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New and Noteworthy
The Lost Child
by Wesley McNair

In this volume inspired by the impending death of his mother, Wesley McNair, long a poet of New England places, takes a new path, exploring her homeplace in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri. The linked poems of the book describe characters and events with the small, telling details for which McNair is noted, yet it also includes large themes: hope, delusion, family struggles, and lost selves. But the most important theme of all is reconciliation, as McNair attempts through these poems to know and understand his mother. Combining humor, sorrow, and his singular gift for narrative, this is McNair's most ambitious and moving collection, showing yet again why Philip Levine has called him "one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry."

Praise for Wesley McNair

"By the faculty of his attention—to people, to their talk—McNair's compassion turns itself into art." – Donald Hall, The Harvard Review

"[He is] a master craftsman with a remarkable ear." – Maxine Kumin, Ploughshares

"He has produced one of the most individual and original bodies of work by a poet of his generation." – Ruminator Review

The Hand of the Small-Town Builder
by W. Tad Pfeffer

Northern New England in the late nineteenth century saw an explosion of what we now call "new home construction." The railroads had opened up the mountains to tourists while steamers regularly plied the coast. The concept of a paid summer vacation was gaining traction, and families, both rich and poor, were eager to rusticate in small villages where, close to nature, they would enjoy the blessings of a salubrious climate. Middle-class families could afford to build homes, and since their budgets precluded "name" architects, the need was answered by native builders, talented craftsmen familiar with the local resources who could draw the basic lines, muster and supervise a building crew, and meet the needs of clients. These weren't the fancy summer "cottages" of Newport or Bar Harbor, but simple structures erected on modest budgets for comfortable summer living. Many were, and still appear, very beautiful, and the best examples are shown in this striking survey of houses built by self-taught architects whose work survives as testaments to their skill.

The men behind the developments were far more than builders; they acted as land speculators, developers, and architects. They ran the typical three-man crews, house-sat over the winter, and were the liaisons with the "summer people" who would arrive in June and leave in early September. The houses they built were sensitive to the local topography and connected to the landscape as masterpieces of vernacular design. From the seacoast and islands of Maine to the hill towns, lakes, and rivers of Vermont and New Hampshire, Pfeffer has thoroughly researched and thoughtfully photographed the best examples. His text is rich with history and commentary. Far more than a pretty picture book, this is a scholarly and richly documented survey of master craftsmen whose subtle but powerful influence on the northern New England landscape is poignantly recorded in these pages.

W. Tad Pfeffer is a geophysicist, teacher, and photographer at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a Fellow of the University's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. He has photographed architecture and landscapes in New England, Colorado, Alaska, Iceland, Greenland, and Arctic Canada, often focusing on the historical imprint of people through architecture and alterations of the landscape. His photographs have been exhibited and published throughout the world.

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.


Sleet
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.

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


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.

Seeking the North Star
by John Silber



foreword by Tom Wolfe

If you lived and worked in Boston at any point during the last half century, you were aware of a force emanating from an increasingly influential institution on the banks of the Charles River; the institution was Boston University and the force behind it was John Silber. From his induction in 1971 until his retirement in 2011, Silber was unrelenting in improving the standards and quality of his university. What he may have lacked in tact, he more than made up for in intellectual brilliance, wide-ranging vision, and stubborn advocacy. A professor of philosophy, celebrated for his work on Immanuel Kant, Silber was a humanist in the tradition of Jefferson, Holmes, Whitehead, and Barzun.

The best of the man is revealed in this selection of his writing, speeches, essays, and articles, collected from over forty years of vigorous engagement. Here he speaks as a philosopher, educator, parent, and political observer and participant (ahead in the polls, he would have been elected Governor of Massachusetts had he not run afoul of Channel Five's beloved Natalie Jacobsen. The famous incident is recounted in high style in Tom Wolfe's Foreword). Silber tackles issues including education at all levels, culture and the media, democracy and international affairs. Delivered from 1971 to 2012, the speeches offer his incisive reflections on the Vietnam War, Watergate, student activism of the seventies, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, developments in science and technology, the increasing power of the media, global corporations, and many other issues. His style is lively, crisp, and pointed, spiked with his acerbic wit and guided by an ongoing search for wisdom.

Silber was a model of probity and integrity in both his private and his public life, an intellectual pessimist and a congenital optimist. Even as he brought Boston University from a sleepy and fast-declining "streetcar college" to a major educational institution, he spoke out on topical issues and principles on which our human fulfillment and national identity depended. Inspiring many, infuriating some, his was a life that mattered, and a voice worth listening to.

John Robert Silber was born in San Antonio in 1926. The seventh president of Boston University, he was, in addition, the first chairman of the Texas Society to Abolish Capital Punishment, a leader in the racial integration of the University of Texas, a member of the founding committee of Project Head Start, a member of President Reagan's Bipartisan Committee on Central America, the 1990 Democratic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts, and Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education. His books include Straight Shooting: What's Wrong with America and How to Fix It, Architecture of the Absurd: How "Genius" Disfigured a Practical Art, and Kant's Ethics. Silber died in 2012.

Crime and Puzzlement
by Lawrence Treat

Eli P. Harvard was found dead inside his ski lodge, a revolver in his hand and a bullet in his brain. He'd broken up with Sally the night before. Had despondency driven him to suicide? Or had the vengeful Sally done him in? The clues are in the picture; it's up to you, the closet detective, to find out who killed Harvard and why.

• Read the Story
• Ponder the picture
• Seize pencil in fist
• And solve it yourself!

With Lawrence Treat as your escort you'll discover detecting powers you never dreamed you had. Who stole the Van Bliven necklace? Did Mrs. Falwell really fall out of her twelfth-floor window? Where did Little William go? You find out!

Lawrence Treat was a prolific author of mystery novels and short stories and was the founder of the Mystery Writers of America. He began his professional career as a lawyer, but when his law firm broke down, he turned to writing. Besides his crime novels, he created what he referred to as crime mystery picture puzzle books, such as You're the Detective and all three Crime and Puzzlement books!

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

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