نوشتن دیریاب است و موفقیعتی هم اگر در پی داشته باشد معمولا تصادفی ست و اتفاقی. برای حرفهیی شدن در هر حرفهیی باید آگاهیهای لازم را نسبت به آن حرفه کسب کرد هرچند نویسندهگی حرفهیی بیحرفه است و کار با ناخودآگاه سامان میگیرد اما حل این تضاد شا

Quilting with the Muppets

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4 rating

Comment 1: I absolutely adore this book. I got it for my sixteenth birthday. While I have still not made a Muppet quilt, the real attraction of the book, to me, is the section in the back where you can see the quilts that workers at the Jim Henson Company made for their coworkers. They are so charming and inspiring, and the blocks go together so well despite the different styles. I just adore it. Comment 2: This is really two books in one. The first half is templates and instructions for making quilt blocks of the characters (like the ones on the cover). They're designed to be made with a lot of fusible backing, not my favorite method but I think they could be modified for more traditional applique (depending on the material you choose). Comment 3: I doubt I will ever use the patterns (applique and I don't mix), but I LOVE the Muppets and the gallery of Muppet quilts made by Jim Henson and Sesame Street staff over the years.

The Natural Way to Draw

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3.93 rating

Comment 1: In light of recent reviews, I feel compelled to advocate it. I've taught university life drawing for over 16 years. If you follow the exercises and do as many as required, your drawings WILL improve immensely. While I agree it is in complete opposition to hard edged, refined type drawings--it is so only as a means. When you skip Nicolaides' experiential cohesive gestures, mass drawings and cross contours and straight through to exacting control, your drawings will remain stiff, disconnected and they won't sit naturally in space (a figure is in perspective--just like a house). It's easy to go from loose to tight drawing but very hard to go from tight to loose (yet accurate) because it requires more discipline, focus, quick, accurate observation and excellent hand eye control. These exercises hone those skills. Comment 2: I read this book back in 1978 and reread it over and over. Kimon Nicolaides was a fantastic teacher of art who believed that the way to learn to draw was to learn to observe details and then practice drawing constantly. He put it like this- "There is only one right way to draw and that is a perfectly natural way. It has nothing to do with artifice or technique. It has nothing to do with aesthetics or conception. It has only to do with the act of correct observation and by that I mean a physical contact with all sorts of objects through all the senses." There-now the secret is out! This book was written in 1941 and still shines brilliantly upon those who care to learn to draw. Nicolaides' work is brilliant. If you want to learn to draw, start right here with this book.

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers

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3.72 rating

Comment 1: How fascinating to glance inside the pages of artists' sketchbooks (or visual journals) and read their thoughts on why/how they use these books. Universally, both the professional and avocational artists profiled here feel compelled to draw regularly in their sketchbooks, mostly to note passing impressions, explore new creative ideas, and to find a space in which they can be completely non-judgmental about their own work. Some keep multiple books (some for only doodling, some for watercolor, etc Comment 2: {2.5*} A very useful, though not unheard of, tip from the artists: just draw. Let things go and draw without feeling self-conscious. I like the enthusiasm every artist has for sketching or drawing or doodling, and especially enjoy Butch Belair, Simonetta Capecchi, and Cathy Johnson's works, but after a while, they all sound the same: have always drawn, cannot imagine not drawing, love moleskine, prefer personally-bound sketch books etc. A major flaw is the size of the featured sketchbook pages - Comment 3: A really nice book that let's the reader delve into the sketchbook pages of almost 50 different artists. Each artist includes a short essay about how they feel about their sketchbooks. Interesting stuff to see how sketchbooks are used. For some, they're diaries, others places to practice drawing, others holdings for almost every thought they have. You can tell the owners of these sketchbooks are passionate about drawing. The variety here is inspiring. Makes me want to open my sketchbook and fill

The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life

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3.97 rating

Comment 1: I recently finished reading The Right to Write - An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life - by Julia Cameron. As best summarized by the author: " What this book will do, if I have done it well enough, is t talk to you about writing for the sake of writing, for the sheer unadulterated joy of putting words to the page. In other words, this is less a " "how to" book than a "why" book. Why should we write? We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own. We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance as well. We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in."Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful: As a result, most of us try to write too carefully. We try to do it "right." We try to sound smart. We try, period. Writing goes much better when we don't work at it so much. When we give ourselves permission to just hang out on the page. For me, writing is like a good pair of pajamas—comfortable. In our culture, writing is more often costumed up in a military outfit. We want our sentences to march in neat little rows, like well-behaved boarding-school children. If we eliminate the word "writer," if we just go back to writing as an act of listening and naming what we hear, some of the rules disappear. There is an organic shape, a form-coming-into-form that is inherent in the thing we are observing, listening to, and trying to put on the page. It has rules of its own that it will reveal to us if we listen with attention. Shape does not need to be imposed. Shape is part of with attention. Shape does not need to be imposed. Shape is part of what we are listening to. When we just let ourselves write, we get it "right." Not writing is the lonely thing. Not writing creates self-obsession. Self-obsession blocks connection with others. Self-obsession blocks connection with the self Writing is like looking at an inner compass. We check in and we get our bearings. Ah-ha! I am feeling, thinking. remembering. . . . When we know accurately what it is that we are doing, we tend to be more open, accurate, and affectionate in our dealings: I can miss David, but I can't blame David anymore. I am the one who didn't write enough yesterday. People who write out of "discipline" are taking a substantial risk. They are setting up a situation against which they may one day strongly rebel. Writing from discipline invites extremism: "I have to do this or I'm a failure." Writing from discipline creates a potential for emotional blackmail: "If I don't write I've got no character." People who write from discipline also take the risk of trying to write from the least open and imaginative part of themselves, the part of them that punches a time clock instead of taking flights of fancy. "Commitment" is a word I prefer to the word "discipline." It is more proactive, more heart-centered, and ultimately more festive and productive. This is not mere semantics. If we are to be involved with writing for the long haul, we want to be comfortable in relationship to it. If we are relating to our writing as a "should" instead of as a desired good, we run the jeopardy of experiencing our writing connection like a thankless marriage: we're there, but we don't want to be. We're thinking of what we're missing. We are all works in progress. We are all rough drafts. None of us is finished, final, "done." How much healthier and happier if we ignore that mafioso's advice to me and we put "it"—all of "it"—in writing: the flaws, foibles, frills, fantasies, and frailties that make us human. When we connect these dots, we connect. I like writing to be more portable and flexible. I like writing to be something that fits into cracks and crannies. I don't like it to dominate my life. I like it to fill my life. There is a big difference. When writing dominates a life, relationships suffer—and, not coincidentally, so does the writing. When writing is about being shut off" from the world in a room sequestered with our own important thoughts, we lose the flow of life, the flow of new ideas and input that can shape. improve, and inform that thought. It is a matter of balance. Yes, we need time and space to write, but we do not perhaps need as much time and as much space as we might think. Rather than being a private affair cordoned off" from life as the rest of the world lives it, writing might profitably be seen as an activity best embedded in life, not divorced from it—of course such a view of writing smacks of heresy. The root of the word "integration" is the smaller word "integer," which means "whole." Too often, racing through life, we become the "hole," not the "whole." We become an unexamined maw into which our encounters and experiences rush unassimilated, leaving us both full and unsatisfied because nothing has been digested and taken in. In order to "integrate" our experiences, we must take them into account against the broader canvas of our life. We must slow down and recognize when currents of change, like movements in a symphony, are moving through us. In those, and most professions, we assume that an interest in pursuing the career implies a probable proclivity for it and a reasonable chance for success. Not so with writing. The truth is, when you want a writing career and are willing to do the work to get it, the odds work with you, not against you. This is simple metaphysical law. As Goethe advised us, "Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it—for action has magic grace and power in it." "Scrutinize second," I laid down a rule for myself "Write first and freely." 1. Write daily, even if only Morning Pages. 2. Use tools like Media Deprivation and Blasting Through Blocks to give you a jump-start 3. Watch your telephone consumption. 4. Watch your note production. 5. Set a clock for one half hour's writing time. Pray for the willingness to write—and then write. "Thou art truly human." To be truly human, we all have the right to make art. We all have the right to write.A highly recommended read in the areas of communication and writing.

Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint

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4.06 rating

Comment 1: This was a pretty old fashioned writing guide. There seemed to be the insinuation that the only type of protagonist you can have is a hero/likeable character, and all efforts were made for the reader to make their character perfectly balanced and relatable to the reader. There was also a continuing discouragement of any experimental styles. The part where present tense was basically ruled out as a writing style (as well as several others, such as second person) made me roll my eyes. Very, very o Comment 2: This book was recommended to me for help with Point-of-View, which is only a small portion of the book. However, I did learn a lot about inventing believable characters for your fictional world; bringing them to life so that your reader can relate and think them "worth knowing." Extensive examples of paragraphs comparing narration possibilities and point-of-view are included, and analyzed, with graphics that help clarify. An author has so many choices to make! I need to get back to my current st Comment 3: creating characters is one of my favorite parts of writing fiction and I don't feel like Orson Scott Card had a lot to add on the subject that I either didn't know or I couldn't find elsewhere. he also lost massive amounts of points with his example about a guy with AIDS. just reading that made my stomach turn over. I'm horribly disappointed that I spent money on this book, especially since by purchasing it I line the pockets of a homophobic douchebag. the only reason that gets two stars instead

Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman

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3.7 rating

Comment 1: Last year, I read Matthew Crawford's philosophical musing on the nature of manual work titled Shop Craft as Soulcraft and loved it. Crawford, a PhD. in philosophy who runs a motorcycle repair and restoration business, reflects on the nature and rewards of the many work worlds he has inhabited. At the same time, he laments the loss of basic mechanical and practical aptitude in our schools and society. His voice is a lone one in the wilderness that deserves follow up. I'm waiting for his next book Comment 2: This book describes a life committed to craft. In the case of the author, Peter Korn, furniture making. Mr. Korn places his life story in the context of a world view based on creativity. Mr. Korn eloquently describes his creative process, the role of others in that process, including the viewer of the work, its purchaser and the entire commercial nexus that makes possible the work and life of a craftsperson. In the book's final pages, the author pokes the reader in the ribs and with a wink and n Comment 3: If you have a deep interest in this subject this book might appeal to you more than me. I am a very handy carpenter, builder, hobbyist, and tinkerer. More than most, perhaps. so I expected to highly identify with the author's work based on the title. Instead, despite moments, I was mostly bored by his personal story and his rather generic thoughts on craftsmanship, building an artisan woodworking school, and so forth. Blah, blah, blah. I was like the dog getting instructions from his owner in th

On Moral Fiction

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3.82 rating

Comment 1: On Moral Fiction was a controversial book at the time of publication. He criticized many contemporary writers including John Updike. Gardner’s central thesis: that fiction should be moral. Gardner meant “moral” not in the sense of narrow religious or cultural “morality,” but rather that fiction should aspire to discover those human values that are universally sustaining. WARNING: HE QUOTES SOME OFFENSIVE MATERIAL THAT YOUNG ADULTS SHOULD NOT READ. However, the book is a must read to know what it Comment 2: I give this book cinco estrellas because it is one of the most thought provoking reads that I have come across. Sometimes you have to sift through some relatively extreme views on certain authors or artists, but this book makes clear that Gardner has not arrived at these positions arbitrarily. He has developed a strong personal criteria for those elements that he believes essential to art, and to the process of creating it. Whether or not you agree with those elements is almost immaterial. He pu Comment 3: This is a book for artists primarily, especially those starting to wonder if there is any actual purpose to their work. Rilke writes to the artist uncertain of how to relate to himself, while Gardner writes to the artist uncertain of what good his art can do. Gardner sketches an outline of a philosophy that art is life-affirming and helps instruct, not so much by providing examples of conduct as by providing examples of emotional development and choice. His vision resonates with my search for so

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

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4.15 rating

Comment 1: As I ripped through Still Writing, unable to set it down, I underlined, put exclamatory notes in the column, and color Post-it stickers on dozens of pages. I abide by her philosophy, “The Practice is the Art” and pasted that phrase to my computer screen. About the process, she writes, “I am willing to stand at the base of the mountain, with humility and bow to it.” I totally agree with her belief that you cannot – should not – see the shape unfolding before you. And to quote her again, “If we kn Comment 2: I picked this up at my local library knowing absolutely nothing about it or the author, and now I have a new favorite book on writing, surpassing even Stephen King's (for me, anyway!). Shapiro strikes the perfect balance between conveying her own writing experiences, offering compassionate, empathetic encouragement for writers, and sharing bits of her personal story in a way that left this reader with both a sense of camaraderie and an affirmation that an ongoing, satisfying writing life is real Comment 3: There are tons of authors out there who talk about the perils and pleasures of 'Writing'. Some are preachy. Some thoughtful. Some give practical advice on how to overcome the infamous writer's block. I have read a few just out of curiosity and among all of them I really loved Dani Shapiro's "Still Writing". She has an incredible and beautiful writer's voice who churns gorgeous prose with such vulnerability yet full of clear wisdom, raw honesty and enough encouragement. I truly believe that there

The Wedding Quilt

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3.69 rating

Comment 1: Ever since I first read The Quiter’s Apprentice I have been a big fan of the Elm Creek Quilt series. I really enjoyed the characters that Chiaverini had created and looked forward to visiting with them in each new book. Then the author detoured into other time periods and began writing about other quilters, most notably Sylvia’s cousin, Elizabeth, who moved to California during the Prohibition Era and their Civil War era ancestors, Anneka and Gerda. At first, even the books that explored other e Comment 2: I am a big fan of Chiaverini and Elm Creek. I have read all of the books, several of them twice. She has jumped back and forth in time in previous books, but I had a hard time keeping times and characters straight in this one. To her credit, she did not do what some writers do when writing about the future and that is to load it up with technology that is way out there. The advances in technology are believable and not intrusive. The story is still about quilting. It helped a bit that she tagged Comment 3: I like reading Jennifer Chiaverni's books because I like her as an author and I love quilting. As I was reading The Wedding Quilt I did enjoy the flashbacks but I would have liked to have experienced some of them in more detail. I thought that I had missed a book between this one and the previous one because some of the flashbacks she brought in were not previously read--the death of Sylvia and Gretchen for instance. I did enjoy catching up with the quilters and seeing how their lives had change

The Quilter's Legacy

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4.08 rating

Comment 1: Many years ago, I inherited an old quilt. I am not sure who made it, but after reading this book, I would love to learn its history.Sylvia Bergstrom Compson is getting married! She is a world renowned quilter and when a friend asks her which pattern she is going to use for her wedding quilt, she is ashamed to admit that she hasn't even thought about it. Then she has a brilliant idea to use one of her mother's beautiful quilts. To her deep disappointment, she learns that her estranged, deceased sister had sold them all years earlier. Sylvia feels very guilty that she wasn't around to stop this from happening and so she sets out to find the five missing quilts.This book jumps between Sylvia and her search for the quilts to an earlier time when her mother was young and making them. We learn what was going on in the world and in her personal life as she makes them. One of the stories I found most interesting was the influenza epidemic of 1918. Perhaps because we are facing a similar threat with the H1N1 virus, it was interesting to see how they dealt with this health crisis--quarantines, face masks, and feelings of helplessness.This is the fifth book in the Elm Creek Quilts series and it was one of my favorites. I recommend this book to anyone interested in family history, quilting, or a feel good story.

