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New and Noteworthy
Why We Make Things and Why It Matters
by Peter Korn

The good life that society prescribes – the untram­meled pursuit of wealth and fame, leisure and consumption – often leaves some essential part of us malnourished. We may be capable, competent indi­viduals yet find ourselves starved for avenues of engagement that provide more satisfying sustenance.

Furniture making, practiced as a craft in the twenty-first century, is a decidedly marginal occupation. Yet the view from the periphery can be illuminating. For woodworker Peter Korn, the challenging work of bringing something new and meaningful into the world through one's own volition – whether in the arts, the kitchen, or the marketplace – is exactly what generates the authenticity, meaning, and fulfillment for which many of us yearn.

In this moving account, Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer/maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Ander­son Ranch Arts Center, and finally founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected, non-profit institution.

This is not a "how-to" book in any sense. Korn wants to get at the why of craft in particular, and the satisfactions of creative work in general, to under­stand their essential nature. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How do the prod­ucts of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn draws on four decades of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently, and often poignantly, in this personal, introspective, and revealing book.

Peter Korn is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, a non-profit school in Rockport, Maine. A furniture maker since 1974, he is also the author of several how-to books, including the bestselling Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship (Taunton Press, 2003). His furniture has been exhibited nationally in galleries and museums.

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"We read a book such as this for the most important of reasons: to find some insight into our own work and becoming."

Patrick Downes in Head, Hands, and Heart: Generations With Peter Korn

Read the full article here

In his beautiful book Why We Make Things and Why It Matters, Peter Korn invites us to understand craftsmanship as an activity that connects us to others, and affirms what is best in ourselves.                                                                                                                                                                                               -- Matthew Crawford,  author of Shop Class as Soulcraft
What is the point of craft in a completely mass-produced world?  Peter Korn's life, as told here, holds an answer. This fascinating account offers insights into the significance of the handmade object for the maker as well as for society as a whole.
                                                                                                                           -- Martin Puryear
Peter Korn writes that his work as a furniture-maker tries to accomplish three goals: integrity, simplicity, and grace. Fortunately, these qualities are also what distinguish his writing. In this book, he gives the reader an almost tangible sense of what it takes to be a creative craftsman, a homo faber, a maker of things, which is one of the central elements of the human condition. But he does much more than that: he explores what the search for self and for belonging entails in our rapidly changing times.                                               -- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Peter Korn's brilliant new book resonates with me as a visual artist in a profound way. I share his passion for craft and admire his ability to take a plank of wood and fashion anything he sets his mind to. Throughout the centuries, furniture makers and painters have shared a set of belief systems centered on craft. The pleasure and calm that I get as a painter fashioning a complicated work from colored dirt on canvas is, I believe, the same pleasure and peace that Peter Korn and his students get as craftsmen.                                                                                                                                -- Chuck Close

Here, furniture maker Korn shifts from how-to guides to a more philosophical approach to woodcraft. [...] This book documents Korn's personal philosophy, interweaves art and existence, and is based on a strong belief in his work.[...] An uplifting title for artisans, novice or skilled, who will benefit from the ideas of a kindred spirit.                                               -- Library Journal

This title is now available as an eBook through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and other eBook retailers.

Appalachia USA
by Builder Levy

This book is an intense artistic exploration of a significant yet little understood and often overlooked region of the United States.

Despite the promise of alternative energy, coal still fuels most of our power plants and steel mills. The story of its extraction, and of the people who live, work, and endure in West Virginia, Southwestern Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, has been a source of fascination bordering on obsession for the photographer Builder Levy. For four decades, he has been witness to a dangerous industry where workers operate heavy machinery in close quarters underground, extracting ever-increasing tonnage of coal. Over the last two decades, at surface mines, Levy has seen powerful explosives tear apart mountain summits, followed by giant draglines that scoop out the exposed veins of coal in massive, destructive, quantities. He has also witnessed strikes and picket lines, desperation and rage, hope and dignity, and the inevitable natural and man-made disasters that are part of the territory.

Builder Levy is part of a grand humanist continuum that includes Lewis Hine, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, to name a few. Intertwining the traditions of fine art, social documentary, and street photography, Appalachia USA is an aesthetically and socially significant book that celebrates the human spirit; it is this spirit that shines through the coal dust in the faces of miners, in mothers struggling to protect their children, and in ravaged but resilient communities. Levy's photographs and accompanying captions capture the tension, the dignity, and the enduring humanity of this troubled corner of America. Includes 69 spot-varnished tritone photographs on large 9 9/16 by 12 inch pages.

