This is, far and away, my favorite knitting book right now. Lara’s style of writing is something with which I instantly connect, and reading the bookThis is, far and away, my favorite knitting book right now. Lara’s style of writing is something with which I instantly connect, and reading the book feels like I’m sitting in a room, knitting with a friend, and talking about the technicalities and nuances of knitting socks. Her style is conversational enough to be engaging, but underneath that conversational style lies a deep and precise technical exploration of all things sock knitting. Lara touches on the history of knitted socks and dives right into how socks are constructed.
I’m a sock-knitting newbie, with only a handful of completed pairs of socks under my belt and I read this book cover-to-cover — everything was completely accessible to me. I suspect seasoned sock knitters will find a wealth of information as well. This book truly is for any level of sock knitter.
This book really is the perfect sock book. If you want sock patterns, there are 17 wonderful patterns. But Sock Architecture is not simply a pattern book. Yes, there are patterns, but the book also includes thorough discussion on all sorts of techniques — toe-up, cuff-down, heels (afterthought and flaps), toes, etc. Most of the patterns include instructions for both toe-up and cuff-down, which I thought was particularly interesting — it really showed that a sock knitter can work in his or her preferred method of knitting a sock and come out with awesome socks. Everything in this book serves to build the knitter’s confidence.
Where the book particularly shines is in attention to detail. In addition to being full of well-written patterns, the book contains detailed descriptions of all the techniques employed in sock knitting. That’s great, but it’s the photography that sets everything apart. Each sock is expertly photographed from different angles, with close-up photographs of the heel and the toe. I’m sure these pictures will prove to be invaluable as I experiment with new-to-me heel and toe techniques. Lara also includes excellent photography in the technique section, where she thoroughly explains every heel and toe used in the book. In addition to excellent photography of all the parts of a sock in which a knitter is interested, Lara makes another excellent choice for her sock photographs: they are all photographs of solid colored socks. There are so many beautiful striped and variegated yarns out there, and most of these socks would look great with fancy yarn. But if they were photographed with fancy yarn for the book, it would have really taken away from the design of the sock itself, and the ability to concentrate on the details of the techniques employed. Keeping the photographs simple was an excellent decision, and I’m very happy that it was done that way.
For the adventurous sock knitter, going beyond the patterns in the book is the obvious next step. There’s a reason this book is called Sock Architecture — Lara’s thorough treatment of the architecture behind making a sock is enough to make a knitter confident in designing his or her own socks. Mix and match heels and toes based on what your personal preference is. Make the leg and foot as fancy or as plain as you like. The possibilities are endless.
Lara’s instructions for the various options for heels and toes make so much sense to follow that I’m already confident in trying any of them. One of the coolest things about the patterns in this book is that almost all of them are appropriate for men’s socks as well as women’s socks, which is particularly refreshing. Most of the cool sock designs I’ve seen elsewhere really have a feminine touch to them, and I wouldn’t be interested in knitting them for myself or for my dad. Not the case with the patterns in Sock Architecture! Of course, any of the patterns would look great as a women’s sock, too.
My only complaint with this book is with the binding. This book would be much better served with a spiral binding so that it could lay flat on any page. Since that issue can be corrected with a trip to the local copy shop and having them cut the binding off and re-bind it with a coil, that’s not a huge deal. I haven’t made it to the copy shop for the rebinding yet, but it’s on my list of things to do.
All in all, without hesitation, I heartily recommend this book to any knitter who knits — or wants to knit — socks....more
I suspect that the the essay that was the basis for this book was a better read than the full book. I absolutely love the premise and the fact that itI suspect that the the essay that was the basis for this book was a better read than the full book. I absolutely love the premise and the fact that it is important to build civilized workplaces. It is absolutely true that the working world is full of assholes, which really tends to make things suck. But once you establish that, and give some high level advice on how to avoid it, how to get away from it, and how to recognize it in yourself, there's not a lot of need for something deeper.
I was particularly happy that the author chose to use the word "asshole" instead of something less offensive like "bully." He describes why he did that, and how it was an intentional, important choice. Using that word is more forceful than a less offensive word, and tends to make the ideas presented carry more weight. For organizations that implement the rule, they are more likely to be successful with it if they call it the "asshole rule." He does use that word a lot. I listened to the audiobook version (read by the author), and by the time it was over, it didn't even register when he said it. So maybe he overdid it some -- again, I think the shorter essay was probably a more appropriate treatment.
It's a good rule to enforce at work. It's a good thing to keep in mind when examining yourself, to make sure that you're not the asshole. And if your workplace doesn't enforce it, it's a good thing to recognize, and to take steps to move on to a workplace that does. Unless you work for Apple, maybe.
