Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New Book: Crochet Squared

I love this book. Indeed I do. I bought it about three or four weeks ago, or rather made my hubby buy it for me, because I've been once again fascinated by the idea of modular crochet, and the entire idea of this book is that you use two stitches (chain and single crochet) and two shapes (squares & rectangles) to create a number of garments.

Of course, I am not enamoured of scarves, or ponchos, and this pushes my "stupid invented names for everyday stuff" (is 'shrawl' really a necessary part of anyone's vocabulary?) buttons. But it is, at it's heart an excellent description of a fascinating technique.

So last week I decided I'd blog about this book, and I went on to Amazon.com to swipe an image for it. Which you can see that I've done here. While there I came across the reviews. A good many people apparently bought this book because the author is black.

My bad. I didn't realize what hue the author's skin was until actually the day last week that I decided to write about it here. I know how to crochet already, so I tend to skip past the front section of a book if that's where the how-to stuff is. I was bored at work, though, so I decided to read through the front section, and it was only then that I noticed the author was black. Far be it from me to give a darn what the ethnicity of a book's author is. (Sometimes, gasp, I even read books written by liberals.)

But this review in particular has caused me to invent a new rule. First the review, then the rule:
I bought this book primarily because it's by an African American author--I rarely see people like me crocheting, let alone, publishing a book. I also bought this book because I thought it'd have some innovative techniques I was not privy to.
Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with my purchase. I love Ms. Polk's yarn selections, but they are not cheap and you need a lot to make most items featured in the book. Also, it takes forever to make her items since she only uses about two small stitches, particularly single crochet. Granted she uses oversized hooks for some of her projects, many crocheters might have trouble finding these hooks. Also, I tried her scarf pattern but was confused because the stitches look elongated, but she does not say she's elongating--just using a size S or T hook. I used both of mine and did not get the same effect she did. Some of her patterns also are a little hard to begin, as if the author assumes readers know what to do.
Once again, I feel deflated by the crochet/literary world. No wonder I turn to knitting books and magazines, and adapt the patterns into crochet.

OK, now for the rule. If you buy a book 'cause the author is black, then that damn well better be the basis for your review. Don't say "I bought the book primarily because the author is black, but I don't like the techniques in it." Uh-uh. If you're gonna buy the book because the author's skin tone matches yours, then review it on that basis. If you buy a book 'cause the author's black, then your review ought to read "This book's author is indeed a dark-skinned woman! Woo! Great book!" If you want to be a grownup and buy a book because of its content rather than its author's color, then review it on its content. (Geez, where have I heard this content rather than color stuff before?) But if you buy a book just because the author looks a certain way, then review the book on that basis.

Sheesh. It's like buying a book just because Sean Hannity is on the back cover and then complaining that his sentence structure sucks.

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