Minute Meditations for Busy Moms

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5 rating

Time-challenged moms get encouragement and direction for reflecting Christ in their homes and beyond. Short prayers and action steps help readers put challenging notions into motion. A prayerful pick-me-up for mothers on the go.

1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations

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4.01 rating

Comment 1: Great book!The perfect inspiration for new or experienced artists. I like the page of prompts at the front of the book. I have not used them yet, but they are great to see and think about what you may do with your pages or journal. I like that there are no rules and the book is not separated into categories of pages instead it is just a rich photo book for artists that work in all mediums. I strongly recommend this book for anyone, who loves beautiful artwork. I have had this book for about a ye Comment 2: Ta-da! It;s one-and-a-half years since I first started reading this book. It has been on my art-supplies table the whole time (it became a sort of coffee-table book). Meagan got me this quirky book--1,000 pages of art-journal pages from different artists. It's a little oversized, half-way between hard and paper back, and in full color. It is a full-immersion book, like walking through an art museum dense with paintings that are so intriguing they swallow you up. I spent a lot of time with this b Comment 3: This is probably a personal favorite among all published art journaling books. The author solicited artists from around the United States and even from as far as Brazil and Australia to send in examples of their journal art, and as a result, this full-color book is filled with great examples of absolutely amazing art journal pages. (My favorite pages are Art Velarde’s cartoon pages.)

The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to Be The Artist You Truly Are

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3.94 rating

Comment 1: I keep saying I am going to buy this book next time I go to a bookstore, and I haven't yet, but it's amazing. If you need a kickstart to your creativity, get this book. I guess the main message is to draw EVERYTHING around you...contents of your medicine cabinet, your tie collection, what you ate for breakfast, etc.... The author has a great sense of humor and makes you view your drawing in a different light. Tons of great ideas. It's also a fun book to read because it is full of his own drawing Comment 2: This was nice--very enjoyably nice--although it unleashed my inner conundrum. That snippy, snarky "Left Brain" voice insists on damning me whether I do or I don't, so this time it reminded me of the pointlessness of reading about drawing instead of doing the drawing, and LB is such a trickster that she used Gregory's cheerfully encouraging style to really lay it on thick. This book is loaded with excellent suggestions for how to see and communicate our observations...No Matter What. Press on! Pe Comment 3: Amazing. The art in the book is very inspiring and resembles my style closely. Danny's sharp fountain pen puts down words right where they belong. He really pushes the reader to start drawing (or another creative endeavor). It is not a book which explains concepts and techniques although Danny touches on negative space a wee bit. Pictures of other sketchbooks are very pretty to look at, I can't get enough of this. If there is one Danny book you need to get, it's this one. I've also read "art bef

Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House

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4.12 rating

Comment 1: Mendelson approaches housekeeping from both a practical and philosophical perspective - with the occasional scientific explanation thrown in. She goes into immense detail on just about every aspect of home-making imaginable; from a discussion on types of fabric, to how to organize a pantry, to a dismaying examination of microbes found in food. IMHO, her focus on sanitization borders on obsession; I began to wonder if she had stock in Clorox, as she recommended bleaching towels and bedding to within an inch of their lives, as well as swabbing most kitchen and bathroom surfaces with the stuff. The last portion of the book covers more abstract topics - home safety, paperwork and legal issues. The writing was quite engaging when covering the basics of a topic; however, the lists and detailed information got a bit tedious as I went along. This really isn't a book to read from cover to cover; I'd recommend it as a reference guide, perhaps leafing through a chapter at a time, as the interest strikes you. Notes from the first few chaptersIn the preface she compared & contrasted her two grandmothers (English/Irish & Italian) and their housekeeping styles, which were often at odds with each other. One example being airing the bed vs making it as soon as you got out of it. She also pointed out that the hyper-cleanliness of the 1950's was probably a response to central heating and electric/gas stoves vs the coal/woodstoves of their foremothers. Discussion of neatening & clutter in the context of the "broken-window" syndrome: houses/neighborhoods that appear to be neglected are more likely to be affected by crime - carrying that concept into housekeeping - cluttered areas tend to accumulate more clutter. That's a principle I have to look more closely at in my own home! In the cooking chapter - she examines the sociological reasons behind each of the 3 main meals, as well as its physiological purpose. As an example, we tend to eat simpler, blandish foods for breakfast because we're still waking up and want homey foods.The chapter on serving meals made me feel pretty inferior... I'm not sure I have enough dishes for a typical dinner table setting! :^) Seriously... despite having a pretty nice dining set, we almost always eat in front of the TV. The section on tea, coffee, and alcohol was interesting, even though I rarely partake in any of the above. I can usually offer guests several soft drinks, water, milk or juice. She mixes the hows and whys well in this chapter - although if you're looking for a history of any of these drinks, look elsewhere; she does provide a few references for additional reading. The section on kitchen equipment also made me feel pretty inferior. She goes into a lot of detail about pot/pan construction & how the materials behave. Here's where the high level of cleanliness comes in... I don't dare mention how long it's been since I gave the fridge a thorough cleaning...

Advanced WORLDBUILDING: A creative writing guide.

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4.13 rating

Comment 1: So you have a world inside your head and want to bring it to life? You don't know where to start? Well, never fear - Jaime Buckley's Advanced Worldbuilding has got you covered! Buckley takes you step by step through the process, while also providing great basic tips for storytellers, and some advanced tech recommendations for those who are a little more confident in their skills. He offers advice on different ways of creating a world - it's not my style, but I'm particularly fond of the idea of

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

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4.07 rating

Comment 1: 由布萊克.史奈德所寫的《先讓英雄救貓咪︰你這輩子唯一需要的電影編劇指南》,是一部挺有趣的書,專門講編劇要如何才能寫出一部好劇本的方法。若用另一種更直白的講法,本書便是教導有志者要如何寫出一部好的商業片劇本,並且能向美國好萊塢片廠成功兜售並拍攝上映成為當季的賣座強片,名利雙收。因此那堆參加世界各地影展的獨立製作的藝術電影,並不在本書所考慮的範圍之中。若要我用一句話來形容,作者希望達成的電影故事,絕對把「寵愛觀眾」當成最高準則,並不在乎導演頭腦裡頭那堆偉大想法的表現。 Comment 2: The late Blake Snyder was one of the most successful screenwriters of the past few decades, at least in terms of sales of scripts for “genre” films. The subtitle is “The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need,” and it’s hardly that, but it’s definitely worth reading. (Syd Field’s books come much closer to that description, and Snyder recommends them, too.) I should note that I write “regular” fiction, not screenplays, but I’ve long been interested in them as a distinct and very different ki

Elements of Fiction Writing - Scene & Structure

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4.07 rating

Comment 1: La lectura de "Scene and Structure" fue para mí (lo diré a la manera anglosajona, que suena muy bien) una auténtica epifanía. Y es que, acostumbrada al modo más filosófico y trascendente (casi rozado lo esotérico, diría yo) que se gasta en España a la hora de hablar sobre técnicas narrativas, el mundo anglosajón, en especial el norteamericano, es mucho más conciso y gusta de la concreción. Es lo que ocurre con este título de Bickham, que sintetiza en tres palabras (incluida la conjunción) los 14 Comment 2: This book is an excellent companion to Dwight Swain’s book and the foundation upon which Jim Butcher wrote his livejournal advice. It explains how to structure a book from sentence level all the way up to the master plot. It contains advice on how to make chapters and it shows annotated examples of everything he discusses or describes. Bickham’s prose is easy to follow, though the book is so tightly packed with information that the 130 pages took me several hours to get through. I took copious n Comment 3: I'm about halfway through and it is already a valuable tool. It really deals with the structure of a good story and how to push and pull the reader through without letting them get bored. I find myself getting stuck in the scenes and not looking at the big picture. This will help me create goals in the beginning so my characters will hopefully have focus and purpose. I would recommend to anyone wanting to write fiction. This book was recommeded to me by a critic who read an excerpt of my work in

The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry

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4.07 rating

Comment 1: I have owned this book for ages, used it for teaching, read parts of it here and there, but I finally read through it from cover to cover. I think it is a great teaching aid and excellent for beginning poets. I have used several of its exercises in classes with beginning or emerging poets. However, I think at this point in my life I was looking for some thoughts that went a bit beyond "show don't tell," "eliminate unneeded words," and "grammar is important." It is a well-written and thorough boo Comment 2: This book should be subtitled: How to Ruin the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (aka Making Mistakes is WRONG). Honestly - if you need to be told WHAT to write about and HOW to do it, you should not be writing poetry. I understand that there are people who believe creative writing can be taught as anything else, but... - I have to disagree with all those who are buying books "how to write" thinking "I will become Tolstoy". Let me give you an example explaining why I'm against teaching poetry: I canno Comment 3: Kim Addonzio, a poet I admire, and Dorianne Laux, team up for this succinct, 10-to-15 page chaptered "how-to" book on writing poems that is perfect if you want something authoritative yet at the same time fairly brief. The first part covers typical subjects poets breach and how you might go about mining your own ideas for same. They include the family, writing itself, death and grief, the erotic, places, and poems of witness. Section Two treads into territory you'd expect from a book of this sor

How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew

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3.52 rating

Comment 1: I must be somebody's grandma because I know most of this stuff. While Bried offers a list of the actual grandmothers who contributed information and stories, it is apparently her own attempts at humor that I found annoying. It's a sad, sad commentary that these "skills" are becoming lost. The most interesting piece was the one on making dandelion wine, which my own grandfather used to do. He swore that the dandelions they found in cemeteries made the best wine. That may only have been to trick m Comment 2: This book didn't hold a lot of value for me. I felt like the topics included were pretty common sense. But maybe that's just me. The pictures included should have been more instructional rather than just "decor" for the page. Her writing style was entertaining. I recommend checking this one out of the library first to make sure it's what you need. Maybe it would be a good gift for a young teenager to help in your teaching of life things. Comment 3: absolutely adorable while being incredibly helpful and informative. I love the little biographies of the writers.

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life

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4.07 rating

It's the largest, most comprehensive, most authoritative guide to life drawing ever published...and it is now in paperback for the first time ever! Over 1,000 fine illustrations of the human anatomy appear in a single volume, accompanied by detailed explanatory text; an entire education in artistic anatomic structure. A legendary teacher at New York's Art Students' League, George B. Bridgman was the originator of the system of drawing known as constructive anatomy. He carefully analyzes, clarifies, and illustrates the complex movements of the human figure. From the eyes to the toes, and including all the body's muscles and bones, you'll find more than 200 illustrations of the hand, 35 pages of drapes and folds, and hundreds of images of arms, shoulders, heads, torsos, legs, knees, and feet. Widely accepted by art schools and universities as the most practical and technically correct depictions of the human anatomy ever made, these studies will save artists many tedious hours of research and widen the horizons of their work. An essential resource for painters, sculptors, and graphic artists, professional and amateur.

Casting Off

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3.82 rating

Comment 1: I started reading this book as a piece of fiction and ended up feeling as though it was a life lesson for everyone. Casting off is a book detailing not only a lovely little love story, it's a fabulous resource for anyone who wants to knit a gansey in the age-old patterns. Each chapter starts with a description of a pattern, including the meaning behind it. Rebecca Moray has a deep secret that she's been running from for years. She's come to Ireland to document the patterns of the islanders for h Comment 2: At long last Becky receives a grant and is able to fulfill her dream of traveling to Ireland to do research for a book that she would like to write. Her college friend, Sharon is from an island off the coast of Ireland and helps to prepare things for her friend's visit. The people of the island already know much about Becky because they have heard many many "Becky" stories from Sharon. Becky becomes involved with the people in town and realizes that she is becoming a part of the community. Along Comment 3: this is a beautifully written story set on a small Irish island. I enjoyed the knitting aspect of the book and learning about the history of Irish sweaters. This is the story of a single mother of a 6 year old daughter, Rowan. She comes to Ireland to study the history of Irish sweaters and visit the childhood home of her college roommate and best friend. Rebecca comes in the hopes of working and in the process starts to find a home and a place to feel safe as she is still trying to put a bad rel

Ernest Hemingway on Writing

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4.03 rating

Comment 1: Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of 6-star quotes from Hemingway in this book, but that’s the problem: pages and pages of isolated quotes, many of them repetitious. I was offended for poor EH, who detested talking about his writing and felt it was unlucky to do so. He wanted to be judged on his writing, not his private life or thoughts. One quote said he’d instructed his legal executors to prohibit any publication of his private letters, yet private letters were the source of the majority of Comment 2: I'd much rather keep my romantic notions of him than know him on a personal level. His competitiveness is tacky. You can learn much more from studying his art than any of his commentary on it. In autobiography he's magical but in his personal voice, the voice of his professional self in interviews and correspondence, he is abrasive, clawing even, and I dare say annoying. If I read any more of his personal voice it would be impossible for me to look past his racism, sexism, and macho and ever enj Comment 3: This is a difficult book to rate. Given its brevity you can't help but feel it doesn't really constitute as a novel per se, but without raising far larger questions such as what makes a novel, book, etc. you want to review it, simply, as is. Thus, four stars feels accurate. Great quotes from a legendary writer known for his swift wit and course tongue mixed with encouraging and discouraging words on the trials and tribulations of writing conjures one's desire to rip the book apart and post these

An Elm Creek Quilts Sampler

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4.12 rating

Comment 1: This volume contains the first three novels in the series: The Quilter's Apprentice, Round Robin, and The Cross-Country Quilters. For anyone who enjoys quilts, quilting, and cozy fiction this will make for a peaceful afternoon. As someone who has read a lot about quilting, I found Chiaverini's desciptions of the process really well done. The first novel, The Quilter's Apprentice is the set up for everything that follows. It's pretty tame, and the main character's willingness to be trod upon by others and not speak her mind will likely drive you nuts, but if you just want some quiet escapism that revolves around learning to quilt and the healing that can occur when a group of women spend time together working to achieve a common goal, then you'll likely be able to put the frustrations of how civil everyone in the novel tries to be aside.The second novel, Round Robin is a good deal more interesting. It revolves around a round robin quilt, which consists of the assembled parts constructed by different members of a quilting group. There is a very nice juxtaposition here between whatever trials and tribulations one of the characters is facing and the final form that her section assumes. The story also resolves some of the more pragmatic concerns any reader will have about the logistics of operating the business known as Elm Creek Quilters. Likewise, it tackles mother-daughter issues that permeate the series on several levels. It's predictable, but sweet.The third story, The Cross-Country Quilters, is the story of a year in the life of four women who befriend each other at Quilt Camp. Each vows to tackle and conquer some major obstacle with which she is beset. The reward for this is that she may only then complete the block for a quilt that they will assemble at Quilt Camp the following summer. Chiaverini strives for a wide demographic and hopes that her characters stand in for Everywoman and the sorts of challenges faced by 20th- and 21st-century women (e.g., uninvolved divorced spouse, abandoment, abusive fiance of young daughter, trust issues, learning to live with MS, etc.). On the down side, however, the storylines are utterly predictable and as a consequence trite. On the positive, there is a good amount of quilting knowledge being shared--as this is the one thread (sorry, couldn't resist) that connects all the stories in this series.These stories certainly provide a peaceful and uncomplicated respite from a sometimes all-too-bustling world. If, however, you enjoy fiction with a bit more bite/complexity, this may not be the series for you. I found it helpful to take a break between each novel and go read two or three other books. If I'd had to have read all 721 pages straight through I'd have found them simply too saccharine. With breaks and read in intervals, however, one can enjoy the quilting bits.

Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level

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4.06 rating

Successful novelist and agent Maass shows examples and case studies that demonstrate which elements create a breakout novel.

A Thread of Truth

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3.99 rating

Comment 1: There is so much truth in this book that it should almost be called nonfiction. The story of Ivy and the abuse that she experienced at the hands of her vindictive, violent husband, while trying to protect herself and her children, is spot on. It is exactly what happens, and fortunately in this story, Ivy has a group of friends to help her, even though at first she doesn't want their help. It becomes a wonderful story of friendship and the power of women to help each other and make all their live Comment 2: At twenty-seven, having fled an abusive marriage with little more than her kids and the clothes on her back, Ivy Peterman figures she has nowhere to go but up. Quaint, historic New Bern, Connecticut, seems as good a place as any to start fresh. With a part-time job at the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop and budding friendships, Ivy feels hopeful for the first time in ages. But when a popular quilting TV show is taped at the quilt shop, Ivy's unwitting appearance in an on-air promo alerts her ex-husband Comment 3: This author has done it again for me, she has made her characters seem like friends of mine. I enjoy reading this author. Her writing has a warm, cozy feel to it. The stories center around a Quilt Shop in New Bern, Connecticut. The minior theme in this book is domestic violence. It was great how the friends welcomed a new person into their protective circle. I enjoy that this author allows the male characters to be gentlemen. Reading this book was like visiting an old friend. I look forward to r

Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations

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3.88 rating

Comment 1: There are a good variety of projects in this book, ranging from easy to more complex. I also like that it has several projects which make excellent use of repurposed felt/felted items. However, I found it lacking overall--I expected more whimsy and more creative, inspired projects from this book, given the title. More than a few struck me as very ordinary and unimaginative; I think that if this book were edited down a bit and included more consistently appealing projects, it would better serve t Comment 2: This is one of the best books for simple and easy but still cute enough for those crafters who are more accomplished I have seen in a while! It is well worth a purchase if you think you will want to make even more than one thing! There are so many great ideas for thigns to make for the holidays! You might even find yourself coming up with some of your own while you work with what this book has to offer! Money well spent! You will be singing Fa La La La La all the way home! Comment 3: Lots of cute projects to make with felt in this charming craft book. The whimsical designs appealed to me, the availability of inexpensive materials appealed to me and the combination of felt and needlework was a winner. The only downside is that the patterns need to be enlarged, but so many are included that they are forgiven. Inspiration for the holidays!

A Good Yarn

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4.1 rating

Comment 1: Cancer survivor Lydia Hoffman's shop "A Good Yarn" has thrived since she opened it a year ago. She decides to teach a class on how to knit socks and three people sign up for it. Elise Beaumont is a retired librarian who has recently suffered a financial setback and was forced to move in with her daughter's family. Elise has been divorced for many years but never stopped loving her ex-husband, "Maverick", whose gambling ruined their marriage. Elise is not pleased when she finds out that Maverick is coming to stay at their daughter's house - she's afraid of getting hurt again. Bethanne Hamlin is also divorced, although much more recently. The divorce came out of the blue; she had no idea that her marriage was in trouble until her husband told her on Valentine's Day that he was leaving her for a younger woman. The divorce left Bethanne demoralized; she needs to find a job but is convinced she's a failure. Her teenage children, Annie and Andrew, are also affected by the divorce, especially Annie who keeps acting out in her pain. Courtney Pulanski is also a troubled teenager. Her mother died in a car accident four years ago and Courtney is still mourning her death. With two kids in college and Courtney a senior in high school, her father needs money and takes a well-paying job building bridges in Brazil and Courtney is forced to move in with her grandmother and spend her senior year in a strange high school. Courtney is overweight and self-conscious about her looks and is convinced that her senior year will be miserable. Lydia has problems of her own; her sister Margaret has financial worries and may lose her house and is miserable to be around. Lydia is in love with UPS driver Brad, but he will soon deliver devastating news that threatens their relationship. Her mother's health is deteriorating and Lydia worries about her well being. All four women will find more comfort than they could possibly believe while learning how to knit socks. "A Good Yarn" is a great book for someone looking for a sweet, unchallenging read. The characters are all likable and believable, except perhaps for Maverick who is a bit of a cliché. Debbie Macomber is a good writer who makes you care for her characters in such a way that you will want to keep reading the book to find out what happens to each woman, yet you'll be sorry when the book is finally over. I do wish she had shown Courtney at her senior prom, but that's a minor quibble. Macomber ties everything up neatly at the end (and is to be commended for not having each woman find happiness only through a romantic relationship) and I loved the fairy godfather touch at the end. This is a perfect book for reading at the beach or on a rainy day.

Keepsake Crimes

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3.65 rating

Comment 1: **Two and a half stars**The mystery part of the story was okay. I didn't really see it coming in the end which is always good, but then again, I don't think Childs leaves clues for you to possibly figure out who it is. The whole mystery part of the story is red herring. Which is a little deceitful, I think, for a mystery novel.The scrapbooking part of the story was also just okay. I am a scrapbooker and I keep up with the trends and the tips are just very old school. The book was published in 2003 and it is hard to fault the book for that...trends come and go, and I'm sure that the techniques talked about were popular at the time.Now for the New Orleans part...if I were one of the experts that Childs thanked at the beginning of the book, I would be really upset. I am from New Orleans and in the beginning of the book I thought that she might get it partly right, but then it started to go terribly down hill. Spelling the biggest parades that there are completely wrong is completely inexcusable. Saying that Metairie (which she spelled wrong too) is across the river from New Orleans when its on the same side of the river is shameful. Saying that someone drove down "the River Road" to take pictures of some of the old plantations, "the Destrehan, the Laura, the Houmas House" is mind boggling. You don't need to say "the" before each plantation. Its like saying you have the cancer. It might be grammatically correct, but you still wouldn't say it. No local would ever say that. And to repeatedly call a streetcar a trolley is complete blasphemy. I could excuse some of this stuff if the main characters weren't suppose to be born and raised locals, but they are. Chapters 20-23 basically have our Carmela, our main character, run from the French Quarter to the Garden District and then to the CBD and then back to her house in the French Quarter by 2...and you know because it was early yet, she ran down to Audubon park to help children learn how to paint. And she did all this by driving her own car...not taking a streetcar. Nice normal day, you would think, except that it happens on Bacchus Sunday and there is no way any of that is happening, could or would happen. At least 4 parades run through the Garden District on that day starting at 11:00am. These parades end in the CBD. Carmela would have had to fought through tons of street closures, obscene traffic, and would have spent 45 minutes looking for a place to park. Getting back to the CBD would have been just as hard if not worse. Then to leave her home to go back to Audubon Park which is in the Garden District to help teach a class is utterly ridiculous as that class would have been canceled because everything normal is canceled due to Mardi Gras. Now I know that I'm nit-picking here, cause sometimes allowances have to be made to tell your story and I get that. And if you had never been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, then there is nothing wrong with this chunk of story. There are no outright errors, she doesn't mention these parades so that's all good. But as I was reading this part of the book, I kept thinking, "But its Bacchus Sunday, there is no way this could possibly happen." It was inwardly frustrating. The whole New Orleans part of the book just felt like Childs came to New Orleans for two days and walked away thinking that she knew everything.Childs also had a tendency to give characters names as if they came from Savannah, GA instead of New Orleans. We don't have a bunch of people running about called Buford Maple. Childs also would replace real places or real people with made up ones so those people and places aren't associated with certain things. And I totally understand that, but then she should completely change the names instead of weirdly mixing them up with other stuff. The famous restaurant Antoine's becomes Beltoine's. Blaine Kern (float builder extraordinaire) becomes Jekyl Hardy which would seem okay except famous local celebrity Mr. Mardi Gras is named Arthur Hardy and then it just becomes all confusing.Sorry about the rant, I just felt that this book was extraordinarily frustrating from a local's standpoint. I really liked the way Childs described Charleston in her Tea Shop Mysteries, to the point where I would love to take a vacation there. But now I'm left to wonder what she got wrong about Charleston.

Foldforming

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4.66 rating

More than 20 years ago, Canadian goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain invented a radical way to develop forms in metal sheet. In the ensuing decades, he has led hundreds of metalsmiths to explore and expand on his pioneering work. Now for the first time, the results of those efforts are compiled into a comprehensive review. With practical techniques and over 450 photographs, this groundbreaking book sets a standard for breadth, authority, and inspiration. Eight by 10.5 inches; 160 pages; full color; hardcover with dust jacket; 450+ photos.

Simply Beautiful Beaded Jewelry

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3.61 rating

Comment 1: Beautiful and timeless projects, great pictures, good instructions, helpful intro guide. There are several projects I'm interested in this book such as pearl earrings (lots of other earrings as well), decorated hair chopsticks, french flower bobby pins, rhinestone hair elastics, several chic bracelets, and elegant gemstone necklaces. I'l have to get this book again when I have more time to teach myself how to do it!

Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence

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4.24 rating

Comment 1: Wired for Story is premised on the idea that brain science can help you craft a better story. That’s probably true, but this isn’t really a book about brain science. There are some brain science tidbits thrown in here and there, but mostly it’s a book about writing. It’s probably similar to other books about writing (although I feel like this one is more concrete and specific than most, which is helpful for where I am–if you’re looking for more of a vision-y book, look elsewhere) but I found it Comment 2: Yes, I’m rating this book as amazing. It seems as if it took me forever to get through it but honestly that is more my habit of trying to grasp the concepts and absorb the learning from the text. Cron has scientific evidence to support design strategies when writing stories. I argue that this works for both fiction and nonfiction. We are truly story seekers. We learn, grow and are entertained by stories. From our earliest age, we ask our elders “tell me a story.” As children, hopefully, we make Comment 3: If you can only buy one book on the craft of writing, let it be this one. I read it in a handful of days and there was so much stellar information I know I'll be reading it several times and making copious notes. If you're looking for a handbook that tells you about not using adverbs and avoiding dream scenes and all those other writers rules that everyone touts but hardly anyone knows why, then pass over it. But if you really want to know what story is about, and how to use it to hook your read

Secrets to Writing Well - Volume 1

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4.57 rating

I'm going to put it bluntly. Not every author who writes well gets published and not every author who gets published writes well. I am going to try and help you write well and hopefully get published too. As Charles Dickens once wrote: "There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts." We are going to look first at the elements that go into writing a fictional story; what they are, how to use them effectively and how to put them together to make a good story. We are going to start with a basic story and work on developing it together so you can observe the actual process. Then you can feel free to go off an do one on your own. This volume will cover Setting, Point of View, Tense, Mood, Plot Types, Dialogue and Character Development. It is written by Richard S. Hartmetz, who has had more than a dozen books published and is the CEO of Starry Night Publishing. Richard is a long-time teacher of writing workshops.

Mariner's Compass

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4.03 rating

Comment 1: Benni hat geerbt - und keine Ahnung, wer dieser mysteriöse Jacob Chandler ist, der ihr einfach so sein Haus und sein ganzes Hab und Gut vermacht hat. Sein Haus in Marino Bay, nur wenige Kilometer von San Celina entfernt, scheint viel wert zu sein, doch die Erbschaft ist mit einer Bedingung verknüpft: Benni erbt nur, wenn sie zwei Wochen in diesem Haus verbringt - allein.Natürlich ist klar, dass Gabe diese Bedingung überhaupt nicht schmeckt und er möchte, dass Benni verzichtet. Sollte sie das aber tun, erbt alles die Regierung, da es außer einer verloren gegangenen Schwester keine Verwandten mehr gibt. Benni lässt sich darauf ein und muss bald feststellen, dass diese Erbschaft sie auf eine Reise in die Vergangenheit ihrer eigenen Familie führt..Währenddessen tobt in San Celina ein kleiner Bürgeraufstand, da der neue Bürgermeister das Heimatmuseum der Senioren schließen lassen will, weil es nicht lukrativ genug ist und es deshalb in ein Hotel umgebaut werden soll. Natürlich gehen die Bürger auf die Barikaden - allen voran Bennis Großmutter Dove, die mit 11 weiteren Senioren das Haus besetzt und in Streik tritt. Das sorgt für viel Wirbel in der Öffentlichkeit - vor allem, da einer der Hausbesetzer die Mutter des Bürgermeisters ist..Dieses Buch ist das bisher persönlichste Abenteuer für Benni, denn natürlich lässt sie die geheimnisvolle Erbschaft nicht einfach so auf sich beruhen. Nein, Benni Harper recherchiert wieder! Wer war dieser mysteriöse Jacob Chandler? Und warum ist sie die Erbin? Warum soll sie 14 Tage allein in seinem Haus verbringen?Benni recherchiert und so beginnt eine Reise in die Vergangenheit ihrer Familie, die nicht nur Benni aufgewühlt hat, sondern auch mich als Leser. Man kann das Buch kaum noch aus der Hand legen, weil man erfahren möchte, was es mit der Erbschaft auf sich hat.Aber auch die Nebenhandlung ist amüsant, denn Dove ist eben Dove und man muss die eigenwillige Großmutter von Benni einfach lieben, wie sie immer wieder das Leben ihrer Lieben auf den Kopf stellt.Für mich ist dieses Buch bisher der beste Band der Reihe gewesen - einfach weil man sehr viel über Bennis Familie erfährt und man sich schon bald fragt: Todesfall oder Mord?Wie immer war der Unterhaltungswert sehr hoch und es hat viel Freude bereitet, wieder bei Benni und ihrem Mann Gabe hereinzuschauen und an deren Leben teilzuhaben. Ich freue mich schon auf Band 7 und kann nur wiederholen, dass diese Reihe einfach großartig ist und auch mit Band 6 seinen Reiz nicht verloren hat. Von mir gibt es die volle Punktzahl!

