On my Bedside Table

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice

Susan G. Lydon

Blaarrgh. Plenty of gazing into a navel filled with yarn lint in this one. I thought it would have potential, but it wound up just irritating me. Not least because the author cannot seem to settle on one spiritual tradition, but instead offers up a Reader's Digest abridged version of maybe seven different spiritual worldviews and doesn't convince me that she has any commitment or depth of understanding of any of them. Then why bring them up? talk about how knitting brought you through a rough patch, fine, and how you grew through concentration on your craft -- the new agey sampler is hardly necessary.

She certainly is a master knitter, but a spiritual dilettante. Don't know why that bothered me so much, but it did. Seemed to confirm the old saw that the more you say about something, the less you really know.

The Coffee Trader

by David Liss

Picked this up off the new fiction shelf at the library, um, 'cause I like coffee. And I'd gotten behind in reading fiction, when I'd pledged to read a novel a month.

Really intricate plot on this with lots of crossing and double-crossing. About a Portugese Jewish commodities trader in 17th century Amsterdam and how his fortunes rise and fall (and rise again). Made the stock market sound more interesting than I ever thought it could. It yanks a happy ending out from under you, though. You think everything is going to work out for the protagonist, and it turns out to be a hollow victory. Some wouldn't mind; victory is victory after all, but you just know that the circumstances are going to eat away at our hero and he'll end up hating himself. Left kind of a bitter taste -- a too dark roast perhaps.