A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Close Encounters of the Furred Kind: New Adventures with My Sad Cat & Other Feline Friends by Tom Cox

A critic review (source LA Times) can be read at: http://lat.ms/2dmIWiD.
Cox’s prose about his furry family are what makes his memoir more endearing than a mere repackaging of his cats’ best Twitter material, even to a dog person like me.
Book description from Google Books:
Close Encounters of the Furred Kind is the follow-up to the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller The Good, The Bad, and the Furry. Like The Good, The Bad, and the Furry, it tells the story of Tom Cox’s life with his charismatic cats–The Bear, Shipley, Ralph, and recent recruit Roscoe.Close Encounters of the Furred Kind begins with a long, emotional goodbye to Norfolk, and continues with another amazing new lease on life for The Bear, the Benjamin Button of the cat world, among the bluebells and verdant hedgerows of Devon. Readers who became attached to The Bear’s magical, owlish persona during his previous adventures will become more so here as he proves, once again, that he’s a cat with endless secrets and significantly more than nine lives.
The book is rated 4.38/5 at goodreads.com, from 566 ratings. See 97 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cMtkI6.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tYmg4m.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: The Edge: Is the Military Dominance of the West Coming to an End? by Mark Urban

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1HU5Wmr.
The framework deal with Iran may be a good omen but The Edge remains a timely warning. The key is effective and realistic deterrence, to assure those who are vulnerable and dissuade those who threaten. This is a neglected but vitally important contemporary conundrum.
Book description from Google Books:
The size of western armed forces, their stocks of weaponry and their readiness for combat are declining. Meanwhile, growing nationalism is hampering international cooperation and fuelling conflict everywhere. The west’s will – as well as its capability – to shape the world is ebbing away. Beset by economic woes, western countries are continuing the post-Cold War process of disarmament at the very moment that many believe a new Cold War is starting. NATO members have compared Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy to that of Adolf Hitler, newly empowered groups such as ISIS, not to mention some governments, are tearing up the rulebook of acceptable international behaviour, and the military prowess that the western world once regarded as its prerogative is being dwarfed by countries like India and China.Tightly argued by Newsnight’s diplomatic and defence editor Mark Urban, The Edge is a sharp polemic that breaks new ground in examining the workings and consequences of these geo-political tectonics, and shows just how rapidly the balance of power has been upended.
The book is rated 3.49/5 at goodreads.com, from 59 ratings. See 8 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1GNJfcS.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sBxIig.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places by Anna Pavord

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cyjfOU.
An American reader ends up wanting to invite Pavord, obviously a very thoughtful companion, on a trip to the Alaskan wilderness or the California desert.
Book description from Google Books:
In Landskipping, Anna Pavord explores some of Britain’s most iconic landscapes in the past, in the present, and in literature. With her passionate, personal, and lyrical style, Pavord considers how different artists and agriculturists have responded to these environments. Like the author’s previous book The Tulip, Landskipping is as sublime and picturesque as its subject. Landskipping features an eclectic mix of locations, both ecologically and culturally significant, such as the Highlands of Scotland, the famous landscapes of the Lake District, and the Celtic hill forts of the West Country. These are some of the most recognizable landscapes in all of Britain. Along the way, Pavord annotates her fascinating journey with evocative descriptions of the country’s natural beauty and brings to life travelers of earlier times who left fascinating accounts of their journeys by horseback and on foot through the most remote corners of the British Isles.
The book is rated 3.34/5 at goodreads.com, from 32 ratings. See 7 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1TEfdnE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sucYZU.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: The Making of Home: The 500-Year Story of How Our Houses Became Our Homes by Judith Flanders

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2pRGVlQ.
So we’ll need other books on the history of “home,” ones that ask questions about why the idea was so firmly promoted, and ones that make use of the new evidence from the earth. But meanwhile, this book has charm and learning.
Book description from Google Books:
The 500-year story of how, and why, our homes have come to be what they are, from the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of The Invention of Murder and The Victorian City
The book is rated 3.70/5 at goodreads.com, from 349 ratings. See 78 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1jZXkQB.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pRPcGg.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher

A critic review (source LA Times) can be read at: http://lat.ms/1IP4yMg.
The human hand is everywhere evident here — the letters written so carefully, addressed and stamped and sent by post, the wait for response, which took sometimes only a few days, sometimes weeks as the terrible irony of Millar’s developing Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of his memory and ability to write fiction and letters to his beloved.
Book description from Google Books:
This spectacular collection of more than 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history—the brightest and best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Entries include a transcript of the letter; a short contextual introduction; and, in 100 cases, a captivating facsimile of the letter itself. The artfulness of Shaun Usher’s eclectic arrangement creates a reading experience rich in discovery. Mordant, hilarious, poignant, enlightening—surprise rewards each turn of the page. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, portraits, and relevant artworks, this handsome hardcover is a visual treat too, making Letters of Note an utterly distinctive gift, and an instant classic.
The book is rated 4.37/5 at goodreads.com, from 2918 ratings. See 384 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1IP4wnJ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2swGA8W.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Man Who Made Things Out Of Trees by Robert Penn

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1ReERiW.
There is something special about the stuff…From his tree Penn has made a lovely book: part elegant history, part anxious lament.
Book description from Google Books:
Out of all the trees in the world, the ash is the most closely bound up with who we are- the tree we have made the greatest and most varied use of over the course of human history. This is the story of how Robert Penn cut down an ash tree to see how many things could be made from it. Journeying from Wales across England and Ireland to the USA in his quest, Robert finds that the ancient traditions, skills and knowledge of the properties of ash, developed over millennia making wheels and arrows, tools and bowls, furniture and baseball bats, are far from dead. He reveals how the people working with this wood every day have a particular and intimate understanding of the physical world, preserving unique expertise handed down through generations. This exuberant tale of nature, human ingenuity and the pleasure of making things by hand chronicles how our urge to understand and appreciate trees still runs through us all like grain through wood.
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 188 ratings. See 34 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1RfEQ8d.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tXNMyT.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Cutaway Colouring 1960 onwards (all makes and models) by Editors of Haynes Manuals