Hooked on Murder

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3.63 rating

Comment 1: Charming debut of a murder mystery series centered around a group of charity crocheters. Molly Pink shares a talent for earnestness and screw ups a la Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and possesses an equally endearing cute cop boyfriend. When she’s the main suspect in the murder that opens page one, she and her best friend Dinah set out to clear her name, learning to crochet while infiltrating the group formerly headed by the now dead victim. As power struggles among the crocheters mount, Molly Comment 2: It took me quite a while to get into this book. In part, I think it was due to demands of home life, rather than the story itself, but I do have to admit this one didn't grab me right away. I'm going to do the obvious and compare this to the other ongoing mystery series I've read (in part) - the Stephanie Plum novels. It's impossible not to, really. A single woman who is dating a cop gets caught up in a murder mystery and can't help but stick her nose where it doesn't belong despite her boyfrien Comment 3: First in a promising new series, this is a good cozy mystery. It is the story of Molly Pink, who goes to visit her deceased husband's ex-business partner, only to find the woman lying on the floor murdered, and herself the prime suspect. The story includes lots of information about crocheting, as the crochet group that meets at Molly's bookstore tries to figure out the murder, while at the same time creating a charity project that requires the help of Molly and her friend Dinah, barely beginners

The Aloha Quilt

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3.83 rating

Comment 1: We follow the Elm Creek Quilter, Bonnie Markham, as she ventures to Maui to help her college roommate, Claire, start The Aloha Quilt Camp in a bed and breakfast she has renovated. Bonnie’s life is in flux. Her children are out of the house, she is going through a bitter divorce, she has sold the condo she lived in with her family and her quilt shop was closed after it was vandalized. She makes new friends and finds new adventures as the months in Hawaii fly by. When she leaves, she does so with Comment 2: I enjoyed this book - set in Hawaii. A little too much talk about Hawaiian quilting for my taste. What I can see is that Chiaverini is trying to expand her base and talk about different characters. She introduced a whole new set of characters in this book while definitely linking to the regulars - and the ending makes likely the possibility that she can go further with the new characters as well. I also see that she has a new series coming out - first book due out in the next month or so. Will b Comment 3: Another season of Elm Creek Quilt Camp has come to a close, and Bonnie Markham faces a bleak and lonely winter ahead, with her quilt shop out of business and her divorce looming. A welcome escape comes when Claire, a beloved college friend, unexpectedly invites her to Maui to help launch an exciting new business: a quilter's retreat set at a bed and breakfast amid the vibrant colours and balmy breezes of the Hawaiian Islands. Soon Bonnie finds herself looking out on sparkling waters and banyan t

The Quick and the Thread

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3.88 rating

First in a new mystery series that will have readers stitching-and itching for more When Marcy Singer opens an embroidery specialty shop in quaint Tallulah Falls, Oregon, she throws a soiree and a Stitch-In. Soon, Marcy's sign- up sheet for embroidery classes fills up and everyone in town seems willing to raise a glass-or a needle-to support the newly-opened Seven Year Stitch. Then Marcy finds the shop's previous tenant dead in the store-room, a message scratched with a tapestry needle on the wall beside him. Now Marcy's shop has become a crime scene, and she's the prime suspect. She'll have to find the killer before someone puts a final stitch in her.

100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More

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4.06 rating

Comment 1: For all the bags, purses, headbands and mittens, even stuffed animal creations, this book is wonderful for creating accents and completing my projects with charm. The crochet instructions are given in two formats: the graphic and descriptions by round. Knitting instructions are given by description only. I truly loved this book, also because of the varying levels of difficulty and the short time it takes to finish each project. Comment 2: Wow. This is the most stunning knitting and crochet book I've ever seen. The flowers are gorgeous, correct, and the patterns appear to be pretty straight forward. I plan on playing around with some patterns soon, so I might update this once I test some out. This is just a gem. I may have to purchase it! Comment 3: I loved the pretty flowers - I can make them fairly quickly, with a little bit of leftover yarn. Some of the patterns are hard to follow, but the pictures and charts helped me through. I usually just check these books out from the library, but this one inspired me so much I bought it! Comment 4: I love to make flowers because they can be used to embellish hats, scarves, clothes or be worn as a pin. This book is an awesome reference for any crafter. There are leaves, butterflies and bugs. Great colorful photographs. A must have.

Knit Your Own Cat: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 16 Frisky Felines

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3.95 rating

Comment 1: I won this book in a giveaway on Goodreads, and recieved the book today. There are a great variety of cats to knit in the book, with varying poses as well. I have yet to try to knit one of the cats yet, so I can't say how difficult the patterns are, but as a word to the wise I would like to mention that the cats are all under a foot long, use size 2 knitting needles and very fine yarn. Comment 2: Really cute book. I haven't knit anything from it yet, but there's a nice range of patterns in terms of cat breeds, colors, and body positions. This isn't a beginner book, and there are no "how to knit" instructions, but advanced beginners who understand basic shaping techniques could handle some of the simpler patterns. Comment 3: I don't knit and I don't have a cat (although I love them), but I couldn't resist buying this book about knitted cats. I enjoy looking at the different cats and marvel that someone could make up patterns for them and imbue them with distinct personalities. I'm hoping I can persuade a knitter to make me one! Comment 4: I got this book out from MEL and it seems like a good book. I don't want to make anything from this book at this time, maybe sometime in the future. It seems like a lot of work and they come out quite small. I would like to make a cat before I try a dog.

Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

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3.94 rating

Comment 1: "It is our nature to dramatize" (1)."Children jump around at the end of the day, to expend the last of the day's energy. The adult equivalent, when the sun goes down, is to create or witness drama--which is to say, to order the universe into a comprehensible form. Our sundown play/film/gossip is the day's last exercise of that survival mechanism. In it we attempt to discharge any residual perceptive energies in order to sleep. We will have drama in that spot, and if it's not forthcoming we will cobble it together out of nothing" (8).Great bit about how we think the best game of sport takes place in three acts."It is difficult, finally, not to see our lives as a play with ourselves the hero--and that struggle is the great task of religion, of which drama used to be a part before the Fall" (12).Anti-Stratfordian is someone who attributes the works of Shakespeare to someone else and questions Shakespeare's authorship."The anti-Stratfordian, like the flat-earther and the creationist, elects himself God--possessed of the power to supervene the natural order--and the most deeply hidden but pervasive fantasy of the above is the ultimate delusion of godhead: 'I made the world' (14).Theodor Herzl: "If you will it, it's not a dream." (18) Big Lebowski!"When you come into the theater, you have to be willing to say, "We're all here to undergo a communion, to find out what the hell is going on in this world." If you're not willing to say that, what you is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that." (19)"Stanislavsky says there are two kinds of plays. There are plays that you leave, and you say to yourself, "By God, I just, I never, gosh, I want to, now I understand! What a masterpiece! Let's get a cup of coffee," and by the time you get home, you can't remember the name of the play, you can't remember what the play was about.And there are plays--and books and sons and poems and dances--that are perhaps upsetting or intricate or unusual, that you leave unsure, but which you think about perhaps the next day, and perhaps for a week, and perhaps for the rest of your life" (21)."...the purpose of art is not to change but to delight. I don't think its purpose is to enlighten us. I don't think it's to change us. I don't think it's to teach us" (26)."I used to say that a good writer throws out the stuff that everybody else keeps. But an even better test occurs to me: perhaps a good writer keeps the stuff everybody else throws out" (51)."Violence is not entertaining per se. Our endorsement of violence in art, like our endorsement of violence in our nation's behavior, is a compulsive expression of the need to repress--to identify a villain and destroy it. The compulsion must be repeated because it fails. It fails because the villain does not exist in the external material world. The villain, the enemy, is our own thoughts" (52)."A television with seven hundred channels of "choice" is not freedom but coercion. The machine we have created demands to be watched; it bleats at us. "There is nothing I will not do to hold your attention." We vote for lobotomized immobility and call it entertainment" (55).Huddie Ledbetter, also known as Leadbelly, said: You take a knife, you use it to cut the bread, so you'll have strength to work; you use it to shave, so you'll look nice for your love; on discovering her with another, you use it to cut out her lying heart" (66)."So the purpose of the theater is not to fix the social fabric, not to incite the less perspective to wake up and smell the coffee, not to preach to the converted about the delights (or the burdens) of a middle-class life. The purpose of theater, like magic, like religion--those three harness mates--is to inspire cleansing awe" (69).

Everyday Matters

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4.06 rating

Comment 1: There is a moment, near the end of Everyday Matters, when Mr. Gregory speaks of overcoming his discomfort of drawing in public. It was awkward he said, to have strangers approach and ask to see his drawings. He felt pretentious, shy, inadequate, etc. Gradually, though, he began to allow others to see what he drew, to see as he saw. In return, these people would generally talk to him about themselves. They would tell stories of how they saw New York, of missed subways and late night pizza and occasional tragedy. "They were giving me the gift of themselves," Mr. Gregory says. Everyday Matters is a sketchbook. There are drawing of shoes, medicine cabinets, and tins of ravioli. There are watercolors of Death Valley and Paris. Doodles of cows and farmers. Drawing, Mr. Gregory tells us, is not simply a matter of making marks on a page, but a way of seeing. A way to appreciate things as they are. That is all and everything.Everyday Matters is a diary. It happened that one day Mr. Gregory's wife fell on the tracks of a Subway. The train did not stop in time. She survived, paralyzed. Confined to a wheel chair. Life, as Mr. Gregory knew it, was over. Things were tough on Patti, too. Everyday Matters tells of Mr. Gregory's thoughts regarding the revolution of his world, the bitterness at chance, the weariness of condolences from friends and family, and the impossible necessity of moving on. Patti is still his wife, after all. They still have a son called Jack. Things are what they are and that is the way, he knows, they will stay.Everyday Matters is an exercise in recovery. Recovery of momentum, of life, of the world. Mr. Gregory has written another book I've read, The Creative License, in which he instructs his readers how to see. To look at a tree, for example, and not see a "tree", but see something gnarled and wavy and very much unique unto itself. This book, Everyday Matters, is where, it would seem, that the motivation to see came to Mr. Gregory. There's a remarkable sort of poignancy to his drawings, whether they be of cityscapes, of Big Ben or Sixth Avenue, or of the small objects that surround him, of, yes, everyday matters: toothpaste or ravioli. His son. His wife. There is a quiet urgency throughout. An unspoken need to hold onto what reality there is, and to somehow learn to appreciate it simply for the miracle of it existing at all.And it is that need, born out of tragedy, which is Mr. Gregory's gift to us, if we'll only take the time, a moment, to see the world as he sees it.

The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club

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3.72 rating

For every woman who has ever dreamed of starting over, or being a better mother, or just knitting a really nice scarf . . . When her husband dies in a car crash--not long after announcing he wants a divorce--Jo Mackenzie packs up her two rowdy boys and moves from London to a dilapidated villa in her seaside hometown. There, she takes over her beloved Gran's knitting shop--a quaint but out-of-date store in desperate need of a facelift. After a rough beginning, Jo soon finds comfort in a "Stitch and Bitch" group; a collection of quirky, lively women who share their stories, and their addiction to cake, with warmth and humor. As Jo starts to get the hang of single-parent life in a small town, she relies on her knitting group for support. The women meet every week at the shop on Beach Street and trade gossip and advice as freely as they do a new stitch. But when a new man enters Jo's life, and an A-list actress moves into the local mansion, the knitting club has even more trouble confining the conversation to knit one, purl two. The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club is an uplifting, winning tale about the healing power of friendship and new beginnings. It's a charming novel that will delight all passionate knitters--and win over befuddled, would-be knitters, too.

No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting

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3.98 rating

Comment 1: I was disappointed with this book. It seemed so limited in scope. I wish that the author had a more feminist point of view, what she does is not very critical of time and situation- more a simple reporting of a limited look at the time periods. She reports on knitting trends- how women used knitting during war times as a means to contribute to war efforts, from the American Revolution to the Korean War- without any examination of the underlying social principles. She writes a little about the in Comment 2: Not as good as I expected it to be, especially considered all the rave reviews I've heard from fellow knitters. I didn't feel like the author took all the historical information and transformed it into a story. Instead, it's just strings of anecdotes and quotes strung together with little if any unifying context. Also, devoting only 2 or 3 pages to machine knitting really underestimates how big machine knitting got in the 60s to early 90s. It may not be the favorite topic of snotty hand-only kni Comment 3: As a historian, there is much at fault with the methodology used. (It's pre mid-80's reflexive turn). However, as with most histories of needlework/knitting that I have read, she links this occupation with femininity, and goes to some length to 'prove' this. I am not in dispute with this thesis - I just found it odd that she completely ignores the feminist movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. This of course left room for other social historians and scientists to fill in the gaps. The history

Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

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3.92 rating

Comment 1: الكتاب يضم إجابات عشرين من الكتاب عن سؤال لماذا نكتب ؟! يحكي كل كاتب منهم تجاربه المختلفة وأراه وإجابته عن السؤال وبجانب نصحية كل منهم للكتاب المبتدئين..الكتاب علي اختلاف الشخوص إلا أنهم تشابهوا في عدة أمور أكثر مما اختلفوا تشابهوا إلي حد ما في طقوسهم أثناء الكتابة أسوء وقت مر بهم أجمل يوم مر بهم منهم عندما رأي كتابه علي أرفف مكتبة مشهورة أو علي غلاف التايمز متصدر أعلي المبيعات أو حصوله علي إحدي جوائز الأدب الشهيرة وتشابهوا في جزء من إجاباتهم عن السؤال ,الكتابة للكتابة لإنهم يحبون الكتابة ولا يت Comment 2: الجميع يندم و القراء بالخصوص اذا ندموا يندمون على كتب كانت على رفوفهم و اجلوا قرائتها، هذا ما حصل لي مع هذا الكتاب المذهل اجلته و هو ان لم ابالغ من اجمل كتبي التي قراتها، خصوصا و ان حس الكتابة بدأ يراودني و انا اتجنبه لاني اريد مزيدا من القراءة، فجاء هذا الكتاب ليطمئن حسي هذا و يخبره عن تجارب عشرون كاتبا عالميا مثل الليندي جيمس فري سارا غروين ديفيد بالدتشي، و غيرهم من المبدعين الكبار كلماتهم غزت العالم و غزو عالمي ايضا طيلة ثلاثة ايام بتجاربهم و قصصهم بعضهم بمعناتهم لينتجوا لنا كتاب اكيد سيبقى خ

Craft Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Stitch, Sculpt, Bead and Build

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3.94 rating

The latest addition to the best-selling Wisdom & Know-How series is an all-in-one guide to mastering a variety of popular crafts, from knitting and quilting to ceramics and jewelry making. The fifth book in the popular Wisdom and Know-How series, CraftWisdom & Know-How covers dozens of the most popular crafts in one complete, all-encompassing resource. The book is organized by type of craft and includes Sewing, Knitting, and Other Needlework; Paper Crafts and Bookmaking; Glasswork; Jewelry Making; Pottery and Clay; Mosaics; Candle-making and Decorating; and Woodworking and Furniture Making. The sections are further broken down into chapters that cover specific crafts, each with step-by-step directions and tips for projects for all levels of skill and ability, from beginner to advanced. Hundreds of projects are included, such as Super Sock Monkeys, Crocheted Hats, Etched Glass, One-Afternoon Skirts, and Beading Vintage-Style Jewelry, to name a few. The material is hand-selected from dozens of publications from Lark Books, a leader in craft books. The information is tried, trusted, and true, and provides indispensable instruction and advice from the most accomplished crafters in the world. With hundreds of black-and-white illustrations and photographs, as well as essential resources for materials and tools, Craft Wisdom & Know-How is a must-have book for the aspiring and experienced crafter alike.