Builder Levy's work has appeared in more than two hundred exhibitions, including over fifty one-person shows. His photographs appear in more than fifty public collections around the world. He has been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and two commissions from the Appalachia College Association. Monographs of his work include Images of Appalachian Coalfields and Builder Levy Photographer, and his photographs are featured in more than twenty-five other books. He lives in New York City with his wife, Alice Deutsch.

Splendor of Heart
by Robert D. Richardson

In The Education of Henry Adams, Adams presciently observed that "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Walter Jackson Bate, the legendary Harvard professor, was far more than a celebrated and decorated biographer; he was an inspired teacher. And books about great teachers are rare. Here Robert Richardson, himself a distinguished teacher and biographer, takes the reader back to the Harvard of the fifties when men like Bate could hold a classroom of undergraduates enthralled by making literature seem "achingly human, and real, and important," a task that involved not only exploring the work but the authors themselves – their lives, their hopes and their failures. Above all, Bate instilled in his students the heterodox notion that learning itself means nothing unless it leads to action, that simply understanding the text is a dead end unless the words affect and change behavior.

Goethe, in his conversations with Eckermann, also had it right: "Everywhere, we learn only from those whom we love." Clearly Richardson loved Bate, both as an inspired teacher, but also as one who believed – and made his students believe – that "Education is impossible apart from the habitual vision of greatness." Richardson ably transfers the enthusiasms of his quirky, vulnerable, opinionated, and charismatic professor to the reader; consequently, the teacher's passion for his subjects, for the great eighteenth-century figures of Johnson and Burke, for the Romantic poets (especially Wordsworth and Keats), for Dickens and Arnold, and for T.S. Eliot (whom he literally worshiped) is palpable and contagious. The result is this lucid, vivid, and (dare we say it?) thrilling evocation of a writer and teacher who clearly changed the life and dictated the destiny of another who proudly carries the torch.

Robert D. Richardson is a biographer and literary historian. His books include Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind (1986), Emerson: The Mind on Fire (1995), and William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism (2006). He has been the recipient of many prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim, a Huntington Library, and a National Humanities Center Fellowship. He taught for many years at the University of Denver, and he and his wife, Annie Dillard, have called Key West home since 1994.

Praise for Splendor of Heart

What better book is there about the example of one person teaching literature or the humanities at large?   I don't know of one, this is it.

It's also a lovely book in production and appearance.  I've read many tributes to teachers; this homage is unparalleled, the bibliography of Jack's work an unexpected bonus.
--James Engell, Harvard University

Extreme Opposites
by Max Dalton

This book should come with a warning: These are not your ordinary opposites, they are EXTREME! Extremely funny and extremely clever, that is. Those old, humdrum pairings neither yawning parents nor woefully wide-awake children want to hear night after night, year after year – hot and cold, tall and short, the list goes on – have no place in this catalog of catastrophically mismatched antipodes.

The brainchild of Argentine artist Max Dalton (The Lonely Phone Booth, Godine, 2010), Extreme Opposites combines superlatives and opposites to create a book that is both pedagogically superior (why teach your three-year-old just one grammatical category when she could be learning two, simultaneously?) and superlatively engaging. Knights and dragons, castaways and off-hour Santas, dinosaurs and pirates, mimes and scuba divers populate this imaginatively superior universe. And with just two words per page, you and your little one will have more time to linger over the irresistible illustrations and relish this recital of reverse attractions. Opposites have never been more droll, and less dull, than in graphic artist Max Dalton's all too amusing Extreme Opposites.

Max Dalton lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has been drawing since he was two or three years old. Max has too many interests to list here – from writing to painting to playing music and reading about animals – but his all-time favorite is drawing. He is the illustrator of The Lonely Phone Booth (Godine, 2010).

Praise for Extreme Opposites:

Subtle and wry, "Extreme Opposites" is as much a source of amusement for grown-ups and older children as a pedagogical exercise for younger ones. ~The Wall Street Journal

Pizza in Pienza
by Susan Fillion

What do children and adults love in equal measure? Food! And what food inspires rapture in the hearts of children and adults alike? Pizza! Have your children ever asked where pizza comes from? Who invented the Pizza Mar­gherita? How did anyone think of combining such scrumptious ingredients as mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and fresh-baked bread? Thanks to Pizza in Pienza, you and your young charges will have all the answers, in English and Italian, including a recipe for homemade pizza.

