12 Booklist November 1, 2015 www.booklistreader.com
How to Knit Socks That Fit: Techniques
with a 10-minute You Tube video to demon-
strate the how-to’s of her craft—and voilà,
the result. Her visual acuity is right on the
mark. She illustrates each
of the six steps, starting
by making a slip knot to
weaving in the ends, us-
ing clear, close-up color
photographs. The seven
different stitches (along
with knit and purl, she
highlights seed, linen,
rib, cable, and garter stitches) follow the
same format. And though the 30 projects
don’t incorporate her photographic process-
es, there’s plenty of information, before and
after the direction, to ensure knitters will get
the results they deserve. Now to the pièces
de résistance (and beating the Christmas-gift
countdown clock): 10 minutes for a head-
band or arm muff; 15 to finish a cowl; 20
minutes for a baby blanket—and no more
than one hour to create your very own cable
blanket or straight scarf with fringe. Hands
down (or arms up), one of the best-ever be-
ginner craft books. —Barbara Jacobs
for Toe-Up and Cuff-Down Styles.
By Donna Druchunas.
2015. 128p. illus. Storey, paper, $8.95 (9781612125411).
Who except for expert crafters would have
thought that knitting socks was actually doable? Thanks to knitter and author (Arctic
Lace, among others) Druchunas’ detailed
instructions and a two-pattern narrative
that steps novices through every knit and
purl, the reasons for DIY socks become even
more compelling. No photographs here;
on the other hand, the illustrations appear
when words just might need a lift. Everything under the sock universe is included;
her comprehensive how-to begins with an
in-depth examination of yarns and needles
to sock anatomy and heel and toe variations.
Plenty of professional advice is offered. For
instance, consider using a lifeline (a string
pulled through all stitches) to “stabilize”
knitting. And plain stockinette stitches
through the sole, heel, and foot’s top will
result in less bulky socks. A book that lives
up to its title—and billing as “books for self-reliance.” —Barbara Jacobs
Stamp Stencil Paint: Making
Extraordinary Patterned Projects by
By Anna Joyce.
2015. 144p. illus. STC Craft/Melanie Falick, $27.50
It’s always time to celebrate new crafts talent, especially one who translates pattern
into simple, effective, and striking design.
That’s the calling of Joyce, who, in her first
book, nails the concept of a universal appeal
as applied to wearables and decorateables.
Wisely realizing the aptitudes required for
stamp, stencil, and paint vary, she separates
each, allotting space for covering the basics,
kits needed, and tips and tricks for success as well as the seven to eight projects for
each technique. The designs are colorful and
streamlined, suitable for any interior or personal style; directions include all the expected
information, color photographs, plus hints to
enable success. Sidebars help, too; especially
compelling is her half-page almost soliloquy
on “a place to make,” seeking a creative room
for inspiration and comfort. Hard choices to
make: geometric throw pillows, folk-art barn
lamp, playful ceramics platters, simple cotton
quilt. Appended: templates (eight pages); resources. —Barbara Jacobs
Sports & Recreation
Rise and Fire: The Origins, Science, and
Evolution of the Jump Shot—and How It
Transformed Basketball Forever.
By Shawn Fury.
Feb. 2016. 352p. illus. Flatiron, $27.99 (9781250062161).
The author of Keeping the Faith: In the
Trenches with College Football’s Worst Team
(2005) comprehensively traces the transformative effect of the jump shot on the game
of basketball. At one point, he imagines
the excitement of watching a pure jump
shooter—say, Joe Fulks, Sam Jones, or Rick
Mount—hit shot after shot in the gyms in
which many of these young men (some into
old age) virtually lived. The reader may not
share the level of the author’s excitement
(jump shots in a gym?) as, chapter by chapter, the evolution of the shot—and thus the
history of college and professional basketball
since the 1940s—is recounted, from opposition to its very existence through the
introduction and then primacy of the three-point shot, from Kenny Sailors through Jerry
West to Steph Curry. Still, there is much
here to rekindle the memories of basketball
fans, who will quickly discern that there is
one thing all these jump shooters have in
common: Swish! —Mark Levine
Shame and Wonder.
By David Searcy.
Jan. 2016. Random, $26.00 (9780812993943). 814.
This collection of nonfiction pieces by
novelist Searcy (Last Things, 2002) is teas-
ingly powerful, though inconsistent. They
are often striking in their descriptive pas-
sages, especially of the West Texas landscape
and, particularly in the oddly titled open-
ing piece, “The Hudson River School,” of
people. But characters, action, and story
lines are secondary, often absent. Several
pieces read like excepts from longer fiction.
One set in old Corsicana, involving a peg-
legged Jewish tightrope walker carrying (to
his death) a stove on his back, is tantalizing.
When fleshed out or expanded upon, much
here could be compelling book-length fic-
tion; as is, it is alluring but frustrating. The
writing is quirky; seemingly out-of-nowhere
connections (one peculiarly invoking Jimmy
Durante) or science fiction–like excursions
pop up unexpectedly. The book is blurbed
by John Jeremiah Sullivan, and those who
enjoy his equally quirky narrative nonfiction
may be drawn to Searcy’s similar approach.
Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science
Fiction Technology Became Reality and
Shapes the Future.
By Brian Clegg.
Dec. 2015. 320p. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (9781250057853);
e-book (9781466861923). 809.3.
Science fiction authors are often given
credit for the ability to envision the appearance of assorted inventions long before they
show up in the real world. Yet according to
popular-science writer Clegg (Gravity, 2012)
in this fascinating, in-depth rumination on
the give-and-take relationship between sf and
technology, fictional predictions that actually
come true, like H. G. Wells’ uncanny prophecy about atomic bombs in 1914, are few and
far between. More often than not, the genre
inspires researchers to take a different direction, or scientific advances themselves suggest
technological possibilities that writers fancifully reshape in futuristic stories and novels.
In 18 thought-provoking chapters with titles
such as “Blue Pill or Red Pill?” and “Beam Me
Up,” Clegg sorts through many of the more
familiar sf plot devices, such as time travel
and teleportation, and with his customary
eloquence, dissects their scientific feasibility.
Although such advances as cloning dinosaurs
or terraforming planets still face major technical hurdles, others, such as cloaking devices
and cyborg-style artificial limbs, surprisingly
exist already in primitive forms. Must reading for both speculative fiction and science
enthusiasts. —Carl Hays
By Liu Xia. Tr. by Ming Di and Jennifer
Nov. 2015. 144p. illus. Graywolf, paper, $16
This is the first publication in English and
Chinese of Liu Xia, wife of activist Liu Xiao-bo, recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Imprisoned for the fourth time in 2009, he
is serving an 11-year sentence, and Liu Xia is
under house arrest. This bilingual collection
is enriched with a foreword by Nobel laureate Herta Müller and an introduction by the
Chinese poet Liao Yiwu. Given the harassment the author endures, it is remarkable
that “The End,” the book’s longest poem,
is about her difficult relationship with her
mother-in-law. But then poems about pow-
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