A Crafty Killing

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3.85 rating

Comment 1: A Crafty Killing: Victoria Square Mystery: Book 1 got Lorraine Bartlett’s new series off to a good start. The mystery was engaging, drew me into the story and kept me there. I liked the characters. Katie grew on me as the story progressed. I especially liked the Victoria Square/Artisan co-op theme. The rebuilding of the business aspect was interesting, as was Katie’s dealing with artists and crafters. The story ended around holiday time, which made it a good December book. It was definitely a go Comment 2: After sitting on my shelf for far too many years, I was instantly immersed in this new series by Lorraine Bartlett (Aka Lorna Barrett). Nothing like an aspiring heroine(not by intent but by necessity), stuck in a dead end job with an abusive boss, but by fate, when Katie Bonner, recently widowed and taken under the wing of a friend, Ezra Hilton who was co partner(and now Katie's) with her late husband, Chad. Understand, Katie is a mere 30 years old when she was widowed. Now through fate, which h Comment 3: It has been forever since I read a "cozy" series mystery. This is the first one in the series. A patron at the library where I work checked it in...so I thought I would give it a try. I enjoyed reading the story and how the scene was set for the rest of the series. There was no angst, no heavy love scenes...just a cast of characters, two murders to be solved. I got involved with the characters and trying to find the killer. It was everything a "cozy" was supposed to do. Lorraine also writes unde

Stitch Me Deadly

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3.86 rating

Comment 1: Stitch Me Deadly was a quick, breezy read even though the murderer was easy to spot. I enjoy the small town setting and the cast of characters, although the story was a bit too low-key for my taste. I wish Marcy would be a bit bolder concerning her interests in Todd and Ted, but it is somewhat understandable having been dumped by her fiancé the year before in California. The exuberance Marcy has for her new embroidery shop is almost contagious and I almost would like to enroll a couple of her cl Comment 2: I like "cosies" and I do needlework, so I thought this book would be great. It was OK. I guessed the killer pretty much right away. Very light reading. Pretty much the usual small town female who keeps getting involved with dead bodies. Glad I don't have that "gift"! Also the Ted and Todd thing was a bit annoying. As in most of this type of book, the "heroine" is dating a policeman or the Chief of the small town force. It's amazing how many murders there can be in these small, safe to live in to Comment 3: I really loved the last book in this series, but this one fell a little bit flat for me. The fact that the two love interests are named Ted and Todd is really annoying and I can't keep them straight. I also wished that Marcy's dog would have played a bigger role in this book (like he did in the last one). Here he always seemed to be at home in the yard while Marcy was at work. Most importantly- a lot of things throughout the story never seemed to add up (for one- WHY did Mrs. Ralston seek out Ma

The Union Quilters

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3.8 rating

Comment 1: Right away The Union Quilters struck me as more of a stand alone historical fiction novel then an Elm Creek Quilts novel. Since I love historical fiction this is just fine (and lovely, and perfect) by me! If anything I would compare this book to The Sugar Camp Quilt by Chiaverini (hands down my favourite book in the series) as it wasn’t quite as light as the other Elm Creek Quilts books. The actual quilting theme was secondary in this novel and I found that the story really was focused upon the Comment 2: I listened to the talking book from the New Mexico Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. I'm so blessed by this program. I've always enjoyed books by this author and was delighted by this one as well. The characters are rich and aptly depicted. The history lesson was excellent. It is set during the Civil War. As I listened my husband often remarked how realistic this was. The center of the story is the ladies of the sewing circle and their families and friends. As always I look forwa Comment 3: I found this to be Chiaverini's best work yet. The language that she uses takes you right back in time and her description is so exact that you see everything trough the characters' eyes. Completely reminiscent of Gone with the Wind. This book is a part of a long series but I believe that it is the one that is able to stand alone most. I almost wish that this was her first book in the series. If you are reading this as the next book in the series, then this book will fill in all those blanks tha

Deadly Notions

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3.97 rating

Comment 1: This 4th in the series of cozy mysteries by Casey is a notch above the last book. The eye rolling of the characters in book three have disappeared to be replaced by Tori always repeating a question someone has asked her. Annoying! A plus for this book is that it's chock full of southern homilies such as "I'd like to come up with an idea that's horse high, bull strong, pig tight, and goose proof", "...why don't you wish in one hand, spit in the other, and see which one gets full faster", "...you' Comment 2: This is the fourth book in the Southern Sewing Circle series. Former pageant winer Ashley Lawson and her equally rude 6 year old daughter leave most people wanting to shut them up. The daughter is obviously learning the behaviour from the mother. The mother has birthday parties that will make or break a child (6 year olds mind you) and if you aren't asked to the daughter's party, your child will not ever be asked to anyone else's party either. Another mother,at Tori's suggetion, is having a birt Comment 3: Best of the series so far....this author has definitely become one of my favorites. The recurring characters are interesting, likable and sure to impart bits of wisdom as they work to solve the latest crime. As before, I love the integration of some of my favorite things to do, such as sewing, libraries, reading, and eating. The plot keeps moving along while interesting subplots also pop up. There are some in this genre who manage to find a million ways to describe the same questions regarding "

Knit Two

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3.46 rating

Comment 1: A vast improvement from the first book in this series. Unfortunately that's not too high of praise. I listened to the audio book because I was looking for something to listen to at work. Maybe because most of the characters were out of NYC the "classic New York/uniquely New York Experiences" were put on hold, only to be replaced with the cliché experience of a tourists in Rome. (and an Italian pop star named Isabella!?! Please, I have seen The Lizzie McGuire Movie). Combine that film with Letter Comment 2: I just finished the Audiobook this morning, the language is a little hooky but I still really liked the book. I'm not a fan of the Peri character... But I really enjoyed the writing even though the narrator is the worst!!! In book one she did the worst West Indian accent I ever heard for Peri in this book Peri suddenly sounds southern and Lucy's mother who repeatedly referenced as being Italian has an Irish accent and Anita and Catherine sound like caricatures of wealthy New Yorkers and Casey so Comment 3: I almost put this book down because it was soooo slooow in the beginning, dwelling unendingly on the death of Georgia (which takes place in the first book). I get the need to grieve, but it made me not want to read anymore because nothing else was happening. Then, with a flip of a page, the plot started and the voices which rang so pleasantly in the first book emerged. With Georgia out of the way, Jacobs developed the other characters in much more depth and humor. So, I loved the middle and almo

Continuous Cables: An Exploration of Knitted Cabled Knots, Rings, Swirls, and Curlicues

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3.84 rating

Comment 1: If you like Celtic knots and want to learn how to add them to your knitting projects, this is the book for you. The patterns are written both in text and in charts. I agree with other reviewers that the clothing patterns seem a bit bulky, but there is a cute bag pattern at the end that I am excited to try. Plus, the book includes a stitch dictionary so that you could add cables to any plain pattern. The pictures are very nice for most projects, but I would have liked to see some additional angle Comment 2: I'm not crazy about the woman's butt on the cover, but 32 pages of the basics of cabling, 20 projects, and a 50 page stitchionary make this a worthwhile book. The projects are extremely nice. Many of the cables are Celtic designs. Leapman produces high quality books. For intermediate to advanced knitters. Comment 3: This book has so many nice patterns and a stitch dictionary that is very easy to use. I checked it out from the library but I may have to buy it one of these days. Comment 4: First let me state my qualifications to review this book: I've been knitting for over 30 years, and have taught at two shops.

Happy Voodoo Gris Gris

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3 rating

With Lucky Charms, readers can make creative charms and talismans to bring good luck, spread happiness and joy to friends and family. Over 45 easy-to-make projects - including bracelets, necklaces, amulets, bags, stuffed animals, cases, dolls and bobbles - are perfect for readers to give or keep. The patterns provided in the back of the book are easy to trace, scan or copy and they are created from various items such as bits of fabric, beads, decorative threads, shellfish, spangles, raffia and more. Everyone needs a little Gris-Gris in their lives.

Origami Tessellations: Awe-Inspiring Geometric Designs

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4.51 rating

Comment 1: Wow, amazing. If you like origami, have itty-bitty fingers and lots of time, this may be for you. I would love to make something from this book, but I honestly don't know if I have the patience or the skill. You first have to create a creased grid, and then start folding the patterns. It looks pretty difficult. Do a Google image search for "origami tessellations" to see what this book will show you how to do. The reason this gets 4 instead of 5 star is because I think very few people will actual Comment 2: Unlike so many books with a superlative in the title, this one is at the level of "awe-inspiring." A tessellation is when a design is repeated so that it covers (at least in theory) the plane. Given that their religion prohibited the use of images, Islamic artists concentrated their creative energies on the creation of tessellations. That artwork has great beauty and some of it is successfully mimicked by the paper constructions featured in this book. Comment 3: My husband has been learning simple origami, and I read a book recently about a guy who was beaten, suffered brain damage, and became a genius who sees the repeated fractal patterns of nature everywhere.....tessellations! These intricate folded paper designs are awesome, but I do not have the tenacity to try to learn how to make them.

Through a Glass, Deadly

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3.57 rating

Comment 1: This is a lively who-done-it based in Tucson, with a glass blower, her shop, her dogs, students, customers, and an ex-boyfriend who is the Chief of Police. I enjoyed the dynamics of the characters. Our protagonist, Em, befriends a lonely red headed woman named Allison, originally from Ireland, who unknowingly introduces the Chicago mob into Tucson when her husband ends up dead in Em's glass blowing furnace, the "glory hole." Em's brother joins the story, and Allison's uncle Frank from Australia. Comment 2: I've been researching cozy mysteries, trying to find one that might interest my mother-in-law who loves them. She also loves glass-blowing, so this series piqued my curiosity. The main character, Emmeline, is a glassblower and owns her own shop and studio in Tucson where she gives glassblowing classes. The thing I didn't like about this cozy mystery is that Em's behavior is completely implausible. At the beginning of the book, she meets a woman who is reserved, nervous, and seems like she is hid Comment 3: Ok, I guess I could give this new writer two and a half stars. Being new, some authors may take a book or two to reach their stride. Cozies have themes these days and the main character, Emmaline owns a glass blowing shop in Tucson. She makes her own creations and teaches as well. It was fascinating to read about the process. Atwell does a good job weaving that throughout the story which is about Em finding a body in her shop (poor guy's face shoved in one of the glass furnaces...yipes!) Was loo

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration

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3.91 rating

Comment 1: One doesn't so much "read" this hefty volume as browse it for ideas. There are wonderful pictures and wonderful ideas for ways to spend time and means in creating really lovely items, but there is also the typically "Martha Stewart" touch of making everything seem like you have to do it only with her brand-name supplies for it to work as shown. In a similar vein, I have a couple of Martha Stewart cookbooks I enjoy perusing on occasion, but I've yet to make anything from them. There's that not so Comment 2: Some great ideas, great illustrations, great to own as a reference. For future reference, I would like to do some stuff with/for the kids: bottle cap frames, pom poms, quilling, silk screening, sand candles, decoupage furniture, sun prints (not necessarily all of those!). I also think I would like one of those linen table runners with botanical print, glass etching (it's been awhile), matting and framing, and maybe gilding (although isn't metallic paint cheaper?). I wish she wasn't so dowdy, bec Comment 3: How could Martha not get 5 stars? I'm pretty sure this is the only Encyclopedia I have ever read, and probably the only one I would find so inspirational. This lady (and her large team) does it all- who ever heard of Quilling? I made the mistake of finishing it right before bed and had a hard time sleeping because of all my crafty ideas I was worried I'd forget about if I didn't write them down immediately. Anyway, this book will most definitely be added to my permanent craft collection and I'm

EcoArt!: Earth-Friendly Art and Craft Experiences for 3-To 9-Year-Olds

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3.68 rating

Comment 1: With such an emphasis on paying attention to the environment and living a “green” life it makes sense that a book on creating environmentally safe crafts would be popular for children. After an introduction, the book offers crafts that are either made all from natural materials or recycled materials. There is certainly a wide array of crafts in this one hundred and fifty five page book that cover everything from making paste and paintbrushes to dollhouses and a game of checkers. Each craft is given a rating, indicating if a young child should be able to do it and how much parental assistance will be necessary. This is an area where parents may way to show some skepticism, and read over the directions before handing the craft to their child. The cover states that these crafts can be performed by someone as young as three. Although there are plenty of crafts that are friendly for even the youngest child, this is not always the case. For example, the Log Pencil Holder, rated the lowest level of difficulty, requires the use of a non electric hand drill and hammer and nails, tools some parents will probably be uncomfortable handing to their three-year-old. The section of Plastic Jug Crafts is also somewhat problematic. The author warns the reader that the crafts themselves range in difficulty but never rate the individual crafts themselves, which may be confusing for a reader. Despite these issues of ratings, the authors do a solid job of explaining the importance of environmentalism, and presenting a large amount of crafts that support that cause.Note: This review was written for a class

Humor in Craft

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4.18 rating

What happens when professional craft artists are allowed to let loose, when they get to explore their mischievous and irreverent sides? Find out in this groundbreaking book, which, for the very first time, reveals an entirely different side of serious craft. Hundreds of images and essays from all over the world allow you to gain insight into the creative minds of contemporary artists like never before. A variety of traditional craft media are shown in this book, such as furniture, ceramics, glass, fiber, jewelry, and metal, as well as a number of unique, nontraditional techniques. Even a bus shelter in London gets a creative make-over that's sure to make you smile! The topics range from the playful to the serious, but the message is always most enjoyable. Humor in Craft is a treasure trove for craft aficionados and humor enthusiasts alike.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

