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Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People Paperback – November 1, 2011


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Paperback, November 1, 2011
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Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People + I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence + Holidays on Ice
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446557048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446557047
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In her follow-up to the best-selling I Like You (2006), Sedaris once again invites us all to remember the “good old days” with her off-the-wall crafting and entertaining suggestions. “Did you know that inside your featureless well-worn husk is a creative you?” she asks. No doubt drawing on and making light of the current economic atmosphere, she notes, “Being poor is a wonderful motivation to be creative”; and most crafts are made with found or salvaged materials. More a vehicle for Sedaris’ knack for farce and costume than a real how-to guide (unless the formula for a “wizard duck costume” marks the realization of your wildest dreams), it nevertheless contains a few useful facts, ideas, and recipes. The true joy of this book lies in its hilarious and amazingly well-styled photo spreads, many featuring Sedaris in one of her uncanny disguises, including a teenager, an elderly shut-in, and Jesus. She devotes equal time to instruction on making homemade sausage, gift-giving, crafting safety, and lovemaking (aka “fornicrafting”). Those looking to make conventional crafts, obviously, should look elsewhere. Everyone else should sit down, have a laugh, and make your very own bean-and-leaf James Brown mosaic. The author and her brother have a considerable following among hip readers of humor, and the appeal of this book will certainly transcend the world of crafters. --Annie Bostrom --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Sedaris often defies description. So does her book, SIMPLE TIMES, a hyperkinetic hodgepodge of "Crafts for Poor People" celebrating traditional American handicrafts, as well as diversions like keeping pet rabbits and making mint juleps. ...the book's sheer visual exuberance and wide scope make it obvious that Sedaris is a dedicated follower of the pipe-cleaner arts. While SIMPLE TIMES may not be for the dour D.I.Y.-er to whom crafting is a competitive sport, it has strong potential as a gift for anyone who's ever collected hats crocheted together, or Barbie dolls in knitted antebellum dresses designed to cover an extra roll of toilet paper - or simply for fans of Amy Sedaris and her idiosyncratic sense of humor.—The New York Times Book Review

"If there was any doubt that Amy Sedaris is a kookier, kitschier version of Martha Stewart in the four years since the release of her best-selling, "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence," get out your Popsicle sticks, toupee tape and clamshells. Sedaris proves her place as a domestic maven for today's irony-loving do-it-yourselfers with her latest book. "Simple Times" is steeped in '70s campiness, with a youthful, can-do attitude walking through an extensive list of projects, neatly indexed in the back, from Acorn Crafts to Macaroni Alien Mask and Yesterday's Newspaper Scuffs. "Simple Times" is an ideal gift for the crafter who has crafted everything."—The Associated Press

"A wildly cheeky guide."—InStyle

"Imagine a Girl Scout jamboree suddenly overtaken by a band of circus freaks. That's roughly the effect of "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People," the colorful new craft book by comedian Amy Sedaris."—The Wall Street Journal

"Hilarious."—The Miami Herald

"The funny new book we're loving . . . Had us cracking up from the first page . . .The entire guide is written in that laugh-out-loud style, making it a fun read even for those who have no interest in crafting. But for people who are into crafting, the book is a gold mine of ideas."—Cosmopolitan.com

"Will leave readers in stitches . . . Her hilarious and hilariously illustrated guide has sections on crafting while angry, crafting for the criminally insane and crafting while amped up on amphetamines."—The Boston Herald

"In step with her hilarious how-to debut . . . provides a jolt of laughter that anyone can use in simple times like these."—Instinct Magazine

"In this laugh-out-loud book, Amy Sedaris, one of the funniest humans on the planet, confronts the hard-hitting craft questions that other books refuse to even acknowledge . . . With the hectic holiday season almost upon us, this nifty book could be your lifeboat to sanity, or maybe not. Regardless, it is fun and every bit as amusing as Amy's previous bestseller."—The Tucson Citizen

"Sedaris crams 21 chapters with wickedly funny projects, sage counsel and painstakingly detailed photographic spreads."—Bookpage

"Hip and hilarious."—The Buffalo News

"Recommended . . .The humorist, satiric hostess and hilarious disguise artist offers left-field crafting tips for weird costumes, irreverent samplers, and more for these, our lean economic times."—The Wichita Eagle

"Just like her previous book, "Times" is colorful and instantly funny. It's perhaps the only book you'll ever read with tips on how to make both good love and good sausage. Separately, of course."—The News & Observer (NC)

"Amy Sedaris proves she has her finger on the pulse of the domestic-arts world - especially for those on a budget- with her latest book . . . it's vintage Sedaris, combining sweet intentions with gross-out humor."—Madison.com

"A subversive, hilarious take on the made-by-hand movement."—The Orlando Sentinel --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

AMY SEDARIS has appeared often on screen, both large and small. She's cocreator, with Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello, of Comedy Central's hit show Strangers with Candy and half of the Obie-winning "Talent Family" playwright team (with her brother, David). Amy lives in Manhattan with her imaginary boyfriend, Ricky, and her pet rabbit, Dusty.