It was a good listen, but I wouldn't recommend spending any money to listen to or read it yourself. Borrow a copy from the library if you want. Or search the web for a number of blog posts (some by the author) about the subject, and you'll be fine....more
This was a fun read, the 2nd Stephen Mark Rainey book I've read. (The first being The Nightmare Frontier, which I also enjoyed.) This story focuses onThis was a fun read, the 2nd Stephen Mark Rainey book I've read. (The first being The Nightmare Frontier, which I also enjoyed.) This story focuses on a pair of couples out for an enjoyable New Year's Eve dinner and celebration. While at dinner, they meet an interesting stranger who sets events in motion for a horror-filled evening. Who will survive the night? What is this stuff about the Gods of Moab? Well, that's spoiler territory, so I'll steer clear.
One of the details I particularly enjoyed about the story was the use of hijacked smart phone technology to move the plot along a bit. It made it especially fun as a bridge between ancient culture and modern technology.
It's a quick read. Less than a dozen easily digestible chapters. I especially appreciated that, as I currently find myself with only tiny blocks of time to read. This fit the bill perfectly, letting me set it down and pick it up as my schedule demanded. But, after about 1/3 of the way through, I found it increasingly hard to set down. Fortunately, that worked well with my schedule.
I don't know much about Lovecraftian horror, but this is apparently a good example of it. After having read this, I will be exploring the genre further....more
I got this book because I really wanted to read some stories that featured Beast. I asked my comic book store what they had, and they said there wasn'I got this book because I really wanted to read some stories that featured Beast. I asked my comic book store what they had, and they said there wasn't really anything currently on the shelves with Beast, but that I should take a look at what Joss Whedon and John Cassaday did in "Astonishing X-Men" and sold me a copy.
I love the serial nature of comic book reading, where issues often end in cliffhangers and you have to wait a month for the story continuation. But when the writing and art are as superb as contained in this run of "Astonishing X-Men," the waiting would become agonizing. That's why I love having twelve issues collected in one volume, comprising two main story arcs.
The main story thrust revolves around the creation of a "cure" for mutants. Understandably, this kicks off a huge ethical debate. If this is a "cure," are mutants "diseased"? Will the cure be optional or mandated? The conflict is framed universally, but explored on individual levels. Since I was specifically looking for a Beast story, this did not disappoint, as Hank struggled with whether or not he would take the cure if it proved to be viable. The X-Men titles, more so than other books, always seem to touch on weighty ethical issues as well as story lines revolving around acceptance and being different. As such, it's always a title that resonates with teens, going through the awkward stage of life. This collection of "Astonishing X-Men" delivers on that front as well.
The secondary story revolves around a new danger the X-Men are facing. Without delving into spoiler territory, I can mention that it flows directly from the "cure" story line and revolves around a situation that starts in the Danger Room. I enjoyed the "cure" story line more, but liked how the "danger" story line starts to set things up for further conflict. After getting to the end, I was anxious to read the next issue, so I will be hitting my comic book store up for Book 2 when I run by to pick up Wednesday's haul.
Oh, yeah, this collection also sees the reappearance of an X-Man believed to be dead. I didn't really see it coming, and loved how it played out.
A wonderful touch in this collection are the "extras" in the end of the book. The character design sketches that are common in these kinds of collections are here, and are nice to look at. What I particularly enjoyed were the pieces with creators Joss Whedon and John Cassady. For Joss, they included a series of email correspondence between Joss and the Marvel editorial team, giving a wink and a nod to some interesting insight into the creative process. For Cassady, they included an interview, where I was extra-thrilled to see they spent some time discussing the character design for Beast....more
I don't read a lot of police procedural novels, but I used to watch a lot of cop shows on television. This was a really cool graphic novel, followingI don't read a lot of police procedural novels, but I used to watch a lot of cop shows on television. This was a really cool graphic novel, following an interesting serial murder case from partway through the investigation to the end. There were several well-placed plot twists, which helped keep the pacing particularly exciting.
The story is well-written, and the art is fantastic. I could look at Chris Samnee art all day long. His style of using a lot of dark and shadows really worked well with the tone of the story.
The main plot deals with a series of murders that include decapitation. As the investigation proceeds, the investigators learn that the murderer is also performing experiments on his victims. And it gets kinda weird. The main investigator has personal demons to wrestle with, and gets injured in the course of the investigation, which really complicates things.
I read this over the course of a couple of days, but it can easily be read in one sitting because it flows so well....more
Wow. This book is amazing. The story is great: a world with no adults, where time has stood still since... forever? Then, the Dapper Men arrive, and tWow. This book is amazing. The story is great: a world with no adults, where time has stood still since... forever? Then, the Dapper Men arrive, and time begins again. The children and robots that inhabit the world need to fix some things, and one of the Dapper Men helps them nudge things along. The world That Jim McCann creates is a world ripe for exploration, and when I finished the book, I wanted to read more about the next adventures that were in store for everyone.
