Book Review Break

I know I haven’t churned out a book review in a while. It’s because I got burned out on writing them. I’m sure in the future, maybe after summer, I’ll get back in the groove. Until then, I have created a new page you can surf to from my home page. Click on the button “Book Reviews” and you’ll see a list of all the books I’ve reviewed with links to their corresponding blog posts. I organized it all in alphabetical order by title and indicated whether the text is for knitting, crochet, or both. I do not receive books from publishers to review. Also, authors do not send me requests. I review whatever I feel like talking about on here.

Some friends of mine – including my good buddies from my knitting and crochet club – have asked me how and why I got so many books and patterns. In case you’re curious, here’s my answer:

First off, I’m a book enthusiast, a trained literary critic, and I like to have patterns just to have them. It’s sort of like being a coin or rock collector. I just like to have plenty of literature and I like to have special editions of my favorites. There’s a practical reason, too, which is that I find a lot of inspiration in patterns. When I see something I like, I buy it, after some thought.

Another method of acquiring so many is that people have given them to me. Friends and relatives alike know what my vices are. Also, my sister made a habit of getting me Amazon gift cards for Christmas and my birthday and I’ve been able to buy a lot of Kindle versions of pattern collections and other types of crafty things. When the gift cards were flowing I got a whole ton of goodies.

Over the years I’ve also had magazine subscriptions. I’ve recently canceled all of them, though, because I started to feel like I was seeing a lot of the same every month.

Additionally, the way my parents raised me has a lot to do with it. My mother and father encouraged me to read and take interest in my own education. When I was a little boy my mom took me to the library once a week so I could borrow books. I remember always getting excited about the regular library excursions. If I saw something in a book shop I liked and it wasn’t available in our local library my parents had no qualms about buying it for me, even though sometimes it meant waiting for when there was extra money to spend. Books and food were considered worthwhile expenses and there was no established limit on them. If I was hungry they fed me. If I wanted to read they strove to keep me interested. My dad also instilled in me the importance of taking care of my things, making sure they were kept organized and out of harm’s way. This means he also taught me not to write in my books. He turned me into a collector. So, in my adult life my library is something special to me and I don’t ever feel guilty about buying stuff to add to it. They’re educational so they are a good investment. Of course, we mustn’t exaggerate. I don’t spend all my money on texts and I’m certainly careful not to go overboard.

Lastly, all of this encouragement I got in my childhood turned me into a literature and language specialist. In high school my favorite class was English and I got really excited about all the literature we read in those classes, from Homer to William Faulkner. In college I studied Spanish and Anthropology and I went on to get a PhD in Hispanic Literature. My undergraduate double interest was due to my inner conflict about whether I wanted to study mythology, archeology, Spanish American colonial history and literature, or Spanish Peninsular literature. So, obviously, books are very much the center of my entire life, from when I was a toddler to middle age! I have special treasures in my library that are not crafty at all. For example, my very old Obras completas de Miguel de Cervantes (Cervantes’ complete works), my facsimile edition of the first publication of Don Quixote, my Complete Works of Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, respectively, and many more.

All of these factors have shaped me into the pattern and book collector I am today. I don’t think I’ll ever stop reading and getting extreme pleasure from discovering a new book, whether it be a literary work or a craft-oriented one.


12 thoughts on “Book Review Break

  1. Yolanda Chavez Sherman July 20, 2017 / 11:36 pm

    What a great story. I never thought about my gathering of patterns as a collection like any other collection. I don’t think I’ve followed too many patterns but I certainly like being surrounded by them. I love looking at them and being inspired by them. So I love your way of defining them that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp July 20, 2017 / 11:39 pm

      Thanks so much! Some patterns I follow exactly and others I do not. It really depends on what I want and also what feels good for the wearer (if it’s a garment). And, yes, for me it’s like collecting baseball cards or comic books, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Meghan @ LuLu's Yarn Art July 22, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    I can’t like this post enough! I love books so much. Living in a digital world, so many people only ever read anything on a device, but I greatly prefer having a book in hand. I think we are going to have to find somewhere to add another bookshelf soon because our shelves which cover an entire wall in the living room are just about full. P.S. I love reading your book reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

