Unpracticed Knowledge

47. Keeping Pets: Freshwater Fish by Tristan Boyer Binns

This is a very informative book, aimed at children considering and/or planning keeping freshwater fish in their homes. It gives the positives and negatives clearly, and stresses the care fish need to be healthy and content. It doesn’t downplay the costs involved and repeatedly reminds a new fish owner to make good use of the expertise of their dealer and local enthusiasts. (I amn’t knowledgeable in the area myself, so I can’t verify the information, but none of it seemed bizarre at all.)

The book would need a confident reader to tackle it alone, but it could be used as a family resource and would not be a bad starting place for an interested adult. In fact, remove the few references to getting an adult to help (with lifting large amount of water and using electrical equipment) and it would be a perfectly acceptable book for grown-up beginners too.

48. Get Writing!: Write that Report by Shaun McCarthy

I mentioned the poetry volume in this series last week, and I actually think this one is better, perhaps because it is tackling a form of writing that is easier to instruct and assess, as it has a common form (at least introduction, argument/explanation, conclusion, with variations), and a specific purpose, neither of which poetry needs to have. Anyway, the book is well structured with interesting exercises.

49. Positively Postcards by Bonnie Sabel and Louis-Philippe O’Donnell

This book is pretty much aimed at quilters (another craft I’ve thought about but haven’t yet tried) who want the opportunity to show off their skills more quickly and flexibly, with a smaller commitment of time and supplies, than making full quilts allows.

The book begins with a description of this craft variation, then lists suggested tools and supplies, then has a very detailed set of instructions, including a step by step walkthrough of a specific project. Nearly half of the book is a gallery of Sabel’s postcards, each with a short commentary on its inspiration and/or suggestions for the theme. Her ‘postcards’ (some of which she even gives framing tips for) really are beautiful.

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