Books - Home & Garden

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141. Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables
142. Metal Detecting for the Beginner
143. Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan
144. Animals Make Us Human: Creating
145. Doodle Stitching: Fresh &
146. The Joy of Less, A Minimalist
147. From Seed to Skillet: A Guide
148. Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color,
149. Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All
150. All Creatures Great and Small
151. Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for
152. Cowl Girls: The Neck's Big Thing
153. Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects
154. Forbidden Lego: Build the Models
155. Country Living Aged to Perfection:
156. How Your House Works: A Visual
157. 365 Puppies a Year Calendar 2011
158. Woodworking Basics: Mastering
159. 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet:
160. Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's

141. Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long
by Eliot Coleman, Barbara Damrosch
list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1890132276
Publisher: Chelsea Green
Sales Rank: 2194
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Editorial Review

If you love the joys of eating home-garden vegetables but always thought those joys had to stop at the end of summer, this book is for you. Eliot Coleman introduces the surprising fact that most of the United States has more winter sunshine than the south of France. He shows how North American gardeners can successfully use that sun to raise a wide variety of traditional winter vegetables in backyard cold frames and plastic covered tunnel greenhouses without supplementary heat. Coleman expands upon his own experiences with new ideas learned on a winter-vegetable pilgrimage across the ocean to the acknowledged kingdom of vegetable cuisine, the southern part of France, which lies on the 44th parallel, the same latitude as his farm in Maine.
This story of sunshine, weather patterns, old limitations and expectations, and new realities is delightfully innovative in the best gardening tradition. Four-Season Harvest will have you feasting on fresh produce from your garden all through the winter.
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142. Metal Detecting for the Beginner
by Vince Migliore
list price: $11.95 -- our price: $8.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 144212153X
Publisher: CreateSpace
Sales Rank: 4293
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

"Metal Detecting for the Beginner" is a how-to guide for anyone interested in the sport of metal detecting. Get a feel for a typical hunt; learn key terminology, and how to buy your first detector. This book guides you through the technical concepts you will need to make intelligent choices on the equipment you buy. It includes an ample list of manufacturers, suppliers, and online resources. Welcome to the wonderful world of metal detecting!Expanded 2nd edition now available. ... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Find...., April 20, 2009
If you are looking for a book on Metal Detecting - this is the book. Has web sites, manufacturers, and other useful reference material - was my first book on the subject - and it gave me what I needed - and more... if it was metal vs paperback, it would be one of my talked about finds... worth writing a review about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Yet, April 18, 2009
Best book on metal detecting yet. Not only is it an easy read, it's the only resource that I've seen with listings of web sites, manufacturers, and ample reference material. A real "find"!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginners, April 14, 2009
This is a well written book that gives you all the basics- How detectors work, what you should look for, who the manufacturers are...He even gives good advice, that I wouldn't have thought of on my own- such as searching the internet for antique maps, so you can use the detector in areas that would be more likely to have things of value.

Get this book! There is a lot of info, and the book is small enough to get all the information you need in a couple of hours!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Beginners!, October 20, 2010
Okay - anyone wanting to know the basics behind metal detecting, should buy this book. A great gift for the beginner or casual hobbyist.

The author has more than 20+ years of experience with Metal Detecting. I know this for a fact because the author is my Dad. Beleive me folks, my Dad is a Metal Detecting Nerd - in a good way of course and knows everything there is to know about this wonderful hobby.

I hope you enjoy the book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Metal detecting for the Beginner, February 21, 2010
Excellent "must-have" for all beginners. The hardest part of starting any new hobby is the trial and error learning process. That can get expensive. This book helps eliminate much of that.
This book certainly explains the basics for metal detecting and the information on sources for products is invaluable.
Great Buy!

3-0 out of 5 stars No illustrations in the Kindle edition., December 8, 2010
This is a book for persons who are new to metal detecting. The paper book is loaded with illustrations showing equipment and techniques. None of these illustrations are included in the Kindle edition. That was a huge disappointment to me. However, the text is still very useful for beginners to this hobby.

2-0 out of 5 stars Good but no images on Kindle edition, October 26, 2010
A good book for beginners on the sport, but the lack of images on Kindle for ipad is very bad.
Amazon must inform about this prior to the buy.

3-0 out of 5 stars Metal Detecting for the Beginner, June 5, 2010
Based on the reviews I had hoped for more but the book's content on the subject of metal detecting is very basic and left me wanting more. The book does provide numerous references to other good resources, books, web site, magazines, etc... for the details the book lacks. The binding on the copy I received was not done very well and pages are falling out after just a couple of days reading, but maybe that's just my copy. This is definitely a book for someone that has no idea what metal detecting is about and as an over view on that subject I would say it provides the information to get you started and were to go to find more information.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellant book for a new hobby !, March 9, 2010
Enjoyed reading this book.
Covers things you might have over looked, when in the field.
Makes you want to discover more.
Outines a lot of resourses for research.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great "How to", January 8, 2010
I purchased this book for my husband based on the reviews I read, and I am really pleased with the choice.
This book is not only easy to understand, but had my husband researching facts on the internet the very first day he recieved it. The author definitely points out obvious details that could very easily be overlooked by somebody who doesn't exactly know what to look for.
I would recommend it to anyone interested in knowing the essential basics, and the steps to take following them. ... Read more

143. Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry
by Jodi Bombardier
list price: $22.95 -- our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1596682000
Publisher: Interweave Press
Sales Rank: 2210
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Editorial Review

Looking for new ways to manipulate wire jewelry? Weave, Wrap, Coil showcases a variety of techniques, including weaving, coiling, wrapping, texturing, and forging, and offers new ideas for creating truly amazing combinations with both silver and copper wire.

Inside you’ll discover:
basic techniques as well as beginning cold metalwork tips
25 contemporary and dazzling projects, from bracelets and necklaces to pendants, cuffs, and rings
Detailed step-by-step photography and illustrations

Designer Jodi Bombardier emphasizes wire weaving as a signature technique. She encourages you to use a variety of materials, such as beads and stones, to showcase the gorgeous details of your wire pieces. Perfect for new and experienced wireworkers alike, Weave, Wrap, Coil groups projects by level of difficulty, with each level utilizing three to four of the important techniques.
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144. Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals
by Temple Grandin, Catherine Johnson
list price: $15.95 -- our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0547248237
Publisher: Mariner Books
Sales Rank: 3228
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

How can we give animals the best life-- for them? What does an animal need to be happy?
In her groundbreaking, best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her experience as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel. Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life-- on their terms, not ours.
Knowing what causes animals physical pain is usually easy, but pinpointing emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals and then explains how to fulfill the specific needs of dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, zoo animals, and even wildlife. Whether it’s how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising, Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.

Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience. This is essential reading for anyone who’s ever owned, cared for, or simply cared about an animal.
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5-0 out of 5 stars Temple Grandin's latest book: Be kind to your four-footed friends, January 8, 2009
Understanding animals and "Creating the Best Life for Animals" is the focus of Temple Grandin's new book. As it turns out, we have more in common emotionally with our animal friends than we knew. "All animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain." The Core Emotions are: 1. Seeking, 2. Rage, 3.Fear, and 4. Panic; plus three sophisticated, special-purpose ones: 5. Lust (sex drive) 6. Care, and 7. Play.

Temple Grandin, as a person with autism, brings her unique perspective about animal emotions and behavior to her readers. Her tendency to "think in pictures", rather than in words--among other things--aids her ability to "see things from animals point of view". Despite the fact that she is autistic, she has achieved an almost unheard of success in the "real world", academically and within the industry of animal husbandry, as also the lay public. Dr. Grandin has authored or co-authored numerous books, and is also a popular speaker.

