Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nonfiction

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nonfiction

Article excerpt

Title: Things I Learned from Knitting

Author: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Data: Storey Publishing, 160 pages, $10.95

Review by LINDSAY FOUCHT

Special to the Times-Union

Though it's cute and quirky, fans of expert and author Stephanie Pearl-McPhee will notice that there is nothing new between the itty-bitty covers of her latest effort. With a mere 160 pages, and at half the height and width of a typical knitting book, there isn't much room for the clever anecdotes scattered through McPhee's other books .

At times, her well-known wit brings a chuckle, and frequently an inexperienced - or experienced-knitter will nod at a "been there, done that" moment. But you won't discover information that you wouldn't find a dozen times over by browsing craft-sharing forums such as www.ravelry.com or www.crafster.com.

Things I Learned from Knitting is definitely a quick read, if there is nothing else to do. (When the yarn stash is under lock and key, perhaps?)

Die-hard McPhee devotees might want to pick up a copy while they're at the library, but the lack of handy measurement tips or patterns notes, such as the invaluable cheat sheet on socks from Knitting Rules!, means there's no room on the shelf for this one.

Title: How to be Useful: A Beginner's Guide to Not Hating Work

Author: Megan Hustad

Data: Houghton Mifflin, 224 pages, $19.95

Review by BRANDY HILBOLDT ALLPORT

Special to the Times-Union

Megan Hustad describes herself as "a former book editor who has mailed checks and fetched coffee for an eclectic group of writers and scholars, from Kent Haruf to Christopher Hitchens." To write Useful, she analyzed more than 100 years' worth of "success-literature," culled the good stuff and applied it to the modern office. Success literature books contain a combination of self-help and career advice. Hustad plumbed How to Win Friends and Influence People, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Sex and the Single Girl, Emily Post's Etiquette, Dress for Success, The Secret and numerous other books so other cubicle-dwellers won't have to.

She describes today's generation of 20-somethings as a cynical lot likely to reject potentially useful books because of a stodgy writing style that "drives kids to crystal meth. …

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