Here is the essential history of pizza, told by a charming Italian girl who lives in Pienza and whose favorite food is . . . well, you can guess it – pizza. Life in Pienza is pretty old-fashioned, and our young heroine knows everyone on the street and at the market by name. She comes home from school at midday to eat meals with her family, but in between her snack of choice is pizza, and her favorite place is Giovanni's, where Giovanni cooks pizza the old-fashioned way – in a hot brick oven heated by a wood fire. Her grandmother, of course, makes it by hand and teaches her how to make it too. Her love of pizza even leads her to the library, where our heroine learns all she can about this ancient and ever-popular food, and so do we.

Susan Fillion, author and illustrator of Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: Bringing Matisse to America, has shifted her attention from France to Italy in this wonderful book for younger readers. While children will love the vibrant illustrations and simple story of this girl and her great love, adults will be riveted by the history and challenged by the bilingual text – for what good is a history of pizza in English only? Read the Italian out loud – Chiudo gli occhi e respiro il suo caldo profumo e il suo sapore – and your mouth will really start watering.

Susan Fillion is an artist and museum educator in Baltimore. After majoring in studio art and French at Middlebury College, she spent a year in Italy, learning Italian and studying art history. Pienza, a somewhat off-the-beaten-track town in Tuscany, became a favorite spot, eventually inspiring this bilingual tale of life and pizza in an Italian village.

Praise for Pizza in Pienza:

The history of pizza has been told before but never quite like this. Susan Fillion's Pizza in Pienza is a picture book, written in English and Italian, with charming illustrations rendered in the warm tones of Tuscany.
—The Boston Globe

The history of pizza charmingly unfolds in a bilingual story with handsome paintings that also celebrate the dish's county of origin...[the narrator's] whirlwind tour of Italian culture and history, filtered through a veil of mozzarella, is lively and sweet.
—Publisher's Weekly

[Fillion's] ingenuous voice is matched by equally enthusiastic, folk-style artwork, which looks to be made with oil pastels and is dominated by warm, Tuscan colors...Both tasty and just filling enough, just like a slice of pizza margherita.
—Kirkus Reviews

Where better to celebrate food than in Italy, home of perhaps the most globally popular food of all, pizza?...Fillion includes amusing touches in her handsome paintings...Given how much Americans like pizza, this book should find many interested readers.
—The New York Times

The Tyger Voyage
by Richard Adams

Here, for readers young and old, is the original Tyger Voyage, fraught with suspense and adventure, molten lava and footloose gypsies. In this charming tale, a gentleman tyger and his son set sail in a rather dubious boat into the unknown.  Together they roam across the seas, through jungles, past ice-covered mountains and erupting volcanoes to be rescued at last by a troupe of gypsies.  Eventually they return in triumph to Victorian England with many an extraordinary tale to tell.

First published in the US by Knopf in 1976, The Tyger Voyage was enthusiastically received both by the press and by readers, topping the Adult Bestseller list for several weeks! In the years since, it has become a much-loved classic. David R. Godine is proud to bring this unusual and luminous tale back into print in a large-format, full-color hardcover edition.
Richard Adams, born in 1920, is well known as the author of Watership Down and Shardik, but The Tyger Voyage is more unusual for being among his few children's books and is composed in rhyming quatrains. Adams, a best-selling author worldwide, is also a winner of the Carnegie Medal and lives a relatively quiet life in the English countryside.

Nicola Bayley remains one of England's best-loved artists. The Tyger Voyage, her first book, was published to universal acclaim. Her detailed, meticulous, and beguiling pictures have since been recognized by numerous prizes, and she continues to live in London.

Praise for The Tyger Voyage

Bayley is a brilliant artist whose pictures glow like medieval manuscripts.
—Alison Lurie, The New York Times

Nicola Bayley has created spectacular scenes, exquisitely detailed and enhanced by an inspired use of color.
—Publishers Weekly

The Tyger Voyage represents a near-perfect collaboration of writer and artist. In keeping with the 19th-century mood of the story, one should say, "Hip, Hip, Huzza!"
—Jerome Cushman, Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Arctic Regions
by William Bradford

A landmark in the annals of American photography and polar adventure, William Bradford's book The Arctic Regions was first published for subscribers in 1873. No more than three hundred copies of the leather-bound elephant folio are known to have been printed.  The book has been a prized possession of major American and European museums, libraries, and collectors ever since.

With an introduction written by the noted polar historian Russell A. Potter, The Arctic Regions is now available for the first time to the trade. As the pace of global climate change quickens and the magnificent Arctic icecap dwindles, its publication could not be more timely or important.

