I’m a few days late for Yarnalong, but better late than never right?
I still haven’t got much to show on the knitting front, as I’m designing stuff that’s not ready to release yet, but I have cast on a Hello Kimono baby cardigan for a friend.
But there’s much more to report on the book front:
Craeft: How Traditional Crafts Are About More Than Just Making by Alexander Langlands
Read this book. Seriously, get yourself a copy now.
As the title says, the book is history of craeft, which the author, archaeologist Alexander Langlands, describes as more than skill with the hands, but also in knowing the materials, how to source and cultivate the materials, and when and where to put materials to the best use. I’m paraphrasing massively here; Langlands spends an entire chapter defining craft.
Through several amazingly interesting case studies – like hay-making, bee-keeping and thatching – Langlands looks at how traditional crafts developed, how they worked, and how they fell out of use. An avid crafter, he’s given many of them a go himself.
He argues that mechanisation is not always best, that we lose physical and mental health by getting a machine to do a task that’s doable with another more manual tool. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Langlands says; I think he omits the safety developments that technology has also brought. The British-centralism of many of his statements is also annoying, but that’s a failing of many British popular historians and an academic argument for another time.
These two things aside, it’s a great read and very thought provoking.
The City of Woven Streets by Emmi Itäranta
I found this book a really good, but difficult read. Most of it is written in an active present tense (i.e. I walk across the room), which I found a bit tiring after a while and I nearly gave up a couple of times. But it’s worth it to struggle through, because the world building is quite neat.
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (audio book)
I would highly recommend this book and even more highly recommend listening to it, rather the reading it. Language is a large part of the story and I appreciated being able to hear the different pronunciations and Noah’s imitations of his mother and other characters.
It’s a great book, outlining what it was like growing up in South Africa as the child of a black woman and a white man. Very funny, quite moving, and well put together.
Slow Burn (podcast)
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see The Post, a movie about The Washington Post publishing the Pentagon Papers. At the end (and I don’t think I’m giving anything away here) they referred to the Watergate scandal. I then realised I knew nothing at all about Watergate. I knew Nixon was involved and some recording devices and that was it. Luckily my flatmate recommended Slow Burn, a podcast that looks in depth at the two years between the burglary at the Watergate Hotel and Nixon’s resignation.
I can’t comment on how accurate it is (see earlier statement about ignorance), but it is a good listen and I feel like I know more about Watergate now.
And that’s me for another month! Head over to the original Yarnalong and see what everyone else is making and reading.