Knowing that all of you rushed off to get a copy of Possession on the strength of my recommendation, I feel that I must tell you — in the interests of full disclosure — that I was alone in loving this book. Only one other member of the book club actually read it all the way through. The rest gave up early on, because they disliked the characters, couldn’t slog through the poetry, etc. One shut the book and watched the movie instead, and she said it was very good, too.

Cleverboots came in and I told her this sad tale, and she asked what the essential problem with the book was. “Well,” I frowned, “I guess it had too many … words… in it.” I think I didn’t express the problems well. I was going to jump in and tell Cleverboots all the wonderful things about the book, and offer to lend it to her, when she explained, “I don’t read.”

Well, that did it. I try to be restrained about books, and not to press too many of them onto unwilling friends. True, once Cleverboots escaped my clutches by admitting her non-reader status, it came out in the conversation that The Empress and That Man have a couple of books I have forced upon them. However, as I pointed out, I only make people take books home, I don’t follow them to make sure they actually read the books. (Are you wondering? The Pianist and Gullible’s Travels. And Partygirl has Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Hey, they’re all very good books.)

I had been intending to tell the Book Club ladies about another wonderful book — To Say Nothing of the Dog. However, since it was sort of an “If you liked Possession you’ll also like…” situation, and they had hated Possession, I didn’t get very far with that. If you liked Possession, though, consider To Say Nothing of the Dog.

Non-readers might enjoy the little item I found in my mailbox today: the new Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. Do you think I am going to be snide about the $89 jeans with holes and frayed edges? No, of course not. For another $100, you can have patches on the holes. I will put patches on your jeans for half that. And I bet you could get someone to wear your jeans for you for a year, too, for under $89. But A&F is faster. Or did you think I would be snippy about the half-naked models? No, no. I don’t entirely get what those two boys are doing with the belt under the tree, but it’s none of my business.

No, I just wanted to point out the length of the sleeves. Many adult knitters complain about the overly long sleeves on current knitting patterns. Some even describe themselves as having “stubby little arms” on the strength of their experiences with recent sweater patterns. In fact, you will notice that all the A&F sleeves are a good six inches longer than the sweaters. While they look as though they were designed for an El Greco-esque race of beings with strangely attentuated arms, it is in truth simply that this is the style. Fashionable sleeves hang artistically down around the wearer’s knuckles, or are pushed up.

This is what has happened with Siv, the Viking sweater I knitted this summer. I have worn Siv, since it has gotten a bit cooler, and I still love the pattern. But the sleeves are very long. I lifted them up a little and sewed them in high — “Those are captain’s shoulders,” said #2 son, who is sometimes too perceptive for his own good, and doesn’t seem to know the word “epaulettes.”. Even so,  the sleeves are too long. Pushing them up adds a horizontal pleating effect to the captain’s sleeves look, so the sleeves take over the lovely Siv.

This may be one reason that so many modern knitters stick with scarves.You get the droopiness without dragging your sleeves through the sauce.