"Animals Make Us Human" is not only quite readable to the "lay" audience, but the book is also firmly rooted in scientific research. Her co-author, Catherine Johnson, PhD; is a writer in the field of neuropsychiatry and the brain. The book is well-indexed and extensively footnoted. This is a huge improvement over her earlier book,"Animals in Translation". She sites over one hundred scientific papers (which I find amazing)that help back up the information she bases on her personal intuition and experiences with the animals she works with. Also, she loves them.

I found her previous book, "Animals in Translation", intriguing and readable. Although I found much of her reasoning to be rather speculative, it did give me a lot of food for thought. I found myself quoting from it, or remembering passages that relating to dogs or cats that made me see my pets in a different light. While she writes lots of interesting things about these house pets, her very favorite animal is the cow. I just love the part where she lies in the middle of the cow pasture, until the cows get curious and come over to her and lick her face!

I've been excited to read Grandin's new book,"Animals make us Human"; every since I listened to a 38 minute interview she gave on the NPR "Fresh Air" program on January 5th. This subject promises to be just as interesting and eminently relevant to us human-animals. The first chapter, "What Do Animals Need?" laid a good basis for understanding the subsequent chapters. In "A Dog's Life" I learned that some assumptions that we make about dogs, e.g. pack behavior and the concept of "alpha wolf" may not be entirely correct. (No spoilers here! You'll have to read it yourself to find out why!). The next chapters are also about my animal favorites: Cats and Horses. Of course we read about livestock animals (Grandin's speciality), as well as wild and captive wild animals.

Regarding prices and availability of the book, I checked all the major national bookstores, and each of them had a significantly higher price for this book than the price here at Amazon. Some of the stores don't even have the book on their shelves yet. So you can get it faster and cheaper from Amazon. Free two-day delivery for members of Amazon Prime. Or add $3.99, as I did, for overnight delivery. An excellent price for an excellent book. I also appreciate that the book's binding, print, and the paper it is printed on is good quality. It's a keeper. Recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Living well with domestic animals, February 17, 2009
Grandin, an animal behaviorist known for her humane slaughterhouse designs and her outstanding books on autism (particularly her memoir "Thinking in Pictures") and relationships with animals ("Animals in Translation"), focuses on how we can give domestic animals the best life.

Most people will find the chapters on cats and dogs the most useful. Other chapters explore the emotional and physical worlds of horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wildlife and zoo animals and how each intersects with humans (not always a pretty picture). In each, Grandin engages the reader with illuminating behavioral studies and empathic interpretations.

She approaches her subject with a system. "The rule is simple: Don't stimulate RAGE, FEAR, and PANIC if you can help it, and do stimulate SEEKING and also PLAY."

Much of her advice is common sense but the science offers fascinating reinforcement and explanation. Purebred dogs, for instance, have lost a lot of the wolf's natural submissive behaviors -- designed to keep the peace -- and may no longer be able to recognize warning signs in other dogs.

She also calls the animal's natural social evolution into play. Dogs, she says, descend from families of wolves, not packs, and are looking for a parent, not an alpha. Horses' fear and flight responses are the basis of their survival in the wild and training them requires reassurance, not breaking.

She shows how to recognize emotional states in animals and gives advice on avoiding negative reactions. All animals are frightened by new things -- and all animals are attracted to new things. It all depends on how it's presented -- forcibly or voluntarily.

In conclusion Grandin observes that "many cattle have better lives than some of the pampered pets," citing separation anxiety in dogs who hate to be left alone for hours. In Grandin's view, if people paid attention to the emotional lives of the creatures that depend on them, all would have a better quality of life.

While particularly of interest to people with pets or farm animals, Grandin's take on animals always sparks reflection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and spectacular. Oprah needs to pick this today., January 21, 2009
I read this book in one sitting. As a veterinarian and writer, I've come across many, many silly books about animals. But Animals Make Us Human (along with Animals In Translation) is truly an enlightening and thought-provoking and dare I say 'necessary' read for any pet owner or anyone in the animal husbandry industry. This should be an Oprah pick for the mere chance to open the minds of the general populace to the natural world around us and those inhabitants who share this globe with us. For true insight, forget Cesar this book today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - provides a great deal of insight, August 1, 2009
This is an excellent book. As someone very interested in the ethical treatment of animals, this provides a wonderful framework for thinking about zoos, animals in the wild, pets and animals used for food. Not polemical in the sense of taking a radical view one way or the other on anything, but incredibly practical and realistic. All recommendations are based on field work and research - not opinion only.

Her discussion of dog behavior is fascinating.

Time to read some of her other books!

5-0 out of 5 stars A voice for the voiceless, January 9, 2009
Animals have a powerful and eloquent advocate in author Temple Grandin, whose autism perhaps helps her connect with them. "Autism made school and social life hard, but it made animals easy," she explains. The subhead is Creating the Best Life for Animals, and that is the focus of each chapter. Anyone who loves animals will find this information fascinating and useful.

Animals make me happy. It is important to me that animals are happy themselves. It truly distresses me when animals are unhappy. Although I have lapsed, I was a vegetarian for years because of the thought of a slaughterhouse and what goes on there. Animals Make Us Human is a book for those of us who care deeply about animal welfare.

Grandin starts out with the basic needs of all animals: freedom from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain, injury and disease. The guts of the book, however, are about more "human" needs: freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress. These needs remind me of our own human right to the pursuit of happiness. Grandin's focus on emotions as the key to an animal's happiness will ring true to any pet owner or animal lover.

The chapters on livestock -- especially the one on poultry -- have some distressing passages on how these animals are sometimes mistreated. Grandin's work in the industry to make the system more humane is a gift. So is this book.

Other books by Temple Grandin include Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior and Emergence: Labeled Autistic.

Here's the chapter list:
1. What do animals need?
2. A dog's life
3. Cats
4. Horses
5. Cows
6. Pigs
7. Chickens and other poultry
8. Wildlife
9. Zoos
10. Afterword: Why do I still work in the industry?

5-0 out of 5 stars This will change the way you look at dog behaviors!, September 27, 2009
I believe that I have read all of Dr. Grandin's previous books, however this to me is the best one yet! As someone who nearly never marks up a book, my copy of Animals Make Us Human has now set the record for my most folded, underlined and highlighted so far!

Dr. Grandin provides numerous "ah-HAH" moments......presenting us with ideas where you immediately feel its' truth.

As an example, I've never been able to buy into the "alpha-dog" concept presented in so many dog training books and popular TV shows. Employing domination techniques (and especially an "alpha-roll") is counter-intuitive when I look into the eyes of my canine friends.

Dr. Grandin cites studies of wolves in their natural environment that indicate that, "In the wild, wolves don't live in wolf packs, and they don't have an alpha male who fights the other wolves to maintain his dominance. Our whole image of wolf packs is completely wrong. Instead, wolves live in the way people do: in families made up of a mom, a dad, and their children."

To some, the difference between an alpha male and a father may not seem so significant, but to me it makes all the difference in the world. It's the difference between a relationship based in dominance and aggression and one based on love and mutual respect.

For all serious students of our relationship with dogs this is not only a "must read", but a "must read twice"!

5-0 out of 5 stars Temple Grandin Explains Making Animals Happy, August 10, 2009
Temple Grandin's newest book on animals does not disappoint. I won't give a full synopsis, since other reviewers have done that, but basically, Grandin writes that all animals have core emotions that either need to be stimulated or suppressed (depending on the emotion) for the animal to be happy. This applies to pets, like our dogs and cats, farm animals, wild animals, and zoo animals. Considering all of the situations in which we find animals, Grandin is thorough, and her principles are easy to apply to animals in any situation. (I volunteer in an animal shelter, and I have already applied many of her thoughts.) She gives plenty of examples, and her writing style is, of course, straightforward, simple, and concise.