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1INg2qs.
Haynes, famous for its maintenance manuals, has now brought out a book of them. And, as if that’s not exciting enough, the idea is that you can colour in the diagrams, too.
Book description from Google Books:
The enthusiasm for adult ‘colouring-in’ has resulted in numerous titles being published over recent months, covering subjects such as flowers, animals and decorative patterns, with links to mindfulness and art therapies. The one area that hasn’t been targeted is the more structured and mechanical approach, which would appeal to the male market. The Haynes classic cutaways fit the bill perfectly, and the variety of cars included in the owners’ colouring manual have wide appeal across all ages. Cutaway Colouring contains over 180 cutaways, along with a brief history about the classic Haynes Manual.
The book is rated 2.67/5 at goodreads.com, from 3 ratings.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2u8jbPb.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Garden Time by W. S. Merwin

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2mWSFBV.
…having such a fine book of poetry come to us now from such a voice as Merwin’s is a rare and particular gift.
Book description from Google Books:
“There are few great poets alive at any one time, and W.S. Merwin is one of them. Read him.” –The Guardian “There are few great poets alive at any one time, and W.S. Merwin is one of them. Read him.” –The Guardian “Merwin has attained a transcendent and transformative elevation of beaming perception, exquisite balance, and clarifying beauty.” –Booklist, starred review ofThe Moon before Morning “Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page.” –Helen Vendler,The New York Review of Books W.S. Merwin composedGarden Time during the difficult process of losing his eyesight. When he could no longer see well enough to write, he dictated his new poems to his wife, Paula. In this gorgeous, mindful, and life-affirming book, our greatest poet channels energy from animated sounds and memories to remind us that “the only hope is to be the daylight.” From “A Breath of Day”: Last night I slept on the floor of the sea in an unsounded part of the ocean in the morning it was a long way up through the dark streets of a silent country with no language in its empty houses until I had almost reached the surface of a morning that I had never seen then a breeze came to it and I began to remember the voices of young leaves . . . W.S. Merwin served as Poet Laureate of the United States and has received every major literary accolade, including two Pulitzer prizes, most recently forThe Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon), and the National Book Award forMigration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon). He lives in Hawaii.
The book is rated 4.44/5 at goodreads.com, from 95 ratings. See 17 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mWAvQQ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sC3wUk.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: The Good, the Bad, and the Furry: Life with the World’s Most Melancholy Cat by Tom Cox

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1Hah4FZ.
His acute understanding of cats is entertaining and poignant, but those cute pet stories stand on the foundation of a talented and deeply thoughtful writer.
Book description from Google Books:
Meet The Bear—a cat who carries the weight of the world on his furry shoulders, and whose wise, owl-like eyes seem to ask, Can you tell me why I am a cat please? Like many intellectuals, The Bear would prefer a life of quiet solitude with plenty of time to gaze forlornly into space and contemplate society’s ills. Unfortunately, he is destined to spend his days surrounded by felines of a significantly lower IQ. There is Janet, a large man cat who often accidentally sets fire to his tail by walking too close to lighted candles; Ralph, a preening tabby who enjoys meowing his own name at 5AM; and Shipley, Ralph’s brother, who steals soup but is generally relaxed once you pick him up and turn him upside down. And then there’s Tom Cox, writing with wit and charm about the unexpected adventures that go hand-in-hand with a life at the beck and call of four cats. This heartwarming Sunday Times bestselling  memoir about a man at the mercy of his unpredictable, demanding and endlessly lovable cats is sure to become an instant hit with American readers and petlovers.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 1232 ratings. See 178 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1Hah6O3.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sIwRwl.

A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong by Caroline Casey

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/1QhSAnt.
Cats have a hold on us—even those of us who do not consider ourselves a “cat person.” And now cat videos do too. All it takes is a click of a mouse, or, in the case of Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, the turn of a page, to find out why.
Book description from Google Books:
“Coffee House Press, a major nonprofit publisher, recently launched a Kickstarter for a book examining the Internet’s cat video fetish. The book, if the Kickstarter campaign reaches its $25,000 goal, will be titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, and examine themes like what makes something art, whether art is good or bad, and how taste develops. In other words, cat videos can actually be . . . pretty serious.”—The Washington Post “Coffee House Press one-ups all boring Kickstarter campaigns with Catstarter, a campaign to fund a book on cat videos.”—The Millions “Coffee House Press’s upcoming book, titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, takes the opportunity to examine a seemingly irrelevant subject from new perspectives—from ‘the line is between reality/self on the internet’ to ‘how cat videos demonstrate either that nothing matters, or that any art matters if anyone thinks it does.’ Thus, it’s an earnest attempt to uncover more about human nature—especially in today’s internet-driven world.”—Cool Hunting Fifteen writers, all addressing not just our fascination with cat videos, but also how we decide what is good or bad art, or art at all; how taste develops, how that can change, and why we love or hate something. It’s about people and technology and just what it is about cats that makes them the internet’s cutest despots. Contributors include: Sasha Archibald, Will Braden, Stephen Burt, Maria Bustillos, David Carr, Matthea Harvey, Alexis Madrigal, Joanne McNeil, Ander Monson, Kevin Nguyen, Elena Passarello, Jillian Steinhauer, Sarah Schultz, and Carl Wilson.
The book is rated 3.50/5 at goodreads.com, from 60 ratings. See 13 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1QhSCvz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tGuvSn.