Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A few thoughts on This thing of paper: eleven knitting patterns inspired by books by Karie Westermann

this thing of paperthis thing of paper by Karie Westermann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a lovely book. As the subtitle says it is knitting patterns inspired by books, with the book divided into sections on manuscript, invention (looking at the printing press) and printed works. The inspiration is about the history of books including items inspired by vellum, incunubula and marginalia. This is a books where research using original sources is important to the design of the knitting. Photographs for the book were taken in the Innerpeffray Library in Scotland.

Each pattern has an essay describing the book related sources of inspiration, combining information from research and relevant personal stories. These are lovely essays to read connecting books and printing history to knitting patterns and the history of knitting. I was tempted to quote heavily from the book for this review, but will show restraint. 'Books are dangerous. They make us imagine worlds beyond our own mundane experiences. They make us see the world as other see it. Books carry hope and promise' (p31). There is a lovely account of the value and significant of libraries from when the author was a child.

This is a joyful book to read and is beautifully illustrated. All the knitting patterns are interesting, and I have a few bookmarked to try, although it will be a while before I can start any of them, unless I want to have even more unfinished knitting lying in baskets. There is a lovely and encouraging section on embracing imperfections in our knitting (with my knitting this is inevitable), but this is relevant to many other aspects of life too.

This would be a book for libraries to consider both for the knitting patterns, but also for the connections of making and reading which would be a fit for libraries which have maker spaces or provide space for knitting groups (one of the most active maker communities in many public libraries).

I really like that this book, like some other knitting books, provides both a print and ebook when the item is purchased. As an aside I am one of the Kickstarter backers for this book.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A few thoughts on the book Tinkering: Australians reinvent DIY culture by Katherine Wilson

Tinkering: Australians Reinvent DIY CultureTinkering: Australians Reinvent DIY Culture by Katherine Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book explores the concept of tinkering in Australia. It is based on interviews with several tinkerers (mainly from Victoria) and uses aspects of ethnography as the methodology for this research. This interesting book is based on the doctoral research by the author.

There are useful ideas in this book for libraries which have maker spaces or other connections to makers and tinkerers to consider however, libraries are almost invisible in the work. There could be another interesting research project looking at the connection between libraries and making and tinkering.

The discussion of tinkering in this book includes a wide range of formats including electronics, mechanical, building, research, photography, and jam making. Mending is raised as a tinkering area, but it is acknowledged that more research needs to be done into this area.

There are useful perspectives of failure and mistakes presented through this work. Block, one of the people interviewed for the research states, ‘I make mistakes all the time, that’s how you learn about things and get more experienced. You have to think, and you have to be patient’. Hondo, another interviewee states that you ‘never know if what you imagine will turn out’.

The author writes that when ‘policy makers and bureaucrats make decisions about cultural spaces like Men’s Sheds, Hackerspaces, community gardens, manual education and innovation programs, they need to understand that their magic force lives in quests, stories, senses, skills and the plotting of self in he continuity of experience...For all its senseless and supernatural overtones, magic is an important way to understand the everyday transformative, spellbinding power that pulses through Australia’s sheds, paddocks, kitchens, backyards and workshops’. p83. This idea of forces of magic is an interesting description to use.

While there is no index, there is a useful and detailed list of select references.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A few thoughts on Social Media in an English Village by Daniel Miller

Social Media in an English VillageSocial Media in an English Village by Daniel Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is part of an series of books using ethnography to explore social media use and attitudes towards it in different communities around the world. It very interesting both for the descriptions of ethnographic practices and the specific results in each location. The results are different in each place.

This volume showed interesting examples of how different people and organisations in the community were using social media. One of the most interesting areas was the use by people with terminal illnesses as part of their experiences of dying.

This was a very interesting book to read.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A few thoughts on Game Changers by Dan Golding, Leena van Deventer

Game ChangersGame Changers by Dan Golding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read the subtitle of this book, as it provides a summary of the contents. This is a powerful and disturbing about the recent history of conflicts relating to video games. While this book contains the very disturbing experiences of key figures, it is also an encouragement to make and play games. Both Leena and Dan provide their own experiences of harassment, and these areas of similarity and difference are important. The key section to remember is that ‘video games are for everyone’.

Even if you are in the minority of people who do not play games this book will resonate because other elements. This would be a helpful book for library staff to read because of the way it may help with thinking about games.

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