Kniterature

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” they say. But of course we all do, and that’s why publishers have such a specific book jacket design strategy. If a particular book about, say, elephant trainers has been successful, and another comes along, then even if they’re quite different, chances are the publisher will make the new book’s jacket the same colour as the previous bestseller. And so mini-genres are born, often to the great chagrin of the authors concerned, and frequently not in service of the actual books.
Knit lit seems to be quite a booming mini-genre. It’s just a branch of chick lit of course, but one with very specific appeal to those of us who are fond of playing with string. I was very excited to read the Friday Night Knitting Club when it came out. But alas, I hated it! Badly written, ridiculous premise, cardboard cutout characters, hopelessly tearjerking and unwarranted ending… just contrived in every way. And even though I know better, that put me off reading more knitting novels. I don’t read a lot of chick lit at the best of times (though some of it is fab, and I do maintain Jane Austen started the whole thing), and I just couldn’t be bothered with more cheesy, contrived drivel.
So Divas Don’t Knit sat on my shelf for quite a while before I finally picked it up, but recently I’ve been reading a lot of fluff (yay Georgette Heyer!) and was in the mood to give it a go… with only a little trepidation.
Turns out I’m loving it. Funny! Engaging! Relatable characters! A plot that bears at least some tenuous relation to reality! And did I mention funny? It’s great stuff. Has thoroughly revived my interest in knit lit; I’m even thinking about exploring those knitting mystery novels. So tell me. Have you read any novels with knitting in that you think are worth a shot, and will not make me want to down shots or fire shots at the author?

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11 thoughts on “Kniterature”

  1. Oh, I love Georgette Heyer as well. I have an entire shelf of her Regencies that I revisit on a regular basis when I’m feeling low.
    I also hated The Friday Night Knitting Club. Even worse, I tried to endure the audio version. The reader only made the various characters’ petulant outbursts WORSE.
    I stopped listening about the time when the main character got The News, deciding I had endured enough. My heart strings were not tugged – it was more like when your 4-year-old relative decides to do something Very Clever for the fourteenth time, and you’re sick of humoring her and quit the game.

  2. I’m with you. Worse than hating “that”novel I found I just didn’t care what happened to any of them.
    On days when my brain is too scrambled for much, I have loved Debbie Macrombier’s yarn books, eg The Shop on Blossom Street. Which I think that other book ripped off, really badly.

  3. I, too, much preferred Divas. And Georgette Heyer is clearly just a Good Thing (I’m missing my collection over here in Sydney – but I really couldn’t have shipped them all just for a year, and just for those occasions when I really want to read one of those to cheer me up).

  4. Gil McNeils follow up to Divas Don’t Knit, Needles and Pearls is a good read. I too HATED The Friday Night Knitting Club. I felt patronised in my reading. Not so with Needles and Pearls. I read it in three days….

  5. Ooh, there’s a sequel? Excellent news!
    Will go look up Debbie Macrombier. On closer inspection I think the Maggie Seftons will not be read by me.

  6. I’ve read one of the Maggie Sefton mysteries. Well, it is I suppose ok for “light” reading, but dear me did I get tired of the coffee….actually I think you will probably want to shoot the author, or at least the main character… Let me know if you’d like it and I’ll stick it in the post (it was “Needled to Death” I think).

  7. I too usually steer clear of knitting “novels” but thoroughly enjoyed both of Gil McNeils books, they should make them into films. I’m mostly a sci-fi/fantasy girl myself, there’s nobody like Terry Pratchett though. Must be my age but I seem to have aquired a taste for “bodice rippers” mostly by Laurell K Hamilton.

  8. I too was disappointed with the Friday Night Knitting Club, but enjoyed Divas don’t knit. The sequel is on my Christmas wish list. The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood was quite good too and certainly more engaging that FNKC.

  9. Well now! I hated Friday Night Knitting Club too, in fact I couldn’t finish it. And I started Knitting by Anne Bartlett, and didn’t like that either. But I might just have to hunt down a copy of Divas Don’t Knit……

  10. I also hated Friday Night Knitting Club! And I didn’t really believe the author knew how to knit – it was more like a friend had told her about it.

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