Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society

Sweetgum Knit Lit Society
WaterBrook Press
ISBN: 1-4000-7394-4

I admit, I was drawn to this title because of the knitting theme. No, I can't knit. But, my sister is a tremendous knitter. Nothing better to her than the rhapsody of being left alone in room full of yarn, all textures, all colors!! I also liked the idea of the various interactions between the members of the knitting projects book of the month club. The book was WONDERFUL!

For the knitter
, you will appreciate the knitting tidbits that are taught and the directions to a lovely shawl project at the end. The way this is worked into the story is completely natural. You would just have to read for yourself to see how skillfully this is accomplished.

For the book aficionado
the The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is under the austere tutelage of the town librarian. She has been the librarian extraodinaire for 40 years! She has a penchant for spotting "stray" young people in the library and through a steady application of relationship, education (through books - which I am a HUGE fan of) and the discipline/self-esteem builder of work, seeing transformation in these young people's lives. The book centers on the tipping points that occur in each of the group members lives' when the latest young person that the town librarian (Eugenie - isn't that the perfect name for a seasoned town librarian?) joins the group. In honor of their young prote'ge' the group changes up their next few months reading assignment. It seems she has not read the young lady classics. Little do the women realize how much they each have to learn from reading these classics later in life. From Little Women, to Heidi, Pollyana and the Little Princess - YOU will be surprised at the life truths that can be illuminated and illustrated from these books. This was very intriguing.

I greatly enjoyed this book, and know of several people that will enjoy a copy as well. So click here for a discount price to be shipped to your door! Leave it to me to find a good deal on a book! This book also is being promoted through the fine company of Glass Road Public Relations.

If you like interviews to get inside the head and heart of the author
a bit - here is a snippet from the GPR interview with the author, Beth Pattillo. BTW, she is a pastor and has interesting thoughts on youth ministry, and knitting as well!

What was your inspiration behind The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society?

A. The book was inspired by the knitting group at my church. I loved the way a group of diverse women, from their teens to retirement age, bonded over knitting and prayer. I think book clubs experience a similar phenomenon. Something about knitting or reading together really helps to create authentic community. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing this book was looking at the world from such different points of view. Each of the women in the novel is unique. And the variety of ages and life experiences kept things interesting.

Q. In the book, troubled teen Hannah Simmons has seen her share of neglect and abuse before meeting the ladies of the Knit Lit Society. Do you see many teens like Hannah in the course of your work as an ordained minister? If so, what is your philosophy in helping them find healing?

A. Unfortunately, I’ve met a number of teens over the years that were neglected by their parents. I’m a strong believer in youth ministry because I know it can provide guidance and care that’s often missing in a teenager’s home. In the novel, Hannah happens to be poor, but I’ve found that income level, however high or low, doesn’t always correlate to the quality of parenting. The love and attention of a youth minister and/or youth sponsor can often keep a teen from making bad choices with disastrous consequences. Teenagers need to feel competent and valued. A strong youth ministry provides an opportunity for young people to find their spiritual gifts and use them. It also makes God’s love tangible and powerful.

Q. Since not every town has a Knit Lit Society, what would your advice be to anyone who has a "Hannah" in their life or knows of a teen in a similar situation?

A. Most teens need someone to listen to them without judgment or agenda. Mentoring, serving as a youth sponsor, teaching Sunday school and Bible study – these are all great ways to reach out to teenagers. As a minister, in a particular situation, I have to assess whether a teenager needs the help of social services in addition to the love and care of a church family. All ministers are required by law to report suspected abuse. Neglect, though, can be a bit trickier. Ideally, a minister can reach out to the parents as well as the teen to try and help the family become more functional and caring. I always appreciated my church members letting me know if they thought a particular teenager needed help. I think it’s better to get involved and ultimately find that the situation wasn’t as serious as you thought than to ignore something until a crisis occurs.

Q. Do you knit in your spare time?

A. I love to knit! I’m into hand-tied yarn right now, taking eight or nine different yarns in a particular color palette and tying 2-3 yard sections end to end. The result is wonderfully shaggy scarves or shawls that have real depth of color and texture. (I was inspired by the owner of The Shaggy Sheep in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas – a terrific yarn store!) I’m afraid I have numerous unfinished projects around the house, but one day, I hope to finish them all.

Q. You spent seven years waiting to publish your first book and now The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is your fourth book. What advice do you have for novice or aspiring writers?
A. Aspiring writers have to persevere. For that matter, so do published authors. The publishing industry is a rejection-based business. Work hard, acquire a thick skin, be open to good criticism, and revise, revise, revise. As writers, we take our work personally, but the publishing industry doesn’t. Rejection is a business decision, not a critique of our value as human beings!

My other piece of advice is to write every day, even if it’s only a small amount. I run an email loop called Club 100 For Writers. The challenge is to write 100 words a day for 100 days. I’ve seen this practice transform people’s lives. Instructions for joining the group are on my website,


luvmy4sons said...

I crochet! You are making me feel like a lazy much reading! LOL! Hey...sorry about your dial up1 I am going to pray you find a way to high speed!

Denise said...

Sounds like a good read. Come over to my blog, and sign up for my book giveaway.

Sharon Brumfield said...

Sounds interesting. I had gotten away from reading because it can become a 24/7 thing for me. :(
But now that we don't have T.V....I have gotten back into reading. I have been reading some things by Ted Dekker....and I do love science fiction.
Oh, and I crochet...sometimes just to let go of the tension. I am not a professional and I don't like to follow the rules. ;)

What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...

Well, it's like this: Here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Free: a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen b : enjoying civil and political liberty c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself...having a scope not restricted by qualification 7 a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded ...Now, here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Fly:1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air ... a : to take flight ...6 : to work successfully ...Examples which apply from Websters: fly high : to be elated - fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of : to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of

What does this mean in my life? This means that in life we are meant to be free. While historically mankind has not always enjoyed the opportunity to fully appreciate what that means, we are so indescribably fortunate as to live in a time of the greatest spiritual, physical, financial and political freedom ever known. Freedom doesn't come cheap, nor does it come easy. But the best things in life don't come that way do they? As I write this I am struck by how this sounds like a political statement, and for me this is much more of a spiritual thing, but, same goes for that (political that is). Freedom doesn't come easy. And it's worth whatever fight you have to make to overcome in your life in order to live a life that succeeds. Now the questions is - what is success for you? What is your standard? In my mind what is needed is a definite target - because you can't hit and maintain a moving target. A stable, rock-solid, anchor with no variable, yet multi-faceted. Something pure, just and worthy. If you look at any web page of news you can see that our society is certainly lacking in this area. What a great time to live as a rebel! Nowadays to be a rebel, all you have to do is be willing to engage in the battle of life, while anchored to Christ!