Customer Reviews

This book is hilarious and well worth the money and time.
scissorgrrrl
Also, while I was not offended by this book,sensitive people may find this book offensive.
K. B.
I downright laughed out loud many times i read this book...
joshylofty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Katie Richardson on November 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm almost never compelled to write online reviews, but I feel like I need to write one for Simple Times because it's an absolute gem! If you enjoyed Amy's first foray into the world of how-to, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, you will love Simple Times. Everything that made I Like You such an immensely entertaining romp is back with a vengeance! It's comprised of the same kind of humor and the exact same kitschy, homemade style that makes I Like You such a blast. Take the brief crafts chapter at the end of I Like You, and imagine if it had continued. That is exactly what Simple Times is: A sequel to--a continuation of--Amy's first book. There are a couple differences, however. I Like You is a very real hospitality guide (in addition to being my go-to cookbook) and contains a lot of genuine information and useful tips in between the jokes. The informational/text portions of Simple Times, on the other hand, are mostly jokes. You will garner some real information from it (particularly the chapters on rabbit care and making sausage, if you're into those things), but by and large, the text is humor. I read it cover-to-cover and was constantly busting up laughing. As far as the crafts go, think of crafts you made in scouts or Bible school as a kid. This is mostly what you'll find in Simple Times. Some are jokes (i.e. using a plastic sandwich bag as a condom), but many are very real, and if nothing else, will act as a springboard for inspiration and ideas... which leads me to the instructions. When flipping through the book, make sure you don't skip reading the craft instructions. Many of them are uproariously funny! Some of the instructions are vague, but that's kind of the point of Simple Times--not necessarily to teach the reader step-by-step, but rather to inspire ideas and imagination.Read more ›
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Ohioan on November 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Listen, I love this book. Love it. I am a child of the sixties, and I grew up with many of the crafts she demonstrates and gently pokes fun at. I mean, I can remember pop cans being turned into wind chimes, pipe cleaner art, pom pom art...I can even recall my (by then) senile grandma gluing glitter to anything and everything she could get her hands on. My own pride and joy was a bullfighting mosaic I fashioned out of corn and dried beans. It was a simpler time...it was fun...but visiting it through Amy's tongue and cheek book is a blast. The pictures are great; the humor jumps out at you off every page. Enjoy.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dirgni Drofdrab on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has beautiful photographs, but the instructions are hard to follow. For instance, the steps for creating fingerless gloves is knit gloves, and then cut the fingers off. But how do I knit them in the first place? I'm so confused. I prayed for instructions, but, as always, my prayers weren't answered.

I appreciated the sections on crafting with disabilities, but it neglected to cover crafting for the humorless. I think a lot of 1-star reviews would have been 5-star reviews had the author included this important and so often under-appreciated group.

I would have given it five stars, but it didn't come with stickers.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie VINE VOICE on December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am a HUGE fan of "I Like You" and recommend and use it quite a lot. I think it's hilarious yet practical. I use the recipes frequently and when I trot one out a party, I'm always asked about it (yes, in a positive way).

I asked for "Simple Times" for Christmas and I got it. And I read it completely and set it aside the same day. If I looked long & hard there might be one craft I'd like to try. Some of the instructions for crafts are "find someone to make this for you." Completely not what I was expecting. The crafts that are treated as "how-to" crafts are so junky and awful, I can't imagine anyone wanting to make them even as a joke.

There were a few crafty how-tos in "I Like You" (the fake cake, the rock baked potato, and the Greek dress spring to mind) so I was eager to read a whole book of them. I imagined it would be crafting treated with the same attitude as cooking & entertaining were in "I Like You." At least I expected a section devoted to googly eyes.

That irreverence is here, to some degree, but the subject matter is treated with such disdain that it's hard to feel like you're in on the joke. The categories weren't as funny as I'd expected and even the "fornication" section felt dull, considering Sedaris's considerable talent. It was like flat ginger ale: it looked good but the text didn't live up the the visual promise.

I don't know if an editor or someone stepped in and "improved" the final product or if someone was kissing a deadline and rushed this book to print but if I didn't know better, I wouldn't have guessed this was produced by Amy Sedaris. There's little of her sparkle or wit evident here except in the brief section about rabbits, which was far and away the best section of the book and is indicative of what I thought I'd get in an Amy Sedaris craft book. It's practical, adorable, and wacky. If only the rest of the book had been the same.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have eagerly been awaiting "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People" ever since I fell in love with Amy Sedaris' previous masterpiece of entertaining etiquette "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence." How do I love Amy Sedaris? Let me count the ways. But one thing I never expected was to be turning to the woman that unleashed Jerri Blank (the ultimate 46 year old high school freshman) on the world for hosting, household (and in this bit of madness) crafting advice. This boozy and hilarious "how to" guide is both absurdly funny AND seriously practical, especially if you like your crafting on the more ironic side. I understand that some of the "serious" crafters out there are upset by some of the more colorful text, but this is clearly a comedic parody--Sedaris, in both books now, straddles the fine line between insanity and usefulness. Oh well, maybe she stumbles over it as well. Come on--the book is called "Crafts For Poor People!" Shouldn't that be enough warning for the more serious minded amongst us?

The book is expertly put together and absolutely beautiful. The photos and illustrations are influenced in equal measure by an intoxicated sixties housewife aesthetic and a certain trailer park chic. And Sedaris' whimsy shines in her costumes, characterizations, and bizarrely inappropriate selection of crafting ideas. The anti-Martha Stewart, Sedaris isn't afraid to embrace real life when confronting crafting challenges. A great deal of fun and worth every penny. I was so blown away by "I Like You" that I purchased 5 copies to give out for Christmas this year. I am now going to pick up additional copies of "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People" to make it a bad taste gift set! It's time to unleash the genius and the madness of Amy Sedaris on my friends that haven't had the pleasure--and this is the perfect vessel. KGHarris, 11/10.
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