"This volume," artist William Bradford explained, "is the result of an expedition to the Arctic regions, made solely for the purposes of art, in the summer of 1869." Bradford had brought with him the eminent Arctic explorer and author Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes, and he had engaged the 450-ton steamer Panther to sail from St. John's, Newfoundland. On July 3rd they departed, carrying a "party of adventurers whose story is partially illustrated by the photographic views contained in this volume." Bradford became one of the first American painters to pursue the dream of painting the Arctic regions firsthand. He had made several previous voyages, but none this ambitious or far-reaching.  His purpose was always to study nature under its "terrible" aspects, to acquire material for later use in his artwork and after that in lectures illustrated with stereopticon views.  On this voyage Bradford brought along two photographers from Boston, John L. Dunmore and George P. Critcherson. They were the first photographic professionals to document so northerly a voyage. Their images added the crucial aura of "truth" to Bradford's work. While other artists had depicted the northern regions, none had made photography so central a part of the artistic process.
Today, the science-infused and art-driven narrative of The Arctic Regions offers a prophetic prelude to current news of the Earth's climate situation: these regions, first photographed under Bradford's direction, may yet vanish in our lifetime, never to be seen again.

William Bradford (1823-1892) was born and brought up in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Bradford began his professional art career painting ship portraits. In 1861, he obtained financial backing for a journey to sketch and photograph the coast of Labrador. On this and subsequent voyages, he became fascinated with the special qualities of atmospheric light in northern regions. In 1869, Bradford made a notable expedition to the Arctic on the Panther leading to the original publication of The Arctic Regions.

Available in both a trade edition and a special edition. The special edition is bound in full cloth, enclosed in a slipcase, and includes reproductions of five unpublished Dunmore and Critcherson photographs and of the original Arctic Regions prospectus.

Praise for The Arctic Regions

This new and elegant Godine edition [...] wonderfully showcases the historic duo tone photography of a 19th century polar expedition. Superbly reproduced photographs are provided with William Bradford's original captioning. This superbly produced Godine edition is [...] an impressive addition to community and academic library Photography and 19th century Arctic Exploration Studies reference collections.
—The Midwest Book Review

By Stig Dagerman

Stig Dagerman (1923–1954) is regarded as the most talented young writer of the Swedish post-war generation. By the 1940s, his fiction, plays, and journalism had catapulted him to the forefront of Swedish letters, with critics comparing him to William Faulkner, Franz Kafka, and Albert Camus. His suicide at the age of thirty-one was a national tragedy. This selection, containing a number of new translations of Dagerman's stories never before published in English, is unified by the theme of the loss of innocence. Often narrated from a child's perspective, the stories give voice to childhood's tender state of receptiveness and joy tinged with longing and loneliness.

Praise for Sleet

Dagerman wrote with beautiful objectivity. Instead of emotive phrases, he uses a choice of facts, like bricks, to construct an emotion.
—Graham Greene

An imagination that appeals to an unreasonable degree of sympathy is precisely what makes Dagerman's fiction so evocative. Evocative not, as one might expect, of despair, or bleakness, or existential angst, but of compassion, fellow-feeling, even love.
—from the preface by Alice McDermott

Stig Dagerman writes with the tension that belongs to emergency—deliberately, precisely, breathlessly. To read Dagerman is to read with your whole body—lungs, heart, viscera, as well as mind. At once remote and intimate in tone, these works by one of the great twentieth-century writers come fully to life in a remarkable translation by Steven Hartman.
—Siri Hustvedt, author of The Summer Without Men

Stig Dagerman's fearless, moving stories should be placed alongside the short fiction of such luminaries as James Joyce, Anton Chekhov, and Raymond Carver. You'll find yourself holding your breath in wonder as you read, grateful to Dagerman (and Steven Hartman) for the gift of these stories.
—Edward Schwarzschild, author of The Family Diamond

This title is now available as an eBook through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and other eBook retailers.

The African
by J. M. G. Le Clézio

The African is a short autobiographical account of a pivotal moment in Nobel-Prize-winning author J. M. G. Le Clézio's childhood. In 1948, young Le Clézio, with his mother and brother, left behind a still-devastated Europe to join his father, a military doctor in Nigeria, from whom he'd been separated by the war. In Le Clézio's characteristically intimate, poetic voice, the narrative relates both the dazzled enthusiasm the child feels at discovering newfound freedom in the African savannah and his torment at discovering the rigid authoritarian nature of his father. The power and beauty of the book reside in the fact that both discoveries occur simultaneously.