I picked up this book because of the chapters on dogs and cats (of which I have both), but I was fascinated by the chapters on farm animals (she covers horses, cows, pigs, and chickens) and zoo animals. Be warned: if you find yourself in that "omnivore's dilemma" of wanting to be humane to animals but also wanting to be an omnivore, this can complicate your situation. Grandin is straightforward about what happens to animals raised for consumption, and although it can be difficult to read, I like that she is balanced. She does not take a stance on whether it is right or wrong to eat meat; she simply says that these animals would not exist if they weren't raised for consumption and it is our duty to make their lives happy. I admire her for being an animal-lover and doing so much good in the slaughter industry. There are also some fascinating examples in the zoo chapter, such as how Grandin and her team go about training some high-strung antelope to stand still while blood is drawn.

I found this book insightful, easy to read, interesting, and chock full of things to apply in my life with my pets, my life as an omnivore, and my life working with shelter animals, all of which will make the animals' lives I have an effect on better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, October 28, 2009
I'm not sure what role the co-author played (Catherine Johnson), but the book's strong suit is Gradin's command of scientific literature on animal behavior. Her areas of expertise are really livestock, though the chapters on domestic pets (dogs and cats) may be of most interest to most readers. (I'm surprised there isn't a chapter devoted to sheep and/or goats.) On p. 5, she states "all animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain," and then discusses the core emotions of SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, PANIC & PLAY in subsequent chapters on various animal groups (other core emotions--LUST, CARE--aren't focused on). Despite her work for the meat industry, Grandin has probably single-handedly done more to promote quality-of-life for livestock than any animal rights' organization. She recognizes the contradiction and moves on. Whatever the case, this is an important work that is not an easy read but worth the effort. The author seeks to understand the emotional life of animals through the filter of her autism and scientific literature, making for a fascinating read.

5-0 out of 5 stars most important animal book ever, January 27, 2009
this is an amazing and fascinating window into the brains and true needs of our closest animals. it demolishes destructive myths and provides truly useful and practical insights into how to make animals happier. it is science based with many fascinating anecdotes and examples. i could say much more but im not used to typing on my kindle yet. get this read it and share it as widely as possible for the sake of all the animals. and for your own sake.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Temple Grandin Classic, January 20, 2009
Ever since reading "Emergence: Labeled Autistic" over 25 years ago while studying to be an occupational therapist, I have been adding to my Temple Grandin library. Its not just her courage to overcome her disability to be the successful writer, public speaker and animal advocate that I admire, but the ongoing sharing of how autism gives her special talents that society ought to respect.

In this new book, the reader again is reminded that abnormal behaviors in both humans and other animals can be decreased or eliminated by understanding the root causes whether it be anxiety, seeking behaviors or the need to play. Dr. Grandin provides the facts to dispel animal myths in an engaging way, teaches some basic behavior modification techniques that every parent should understand and again entertains the reader whether therapist, pet owner or animal professional.

I will admit that certain visualizations make me queasy and I stopped reading Animals in Translation when I got to the description of how one removes semen to be used in artificial insemination. After reading and enjoying Animals Make Us Human straight through, my sensibilities were disturbed by the image of chickens sleeping on top of one another and the origins of the word "bully". (Being a visual thinker like Temple Grandin, I also walk away with images of happy pigs chewing up hoses and monkeys activating switches). But the point of this book isn't to make the reader feel good but to increase understanding of how we humans, the other animals and the planet depend on one another. I am now questioning my previous perception that vegetarianism was best for the planet (having read Diet for a Small Planet)because as Dr. Grandin explains we need grazing, pooping animals out there fertilizing the land to prevent dessertization. Things aren't so black and white any more and this book is very thought provoking in respects to understanding our relationships with animals, other people (especially others with differences) and ourselves.
Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L is the author of The Recycling Occupational Therapist and Still Giving Kisses: A Guide to Helping and Enjoying the Alzheimer's Victim You Love

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145. Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners
by Aimee Ray
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $6.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1600590616
Publisher: Lark Books
Sales Rank: 2594
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Editorial Review

Asian-inspired lampshades embellished with flying fish. Canvas sneakers decorated with pink and white swirls. A pretty pillow adorned with a sleeping bunny, sweetly curled up. All it takes to create these appealing projects—or add charming embroidered touches in no time at all—are a few simple stitches, some easy techniques, and the nearly 30 projects in this book. Begin by learning several styles for outlining, filling, decorating, and appliqué. Find out about floss, fancy threads, fabrics, and needles. Get the scoop on hoops, and the lowdown on transferring your very own designs onto every type of fabric. The fresh ideas, witty patterns, and clever color illustrations take stitchers from novice to accomplished in a blink of the eye!
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146. The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life
by Francine Jay
Kindle Edition
list price: $9.99
Asin: B003UNJX4S
Publisher: Anja Press
Sales Rank: 967
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Having less stuff is the key to happiness.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed, instead of overjoyed, by all your possessions? Do you secretly wish a gale force wind would blow the clutter from your home? If so, it's time to simplify your life!

The Joy of Less is a fun, lighthearted guide to minimalist living. Part One provides an inspirational pep talk on the joys and rewards of paring down. Part Two presents the STREAMLINE method: ten easy steps to rid your house of clutter. Part Three goes room by room, outlining specific ways to tackle each one. Part Four helps you trim your to-do list and free up your time, and explains how saving space in your closets can save the planet.

Ready to sweep away the clutter? Just open this book, and you'll be on your way to a simpler, more streamlined, and more serene life.
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5-0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Read and Use, August 4, 2010
Wow! If you are looking for a comprehensive handbook on minimalism, decluttering, streamlining, and essentially re-wiring your preconceptions about why you have the stuff you have, this is the book for you.

Francine Jay, aka Miss Minimalist to those in her blogosphere, has written The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life, her second book on achieving the good life by consuming less. She's a minimalist after my own heart, and unless I'm projecting too much of my own experience onto hers, appreciates the epiphany one gets by suddenly having lots of space and just a few true treasures. Francine starts right out with the mindset, the philosophy/attitude one needs to have before seriously tackling a reduction in clutter and possessions, likening this important step to changing one's eating habits as opposed to simply going on a diet. If you don't get in the mindset, you'll just backslide. I know all too well what she means by this, having done binge-purge decluttering several times over the course of my adult life until a few years ago.

This book is a well-structured, wholesale plan of attack, as opposed to loads of personal stories or autobiography. Part One tackles the the relationship we have to our stuff and why we think we have to own it. As Francine puts it: "In pursuing a minimalist lifestyle, we need to resist the temptation to recreate the outside world within our abodes." She then cites examples such as media rooms and bathroom "spas," and the dreaded home cappuccino makers. Oh yes. The section concludes with her challenge to make a list of every single thing you own-right down to every single thing in every single drawer. My brain wanted scream at the prospect of doing that-AND I've already decluttered!!! The woman isn't taking prisoners.

Part Two is entitled STREAMLINE, and each letter of that word stands for a step in the author's minimalizing process. We are to remember that "the idea is not to choose the things we'll get rid of, but to choose the things we'll keep." This perspective turns the usual decluttering process on its head, by literally getting everything out of each room and only bringing back in the most essential, and the most worthy of our precious time and space. This section is the strategy session before the big game, as it were, illustrated by some of the many quote-worthy passages:

...the things with which we choose to surround ourselves tell our story...

...take responsibility for the entire life cycle of what we buy...(from how it was made to how it will need to be disposed of)

Think of all the things we can't do when our surfaces are cluttered:we don't have room to prepare a delicious dinner, we don't have a place to sit down with our families and enjoy it, and we don't have the space to play a board game afterwards. We don't have a spot to pay our bills, do our homework, or enjoy our hobbies. In some cases, we may not even have a place to lie down at the end of the day.

Re books: Perhaps the bigger our library, the more intellectual we feel.

