Write your story. Take your manuscript; throw out the first twenty pages. Throw them in the trash. Even if it is mid-sentence, your story starts on page 21.
--paraphrase of Kurt Vonnegut, appearance at Pennsylvania State University
Eat, Sleep, Pray is 108 stories about travel and transformation. There is a 109th story because that is the “pause” bead of the japa mala, which the author used as a model for the layout of the book. She further dabbles in numerology by dividing the book into 36 stories about the three countries in question: Italy, India, and Indonesia.
While the series of events that led the author to her year of travel and transformation are critically relevant to her, I found it rather tiresome to wade through information about her epiphany to no longer be married, her depression, September 11th, and the failing of her post-separation affair. In an effort to get to the heart of the book, I skipped the first 20 pages, but on page 21, where the story was supposed to begin according to Vonnegut’s logic, the author was still in the States. She was still talking about September 11th and her failing affair. In fact, the author doesn’t arrive in Italy until Page 36, Story 10 (out of 36 devoted to each country).
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to devour this book. I will return this book.
My reactions to Morehouse Farm Merino Knits was a bit more kindly, and the fact that the farm is a local business and I received the book as a freebie (from reader’s rewards program, not the farm) did not lessen my critical eye.
The experienced knitter will most likely find this book disappointing, as the patterns are designed to be simple, post-farm work knits. Thus a new knitter, seeking simple patterns without more information on how to make a knit stitch or increase, would do well with this book.
Merino Knits is more of a knitter’s coffee table book, peppered with photos and stories of farm life, as well as tips for blocking lace, cleaning and storing woolens, and narrative information about merino sheep. The patterns are divided into Home, Lace, Children, Accessories, and Sweaters (adult). Again, most of the patterns are designed more for utilitarian purposes, rather than addressing fashion. Hominess, warmth, and simplicity are the driving factors behind the designs.
Even though my shelf space is at a premium, Merino Knits stays. It is a cozy sort of book that exalts simplicity.