YogaIdiot’s Guides: Yoga by Sarah Herrington
Alpha Books, 247 pages, $19.95

Explore the World of Yoga the Easy Way





“Yoga is a practice for anyone of any age, background, belief system or body type.”

New to the practice of Yoga or know nothing about it? – then Idiot’s Guide: (as easy as it gets) Yoga is a great place to start. Author, teacher and yoga instructor Sarah Herrington has compiled her extensive knowledge and experience of Yoga into a wonderful easy to use beginner’s guide. The types of Yoga explored in this book are primarily Hatha, Vinyasa, and Power. Sara guides readers through the tools needed, primary breathing techniques and about a hundred different poses. The poses build on each other and progress in skill levels. There are multiple, full-colored illustrations of individuals demonstrating each step of the pose along with helpful tips. In addition, basic information on chakras, mantras and meditation is also included as are some inspiring quotes that divide the chapters. Whether you desire to become stronger, more relaxed, relieve pain or better understand you mind-body connection through Yoga, Idiot’s Guide to Yoga is a timeless go-to resource.

Reviewed by Kimberly Logan-Elwell


wineIdiot’s Guides: Wine by Stacy Slinkard
Alpha Books, 262 pages, $19.95

Easy to Read Guide for All Things Wine




Do you wonder which wine is best with what foods? Are you unclear of what a varietal is? Well, Stacy Slinkard has your answers in The Idiot’s Guide to Wine. Her book opens with wine basics such as how wine is made, old world versus new world wines and the eight grapes to know. Slinkard then covers buying, serving, tasting and storing wine. For example, do you know what the benefits of decanting a wine are? Section three comprises of wines of Europe, followed by wines of North America and the Southern Hemisphere. Each region begins with an overview, the viticultural areas and the wine laws for the country. Following a map of the area, a wine from the area is paired with a food type such as poultry, meat, cheese, etc. Finally, a list of producers to try from the region is suggested. Beautiful color photographs accompany the detailed explanations. Other types of wine such as champagnes and fortified wines are the last chapter of the book. The book closes with a comprehensive appendix with a glossary, Q&A and a recommended reading list for more information.

“Wine-growing regions are places of distinction, with unique soil structures, climate zones, geographic features, and grape-growing abilities.”


Slinkard knows a lot about wine and has shared every last detail with the reader. Her simplified, organized chapters give the reader the necessary basics to understand, to buy and enjoy wine. This helpful guide offers tons of information so that even the most seasoned connoisseur will learn something new, but is most helpful to someone that wants to learn and understand wine in an easy-to-understand format.

Reviewed by Seniye Groff


sewingIdiot’s Guides: Sewing by Cinnamon Miles
Alpha Books, 266 pages, $19.95

A Good Book for the Novice




Many domestic arts, such as canning, knitting, making bread, and sewing, were once considered outdated, but are now seeing a resurgence. In times past, these skills were learned from parents or other experienced adults. Today, however, we often have to learn from books on our own. For those who are interested in sewing, The Idiot’s Guide to Sewing is an excellent place to start.

Cinnamon Miles starts by discussing tools and types and preparation of fabric. She then turns to the sewing machine, including how to thread it, types of machine needles, sewing machine feet, loading bobbins, and adjusting tension. Next, Miles addresses sewing basics, including basic stitching, seams and hems, ruffles and gathers, fasteners, pleats, decorative techniques, basic clothing techniques, and patterns. The book closes with a chapter of thirteen basic, easy and intermediate projects, in addition to the practice projects that close each chapter. Most importantly, everything is spelled out with clear, up-close, color photos and step-by-step instructions, giving the reader the sense that he or she can accomplish the task. For the novice, Miles provides a strong introduction to sewing and several fun projects to boot.

Reviewed by Annie Peters


weightIdiot’s Guides: Weight Training by Abby Fox
Alpha Books, 274 pages, $19.95

Invaluable Guide to Weight Lifting




Abby Fox has written a comprehensive guide to all things revolving around weight training in her book The Idiot’s Guide to Weight Training. The book opens with a Q&A section that addresses many common weight training questions. The book is organized by body part such as legs, chest, back, etc. and even includes trends like medicine balls, kettle bells and suspension bands. Lastly, Fox outlines two-day, three-day and various other targeted routines. Included in each body-part chapter are numerous different exercises for that body part. Each exercise is demonstrated with ample color photos and step-by-step directions to perform the exercise properly. There is also a diagram with the body part targeted and the level of difficulty. The “Be Careful!” text boxes are especially helpful to ensure the exercise is performed safely.