While primarily a memoir of the author's boyhood, The African is also Le Clézio's attempt to pay a belated homage to the man he met for the first time in Africa at age eight and was never quite able to love or accept. His reflections on the nature of his relationship to his father become a chapeau bas to the adventurous military doctor who devoted his entire life to others. Though the author palpably renders the child's disappointment at discovering the nature of his estranged father, he communicates deep admiration for the man who tirelessly trekked through dangerous regions in an attempt to heal remote village populations.

The major preoccupations of Le Clézio's life and work can be traced back to these early years in Africa. The question of colonialism, so central to the author, was a primary source of contention for his father: "Twenty-two years in Africa had inspired him with a deep hatred of all forms of colonialism." Le Clézio suggests that however estranged we may be from our parents, however foreign they may appear, they still leave an indelible mark on us. His father's anti-colonialism becomes The African's legacy to his son, who would later become a world-famous champion of endangered peoples and cultures.

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in 1940 in Nice, France. His first novel, Le Procès-Verbal (The Interrogation), won the Prix Renaudot in 1963 and established his reputation as one of France's preeminent writers. He has published more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Prospector (Godine, 1993) and Desert (Godine, 2009). He and his wife currently divide their time between Nice, New Mexico, and the island of Mauritius.
Praise for The African

Le Clézio is ever the master at rendering existence at the level of sensation with a daring and admirable freshness of language.
—Peter Brooks, New York Times

For many years now, the publishing house of David R. Godine has been producing some of the most attractive books of our time. Witness this little volume of reminiscences by J.M.G. Le Clézio, the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature. [...] Apart from award-winning novels, starting with The Interrogation, J.M.G. Le Clézio has written repeatedly about ecology, landscape and colonialism, paying particular attention to Africa, Mexico, Central America and his family's native Mauritius. Given that he has produced more than 40 books, The African can represent only one aspect of, in the words of the Nobel committee, an author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization. Still, this brief memoir provides a good entry point, honoring, as it does, Le Clézio s father and mother and his own lost African childhood.
—Michael Dirda, Washington Post

The past has receded, become so distant that no memory, no attempt to summon it can possibly bring it back. Nobel Prize winner J.M.G. Le Clézio tells us as much, even as his slim memoir, The African, valiantly attempts to call back a lost time. [...] Le Clézio's book is as much a speculative biography of a man he now realizes he hardly knew as a memoir of a complicated childhood. It is a memory palace, a deliberately disordered evocation of the past that hopscotches through time.
—Saul Austerlitz, Boston Globe

This is a fluid translation from the French version published in 2004 and a fine introduction to a prolific and relatively unrecognized writer. Recommended.
—Lonnie Weatherby, McGill University, Library Journal

A slim yet resonant autobiographical entry from the Nobel laureate's early years in West Africa [...] A vivid depiction of a splintered childhood and the lovely wholeness procured from it.
—Kirkus Review

This title is now available as an eBook through Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and other eBook retailers.

Printer's Devil
by Simon Loxley

The book and type designer Frederic Warde is remembered today chiefly for his collaboration with Stanley Morison, for producing the singular typeface Arrighi, and for being, briefly, the husband of Beatrice, Monotype's charismatic publicity manager. His life was short (he died in 1939, at the age of only forty-five) but in the previous two decades he had pursued a peripatetic, rollercoaster career that saw him come into contact with most of the leading players in his field, in England, Europe, and America: Bruce Rogers, Mardersteig, Updike, Ruzicka, George Macy, William Kittredge, and, of course, Morison, are just a few of a stellar cast of characters whose lives intersected with his orbit.

Until now scantily documented, Warde is the missing piece in the story of design, type, and printing in the interwar years, and this book will make essential reading for anyone interested in that critical period, one that saw the final era of hot-metal composition and printing combined with the emergence of graphic design as a distinct profession. Warde laid many false trails about his personal history, but the author has drawn upon a surprisingly large body of surviving documentation to piece together a fascinating picture of his life and of the complex, frustrating, sometimes dislikeable, but often inspiring, figure at its center.

The best of Warde's extensive body of work displays a restraint and economy linked with an often striking color sense that feels thoroughly modern in its approach. This output was maintained, sometimes erratically, against the backdrop of Warde's mercurial and fragmented professional and personal life. Polarizing the opinions of those he met, he was unfailingly a prolific, entertaining, and informed letter writer, and his correspondence provides invaluable insights into his world and those around him. Here is a designer's life played out against the backdrop of the boom years of the 1920s, the challenges of the Depression, and the obstacles and opportunities created by his own remarkable, but troubled, genius.

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