I met the book's artist, Janet K Lee, at an event at my comic book store a few weeks ago and picked up the book. While the story is great, what really draws me in is the art. There's a lot that goes into the way Janet does it, and it's a fascinating process. The art is perfectly matched to the story, and it's easy to get lost in the fanciful details.
This book has been recommended to me several times over the past few years. I've always been interested in checking it out, so I added it to my librarThis book has been recommended to me several times over the past few years. I've always been interested in checking it out, so I added it to my library hold request list and when it became available, I jumped on it.
The first thing I'll point out is that the book is really only about half as long as the Kindle progress bar indicates it is. About halfway through, I found myself surprised to be reading the Epilogue, even more surprised when the Epilogue wasn't very long. It turns out that the second half of the book was devoted to Q&A with the authors, reprinting several newspaper columns by the authors, reprinting a book review, and a very extensive index of searchable terms specifically formatted to be useful in an eBook. When I had finished the book, most of the supplemental material wasn't interesting to me (the review and columns pretty much rehashed a lot of the info that was in the main text, e.g.). So all in all, it turned out to be a quicker read than I expected.
The book itself presents what I'd classify as "pop economics" (and I don't think I'm alone in that classification). That is, the authors use economic theories to address questions that are more interesting than what economics is usually used to address, and they do so in a non-threatening, non-academic fashion. For example, they present a case study related to drug trafficking to explore why if drug dealing is such a lucrative business, drug dealers still live with their mothers. One of the most "in your face" theories they present deals with how legalized abortion in the US in the 1970s is the primary cause for the dramatic decrease in crime in the US in the 1990s. The way the authors took outlandish and bizarre questions, broke them down into pieces that could be reasonably studied, and followed the trail wherever it led them made for compelling reading. I was especially intrigued by the chapter dealing with cheating, where they examined how teachers can (and do) cheat for their students on standardized tests and how cheating is apparently rampant in the sport of sumo wrestling.
More than anything, this book shows that it's worth actually taking the time to think about things, and to think about them in unconventional manners. Ask questions, don't necessarily accept that the questions can't be answered, or accept the standard pat answers. But instead, really think about the questions and explore all sorts of possible solutions. I'm not an economist, and I'm not going to spend a lot of time thinking about questions like they ones explored in this book. But I do spend a lot of time in the course of my job thinking about all sorts of questions that can stand to be examined in unconventional ways. So in addition to being an enjoyable read, this is the kind of book that helps me think about the way I think. I like that.
Should you read this book? Absolutely. The case studies are generally interesting, no matter what field of work you are in. Additionally, the writing style is compelling, keeping what could otherwise be tedious material fresh and fun to read....more
I've had my eye on this book for a little while, then I saw the movie and pushed it to the top of my reading list. This is a very cool book. Make no mI've had my eye on this book for a little while, then I saw the movie and pushed it to the top of my reading list. This is a very cool book. Make no mistake, it's a baseball book, but it's also a business book. The book chronicles the real-life story of the Oakland Athletics' quest to field a winning team despite their tiny payroll. Impressively, the A's were highly successful because, under the management of Billy Beane, they were successful in purchasing players who were dramatically undervalued in the baseball market. This was largely possible because Beane quit paying as much attention to the traditional baseball offensive stats (notably, batting average) and started paying attention to on-base percentage. The tactics that the A's pioneered changed the way baseball is played, as more teams have started to adopt similar strategies.
I mentioned this is also a business book. It is, because it examines the business of baseball. It demonstrates what every business wants to do: be successful (however you define success) with the lowest possible cost. The main point the book makes about how to achieve that is to discover what the market undervalues and exploit it. It's a simple business principle, but one that is worth going back and being reminded of. Surprisingly, in baseball, as the A's were generating great success by using this method, they were laughed at and dismissed. It really did take a little while for the rest of baseball to catch on to what was happening, and in those few years, the A's were able to take advantage of their visionary strategy.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book, as true in "real life" as it is in baseball:
"Managers tend to pick a strategy that is least likely to fail rather than pick a strategy that is most efficient," said Palmer. "The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move."
One thing in particular that I enjoyed about this book is how the plot narrative was structured throughout the story. The book was more a case study than a plot-driven book, but there are several plot-like threads that run throughout: Beane struggling with his personal demons, the A's working to build a successful team, and the rise of the importance of different baseball statistics. The author skillfully wove all these themes together in a way that kept me engaged, providing a narrative framework that kept the reading from becoming dry.
If you love baseball, you need to read this book. If you don't love baseball, go see the movie instead....more