“In this book, you’ll learn the proper technique on how to condition every muscle in your body, when to progress yourself to avoid plateaus, and how to design your own workouts.”


The Idiot’s Guide to Weight Training is truly a book for someone in need of precise and detailed directions and information. Even as a seasoned weight lifter, this reviewer learned a few new techniques, though. If you are serious about learning a weight lifting routine or just want to learn something new, this book is a great starting point on your road to fitness.

Reviewed by Seniye Groff


beautyIdiot’s Guides: Making Natural Beauty Products by Sally Trew
Alpha Books, 248 pages, $19.95

A Treasure Trove of Information




The Idiot’s Guide to Making Natural Beauty Products presents a gold mine of information for anyone interested in making body products. Sally Trew starts with a solid overview of oil and herbal ingredients, the steps to make infusions and extractions, and natural preservatives. Trew then proceeds to the usual mask and peels, creams and balms, butters and lotions, and scrubs. She doesn’t stop there, however. Instead, she continues with several chapters on making your own mineral makeup, including foundations, blushes, eye shadow, eyeliner and even mascara. If that was not enough, Trew provides instruction on making lipsticks, fragrances and even nail polishes. She finishes the book with chapters on fun products for girls and teens and products for men. An appendix provides a list of vendors for various supplies.

Trew’s recipes do not appear difficult. Furthermore, the colors of her eye shadows, blushes, and lipsticks are gorgeous. And who wouldn’t want to try a nice banana mask while in a bath scented with lavender bath oil? For the DIY crowd, this book presents endless opportunities.

Reviewed by Annie Peters


knittingIdiot’s Guides: Knitting by Megan Goodacre
Alpha Books, 266 pages, $19.95




Like the popular “…for Dummies” series of how-to books, the “Idiot’s Guides” – published in the U.S. under the Penguin Group imprint Alpha Books – have been around for nearly 20 years. Ranging from academic topics to hobbies and personal interest, the monographs in both series are written by specialists in their area of expertise with the intent of guiding readers through basic introductory material in easy-to-follow instructions.

In this attractively illustrated step-by-step guide, designer and author Goodacre provides an excellent beginning tutorial in the handicraft of knitting, from the basics of choosing the right yarn and needles to casting on and off, leading to intermediate skills such as increasing, decreasing, charts and color work. In addition to clearly written directions on a wide variety of stitches and techniques, plentiful close-up color photographs accompany the text. More than 20 different projects – from a simple washcloth to a baby’s hat and button-up sweater to a woman’s raglan-sleeve pullover – are included to test and try new skills. Tips on fixing and avoiding mistakes, a gallery of stitch patterns, a good glossary and index make this an excellent reference source for both the novice and advanced knitter.

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen


drawingIdiot’s Guides: Drawing by David Williams
Alpha Books, 281 pages, $19.95

Fifty Projects to Improve Your Drawing Technique




Drawing can be a wonderful hobby and understanding basic technique can prevent significant frustration. The Idiot’s Guide to Drawing provides a remarkably complete overview of drawing basics in a neatly progressive fashion. This book begins with a brief discussion addressing workspace and necessary tools, and then quickly moves into a series of fifty projects broken into five levels. Projects include drawing a ribbon, the profile of a dog, the night sky, a sailboat, a leaf, and a reclining figure. Each project presents a new concept, and the projects are presented in order of increasing difficulty. Step-by-step instructions and drawings accompany each project, and an advanced variation is provided for those seeking a little more challenge. Finally, the book suggests that novices begin at the first level, while those with more experience may wish to start at a later level.

It would take a very dedicated soul to complete all fifty projects in this book. However, if someone were to carefully work through these projects, they would gain tremendous insight into drawing techniques. Hopefully, that person would then be able to apply those same techniques to creations of his or her own.

Reviewed by Annie Peters