Reading About Knitting
A project roundup is coming. Soon. But in the meantime, let's amuse ourselves with a book review I wrote and meant to publish when I was at the Jersey shore getting married oh-so-long ago. Because when there's no time to knit, there may still be time to read.Back on Blossom Street, by Debbie Macomber
Disclosure: I received a free review copy from the publisher.
I was that kid who read Carl Sandburg's 7 volume biography of Abraham Lincoln the summer I turned 13. I double majored in history and classics in college. I've read most of the classics, a daily newspaper for more than a decade, and the back of every cereal box I've ever brought home from the store.
But I'm at the beach. And beach reading (I learned after lugging around all 7 volumes of Honest Abe for a summer) should be several things:
1. Lightweight. I'm convinced the trade-sized paperbacks were invented for this.
2. Light. In content. If I can't laugh out loud at the beach, where can I?
3. But not too light. In either sense - If it's too short, you have to carry more than one book. If it's too fluffy in content, it's boring.
Back on Blossom Street (and The Shop on Blossom Street, earlier in the series) fits all of these criteria. It is a nice read, with a good mix of drama, friendship, romance, Seattle stories, and, of course, knitting. There are problems; they are overcome. There are characters; you'd enjoy knitting with them. The story is not boring, nor is it predictable. But the tone is such that you know it will all somehow work out just fine in the end. It does have the problem that many sequels have, where much of the first chapter catches you up on what you'd missed in the other books. Remember how every first chapter of The Babysitter's Club was the same?
In fact, it reminds me much of the other books of Debbie Macomber's that I've read. And there are several. She has a whole series of "Navy Baby" books that kittigen kindly annotated for me to point out the most egregious bad Navy metaphors. And aside from the very-dated 80's styles (note to future authors: take care to never describe clothing in TOO much detail), they also fit the same "beach reading" criteria as above. But no one ever offered me a review copy to review on my blog.
So, let's talk about this trend towards knitting-themed fiction, shall we? Alison at the Blue Blog wrote about some the other week, and she's not the only one to notice that publishers seem to be marketing fiction to knitters in ever-increasing numbers. On a basic level, this makes sense. The market for women's fiction and current knitters overlap considerably - how many of us are women between 18-65? There are books about chefs, and horse farmers, and even "Navy Baby," out there, so why not knitters?
Prior to reading The Shop on Blossom Street last winter (hey - it's always beach weather in San Diego!), I questioned the concept that I would choose my fiction based on my craft. And I don't suspect that I'll be shifting genres anytime soon (mystery is not really my thing). But if Debbie Macomber can write a great beach novel, why shouldn't I read about characters who like what I like?