10 Booklist November 1, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
sonal. Motivational quotes, feminist-themed
lists, and media recommendations are interspersed throughout. Perfection á la Martha
Stewart is not the goal here. Approaching
loaded issues with a light heart and a sense of
humor is the aim. —Anne Heidemann
Get Crafty: Fun, Creative Crafts for
By Ali Coghlan.
Dec. 2016. 192p. illus. Mercier, paper, $21
Doing crafts as a family is a favorite pursuit
for many, and this book is a collection of one
mother’s go-to projects. The 40 activities are
divided into basics, seashore-themed, party-related items to make and then play with, and
objects to create for celebrations and holidays.
Many projects will be familiar, as they’ve been
well-loved since before today’s parents were
children. Materials and techniques include salt
dough, papier-mâché, hand- and footprints,
paper plates and toilet paper tubes, vegetable
stamps, found objects, such as seashells and
stones, and many others. Most of the materials required are household recyclables and basic
supplies likely to be on hand, such as paint,
brushes, glue, yarn, and pipe cleaners. Some of
them require adult help with tools and supervision is encouraged for all. Coghlan also supplies
tips for successful crafting with children based
on her own experience, maintaining an emphasis on the reasons making things together is
important—namely, learning problem-solving
skills, building confidence, practicing literacy
and numeracy, expressing feelings, applying
creative thinking, and having fun together.
Kaffe Fassett’s Bold Blooms: Quilts and
Other Works Celebrating Flowers.
By Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy.
2016. 224p. illus. Abrams, $35 (9781419722363). 746.46.
Kaffe Fassett is renowned for his passion for
and use of color as a textile designer and painter, and his fearless, bold style makes his work
instantly recognizable. Flowers have long been
a source of inspiration for Fassett, and in this
book he shares the ways in which he incorporates them into his creative process. The focus
is on large-scale blossoms with unique shapes,
conducive to a distinctive, confident effect.
First, Fassett details how he finds inspiration
through examples of florals in decorative art,
how he stitches needlepoint flowers, how he
draws blossoms when designing fabric, how
he makes and paints floral arrangements, and
more. Second, he uses examples of his work to
demonstrate how he approaches the various
color families he prefers as well as how to use
high contrast for effect. Finally, he provides
instructions for making the 18 quilts and
seven needlepoint pillows used as examples in
the second section. Beautifully designed, this
book is sure to be inspirational and instructional for quilters, needlepointers, and flower
enthusiasts. —Anne Heidemann
Mini Knitted Ocean: Woolly Whales,
Dolphins and Other Nautical Knits.
By Sachiyo Ishii.
Nov. 2016. 96p. illus. Search, paper, $15.95
Ishii is known for her knitted miniatures,
and readers may recognize her style from her
other books of small-scale knitting patterns.
Here, inspired by her lifelong love of ocean
and beach, she offers 25 patterns for fish and
other sea creatures, mermaids, sailors, even a
yellow submarine. These creations are meant
to be fun characters rather than to-scale accurate representations, and the reader is
encouraged to use whatever yarn they have
stashed, regardless of fiber content or weight.
Each of the items is knitted, some have crochet elements (mostly fish fins), and only a
few specific knitting techniques and basic
crochet instructions are outlined. All the patterns are written only, with the exception of
the Blue Tang, which also includes a chart.
As all patterns in the book were created with
U.S. size 2 ( 2.75mm) knitting needles, needle
size is not listed in the patterns themselves,
and there is no reference to gauge. This book
is a good fit for knitters comfortable working
without rigid parameters. —Anne Heidemann
Pretty Knitted Hands: Mittens & Wrist
Warmers for All Seasons.
By Clara Falk and Kamilla Svanlund.
Nov. 2016. 128p. illus. Search, paper, $19.95
Mittens and wrist warmers are popular items
to knit, and these 27 patterns cover a range
of styles. Many are designed with warmth
in mind, but none are without a fashionable
sensibility. The patterns are divided by season
(spring and summer are combined into one
category), with 7 to 12 offered for each time of
year, and range from traditional colorwork to
lace openwork to cables. As both authors live
in Sweden, the influence of traditional Scandinavian stranded colorwork is strong, and more
than half of the patterns feature this type of design. Many require the knitter to work in the
round using two colors simultaneously. A brief
introduction features details on choosing to
use double-pointed needles or the magic-loop
method as well as basic skills, including casting
on and casting off. All but a few of the patterns use 2. 5 mm (U.S. size 2) knitting needles
and lace or fingering weight yarn, and all are
charted with accompanying short written directions. The charts are produced in color and
are large enough that following them is easy on
the eyes. —Anne Heidemann
Books for Living.
By Will Schwalbe.
Dec. 2016. 288p. Knopf, $25.95 (9780385353540). 818.
Reading, Schwalbe writes, “is one of the
few things you do alone that makes you feel
less alone.” This publishing executive and au-
thor of the best-selling memoir The End of
Your Life Book Club (2012) also states, “I’ve
always believed that everything you need to
know you can find in a book.” Crime fiction,
he suggests, can teach us a lot about trust. Or-
well’s 1984 prompts Schwalbe to observe that
books offer shelter from the tyranny of digital
bombardment and “endless
connectivity,” coaxing us
to “slow down, savor, and
ponder.” This is the theme
of The Importance of Living
(1937) by Lin Yutang, a
long-forgotten philosophical work that serves as the
touchstone for Schwalbe’s
tribute to the endless bounty of reading. Each
chapter about a beloved book—Stuart Little,
David Copperfield, Song of Solomon, Bird by
Bird—is a finely crafted, generously candid,
and affecting personal essay, none more moving than the homage to his boarding-school
librarian, who subtly steered him to James
Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, having “realized
that I was gay at just about the same time I
did.” In this warmly engaging, enlightening,
and stirring memoir-in-books and literary
celebration, Schwalbe reminds us that reading “isn’t just a strike against narrowness,
mind control, and domination; it’s one of the
world’s greatest joys.” —Donna Seaman
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: So popular
was Schwalbe’s previous ode to reading, his
new book will be accorded a substantial print
run and strong promotion.
YA: Schwalbe’s stories about his younger
self and how books helped him grapple
with the big questions will inspire YAs
searching for their own way forward. DS.
Expect Great Things: The Life and
Search of Henry David Thoreau.
By Kevin Dann.
Jan. 2017. 400p. TarcherPerigee, $30 (9780399184666).
Famous as the nature-loving visitor to
Walden Pond, Thoreau felt a pull beyond
nature from a different regional pond—
Na-gog Pond—home, according to Algonquin
legends, to a specter called
the Wanderer. In the great
naturalist’s attraction to this
potent spirit, Dann recognizes a telling manifestation
of a formative fascination
with mystical realms beyond
the normal and scientific
boundaries of the natural.
Readers glimpse this fascination in the writer’s
youthful love for magical and cabalistic lore,
his later passion for the Arthurian Elf Queen
and her elfin court, and his mature gravitation
toward Native American myths. Ever watchful for irruptions of the noumenal into the
physical, Thoreau believed even his dreams
opened the door to fairie messengers. Especially pressed to look beyond the physical by
the premature deaths of his brother and older
sister, Thoreau fed his hope for immortality with intense (if idiosyncratic) readings of
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