Re crafts (and this one made me feel the pain): ...reality check: do you enjoy doing the craft as much as collecting the materials for it? If not, perhaps you should rethink your hobby....

One of the concepts Francine writes about is the idea of Limits, and it is here that I sense the heart of her minimalist passion:

you may initially think that limits will be stifling; but you'll soon discover that they're absolutely liberating! In a culture where we're conditioned to want more, buy more, and do more, they're a wonderful breath of'll be inspired to apply them to other parts of your life...the possibilities are, well...unlimited!

Part Three is the down to brass tacks stuff, sectioned room by room, and while the methodology of uncluttering each room is pretty much the same, there's plenty of perspective on the specifics, such as, when uncluttering our wardrobes, we wonder how we acquired so many unwearable things:

...often, such excess is the result of chasing perfection....

The "chasing perfection" also applies to buying grooming and beauty products which promise perfection, and sucker us in every time. There's also lots about how to keep on top of clutter, especially the clutter created by family members who are not yet with the program. A firm but gentle persistence is urged, and with the hope that once there's not so much crap laying around, it'll be fairly easy to keep on top of things, and thus easier to get the rest of one's household to participate of their own free will. This is the other usefulness of preparing your mindset before actually tackling minimalism-it will help you resist the laggards in your own family as well as the pressures of a consumerist society.

Part Four considers life outside of your home in your schedule and in the impact on the world by your purchases/lack of purchases. Francine encourages us to apply the word "No" with courage even if we are naturally people-pleasers, in order to retain time for ourselves and for the most important things in our lives. She also, in a telling autobiographical example, encourages us to embrace the concept of "good enough:" when her young inner-perfectionist self stared in horror at carpeting her husband hadn't quite perfectly laid he said, "it's good enough." Fortunately the message got through and she's embraced it ever since, as should we.

A greater mindfulness about what we purchase and consume leads in turn to better things for the world around us, as we consider what something is made of, who has made it, how it is packaged, and how it can be recycled or disposed of when its usefulness is over. Francine adds to these benefits the beauty of sharing possessions and of setting a happy example of treading lightly on the earth as "minsumers," her own word for minimal-consumers. She concludes that sometimes minimalism can feel like swimming upstream, but the personal liberation we will feel once we step back from consumerism will be enough to sustain us and gently inspire those around us.

5-0 out of 5 stars LESS STUFF! LESS STRESS!, July 14, 2010
This book is amazing! Halfway through this book, I had the undeniable urge to start purging "stuff" from my drawers, closets and shelves. The author's concept of "how to do this" is unique. I've tried doing this on my own before, but the nagging feeling of "what if I need this" always stopped me in my tracks. The author explains how to get passed this, and it works! Now I have more space, I'm organized and I feel more relaxed. Finally, there is a book that can motivate anyone to declutter and organize their "stuff" and invite a little more tranquility into their lives. Great book!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful book!, August 4, 2010
I've read various books and articles on how to reduce clutter but none of them have spoken to me like "The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: how to get rid of clutter and simplify your life" by Francine Jay. This book deals with every aspect of wiping out clutter and living a simpler, joyous life. Francine Jay writes about the issue both from a philosophical and practical perspective. The book is written in a way that makes it seem as though the author is talking to you, with kindness and yet with authority. This is what I needed! Jay shows you how to get started right away and then leads you through the process, step by step, room by room, giving solutions for every aspect of decluttering and simplifying your life.

The author offers solutions that are totally realistic and doable. I am amazed at the progress I have made from reading this book. My closet is now half empty and my kitchen counters are clean and free of clutter! I think that is because the book has also helped me change my way of thinking, helping me to move from a place of uncertainty to one of confidence as I go through this process. I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars My husband will read this book if I have to read it out loud to him., August 22, 2010
If I have read this book out loud to my husband over dinner for the next month, I will.

I've been a fan of Ms.Jay since I read Frugillionare. I have clipped coupons and been a bargain hunter for more years than I care to admit.

I wasn't sure if The Joy of Less would be meaningful to me since we downsized and eliminated a lot of our "excess" over six years ago. After reading this, I've realized how much "stuff" has been sneaking back into our little two bedroom townhouse. And, so much of it is my husband's stuff! Tools that moved with us and have been in the attic for six years now, cans of nuts and bolts and nails. I'm at fault too, too many bags of yarn and blocks of wood from my hobbies. But I can honestly say, after reading this, I've cleaned out my closet and out went the clothes and shoes I no longer wear, and I've tossed a bunch of kitchen items I thought I had to have and then never used.

My house still needs a lot of work, and I will never be a total minimalist, but I have more room and less clutter and I'm really happier. I think twice now about buying that extra item. Case in point, we recently remodeled our kitchen - a necessary task to keep the resale value up on our townhome. I wanted something to hold the wet sponge at the sink, and Target had several good and "cute" options at $10 - $15. What I finally did was to pull out a crystal ashtray that I inherited from my father and it works great! It was packed away in a cabinet and of no other use, except it reminds me of him and my stepmom, so now it's useful and looks great by my sink.

I'm also getting ready to put several things on ebay that no longer are needed and wanted. I've been looking up "values" and most of my treasures are not worth what I thought!

So, it I can convert my husband, this book will be worth it's weight in gold!
Wish me luck.

Thanks, Ms. Jay, for making us think before we spend and clutter our lives with unnecessary "stuff".

5-0 out of 5 stars The Joy of the Joy of Less!, August 28, 2010
In these times of economic uncertainty, downsizing may bring an emotional upheaval when trying to get by on fewer things. Fortunately, Francine Jay makes this journey a trip to genuinely cherish in "The Joy of Less". She presents minimalism not as something barren and empty but as freedom and space that makes our lives more enjoyable. And where can this make more of a personal impact than our homes?

This book is in four parts: Philosophy, Streamline, Room by Room and Lifestyle. In Philosophy, she introduces the concept of minimalism and asks the reader to think about our possessions and the value we attach to them: Are we defined by what we own? How much is enough to possess and actually use? And how clutter keeps us back in several ways, not just physically but at the very core of our lifestyle.

In Streamline, she lays out a methodical and clear strategy of de-cluttering our homes. In fact, `Streamline' itself is a handy ten-word mnemonic to guide the process of, well, streamlining! Separating our possessions into Trash, Treasure or Transfer helps to identify what we need to keep and what we can let go - either to the dump or to sell or donate to charity. And everything we keep must make a strong case to remain and have a place it can stay. Which is not on a surface like a table or even the floor, that must remain clear of objects lest it attracts stray items like a magnet. Her concept of storage cuts across three realms: Inner circle, outer circle and deep storage for items used often, sometimes and rarely respectively. `Room by Room' takes the streamline concept and applies it to each room in your home, taking into account the different and unique purpose of them all. She goes into detail how each space can be overhauled into peaceful, calm and de-cluttered oasises.

She closes in her `Lifestyle' section with a homily to expanding minimalism from de-cluttering to saving time from our busy schedules and even to a concept of `minsumerism', a means of reducing our consumption by the Three Rs of reduce, re-use and recycle. This is not an eco-rant on the sly but an instructive exploration of how a life of `enough' can pay dividends on the resources of the planet. She sums this up by comparing an ever-seeking, never-satisfied hunger for material acquisition as akin to a bull in a china shop, when in fact a more considerate approach is more like a butterfly, moving gracefully and lightly without leaving nary a footprint behind!

This is a great book from the writer of the `Miss Minimalist' blog (and NOT a reprint of what appears online). As we all face potentially stark choices of doing more with less in these trying times, we could all embrace `The Joy of Less'!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wholeheartedly Recommend this Book!, August 11, 2010
There are lots of books out there on living the minimalist life, but this book is different. It makes you want to run to your kitchen and start throwing out all those silver party trays you've had since you got married but never use. You suddenly feel inspired to get rid of your skinny clothes because the chances of fitting into a size 4 again are pretty slim (yes, pun intended!) I for one could not wait to hit my make-up drawer. I thought I was down-sized with my eleven compacts of eye make-up, five mascaras, 6 tubes of lipstick and various odds n ends that I haven't touched in years much less put on my face. It was so liberating to throw out all those beauty supplies that I will never get around to using.