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3.74 rating

Comment 1: By now, anyone with any exposure to Crawford’s book probably knows at least something of the man’s background. The marketing department at Penguin Books certainly won’t let us forget. Educated in political philosophy at the University of Chicago, he renounced his sinecure as the head of a Washington think-tank (as far as I can tell, it was related to the conservative American Enterprise Institute in some fashion) to retire to Norfolk, Virginia to open his own vintage motorcycle repair shop. Whil Comment 2: I would recommend this book to any student pursuing a liberal arts degree, and to any who might be working toward an MA or PhD. The importance of the issues this book raises can’t be downplayed. Crawford presents here a serious, elegantly written apologia for the trades as a choice for those about to enter the working world bringing with them little but a knowledge of what is arcane, obscure, and perhaps even morally suspect. (This last, my interpretation though not far-fetched.) It is an unfort Comment 3: Do you feel insulted by automatic faucets, throw-away electronics and high-end automobiles that have USB ports but no dipsticks? In Crawford’s unique work, careful attention is given to the anatomy of frustration many of us share as we encounter technological advancements that claim to save our time by removing independent thought and the physical manipulation of things from our daily experience. As both the owner of a motorcycle repair shop and a doctor of philosophy, Crawford brings elements o

Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker

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4.02 rating

Comment 1: Okay, so I didn't read it cover to cover, but I have been through most of the how-to section and I found it very easy to learn the stitches with this book. It reads almost as if someone is in the room with you, including comments about troublesome spots and different ways of doing stitches. Haven't tried a pattern yet, but they seem relatively easy to follow. My only complaint--there are quite a few sweaters/shirts/accessories that aren't really my style. But there are some great scarf and hat p Comment 2: I'm not much of a crocheter--I can crochet exactly as much as you need to be able to in order to be a fairly skilled knitter, and no more. I was hoping to be inspired to want to improve my skills by this book (as I was and am to improve my knitting by the Stitch 'N Bitch knitting books), but frankly I'm not. There are loads of lovely crochet patterns out there, but not in this book--as far as I'm concerned; obviously it's a highly individual issue. I just kept thinking how much better things wou Comment 3: Sassy Debbie Stoller has done it again with a book for crocheters and wanna-be crocheters that has all the boldness and excitement of her earlier knitting projects. The stitch instruction section is lively and well illustrated with photos and step-by-step drawings of each stitch progression, and the titles of the sections are are entertaining as they are informative. 40 patterns are included ranging from simple for beginners to advanced for the more skilled. Designs for younger women in particul

Friendship Bracelets

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4.15 rating

Comment 1: I think it's funny that they keep reprinting this book with the same pictures, so all the kids look like they're from 1993, which is about when I read this and learned that I only had the patience to make the simplest of friendship bracelets, friendship bracelets are kinda gay for a boy (I was 12, remember), and besides, I didn't really have any friends anyway. Comment 2: This was an AWESOME book that i read over the summer. Its not a real book, instead, more of an instruction guide. this is where i learned how to make all the friendship bracelets that i know how to make. Friendship bracelets are in style now, so if you want to be the one who makes them for their friends, you should definitely check out this book. Comment 3: This book has emerged from some remote hiding place and with the extra time that summer provides, the kiddos have been busy! We keep telling J. that forget silly bands, how about sister bands? Comment 4: I'm reviewing this here for moms everywhere! Despite spending endless hours making these bracelets as a girl, I couldn't remember how to make them in order to teach my daughter.

Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles (Klutz)

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4.01 rating

Comment 1: I learned how to do lots of really awesome and unique updo styles while reading "Hair: A Book of Braiding and Styles". I work around food so I always have to have my hair up/out of my face and I was really struggling with finding cute updo styles that weren't your everyday bun or ponytail. This book really helped me get creative and experiment with new styles that I really enjoy. The directions are very easy to understand and include a clear visual to guide you while you style your hair. Comment 2: My sister and I have had this book since we were children and used it many times. Even with the internet as a resource on everything ever, I still turn to this book when I want to find a new and challenging hair style to try out on my long hair. The instructions are very clear with excellent visuals that are useful both for styling someone else's hair or for styling your own. Comment 3: This was the book that finally made me "get" complicated braids, and it's spoiled me for all other braiding books. They just confuse me because I always try instinctively to use techniques from this one. I lost my copy about ten years ago and really want another one... Comment 4: This is the book my dad learned to French braid my hair from when I was little. I picked it up at a book sale and am looking forward to trying a few of the simpler styles...

The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing

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4.18 rating

Comment 1: One of the best, most concise, no BS books about writing that I have ever read. These essays are written with the kind of bitchy, brutal honesty that only a writer who truly cares for the written word could create. They are like that friend who will actually tell you that there’s a large piece of spinach stuck between your front teeth. It is chock-filled with no-nonsense and useful advice as well as many helpful and intriguing writing prompts. I believe that if I were to have heard Hugo read the Comment 2: There is such a raw honesty to Hugo's writing, and to his instruction, that is very different and refreshing from many of the contemporary authors I've read in this past year or so. I knew of Hugo, because I had read and enjoyed his only mystery, "Death and the Good Life," when it was reissued posthumously by Clark City Press. This has remained one of my favourite novels since then and I reread on a regular basis. So, as soon as I discovered that Norton was reissuing "The Triggering Town," I sna Comment 3: Every time I read this book I fall in love all over again, right from the first, brash paragraphs. While I don't agree with everything Hugo says, this is one of the few books I know that talks helpfully about issues like how to edit or critique poetry in a constructive way. Not to mention the chapter "Assumptions," with a long list of assumptions he might make when writing a poem to create a speaker who isn't necessarily him and construct a history and texture for the place where the poem happen

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

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4 rating

Comment 1: "What moves us is not just that characters, images, and events get some form of recapitulations or recall: We are moved by the increasing connectedness of things, ultimately a connectedness of values."John Gardner was perhaps as well known (if not more so) for his instruction on writing as for his own fictional works, and his Art of Fiction: Notes on the Craft for Young Writers compiles the fullness of his teachings on what makes a great writer great. There is, on the whole, a lot to take away from Gardner’s book, but there’s also a lot to work through. The attitude of Gardner’s narrative often tends toward the stereotypical elitism of the highly-educated “serious writer” (to use his term, at other times referred to as a “true writer”), and as a result readers might be at risk of missing some of Gardner’s most crucial lessons under the weight of all his posturing. His musings on the significance of a writer’s formal education to his skill range from referencing the self-educated man as an “imbecile” (intended with its original meaning, though made no less harsh by the continuation of his thought that such a man may write a great novel if he’s lucky) to somewhat backhanded compliments like, “The best writers do not always (or even often) come from the well-educated upper middle class – art’s cauldron is only on rare occasions gold or silver.” (Another aside: though at times his narrative may strike some readers as sexist, he does admit – in one line which I forgot to note verbatim – that many of the greatest novels were penned by women. Huzzah!)Still, though some of his opinions may be dated, his advice certainly isn’t. Here Gardner digs profoundly deep into the foundation of writing; for obvious reasons his discussion focuses predominantly on the science of the art, but he does at times give leave to its inevitable changeability (as he says, “no laws are absolute in fiction”). The translation of Gardner’s generational perceptions can be perhaps a little rocky (there are no romance writers here, only “pornographers”), but the bones of his advice can be aptly applied to any genre, any generation, and certainly any style. Whether or not the bones are worth digging for is obviously each unique writer’s opinion.Here are some of my favorite takeaways from The Art of Fiction:On narrative...“Vividness urges that almost every occurrence of such phrases as ‘she noticed’ be suppressed in favor of direct presentation of the thing seen.”The writer...“It is the novelist’s reward for thinking carefully about reality, brooding on every image, every action, every word, both those things he planned from the beginning and those that crept in in the service of convincingness.”On style...“About style, the less said the better. Nothing leads to fraudulence more swiftly than the conscious pursuit of stylistic uniqueness. But on the other hand nothing is more natural to the young and ambitious writer than that he try to find a voice and territory of his own, proving himself different from all other writers.”The long and short of it...“The most useful hint is perhaps this: Read the story over and over, at least a hundred times – literally – watching for subtle meanings, connections, accidental repetitions, psychological significance. Leave nothing – no slightest detail – unexamined, and when you discover implications in some image or event, oonch those implications toward the surface. [...] As for the warnings, two are of most importance: On one hand, don’t overdo the denouement, so ferociously pushing meaning that the reader is distracted from the fictional dream, giving the narrative a too conscious, contrived, or ‘workshop’ effect; and don’t on the other hand, write so subtly or timidly – from fear of sentimentality or obviousness – that no one, not even the angels aflutter in the rafters, can hear the resonance.”There are a lot of interesting points in Gardner’s book, particularly following along with him as he crafts a story idea and explores the right and (potentially) wrong moves, how the story would change with different intents, and the myriad ways it could be done well. He also provides exercises at the back of the book – both group exercises intended for classes and writings groups, and individual exercises for the endeavoring writer to tackle alone. (I’ll possibly write about those in the future since I haven’t pursued them yet.) On the whole, for writers looking to better their craft through strongly academic, objective study, The Art of Fiction offers a very thorough perspective.(Originally published February 21, 2014 on LiteraryInklings.com)

Back to Basics

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4.36 rating

Comment 1: From farming to heating and cooling, from flower pressing to hiking, this book has brief instruction on a number of pre-industrial skills. It is basic and introductory in its instruction. For example, this is not the book to start with if you want to learn finish carpentry, but it does have some basic wood-working instruction. It is a handy general reference in a quaint, romanticizing the pioneer days - in vogue since the 70s apparently, really raging now - kind of way. And while a number of the Comment 2: This is such a nice book to look at and dream of living in the wilds of Tasmania with chickens and alpacas and living off your garden. Not likely to ever happen, but good daydream. My dad gave me this for Xmas about 15 years ago. It tells you in brief how to do just about everything crafty and self sufficient. I want to keep bees, make cheese and build a refectory table in my daydream too! Oh, and get a goat and weave it a coat of course. Comment 3: My mom got this book from the Reader's Digest Book Club when I was about seven, and I have been poring over it ever since. Marty & I call it "The Book". It's a great guide from everything to building your own house, to raising chickens & goats, to tinsmithing, to a recipe for an authentic New England clambake. How-to guide for would-be pioneer folks. Love it!!!

The Story Blanket

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4.25 rating

Comment 1: All the kids of an isolated village sit on Babba Zarrah's story blanket to hear her stories. The blanket gets smaller and smaller as Babba uses the wool to make needed items for the villagers until she no longer has a blanket. Once the village learns who is giving away these items, they unravel portions of their own blankets to give her enough yarn to make another blanket. The kids have a blanket again to sit on for her stories. And once again, Babba sees a need and starts to unravel her blanket Comment 2: Madam and I so enjoyed this; I grabbed it because the cover caught me, and it was really the illustrations that kept me throughout the book--all the quirky, humorous little details on every page--Madam especially appreciated the dog ;) I loved the tree in Babba Zarrah's house, with the children's shoes up in it in the beginning, and later in the end, with the child up in it. On every spread, there was some detail, something to examine closely and wonder over. (Check out Babba Zarrah's "garden.") Comment 3: I love this book! A tale of Babba Zarrah, a woman with a great heart for others, who secretly unravels her story blanket so she can clothe and help those around her. Not only is the storytelling wonderful--the words themselves, but the illustrations are magnificent--so simple, elegant, directing your mind and eye to just the right images--yet each image holds such texture and depth.

Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter

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4.08 rating

This unique book features 30 patterns that celebrate popular Harry Potter characters and places. Catering for both novice and experienced knitters, there are patterns for a range of garments including sweaters, jumpers, scarves, mittens, hats and socks.

Hello, Cupcake

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4.04 rating

Comment 1: Another excellent informational book that is in super high demand at my school library, along with his other 2 books, "Cupcakes, Cookies and Pie, Oh My!" and "What's New, Cupcake?" These books are SO much fun! The authors who often team together, Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, use the best of their skills as a food stylist and photographer/writer to create these beautiful books that inspire the young bakers/artists who read it. The books are clearly organized and formatted for ease of use for t Comment 2: I love this book and so does my family. We use it often to make cupcakes for birthdays, bake sales and other occasions. Some of the ideas are more complex and difficult than others, but the instructions are excellent and you do not need any special equipment. If you are a beginner, do your best to select the easiest sounding projects to begin with, be patient with yourself and experiment. Refrigerating your icing as you decorate is a huge help. Once it softens, then refrigerate again. Heed their Comment 3: Loads of cute decorating ideas, but I can't imagine actually making and eating these, because practically every recipe is based around store bought candies and mixes, rather than using home made ingredients. While the cupcake designs are cute, most of them use 4 or more types of store bought sweets. Because of the emphasis on finding manufactured candies the shape and size of your intended design, there really isn't much instruction on decorating. I'll be giving this book away and looking for so

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People

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3.76 rating

Comment 1: It took me a long time to get around to this book because I was disappointed that it wasn’t “I Like You” all over again. Delving a little deeper, it is very similar to “I Like You” after all, but the pleasures are smaller, less laugh-out-loud, but equally pleasing. There humorous sideswipes (inserting a winking aside into a serious statement) remain; to paraphrase an example: the problem with interior decorators is not that they are predominantly homosexual, but that they are so expensive. As th Comment 2: This is a very funny, parody craft book by the authors of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. If you are expecting a serious crafting book which will teach you how to create amazing Christmas presents you have the wrong book. If you want a book that will make you laugh out loud then you have the right book. Many of the crafts are the kind of junky crafts you make a bad day camps – or even worse. For example the directions for “Rusty Nail Wind Chime” direct you to toss a bunch of nails i Comment 3: This craft book which targets crafts that poor people can afford to make is surely one-of-a-kind. And who better to explore the subject than Amy Sedaris! This audio version is enhanced by the sage advice of the Woodchucks, Gene and Jean, and by the musical interludes. You will learn about things that other craft books tend to ignore: the dangers of crafting, crafting for the handicapped and the insane, how to borrow others’ ideas when your imagination fails, crafts for rabbits, and so much more.

Keys to Drawing

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3.99 rating

Anyone who can hold a pencil can learn to draw. In this book, Bert Dodson shares his complete drawing systemfifty-five "keys" that you can use to render any subject with confidence, even if you're a beginner. These keys, along with dozens of practice exercises, will help you draw like an artist in no time. You'll learn how to: Restore, focus, map, and intensify Free your hand action, then learn to control it Convey the illusions of light, depth, and texture Stimulate your imagination through "creative play" "

The Practice and Science of Drawing

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4.03 rating

Much of the learning to practice as well as to appreciate art is concerned with understanding the basic principles. One of these principles is what Harold Speed calls "dither," the freedom that allows realism and the artistic vision to play against each other. Very important to any artist or work of art, this quality separates the scientifically accurate from the artistically accurate. Speed's approach to this problem is now considered a classic, one of the few books from the early years of this century that has continued to be read and recommended by those in the graphic arts.In this work, Harold Speed approaches this dynamic aspect of drawing and painting from many different points of view. He plays the historical against the scientific, theory against precise artistic definition. He begins with a study of line drawing and mass drawing, the two basic approaches the artist needs to learn. Further sections carry the artistic vision through unity and variety of line and mass, balance, proportion, portrait drawing, the visual memory, materials, and procedures. Throughout, Speed combines historical backgrounds, dynamic aspects which each technique brings to a work of art, and specific exercises through which the young draughtsman may begin his training. Although not a technique book in the strict sense of the terms, The Practice and Science of Drawing brings to the beginner a clear statement of the principles that he will have to develop and their importance in creating a work of art. Ninety-three plates and diagrams, masterfully selected, reinforce Speed's always clear presentation.Harold Speed, master of the art of drawing and brilliant teacher, has long been cited for this important work. For the beginner, Speed will develop a sense for the many different aspects which go into an artistic education. For the person who enjoys looking at drawings and paintings, Speed will aid developing the ability to see a work of art as the artist meant it to be seen.