    • tonymarkp July 22, 2017 / 11:03 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I love physical books, too, although the digital ones take up less space.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tami July 24, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    What a great story!!! I remember trips to the library when I was little too. We were fortunate enough to be within walking distance of our very small town library. I can still remember how excited I was when I turned 12 and was allowed to be in the grown up part of the library and not have to be in the downstairs children’s section!!! You are a very fascinating person and I would love to have you on my Trivial Pursuit team – I just know you have tons of little known facts and other bits of knowledge!! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    • tonymarkp July 24, 2017 / 11:55 pm

      Thanks for the complement. I love reading your blog, too, and about the cool stuff you’re making. I had no idea you played Trivial Pursuit. I totally suck at Trivial Pursuit, but I usually have a fighting chance if I’m lucky with the questions otherwise forget it, I’ll make the whole team lose! I won’t ever forget the day I started looking in the “grown-up” section, and the frickin’ card catalog. So glad we have digital catalogues.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. aliveindeadtown July 25, 2017 / 12:44 am

    If there was a zombie apocalypse, I’m guessing your worst nightmare would be that your Kindle would run out of power and the library was turned into storage for the undead… or a Neo-Nazis stronghold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp July 25, 2017 / 9:50 am

      HOWEVER, the Kindle could turn into a useful weapon to smack zombies. Well, at least the older, heavier version.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pam @hooksandhills July 29, 2017 / 12:24 am

    I totally get the book thing – crochet and otherwise πŸ™‚ I too was raised to love reading and respect books, and I am raising my 4yo and 6yo daughters to love books too. They both adore books and my 6yo can now read which is such a delight to me, as well as to her. Also, I have a Masters degree in Hispanic Studies – I never heard of anyone studying this until now, except those in my Uni (Glasgow, UK)! It is so rare for people to study straight Arts now, because of the expense I guess. Back then, tuition was free and I am so grateful to have spent many years learning mostly just for learning’s sake. I studied Spanish and Portuguese language and literature for 5 years, both modern and medieval and everything in between, Castilian and South American, plus a bit of Catalan – ahhh you have reminded me of happy days in the library (this was also pre-tech – I hand wrote all my essays to my final year!). Now I invest only in crochet books, and books for my girls, with all fiction coming from the local library. I have 3 new crochet books on the way, can’t wait! I have reviews in the pipeline too. Are you affiliated with any book stores? I hooked up with Book Depository. It costs the buyer no extra but you get 5% commission per sale. So far I have made about $10AUD and some of that was buying books for myself LOL but hey I figure every dollar made is a dollar toward my next crochet book πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • tonymarkp July 29, 2017 / 12:33 am

      I can’t wait to see your future reviews. I loved your review of Dora Ohrenstein’s crochet book. I bought a copy as soon as I read it and I love it! Also, it’s so cool to connect with a fellow Hispanist! I haven’t become affiliated with any book stores because I like to keep things simple although what a nice smart way to get some book money! We have a similar studying history. I even had difficulty figuring out my dissertation topic up until the last minute just because I was interested in all the literature.


      • Pam @hooksandhills July 29, 2017 / 12:53 am

        Oh I’m glad you like that book! I need to get back to the swatches – like you, wips everywhere… πŸ™‚ Yeah I like simple too, I only have the BD thing going on and it needs some more attention – but I’d rather be crocheting πŸ™‚ What was your dissertation? Mine was on censorship in the time of Franco. I lived in Spain for a couple of years and was utterly obsessed with it into my mid 20s. I don’t live in Europe any more but I miss a lot of things about it – language and culture and architecture. Hope to go back for a visit one day, see my old haunts in Madrid. Ah you’ve got me all nostalgic! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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