The whole premise of this book is that having less stuff is the key to happiness. I couldn't agree more. The thing I like most about this book is it doesn't just tell you to start purging your possessions willy-nilly but it poses questions to ask yourself about everything that you own. The reader decides what gives their life value not the author. She guides you through the process and you come up with the answers.

Contrary to what the status quo would have us believe, having a lot of material possessions does not make us rich. Most of us have way too much stuff but not enough time to enjoy it all. This book is about the power of minimalist living. It's about getting rid of the excess so we can make room for new experiences and the things we truly love. Her musings on how to handle gifts and sentimental items is especially valuable. She reminds us that gifts are symbols of the giver's love. It's the intention of the giver that matters not the gift. Relish the intention and if you don't need it or want it, pass that gift along to someone else who can use it.

I can't pinpoint exactly what it was about this book that inspired me to go even deeper in my simplifying journey, but it did. Maybe it's the fact that the author takes the subject seriously but not in a judgmental way. We've all read those books that make you feel like a loser because you can't just tear through your house like a Kansas tornado and rid yourself of all the excess in one quick swoop. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It is supportive and kind. Francine Jay is likable and you wish she could personally visit your home and help you go through all your junk. But since she probably can't visit each of us personally, her book is the next best thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Joy of Less, September 23, 2010
What an inspiration! I've been trying to get rid of the clutter for years. I used to buy stuff thinking it would make me happy, a better cook, better housekeeper, better looking, etc, but none of it worked and I was still unhappy. I purchased this book & I'm HAPPY finally. The stress of keeping up with all my stuff was overwhelming. I've donated, sold & even had the kids go thought all the stuff they bought me through the years & told them that I appreciate their thoughtfulness but I was becoming a minimalist & please take all the collectibles & whatever else they wanted. Life is so much nicer, but I still have a long way to go.

I lent my book to a friend two months ago & she still hasn't returned it and I am going throughout withdrawals without it. I crave to read it again. Guess I'll have to get a Kindle & download it.

I have read so many good books on simplicity, clutter control, organizing but this has been the best ever!

I recently sold a desk that I no longer needed to an elderly couple. The husband asked me if I was moving out or had I just moved into my house. I replied that I have been here for seven years & he replied that since they had only given me a twenty minutes notice that they were on their way to see the desk, there was no way that I could have straightened up my house that quickly. They said that my house looked like it was ready for a showing, no clutter, no personal objects, clean as can be (even with 4 dogs). Their compliment made my year! Thank you Francine!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!, August 20, 2010
I love this book!

Finally a woman who is savvy and stylish writes a book on how to have less stuff but more joy. Many men have written books, but I feel they miss out how being female fits into living minimally. Makeup, clothes, shoes etc.

I am 40, live with a 8 YO and a 4 YO and my hubby. So I need something really thought out, not just a whim of an idea on how to minimalise.

Its a really good read and she has some great tips I hadnt read about. I love how she suggests you can actually just appreciate things, you dont HAVE to buy them. What a concept.

I have started culling spaces and am on a huge high. We (2 kids and I) have been donating to the library, the kindergarten, the charity shops.

Its different to other books, as your not looking to just throw stuff out, you are looking at things that need to earn their right to be here in my home.

I am a huge fan and its great to have someone write this book who clearly walks her talk. Francine even suggests books to read on her website, a bag that she travels with and lately her new small abode.

Great work Francine.


5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic guide to minimalism, August 30, 2010
I bought this a couple of weeks ago (kindle version!) and I'm already reading it for the second time. There is so much here -- inspiration AND practical tips. I love her blog and find this to be great supplemental reading. One thing I especially like about Francine is that I can relate to her. I'm in my 30's and married, and more than anything in this life I want to travel the world, rather than have a house full of stuff. In fact I really wish she had a travel blog, too, since reading about her approach to the world is so inspiring.
My only complaint is that I didn't have this to read 10 or 15 years ago.... !

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank Goodness I found this book just in time!!!, August 25, 2010
You do not have to become a total minimalist to greatly benefit from Francine Jay's strategy. This book proved to be an extremely valuable tool when I was faced with the daunting task of cleaning out two home locations in different cities to consolidate into one location (the smaller one). I was already a couple of weeks into this overwhelming mess when I received this book which changed how I approached the process both physically and emotionally.

Jay's book provided me with the proper mindset to approach such a huge undertaking, as well as giving me the tools and many GREAT tips to efficiently accomplish the goal. Following her advice gave me the ability to see immediate progress which set on fire the desire to keep going! She hits totally right on about every box or sack that goes out the door resulting in a feeling of relief (not regret) and freedom.

Congratulations, Francine Jay! You will have a lot of thankful fans and a thankful planet as well!
... Read more

147. From Seed to Skillet: A Guide to Growing, Tending, Harvesting, and Cooking Up Fresh, Healthy Food to Share with People You Love
by Jimmy Williams, Susan Heeger
list price: $30.00 -- our price: $19.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0811872211
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 2727
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Jimmy Williams learned all about vegetable gardening at the knee of his grandmother, a South Carolina native from a traditional Gullah community whose members were descendents of Caribbean slaves. He pays homage to his family history in this inspiring step-by-step guide to designing and planting a backyard vegetable garden and growing one's own food. With this essential garden manual, home gardeners can learn how easy it is to plan a garden, design and construct growing beds, tend the crop without using harmful chemicals, harvest gorgeous vegetables, and cook a delicious feast using Jimmy's favorite family recipes. ... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Amazon, November 15, 2010
I saw this book listed as one of Amazon's Best Books and took a flier. Wow! It is exactly the kind of book our family (semi urban with a small back yard) have been looking for! Comprehensive, well written, brilliantly illustrated and laid out so that even a monkey can follow it. It lays out the entire process whereby the at home gardener can become if not entirely self sufficient then virtually supermarket produce-free within a single growing season. This book is an instant classic -- and revolutionary. Remember The Whole Earth Catalogue or Our Bodies, Ourselves, or even Doctor Spock's Baby Book? It is as revolutionary, as readable and as essential as those.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uniquely useful, beautifully written, November 26, 2010
I've been only organi-curious to date, but I have two sisters who garden, Christmas is looming, and I knew they couldn't already have this just-released book. So after a little research I ordered one "test" copy. (As of now, there's not a lot of info on the Amazon page, but googling the book title turned up a publisher's site with sample PDFs and a worthwhile youtube video.)

The book is written 1st-person from Jimmy Williams' point of view, and he's a one-off. His stories bring to life his really unique background, with his both Native American and African/Gullah near ancestry. But each unusual story is there to illustrate concrete tips and techniques - e.g., how his grandmother used her rolling-pin as a time-saving gardening tool - he still uses one the same way. The style is vivid and brisk, engaging and inspiring, especially in the more anecdotal early chapters. The whole book is accessible and confidence-building for a garden-inexperienced reader like me, and doesn't assume any knowledge, though the very detailed discussions of techniques and special adaptations for urban growing in the later chapters build on the basic skills colorfully introduced early on.

The middle chapters comprise a businesslike, highly practical, and comprehensive guide for getting started simply, growing from seeds (or seedlings), with, for example, alternative illustrated plans for creating beds in urban gardens; and moving on to wider subjects - how to prepare, water, and maintain the soil and garden through the seasons, and to expand it over time to include more variety, recommended plant pairings and rotation, etc. Williams shares a wealth of his own soil amendment recipes and cultivation techniques he developed himself or inherited, and provides book references and links to his favorite suppliers. I strongly suspect that the originality of his approaches and insights will be of interest to experienced gardeners, not only to beginners like me. Reading the book is like having a generous, enthusiastic, and highly experienced friend who is "opening the bag" to you on how he succeeds at what he loves.

