I picked a book off the shelf because I wanted to pass it to a friend, and now I’ve reviewed all my review books and read my Iris Murdoch for the month I can pick some more from the main TBR.  This was a tiny, slight book you can’t even see here as it was at the back. I promptly acquired three more – but two were from a friend’s publishing venture and the third just cried out to be bought – honest!

Clara Parkes – “Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World”

(20 August 2019, Oxfam Books)

An interesting and rather charming book detailing the author’s adventures and travels as a modern yarn guru in North America. A fascinating insight into print and online magazine publishing, knitting conventions (including Yarnover, which is also big in my friend Kathy’s life) and their rise, fall and changes, TV appearances and online teaching programmes – all the industry that hangs off the modern revival of interest in knitting and other crafts.

Her preface concentrates more on her love of travel than knitting at first, and the whole book is entertaining and has enough other detail to keep the non-knitter (like me!) interested. Parkes charts the explosion in online mass communication but also the move towards more artisanal and specialist yarns, such as single-breed ones, something that’s happened simultaneously just as she was there to record it. There’s more traditional travelogue around meeting some very forthright characters and also acceptance being gained from various quarters. Debbie Macomber gets a shout-out amongst the other knitters, presumably for featuring knitting so strongly in her novels and it’s an entertaining and informative read all round.


Now for some exciting news from Jane Badger Books. I’ve been friends with Jane for some time, bought her book, “Heroines on Horseback” about the history of the pony book (my review here, now available in ebook format from the website) and talked about pony books with her. She’s decided to reprint some classics, including illustrations where they’re available, and kindly sent me two Patricia Leitch novels to review – “The Horse from Black Loch” and “Dream of Fair Horses”. I’m going to be putting together a piece on Jane and her publishing venture soon and look forward to revisiting these books, too. Pop through to the link above to see what else she has available. I LOVE that people can do this now off their own bats, it’s just great.

And given that I have and have read “The Testaments“, I really felt I should pick up Bernadine Evaristo’s “Girl, Woman, Other” which of course shared the Booker Prize this year. I tried to tell myself it was “to encourage her” although she needs no encouragement. Really I was just pleased to see that it was in a loosely flowing experimental format rather than in Actual Poetry, which I’d heard and had put me off. Ali’s reading it at the moment so I’m looking forward to discussing it with her.

Any book confessions you want to share with me … ? At least I’m reading and reviewing fairly briskly at the moment!