Touching Stars

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3.97 rating

Gayle Fortman has built a good life for herself and her three sons as an innkeeper in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. She has even maintained a cordial relationship with her ex, charismatic broadcast journalist Eric Fortman, covering with the boys for his absences and broken promises. Luckily Travis Allen, her closest neighbor, has been a loving surrogate father to the boys and her own best friend. Then, on the eve of oldest son Jared's graduation, Eric returns, having nearly lost his life in Afghanistan. Worse, he has lost his way and his courage, and needs a place to recover. Gayle realizes this might be the last chance for her sons to establish a real bond with their father, and offers him a summer at the inn and a chance to put things right. Gayle and Eric are all too aware that their onetime love and attraction are still there. But can the pieces of their broken lives be mended, or are they better laid to rest?

Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter

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4.16 rating

Comment 1: If you love to knit, like me, you will love this book. I read a chapter or two here and there just to make it last longer. I could go on and on about this book, I’ve marked it up quite a bit with all my favorite spots. One being…….”The world has come a long way, and astonishing and intriguing machines arrive every day, but there is still not a machine on this earth that will shear a sheep. Every ball of wool starts with some man or woman somewhere in the world, a complete stranger to you, holdin Comment 2: Much preferred Free-Range Knitter to this one. This is earlier, so presumably her voice wasn't as developed. I had a hard time getting past the first few stories: she came off as rather snobby and I found it hard to relate to her in those instances, maybe because I'm still a knitter and not a Knitter. Then I was finally rewarded with stories of the same tone and calibre as I read in Free-Range Knitter. Pearl-McPhee is at her best when she is simultaneously amusing and tugging at the heartstrings Comment 3: For a second, I didn't like this book. Who is this whiny, over committed knitter with a million things on her needles who lets a squirrel repeatedly steal her yarn stash out of her yard? But, then I read the story about her moth invasion...next the story about her friend who is allergic to wool... and then the knitter whose arthritis doesn't allow her hands to knit anymore. The Yarn Harlot definitely has a heart and a lot of spunk. She writes stories that only a knitter can appreciate and I real

Ocean Waves

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3.84 rating

Comment 1: In the grand scheme of cozy mysteries, especially those that take place in a quilt shop (it's own sub-genre), this series is halfway decent. Not my favorite, but mostly enjoyable. I didn't like this volume in the series quite as much as earlier ones--the characters all seemed too caricatured. Still n' all, it was a decent vacation read and I'm about to start the next one in the series. Comment 2: This is the third installment in Thayer's series taking place in Quilters Paridiso. Near the end of the second book, Dewey Pellicano fires her impossible to work with sister in law Kym. This was the plot line I really wanted to see play out in this book. And while that situation doesn't get "wrapped up" by any means, Thayer does advance the plot. And I'm still interested. Comment 3: This book is exceptionally fun to read because it's about our local area. I can relate to some of the characters, but I won't mention which ones...Terri, I especially like the Saddlerack comment. We weren't line dancing, but Bo Bice was awesome! I didn't see the end coming. My only negative comment would be that the editors need to proof it better. Comment 4: I found myself more interested in the quilting classes described in the story than the mystery itself. But that's just me. This is the first Quilting Mystery I've read, maybe if I'd read the other Dewey Pellicano books first I would have felt more of a connection with her. It was an OK mystery and I did get some ideas for a quilting project.

Zombigami: Paper Folding for the Living Dead

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3.55 rating

Comment 1: I'm still struggling through the intermediate critters in my "Teach Yourself Origami" book, and I found the Zombigami almost impossible at first. The diagrams are not at all intuitive. In some cases -- Suzie Gravemaker, for example -- the diagrams seem to skip a step. The hair on the drawing of the finished product doesn't look like the photo. Comment 2: Folding fun in the Horror Category, 13 zombies. No helpful complications ratings are given, but I can guarantee they are all on the higher side of HARD. There ARE step by step very detailed instructions however, and very special, made just for these zombies paper.

250 Things You Should Know About Writing

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4.08 rating

Comment 1: Hodně vtipně napsaná kniha s 275 radami (přestože je v názvu číslovka 250, ale to autor vysvětluje hned ze začátku). Tedy vtipně pro mě, bude to asi subjektivní pohled. Záleží jak moc máte rádi sprostý humor a slovo motherfucker, stejně jako autor. Některé věci tedy už vím, ale každý autor vám dá kousek svého pohledu a o je vždycky zajímavé. Občas jsem se v tramvaji vážně musel držet, abych nevybuchl smíchy, takže dám 5 hvězd. Další kniha, ke které se rád vrátím. Comment 2: Chuck Wendig knows his shit and he is going to shove that shit down your throat AND YOU WILL LIKE IT. While a lot of Wendig's writing advice is basic stuff (focus on character, avoid passive voice, etc), he manages to make even the most obvious tips fresh and entertaining through pure style alone. It's funny and conversational, as if he's in the room yelling at you. With love. Vulgar, mildly offensive love. The advantage of his particular voice is that he makes you think about writing in a whole Comment 3: I love reading advice books written by authors who pass along their experience and/or suggestions about the writing, editing, and publishing process. So I did enjoy this book -- which didn't go into any real depth but offered, rather, a snapshot-type look at such things. While this author's style in delivering the message was sometimes funny, I was actually put off more often than not by the over-use of lewd descriptions and metaphors. I haven't read this man's published work, but I have heard t

Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction

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3.98 rating

Get to Know Your Character's Sinister Side A truly memorable antagonist is not a one-dimensional super villain bent on world domination for no particular reason. Realistic, credible bad guys create essential story complications, personalize conflict, add immediacy to a story line, and force the protagonist to evolve. From mischief-makers to villains to arch nemeses, "Bullies, Bastards & Bitches" shows you how to create nuanced bad guys who are indispensable to the stories in which they appear. Through detailed instruction and examples from contemporary bestsellers and classic page-turners, author Jessica Page Morrell also shows you how to: Understand the subtle but key differences between unlikeable protagonists, anti-heroes, dark heroes, and bad boys Supply even your darkest sociopath with a sympathetic attribute that will engage readers Set the stage for an unforgettable standoff between your hero and your villain Choose the right type of female villain–femme fatale, mommy dearest, avenger, etc.–for your story "Bullies, Bastards & Bitches" is your all-encompassing bad-guy compendium to tapping into any character's dark side.

The Writer's Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types

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3.81 rating

Comment 1: Edelstein calls this "a crash course in psychology for writers with information about personality and behavior to create believable and authentic characters".My TakeI liked the differentiation Edelstein offers between character and traits. A good difference to keep in mind when creating your character while reminding the reader, er, I mean, the writer---you, that these groupings are not set in stone."Dorothy Parker was right: 'People are more fun than anybody.'"While Edelstein remembers once in awhile to point out the ways in which a writer can use this information, it's mostly a psychological analysis of individuals in all sorts of situations from babyhood to adults; the effects of illnesses and all sorts of disorders along with deviations from the norm; types of criminality, romantic partners, age, maturation, group dynamics, sexual behaviors, family inter-relationships, how people cope, and occupational and group types.It includes a chapter on physical appearances and nonverbal/verbal communication, i.e., body language and facial expressions as well as a short bit on the difference between male and female traits of communication. But I don't know why Edelstein bothered to include this. There really isn't much in this particular chapter.My favorite chapters are the first and second as they have the most useful information in helping a writer create a sense of real people whom your readers can accept, believe in---whether for good or ill! How roles, situations, and relationships influence traits and vice versa. She notes the differences between adults and children whose "personalities are not yet fully formed"---a good distinction to keep in mind. And Edelstein reminds us---just often enough---that the categories are not exclusive nor inclusive.Chapter four is rather terrifying---parents might consider reading this chapter just to help themselves keep an eye on their own behaviors!There's an interesting section on using recovered or false memories to create conflict.About halfway through Writer's Guide to Character Traits, I was getting rather skeptical about how to use this mass of information. I thought I'd have to be flipping back and forth hunting for how to pull the bits in the various chapters together to create my character, but then I got to chapter 14 and my prayers were answered. Edelstein has an index of traits and the types of disorders or situations in which you could expect to find it. It still involves flipping back and forth, but at least this chapter tells you where to flip!Overall it's an interesting book, but I'm not sure it's worth buying. Check it out at the library first.The CoverThe cover is a colonial blue with black text and a slash of white puzzle pieces across the background with an eye in black.The title indicates for whom the book is written and its contents: a Writer's Guide to Character Traits.

Kansas Troubles

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3.98 rating

Comment 1: Nach der überraschenden Hochzeit von Benni und Gabe zum Ende des zweiten Teils in Vegas, machen die beiden nun Urlaub in Kansas um die Familie und Freunde von Gabe zu besuchen. Benni ist natürlich entsprechend aufgeregt, da sie weder ihre Schwiegermutter noch ihre beiden Schwägerinnen kennt. Überhaupt weiß sie von ihrem frisch angetrauten Ehemann eigentlich herzlich wenig. Während Benni und Gabe nach Kansas fliegen, machen ihre Großmutter Dove, ihr Vater und ihr Onkel Travis eine Art Roadtrip do Comment 2: Wow! Fowler had become SUCH a better writer by this 3rd book in her Benni Harper mystery series. Characters more solid. Writing much crisper and more descriptive. Exciting plot on both interpersonal and crime levels. Since I have family in Kansas I really enjoyed the setting. The Vietnam War effect on vets is a well done subplot thread. And I've not even mentioned the Amish angle nor her now established theme of quilting and quilt patterns in the stories' structures. Looking forward to reading m Comment 3: This was my first Benni Harper, recommended by the librarian. In retrospect, I would recommend reading them in order. But by the end of the book, I definitely wanted to know more about these characters. I read all fifteen books in the series in two months. This particular book was fun for me because I am from Kansas. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the story line kept me guessing until the end. Earlene Fowler has rapidly become one of my favorite authors.

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time

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4.07 rating

Comment 1: Um dos elementos essenciais para qualquer escritor de ficção é a construção de cenas orgânicas e empolgantes dentro de uma história. Afinal, o que é uma história senão uma sequência de cenas integradas umas às outras, com alguns sumários narrativos fazendo de cola? Por isso, o livro Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time de Jordan Rosenfeld é uma ferramenta e tanto para escritores iniciantes, que queiram entender os elementos essenciais de construção de cenas narrativas e at Comment 2: Begins with a Joseph Conrad Scene, claiming to explain and teach to us how to do exactly that, ends with an everything and the kitchen sink approach that left me feeling. MAKE A SCENE just packs so much into one book that it becomes hard to nail down any one specific lesson. A lot of craft books are the same thing with different verbiage, here the verbiage is plain enough but by the time the complexity of the DOS and DONTS of beginnings were played out MAKE A SCENE was already feeling like a min Comment 3: Writing scenes that move your story forward is given in many examples. Different scene structures listed with their components, is a valuable reference tool for completion of a novel. Individually scenes may be intense or mild, contemplative or dramatic, but when they are used in combination, they form a fantastic narrative that feels rich and complex. Entertain and inform the reader through clear and powerful scenes. This book should help build a vivid scene, and link each of your scenes to cre

Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish

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4.1 rating

Comment 1: Bell’s book isn’t a mere taxonomy of various plots. No, Plot and Structure lays bare the mechanics of plot. This is a tinkerer’s book. Bell shows the distinction between inciting incident and plot point. He also explains, in a way that I now understand, the differences and connections between the acts in a three-act structure: I, II, and III. Lastly, Bell has some genuinely useful exercises for developing ideas about plots and characters. I’m being vague here because I have to be: Bell, a lawyer Comment 2: Just finished this nifty little guide to plot and structure. Since this is my first book on writing I've ever read, I might just be impressed with the amount of inspirational material but I found this very interesting and well developed. It was a very easy read but don't let that fool you, there are great tips and exercises for starting, deepening and enhancing all layers of fiction. I found several things that I'm practicing with now and plan to go back through my draft novels and apply these t Comment 3: I borrowed this book from the library, but am now going to buy a copy! This was a wonderful book on the writing craft packed with helpful tips and exercises, all focusing on plot structure. Being very analytical, I loved Bell's breakdown of the three-act structure and plot trends of popular stories. I especially loved the way he explained what needs to happen to transition from one act to the next, something I that needs attention in my own manuscript. I highly recommend for other writers, or fo

Characters and Viewpoint

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4.05 rating

Comment 1: Characters & Viewpoint is another book by Orson Scott Card from the Writer's Digest Books that failed to impress. The book is 182 pages and is divided into 3 main sections, 'Inventing Characters', 'Constructing Characters', and 'Performing Characters'. Each part is, in turn, divided into smaller chapters.The first part covers topics that are really for the novice writer, someone who never wrote fiction and one day decided he/she wanted to... It explains how characters can come from people you know, your memories or yourself and so on, how to formulate a character with things like habits, patterns, abilities, feature and so on, and even talks about character names. Now I find this all quite useless, because if I had a novice at my doorstep, I'd rather ask him/her "How do you define yourself as a character?" then see what he/she comes up with, then ask him/her to write it down and take it from there, offering guidance and insight where necessary. Unlike Card's approach, where I find that writing about the obvious is redundant and generalizing the subjective in impractical. The second part begins with explaining the MICE quotient - Milieu, Idea, Character, Event - explaining that all stories have this but it's necessary for the writer to know which is the prominent one, and therefore, the type of story being written. Card then moves on to briefly explain hierarchies of characters, which he divides into placeholders, minor characters and major characters. The next chapters cover the emotional stakes involved, the emotional qualities a writer endows the characters with, and then discusses comic characters and serious characters. The final chapter here covers 'Transformations', which is indeed a necessity in good story telling because a character should undergo change (or fail at it) and the reader should witness this change (or failure) - but, Card's discussion here becomes abstract and, like most of this section, does not really delve into how to do any of these things. Instead, Card points at contemporary examples from books and films, preaching the do's and don't's, while showing the novice what possibilities are available.The third part is perhaps the most useful and focuses more on topics like voice and viewpoint rather than purely on character. Again though, the information is quite elementary and what he does in several pages, other writers have accomplished as an opening paragraph in their chapters of similar themes. The brief chapters here discuss the tense the story is told in, dramatic vs. narrative (only 3 pages... seriously?), and the different point of views, which occupies the bulk of this part.All in all, this is a book for novices and even then, I would not recommend it because much of the fiction or films referred to are mainstream or pulp, and the topics are never explored in-depth. This means the aspiring writer will lack the fundamental knowledge necessary in understanding the mechanisms at work and, thus, not be able to exploit or manipulate them, as exceptional writing is wont to do. I've given this 2 stars because it could still be useful to the novice interested in pulp writing, and because Card does explain himself clearly.