The next-to-last chapter covers his "edible A-list" of vegetables to grow and eat, with a page or two on each, including his tutorial on getting the best results, and listing his favorite varieties. The final chapter will likely be many readers' favorite - an excellent mini-cookbook of twenty traditional southern recipes from Williams' multi-sided background, updated for the modern kitchen and garden.

Williams' very strong and agreeable personality carries throughout the book - his unique voice is strong even in the businesslike, practical sections - and the whole book comes across as personal. At the same time, the writing is elegantly fresh, economical, and readable - Heeger, the co-author, doesn't "speak," but in the strong flow and imagery of the prose, "From Seed to Skillet" is a wonderful literary collaboration. In his blurb on the cover, Michael Pollan picked exactly the right phrase in describing Williams and Heeger as a "fine coaching team."

Finally, the book itself is beautiful - large and very handsomely printed, and filled with photography that is well-chosen, illustrates key processes, and is inspiring and plain luscious to look through. After reading it, I ordered a copy for each sister for Christmas (problem solved), and kept the test copy for myself. Enthusiastically recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Video Review, December 7, 2010
This is a very extensive book with a great story and purpose. If you are interested in lowering your food bill and becoming less dependent on others, then this is your book!


5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Informative and Simplest Guide to Growing Vegetables (Small or Large Plots) for Your Family Table, December 17, 2010
A fiend of mine who's a hardcore gardener gave me this book because
I had been talking about wanting to grow some of my own food but am a
totally inexperienced gardener. My friend, on the other hand, has been
gardening for years, so I thought that if she liked this book it would be
completely over my head.
When it came, I started flipping through it because of the pictures, then
I was pulled in by Jimmy Williams's story and finally, his approach to
gardening was so clear and unintimidating that I started to get excited.
I've only had the book a week but already, I know where I'm going to
put my new vegetable garden and what I'm going to plant.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gardener's best friend, December 20, 2010
I have been working a small garden on the side of my house for almost two years now with very little knowledge and with less than perfect success. From Seed to Skillet has become my go to resource and already I am finding myself in a little Eden of my own. Written in a style that is completely accessible yet inspiring- If I had to use one word to describe Seed to Skillet it would be empowering. I have not seen a book so well laid out in a long time - It is beautiful, clear, easy to learn from and has a great sense of story to boot. All of my friends from full time farmers to those with a row of potted plants at their doorstep are getting a copy for their birthday this year. ... Read more

148. Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration
by Malka Dubrawsky
list price: $26.95 -- our price: $16.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1596682353
Publisher: Interweave Press
Sales Rank: 4356
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Editorial Review

Brighten up any room with fun, contemporary, and functional projects exploding with sensational color! Fresh Quilting presents 21 brilliant designs featuring quilt artist Malka Dubrawsky’s intoxicating colors and unexpected palettes.
Learn to create beautiful and lively pieces for you and your home—from modern quilts and fun pillows to flirty bags and scarves. In addition to clear directions and step-by-step illustrations for machine-sewn patchwork and quilted projects, Fresh Quilting includes a detailed section of techniques from basic piecing, cutting, and measuring methods to more advanced techniques such as inserting zippers into pillow backs and using bias binding to finish a quilt. Throughout Fresh Quilting, Malka will teach you how to adventurously and confidently mix colors and prints. You’ll be inspired to infuse your own brilliant palettes into each project and discover just how irresistible and beautiful contemporary quilting can be!
... Read more

149. Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers
by Pam Anderson
list price: $32.00 -- our price: $21.12
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0547195958
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales Rank: 5065
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Editorial Review ReviewFall into Cooking Featured Recipe from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners: Festive Roast Chicken and Stuffing

The chicken can be rubbed with the spice, the bread cubes toasted, and the sausage and vegetables cooked up to 2 days in advance. After you just brown the chicken, mix the stuffing, bake, and serve. If you need to bake this dish in a disposable pan, remember that the thin foil will not retain heat like a heavy roasting pan, so you’ll need to increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes. --Pam Anderson

Serves 8


10–12 cups ½-inch bread cubes, plus 2 cups finely ground fresh bread crumbs (use a food processor) from a couple loaves of dense, crusty Italian or French bread
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, minced
1½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
4 large split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 4 pounds), protruding rib bones and excess fat trimmed, rinsed, patted dry, and halved crosswise
1 pound bulk Italian sausage or 1 pound links, casings removed
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
1½ cups finely chopped dried Turkish apricots
½ cup minced fresh parsley
2 large eggs
1 quart low chicken broth


Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet and spread bread crumbs on a separate baking sheet; let dry for several hours or overnight.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake bread cubes until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. (Do not toast crumbs.) Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons Italian herbs, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, fennel, orange zest, and oil in a small bowl. Smear mixture over both sides of each piece of chicken.

Heat a large heavy roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. When wisps of smoke start to rise from pan, add chicken in 2 batches (breasts skin side down). Cook until skin is well browned (3 to 4 minutes), turn, and cook until chicken breasts lose their raw color on remaining side and skin on thighs is well browned, another couple of minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add sausage to roasting pan and fry, stirring frequently to break it up, until it loses its raw color, about 5 minutes. Add onions and celery to pan and continue to cook until vegetables are soft, 7 to 8 minutes. In a large bowl, mix bread cubes, bread crumbs, sausage mixture, apricots, parsley, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian herbs, remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper. Whisk eggs into broth in a medium bowl and pour over stuffing ingredients. Toss to coat and let stand for 10 minutes so bread absorbs broth.

Turn stuffing into unwashed roasting pan. Top with chicken (breasts skin side up) and bake until attractively brown and chicken is fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Drink An Alsatian white, a buttery West Coast Chardonnay or, for red, a delicate, fruity Pinot Noir

Product Description
In Perfect One-Dish Dinners, the New York Times best-selling author Pam Anderson shares her secret for having people over without breaking stride: Make just one dish. Instead of a parade of offerings, she focuses attention on a single main course--a rustic tart, paella, grilled platter, or homey stew. Perfect One-Dish Dinners showcases about forty such meals, perfect for every season and occasion, all designed to wow guests, calm the cook, and relieve the dishwasher at the end of the night.

Stews for All Seasons
Worldly Casseroles
Roasting Pan Complete
Big Summer Salads and Grilled Platters.

But that's not all. If the cook wants to make something extra, Pam provides a compatible appetizer, salad, and dessert for every one dish. And as a special bonus, she throws in "nearly instant" alternatives for each--more than 200 mixable, matchable recipes. Whether for a book group, church get together, birthday party, or family supper, Perfect One-Dish Dinners makes easy, shareable meals perfectly doable. More than 200 recipes in all.

Recipe Excerpts from Perfect One-Dish Dinners

Salsa Verde Chicken with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings

Baby Spinach Salad with Mangoes, Toasted Almonds, and Red Onions

Miniature Lemon-Raspberry Cakes

1 ... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars Look no further - you've found the perfect cookbook, August 26, 2010
I have several of Pam Anderson's books, and always considered "How to Cook Without A Book" my favorite. But Perfect One-Dish Dinners is quickly moving up the ranks to the top. We've made three recipes out of this book in a week, and each one was as good as the last. Even better, both the turkey feta meatballs with penne and the coq au vin blanc were actually BETTER as leftovers, leading me to think that I should make ahead on Sunday nights for delicious meals all week long with hardly any prep.

