Lostarts alerted us to a book that Crazy Aunt Purl has coming out in the fall. I’m going to read it. I love Crazy Aunt Purl, as who among us does not.

But the Amazon description does give the impression that it will be sort of a knitting book, when I think we all know that as a knitter, Crazy Aunt Purl is an excellent writer.

I was already thinking about the difference between books and blogs, because I read Bitter is the New Black over the weekend. I got this book from Booksfree, having put it on the list after having read the advance description last year. It sounded like a nice little piece of chick lit from the “went through strife and came out a better person” school, and it looked like it, too, for the first couple of chapters. Unfortunately, it isn’t a novel. It is a collection of blog pieces spruced up to look like a novel. Therefore, it is more like real life, in that the character doesn’t actually improve. She starts out self-centered, materialistic, rude, obnoxious, and prone to stereotyping, and that is just how she ends up, too. That is often how real life is.

It is not much of a plot, though, is it?

When I read blogs, I’m not expecting a plot. Good writing, some interesting ideas, new knitting projects, or even just an update on the life of people I have come to care about, that’s all I ask. But an actual book, it seems to me, ought to have more to it than that.

It was the same with a forgettable book I read last year, Around the World in 80 Dates. This was the story of a woman who went around the world having blind dates. It was probably interesting as a blog, dropping in now and then for an amusing story about a date. I always find Chanthaboune’s date stories amusing. But sitting down to read them all in a row? Snore…..

In a book, there simply has to be a plot.

So I am thinking that books that are really compilations of blog entries should have warnings on them. Or at least be packaged as collections of essays. No more of this deceitful practice of pretending they are novels.

Crazy Aunt Purl’s book is not a novel, and doesn’t pretend to be. But I don’t think you should go into it looking for a knitting book, either.4

Here is my knitting, in a crumpled heap on my coffee table. Let’s see what else is there… the promotional water bottle from Saturday’s conference and the candy that was in it, all the books and magazines I’ve received in the mail this week, and some of the ads as well, yarn, used dishes, napkins both cloth and paper, my list of play therapy terms to commit to memory, remotes and a mobile phone.

It is apparent that things are still not being done Decently and In Order chez fibermom.

I have been thinking, throughout this entry, of last night’s class discussion. We were being told, essentially, that we should judge between right and wrong, but quit being critical of things that aren’t moral issues.

We should speak out against Mr. Bush’s cheery attitude toward torture, but not about his repeated use of “a artificial” in his speeches. We should criticize ourselves for gossiping, but not for having messy coffee tables. We should warn our children against stealing, but lighten up on their desire for a tattoo. These are my examples, not the speaker’s.

I was talking about this with my sons when I got home last night. This was common sense, they said. You didn’t need a class to tell you that.

But I think that most of us do it the other way around in real life. That is, you are much more likely to hear someone speak scornfully of another woman’s hairstyle than of her sexual behavior.

I hope I never speak scornfully of people at all, and our class last night was not suggesting that we should speak scornfully. I do think, though, that a listener with a clipboard would find that I am right. The protagonist of Bitter is the New Black was snippy about people’s choices of clothing and their figures, not about their descents into gluttony, lust, drunkenness, and covetousness. I think that is an accurate picture of how people actually behave. Snippy, obnoxious people, perhaps, but they could be a microcosm.

“You didn’t ask what was common,” my son protested when I pointed this out. “You asked about what was proper. They’re not the same.”

So where does this leave book reviews? As long as I am talking about the book and not the author, I guess it’s okay.

I will be missing book club today, as I have been called up to the other store. I need to stop saying “the other store” because there is only one. I will try to say “the store” from now on and you will know that it is not the one I can walk to, but the one requiring a drive through traffic. I will be there today and tomorrow, and then have another conference on Friday, and of course yesterday I had school visits and I will be doing church visits next week, so the “work at home” thing is not involving all that much time at home.

Considering how untidy my home is, this is probably a good thing. You do not want to have to think of me weltering in slovenliness. Even if it is not a moral issue.

Oh, and here is a link for a PDF file showing how to make a hypertufa planter. I would really like to do this. However, I have not yet succeeded with my chaise longue of pallets, nor with hooking up my router, so I will stick with things made of fibers for this season. New adventures increase the elasticity of the brain, but a little success is good, too. However, if you make one of these and it is really easy, let me know. Or just come over and make me one. That would work, too.