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Bookwise: Shari Low rounds up the best new reads.

Byline: Shari Low

Stitch 'n Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Published by Workman

JULIA ROBERTS does it. Catherine Zeta Jones does it. Four million Americans are now doing it. It's hot, it's the new black, it's, er, knitting.

Yes, that indoor sport which was once the sole preserve of grannies is as trendy these days as Pilates and yoga. In the US this craze has spawned a four million-strong army called the Stitch 'n Bitchers who meet regularly to compare patterns, techniques and well, knit.

Such is the popularity of thisphenomenon that the first Stich 'n Bitch book was an international bestseller and this new release will undoubtedly follow suit.

Based on anecdotes from club members, it's packed with unusual design ideas that'll have you knitting up a storm in no time.

Scarves, ponchos, handbag, hats, dolls - there's no end to what an afternoon on the pins can create. But for me, the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Purple Polka Dot Bikini was just a stitch too far. Great fun or completely mad - but let's face it girls, a book that teaches you how to knit your own rock star can't be a bad thing

The Wedding Season by Darcy Cosper Published by Piatkus

EVER been to a wedding and been stuck next to a stranger who hasn't even tucked into their starter when they resort to pretentious, smug behaviour in a bid to impress?

During the main course they're mildly irritating as they try to be clever and witty. However, by dessert you catch a glimpse of a sweet personality that's hidden beneath the bluster.

The emotional journey that is the Wedding Season bears an uncanny resemblance to that uncomfortablemeeting. Joy Silverman and her boyfriend, Gabriel Winslow, are the perfect (some might say smug and pretentious) New York cosmopolitan couple - secure, content, determined not to let marriage spoil a good thing.

They are the poster couple for cohabitation until attending 17 wedding in six months puts more than their dancing shoes under pressure.

This book has already been signed up for the big screen and will star Nicole Kidman. So it must be great, right? Mmm. Like that person next to you at the wedding, you'll love it or hate it. But look on the bright side - at no point will you have to do the slosh

We Are Family By Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees Published by William Heinemann

LAURIE VALE has had her share of sadness - her mother died only a year ago after battling a long illness.

She's only just recovering from the holiday romance that broke her heart, she's struggling to keep a relationship with her father and her flatmate has just announced she wants to replace Laurie with her airline pilot boyfriend.

Oh, and her art exhibition wasn't the financial success s he'd hoped. All in all, life is not exactly a happy one, and a surprise phone call doesn't improve the situation. It's from Rachel, an aunt she knew nothing about and who is about to open the door to a family history steeped in emotion, tragedy and drama.

Step back to 1953, to a seaside town called Stepmouth, when the very same Rachel Vale fell in love with a young man who would give her so much, but also cost her d early.

The parallel plotlines interweave brilliantly in what was one of the big hardback hits of last year. Now out in paperback, it's an essential read
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 7, 2005
Words:575
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