Description

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3.93 rating

Comment 1: Best book on description I've read, hands down. The examples alone are worth gold. I learn best this way, by seeing examples, and the ones here are clear and to the point, with important explanations on what works and what doesn't and why. Another book I'm going to buy to keep on my reference shelf and occasionally reread. And the best part? The dispelling of the show-don't-tell myth. I wish when I started writing I've read this book—it would've spared me all this agonizing over showing versus t Comment 2: This is an excellent book for writers. I can't recommend it highly enough, and one of the reasons is that Monica Wood realizes that there really are no "rules" to writing. What she presents here are tips, advice, "best practices," and encouragements. Even when it comes to "show don't tell," she argues that both have their place. There are times when telling is better than showing, and too much of either can ruin a scene. She cautions against over-use of adjectives and adverbs, but doesn't dismis Comment 3: Description is such a general term that basically Monica goes over the basics of every aspect of writing. It ends up being an idiot's guide to becoming an author. It would be great for beginning writers who've never taken a writing class...or an English class...or read a book. One thing I found strange: this self-help writing book was published in 1995. In it she mentions that her first novel was published in 1993. Really? Two years as a professional writer and she's qualified to teach others? I

Writing Fiction for Dummies

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4.1 rating

Comment 1: This is a good entry level book for wannabe writers. It’s certainly not the ultimate guide or the only source you’ll ever reference, but if you don’t know anything about writing fiction, it’s a really good book to start with. Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy break writing fiction down into its fundamental components so that it’s easy to understand. They then build up from there to show how all of those components work together to help you write fiction in a way that works. There are sections Comment 2: Books about writing are an addiction of mine, though I never bothered to read this one until it was offered on Kindle Unlimited. I assumed it would be overly simplistic, dumbed down to the point that only writing novices would gain any insight from its contents. Happy to say I was wrong about that! This book offers unique perspectives on everything from writing summaries to plot structure and character development, including quite a few suggestions that i've never found anywhere else. Though the Comment 3: Writing Fiction for Dummies was far better than I thought it would be. It included information that I haven't read in other books about writing and really starts at the beginning of the process: thinking about your target audience, genre, etc. Techniques are broken down step-by-step which I found very helpful. It's not the end-all book on writing, of course, but for a single book to take on such a wide topic, it does a good job. The authors recommend several books for further information, as wel

This Is Not A Book

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4.13 rating

A curious, engaging, and creative rethinking of what a book can be, from the creator of Wreck this Journal.In this uniquely skewed look at the purpose and function of “a book,” Keri Smith offers an illustrated guide that asks readers to creatively examine all the different ways This Is Not a Book can be used. With intriguing prompts, readers will discover that the book can be: A secret message—tear out a page, write a note on it for a stranger, and leave it in a public place. A recording device—have everyone you contact today write their name in the book. An instrument—create as many sounds as you can using the book, like flipping the pages fast or slapping the cover. This Is Not a Book will engage readers by having them define everything a book can be by asking, “If it’s not a book, what is it then?”—with a kaleidoscope of possible answers.

Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint: Proven Advice and Timeless Techniques for Creating Compelling Characters by an Award-Winning Author

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4.06 rating

Vivid and memorable characters aren't "born" they have to be "made" This book is a set of tools: literary crowbars, chisels, mallets, pliers and tongs. Use them to pry, chip, yank and sift good characters out of the place where they live in your imagination. Award-winning author Orson Scott Card explains in depth the techniques of inventing, developing and presenting characters, plus handling viewpoint in novels and short stories. With specific examples, he spells out your narrative options--the choices you'll make in creating fictional people so "real" that readers will feel they know them like members of their own families. You'll learn how to: Draw characters from a variety of sources Make characters show who they are by the things they do and say, and by their individual "style" Develop characters readers will love--or love to hate Distinguish among major characters, minor characters and walk-ons, and develop each appropriately Choose the most effective viewpoint to reveal the characters and move the storytelling Decide how deeply you should explore your characters' thoughts, emotions, and attitudes

Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation

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3.37 rating

Comment 1: Overall a very inspiring book that reminded me that the processes of crafting and creating art can be very spiritual in themselves, no matter the outcome. I gained a few ideas for projects to try as well as a different way to look at the time I spend doing creative things. However, I personally felt the book was a bit too heavy on Christian spirituality and prayer, referencing Bible passages and feeling closer to God, when the concepts could have been applied even more universally to include all Comment 2: This was a great book about how to use arts and crafts as a form of prayer and involve them in your spirituality. There are all kinds of different crafts discussed: affirmation blankets, prayer pots, jewelry, personal holy books, and much, much more. I loved the quotes that were on almost every page, and the instructions for the crafts were rather simple and easy to follow. For example, the instructions for making a prayer shawl were for a simple sewing project, rather than a knit or crochet pro Comment 3: The ideas in this books would be helpful for people who want to journal and can't think of what to say. If you do some of the projects , they are restful but would achieve 2 things: you would gone something to write about and a project so show for your efforts.

The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

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4.1 rating

The updated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler's ongoing work on mythology's influence on stories, movies, and man himself. The previous two editions of this book have sold over 180,000 units, making this book a 'classic' for screenwriters, writers, and novelists.

Alphabetica: An A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists

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3.93 rating

Comment 1: I give this book 5 stars for inspiration and being able to see how other artist create their art journals. I only give this book 3 stars for having useable ideas with instructions as there are only a few try this tips sprinkled throughout the book. They don't give extreme details but rather generic ideas of ways to try things. Also I think this book being anything about the alphabet is a huge stretch other than some characters are used on various pages but not all of them. The alphabet thing is Comment 2: 1.5 stars. I was hoping this would be inspiring, but mostly it was annoying. The first part of the book showcased various pages from the collaborative art journal project, in no discernible order, but definitely Comment 3: i dig this lingo book of arty-type terms. i don't know if i use them all but sometimes you do wonder what other people would call it. Comment 4: This book is purely a book to inspire. It is there to give you ideas but not teach you techniques. The book is called

Crewel World

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3.76 rating

Comment 1: As a knitter, I was drawn to this sweet mystery series immediately. I read this one out of order, so had already been introduced to the characters. Love how each mystery evolves uniquely, rather than a formulaic start (many tv episodes are like that). Also enjoy the character development through the series as well as the interpersonal relationships cultivated over time. I appreciated the span of seasons that occurs between stories and casual referral of past murders, without spoiling the solutio Comment 2: I wish that the other sister had been murdered. It was too annoying to read about Betsy's incompetence and poor judgement for the rest of the book after the murder. However, I suppose that Betsy's thickheadedness was necessary - the murder wouldn't have been much of a mystery to anybody else. Some parts of the book were okay though, and Betsy did manage to pick up the pieces of both Margot's and her own life by the end, which made me like her a little more. I doubt I'll pick up the next one unle Comment 3: I didn't pay attention to the summary of the story. I needed a craft book and this one suited the bill. I have to say I fell in love with Margot and since she was murdered I felt so sad. I did not know who the victim would be as I did not read much on the book. I liked Sophie the cat and hope in the next book she has more presence. Betsy is a interesting character it would be good to see what becomes of Crewel World. Though she is rich now so to see how Betsy becomes will be good as well. I'll b

GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction

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4.46 rating

Comment 1: Lots of writing friends have recommended this book, and I've finally read it. I think it has some great content. It would have made an excellent brochure or conference workshop. It could have been an enlightening series of blog posts. As a book, it's a bit fluffy. Don't get me wrong--I love examples and charts as much as the next person. Not being exceptionally stupid, however, I can usually make do with one or two, rather than six or eight. Why say in one-hundred-forty-four pages what you could Comment 2: I rarely read craft books. Don't get me wrong, I buy them all the time. I just rarely actually finish them. This is the second craft book I've read cover to cover. The other is "On Writing" and I find this one more helpful. I bought this book at a workshop hosted by Debra Dixon, the author. She explained GMC thoroughly that day, but I find the book more helpful. Partly because you can do it at your own pace, but also because each step is explained in detail. GMC is primarily a plotting tool, but Comment 3: I learned about this book from Angela Knight in her "How to Write Erotic Romance" book. It was more than I thought I needed but decided to go ahead and see what it had to offer. I was currently working on a project but after having read this book, I realized that I was floundering in a raft without a compass or oars so I chucked the whole thing and am now working on a new story from the beginning using her worksheets. I see how it makes the story easier to plan and hopefully I'll avoid the "sagg

Unraveled Sleeve

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3.77 rating

Comment 1: I'll start by saying that I really loved the idea behind this book. Betsy wasn't like some people. She didn't set out to solve mysteries. She didn't have this natural nosiness about what other people are doing. Each time she's come across a mystery, it's been a matter of stumbling into them and not being able to let go until she had the answer.This is one of the few mysteries series that I've read where the armchair detective actually tells people straight out, "I'm not really interested in being a detective." It's also the only one that I can recall where dealing with people she cares about dying, where almost being killed herself and where figuring out that people she might have liked were killers actually bothered her. It gave her nightmares!In this book, she decides to get away from Excelsior for a bit, partly because of the nightmares and partly because her recent fortune has brought out a bunch of greedy people who want a piece of it.I was a bit disappointed that things didn't work out between Betsy and Joe, but I'm hoping that they will at least not be at odds anymore after this book. I love the growing friendship that Betsy has with Jill. Godwin's brief appearances in this book were too funny. However, I hope that he will not have lost the little bits of maturity we saw in the previous book when we see him again.I had part of the mystery solved at about the same time as Betsy. There was one thing that I figured out just before she did. However, for the most part, this was a complete surprise. That, I think, has less to do with the clues not being there and more to do with me just... not thinking that way.

More Show Me How: Everything We Couldn't Fit in the First Book Instructions for Life from the Everyday to the Exotic

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4.18 rating

Comment 1: This easily digestible volume wasn't what I'd expected but I was happily surprised. Instructions for tasks ranging from the every day to the extraordinary to the bizarre are clearly laid out in a series of step-by-step illustrations. Each task is explained with a sense of humor without being condescending. This was by no means something I just couldn't put down, but it was good in light, fluffy chunks. And hey, at least I now know how to make fruit leather. Comment 2: Fascinating, fun and entertaining. Might just get myself a copy to reread again for future reference.

Knitting with Balls: A Hands-On Guide to Knitting for the Modern Man

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3.43 rating

Comment 1: Well, let's face it, male or female, you don't learn to knit from a book. You learn by having someone show you how to do it, then doing it over and over again forever until you actually get good at it. What would be more useful really is a book of suggestions for left-handed knitters. If you're really into patterns for "utility rags" (why use an old T-Shirt to clean oil off your fingers when you can use a lovingly made handcrafted item?), this is your guide. Comment 2: let me face the music and just say right now, i read this book for the title... and also, there really aren't many knitting books out there with patterns for men. patterns for men that aren't made by crazy knitting cat ladies. so i liked this book, even though it did have some weird patterns that i would never make, it also contained a few gems. that seems to sum up most knitting books if you think about it... Comment 3: I bought this book for my hubby, who is also taking up knitting. It's humorous, and has a good little library of different knit stitches to reference through. Son of Stitch and Bitch definitely has better patterns. There are some fun little tips in here like, go to the hardware store for knitting supplies - rubber washers make great (and cheap!) stitch markers.

Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat

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3.81 rating

Comment 1: I know a lot of people -- even fiber enthusiasts -- who are squicked by the idea of using cat or dog fur in projects. I've never really understood why -- what makes fur from a cat or a dog so fundamentally different than hair from a sheep (wool) or from a goat (cashmere) or from a rabbit (angora)? Certainly cat and dog fur isn't as well-suited to most crafting endeavors as these other fibers, but I've never heard an objection due to the utility of the fiber -- it's always emotional in nature. St Comment 2: This book is really cute, and greatly exceeded my expectations! (Yes, it is written in seriousness, though the tone is lighthearted--I get that a lot of people find the subject too strange, but I'm pretty strange myself. ^_^) I expected to learn patterns and techniques, but I also learned new-to-me information about cats, felting, and Japan. . . three subjects I thought I knew a lot about already! The crafts are really adorable (to me), and the author obviously really cares about and advocates f Comment 3: Do you love your cat? Well Quirk Books has another great how to book out that tells you step by step how to make some great little projects with a little help from your cat! I know, how clever is that! This book will walk you through step by step to make Book Covers, Portraits, finger puppets, cat toys and even tote bags all with a little fur from your cat. These crafts will surely be one of a kind treasures. Just think, all of these projects are eco~friendly!

Suede to Rest

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4.06 rating

Comment 1: One of the better cozy mysteries in my opinion. I'm starting on the second one right away. Could have used a little tighter editing. At times she seemed to contradict something she said earlier but it was a minor and infrequent offense. I liked the fabric descriptions and I was amused that she knows all about fabric, design and sewing machine repair but she's not a fan of the actual sewing. I'll bet that is what most designers are like. Hire someone else to do the actual dressmaking even when th Comment 2: Suede to Rest is a charming whodunit. Poly Monroe has a stable, but unsatisfying job as a fashion designer in Los Angeles. She's not allowed to execute designs to her standards and her boss sucks. Poly inherits her uncle's estate, including a commercial building and fabric store. She planned to look at the building, sell it quickly, and move on, but she can't ignore her desire to continue the family business. She also wants to find out why her aunt was murdered. Her uncle stopped running the sto Comment 3: I really enjoyed reading a mystery with a fabric store as the main feature in the small town setting. Living with a grandmother who bought fabric by the bolt, not the yard, the descriptions struck a chord with me and took me back to a time when fabric and patterns were a way of life for many a women. I thought the origin of the main characters name, Poly, was quite cute, as were the names of her two furry companions. She seemed quite skeptical of most everyone, probably from the combination of m

At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

by

4.07 rating

At Knit's End captures the wickedly funny musings of someone who doesn't believe it's possible to knit too much and who willingly sacrifices sleep, family, work, and sanity in order to keep doing it. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has seen it all, from the deadly “second sock syndrome” to a house so full of yarn she can't find her washing machine to desperate all-nighters spent feverishly finishing gifts. This hilarious collection of 300 tongue-in-cheek meditations will have knitters everywhere in stitches.