I can't say enough about the coq au vin blanc. It was so yummy I was dreaming about it long after we'd finished the pot. The photos are gorgeous, and I love that Pam includes optional wine pairings, appetizers, and desserts for almost every dish - so if you're entertaining a crowd, you've got your menu planned already.

None of the ingredients are foreign or hard to get, and we (a family of 2) are easily getting 4 meals out of each dish. That makes for a super economical dinner, even if you're splashing out for really nice prosciutto or wine.

Next on my list to make: the pecan pie sundaes. This Texan approves of any meal that ends with pecans!

3-0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, but... mis-aimed?, October 19, 2010
Perfect One-Dish Dinners / 978-0-54719-595-7

I love cookbooks and I was excited to try this one when it came available on NetGalley. Several weeks later, I'm a little...confused.

Make no mistake about it - this is a breathtakingly lovely book. There's a lot of valuable recipes here, but they're definitely of the "advanced student" variety, so do be aware of that. Almost every recipe has at least a dozen ingredients, and almost everything in this book is made completely from scratch - anytime dumplings or biscuits are working into a recipe, for instance, you *will* be making those dumplings from floury scratch.

There's nothing wrong with an advanced-level cookbook, but it's just strange because the book is marketed as "easy" recipes, and there's really nothing easy about these. No prep times are estimated with the recipes, but I'd guess that most of them take over an hour to prepare. Adding to my confusion is the whole "one-dish" premise isn't kept to - the introduction states that "one-dish" dinners are easier, and thus was born this book... but every "one-dish" comes complete with an appetizer and dessert suggestion... as well as the occasional side. Don't get me wrong - it's great to have the suggestions of sides and desserts for when they are wanted or needed, but this is especially weird because everything is grouped together as one "meal", rather than the usual entrees, sides, appetizers, desserts layout of most cookbooks. The practical upshot of this is that if you want to make the "Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream", you'd better remember that it was listed with the "Lobster Dinner", because there's no Table of Contents to get you there. (In all fairness, there is an alphabetized index in the back.)

I'm also not sure about the "Get-Togethers" part - a lot of the recipes are very exotic and specialized, and maybe my family is different, but if you get more than 5 of us in a room together, someone is going to dislike (or worse, be allergic to) at least one of the ingredients in these dozen-ingredient extravaganzas.

So, ultimately, if you take out the "one-dish", the "easy", and the "get-togethers", we have "Perfect Dinners: All You Need". But, then, I don't know if this is ALL you need since the layout can still be a little wonky - there's no Table of Contents, the pictures aren't labeled (although they ARE lovely) and sometimes require a little guess work to match with the relevant recipe, there's no prep times listed, and there's no nutritional data summary (a nice touch in many of the Better Homes and Gardens books that I've come to like).

Really, if you have all the time in the world, love baking from scratch, are an advanced hand in the kitchen, and have a non-picky and open-minded group of friends and family, there are some really good three-course meals in this book. I just don't understand why they're not marketing it that way?

Note: I received a free Advance Review Copy of this book from the publishing company via NetGalley.

~ Ana Mardoll

5-0 out of 5 stars One-Dish Dinners: A One-Cookbook Meal Planner That Makes Entertaining That Much Easier, August 31, 2010
This book is packed with foolproof recipes that take the sting out of entertaining. Each main recipe is not only beautifully photographed but also includes a complete meal plan with appetizer, salad when appropriate, dessert, and even wine pairing suggestions. The appetizer and dessert options are more than suggestions: their recipes are included as well. If there are any shortcuts or more-instant alternatives available, those are likewise noted, which makes the whole process of putting an entire meal together--even at the last minute--completely doable. Whether it's for a get-together or just a family meal, cooking at home just became that much easier and a whole lot more delicious.

This is more than just a collection of recipes. Pam Anderson's experience as a recipe developer is evident and she isn't afraid to break the rules of traditional methods if she finds something that works better. She'll tell you why it's better, too. From tips on how to make mac and cheese incredibly moist to great suggestions on replacing the meat in some dishes with seafood or vegetarian options, this book is full of great nuggets of culinary wisdom that will serve you well in the kitchen.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book for the wanna-be cook, September 3, 2010
I saw Pam Anderson this week on WGN-TV in Chicago. She was preparing a one-dish pasta and meatball dish that really looked great. And I thought, Even I could do that. She then prepared an even simpler but scrumptious-looking dessert in minutes. She spooned out some raspberry jam and toasted almonds between two short-cake shells (store-bought) and then slathered on some creme cheese frosting. I cook a little bit and I think I'd do it more but some cook book recipes are just too complicated. I went out and bought four books, one for my wife and me, and one for each of our three grown kids. We all want to eat at home more and I think Pam's book is the recipe.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Cookbook, August 31, 2010
This cookbook, filled with mouth-watering recipes and photos, is one of the most unique cookbooks I have in my very large collection. Pam Anderson makes cooking for get-togethers a breeze by providing the main entr�e recipe, as well as an appetizer, salad, dessert and even a suggested beverage pairing for the entire meal. Another great feature of the cookbook is that the recipes are broken down into easy-to-follow steps. As Ree Drummond perfectly stated, "Pam makes you feel like you can cook anything, and with her help -- you can!"

For a dinner party I hosted recently, I prepared the Coq au Vin Blanc with Spring Vegetables. The recipe was not only easy to prepare, but it allowed me to cook the entire dish before my guests arrived so that I could enjoy their company. The aromas that permeated from this dish made the house smell wonderful and the taste was absolutely delicious. I served this dish with a goat cheese salad and homemade rolls to soak up the sauce from the main entr�e. For dessert, I prepared the Pecan Pie Sundaes recipe from the cookbook. The whole table went silent as we devoured the sundaes and savored each and every bite. A few days after the party, I received an e-mail from one of my guests asking for the recipes because she loved the food and couldn't wait to make it for her family.

This cookbook includes recipes for appetizers, stews, casseroles, roasts, salads, desserts...the list goes on and on. If you are hosting a dinner party, or need recipes for simple yet flavorful dishes for weeknight meals, this book, as stated in its title, is perfect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Filled with amazing recipes, August 31, 2010
This book is chock full of amazing recipes. So far, I've made the coq au vin blanc and the cassoulet-style Italian sausages & white beans, and both meals were extraordinary. In fact, I was so confident with these easy-to-follow recipes (and easy-to-find ingredients) that I made the coq au vin blanc for the first time for company. Not only did it turn out perfectly, but everyone loved it and it was gone within minutes. It is now a staple in our regular meal rotation.

The photography in this book is just gorgeous, and I love how each main dish is paired with appetizers, salads, desserts, and drinks. Even if you don't happen to have what you need on hand for a particular pairing, these drool-worthy suggestions are instant inspiration for planning a complete dinner party. The hardest part is deciding which recipe to try next!

2-0 out of 5 stars Another beautiful book with recipes you'll never make, October 17, 2010
The glowing reviews on amazon and the appealing title grabbed me, so I thought I'd give this book a try. The words "one-dish" and "easy" popped from the page.

Well, after thoroughly reading the entire book I'm sad to say the recipes are neither easy nor appropriate for mixed-crowd entertaining. Maybe if all your friends are gourmands and you have all day to spend in the kitchen, but these recipes are not for the simpler get-togethers and accompanying meals I was imagining. None of the recipes evaluate prep-time and it's obvious why as you progress... they are not quick, typically involve many ingredients, and are 2-pages long on average.

The book is beautiful and the format engaging. However, almost every recipe has a unique (and sometimes bizarre) flavor twist. As I continued to read it, I got the impression that these flavor combinations are the inspiration of someone who is quite bored with ordinary food. Orange sorbet with chocolate sauce? White and black bean caviar? I appreciate some creativity but I thought the balance between "oh, everyone would like this" and "I wonder if that would actually taste good..." was way off. Most of it fell into the latter category for me, and since it's all a hefty amount of work I will probably not be finding out what unique combinations are worth the hassle.

Perhaps a better title would have been "Intriguing One-Dish Dinners for Sophisticated Entertaining" instead of "easy." If my expectations had been primed for complex meals to impress my guests I would be writing a better review. I expected more simple, broad-appeal dishes mixed in with the exotic.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Feast for the eyes, September 8, 2010
What beautiful photos this cookbook has! They are sparklingly clear - almost edible. I love that in a cookbook - I want to see what the finished dish will look like. I have been swayed by a picture more than once when the ingredients have not jumped out at me.

The recipes are mostly simple and are written in a clear, straightforward way. There are no strange ingredients that you will have to go in search of. I just loved how Ms Anderson gives you options to vary the recipe and also suggestions for desserts or appetizers to go with the main dish. That is a real help in my home.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not One-Dish Dinners at All, November 3, 2010
I don't get it. I bought this book specifically to create ONE DISH meals on weeknights when it's just the two of us, and it's full of meals that include the dish, an appetizer, a salad, and a dessert. You'd spend half your day in the kitchen making this. This isn't what I wanted at all. I just wanted ... well ... one dish meals, where you cook the meat and vegetables in the same pot, and maybe even rice and potatoes too.

Beyond that some of them just look ... weird -- or so simple that anyone who has cooked at all won't need a recipe for them.

I try to review a book based on what it set out to do versus how well it achieved that, and this one falls short.

It implies easy and with minimal dishes to wash in the title, but that's not what's inside the book at all.

5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect one-dish dinner cookbook!, September 13, 2010
This is first of Pam Anderson's cookbooks that I've owned and I already adore it. The first time I flipped through the book, I marked off about 15 recipes that I wanted to make immediately. As I feel the first recipe from a new cookbook is a crucial choice, I chose the Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages & White Beans and I couldn't have been happier with the result. It was a quick and simple weeknight meal that I know I'll be making all fall and winter long. I've read reviews on other blogs of other recipes from Perfect One-Dish Dinners and everyone has the same reaction I do: love! ... Read more

150. All Creatures Great and Small
by James Herriot
list price: $15.99 -- our price: $10.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0312330855
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 2939
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Editorial Review

"Absolutely super, a rarity, magnificently written, insightful, unforgettable. . . . If you have ever loved a friend, human or otherwise, this is the book for you."
--Houston Chronicle

The classic multimillion copy bestseller

Delve into the magical, unforgettable world of James Herriot, the world's most beloved veterinarian, and his menagerie of heartwarming, funny, and tragic animal patients.
For over thirty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot's marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.

In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. From caring for his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth.

"[Herriot] is the most entertaining, most thoroughly likeable, most engaging person to have come along in a long time, and the stories he has to tell are fascinating."
--The Washington Post
... Read more

151. Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living
by Bunny Williams
list price: $60.00 -- our price: $37.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1584798599
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Sales Rank: 2050
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Bunny Williams is renowned for her glamorous design and atten­tion to every little detail in her clients’ homes. Using her incredible knowledge of design and decor, and drawing on her wealth of experience, Williams takes the reader through several homes room by room, showing creative ways to organize and add personal touches. From dining rooms (place a chest of drawers near the dining table to store flatware, napkins, place mats, and votives) to lighting (place sconces on the wall at eye level to cut the glare from ceiling lights), and pets (find interesting flat-bottom bowls for water—small Chinese fish bowls or the bottom of a porcelain tureen work perfectly!), Williams empowers the reader with her practical and inspiring tips for making a house a home.

Praise for Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living

"chock full of beautiful, instructive pictures . . . many nuggets of practical advice" 
-- The New York Times 

... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars Her other books are great....this one so-so, October 15, 2010
Like other reviewers, I love Bunny Williams. She is one of the best interior designers out there...a respite from retro-chic, domino style. However, this book was a big disappointment. The photography is jarring and haphazard. I know it was meant to represent a scrapbook, but the small squares were a big distraction. She does provide some good hints...but these are available in her other books. I do not think this book is worth the investment and am wondering who was her advisor on layout. Still a fan, though! (Just not of the book...)

5-0 out of 5 stars How to Have a Well-lived and Well-loved Stylish Home, October 15, 2010
How many of us would love to follow around a favorite aunt in her home who happens to be one of the U.S.'s premier interior designers--like Bunny--while she drops her design pearls of wisdom for us to catch and record? That's what the experience of reading this book feels like. Since Bunny can't adopt all of us, she compiled the precious design insights that over 30 years of designing and living in beautiful rooms has taught her.

In SCRAPBOOK FOR LIVING, Bunny's emphasis is on living: how to create rooms that are beautiful AND livable. If you've seen rooms decorated by Bunny Williams--especially her own homes--you know they combine style with livability. They're homey. They're rooms where dogs are allowed on the furniture--but they still look great in magazines. Bunny shares the inside details of how she accomplishes this.

Bunny stresses function in this book--how to make rooms work in an attractive way. There's tips for every room--from mudrooms, to living rooms and libraries, to project rooms, to bedrooms and baths. Covering A to Z design topics such as selecting chairs to bringing a home to life with flowers, scents, art and fireplaces, Bunny teaches the essentials of comfort. It's the gems she shares along the way--any place you want a window and don't have one, put a mirror--that make this book invaluable. Another favorite tip is take a camera with you and photograph what you love for your own design scrapbooks. It's intriguing to read what inspires Bunny, including her nine favorite design books and design resources. Bunny says when she sees a home full of books, she knows the owners are likely to be interesting. This book's pictures are MORE about illustrating the ideas in it--less about seeing all the beautiful rooms she has decorated. Her other books Bunny Williams' Point of View: Three Decades of Decorating Elegant and Comfortable Houses and An Affair with a House do that.

What I loved about this book is it provides a personal look at how a top designer, savvy entrepreneur, wife, mother, dog-lover who loves to travel, entertain, read, and learn lives in her homes. What are her priorities in combining beauty and function?

In writing classes, you learn the ABCD elements of fiction books: Action, Background, Character and Dialogue. There's a fifth element in books, I've realized, and that's the personality/character of the author which can't help but leak through. Likable, nice authors write likable books which touch your heart. You hear people who have met Bunny say how darn likable she is; reading her books is heart-warming. You can almost hear her: "honey, after polishing the silver, keep it in an airtight favorite fragrances for rooms can use the seating fabric in a room to create a matching dog-bed the dogs will want to be on...." Priceless and personal tidbits for well-lived and well-loved lives & homes fill this scrapbook for living.

2-0 out of 5 stars Pamela, October 16, 2010
Bunny Williams creates beautiful spaces and has previously published a wonderful book (Point of View) which I highly recommend. I was intrigued when I saw she had published another book "Scrapbook for Living." After spending time reading it I found a lot of good information and helpful guidance that could have been put in a much smaller book. What I found so bothersome were the pages dedicated to what I call a "maze-montage" of the same photograph which left me with a headache. The art direction of photography has fallen short from her earlier publishing endeavor.

5-0 out of 5 stars Infinite Information, October 19, 2010
Bravo Bunny--I have read "Scrapbook For Living" and my head is spinning with obtainable information.This book must be put next to your bed and not just flipped through-it must be read. It is not just a coffeetable book but a textbook.It goes quickly but has infinite information that all of us are hungry for.
Bunny shares her knowledge like no one else. Whether it is her lecture at a function or her beautiful books-starting with one of my favorites,"On Garden Style", she gives concrete information that we can all use-not just information that we can only dream about.Her knowledge is based on tried and true facts. This book is proof of that."Scrapbook For Living" is not written by someone being "coy" that gives you part of the information you need and you have to figure out the rest.It is written by someone trying to help every reader achieve their dream home no matter what the size or location.
I love the photography in this book. It is interesting and unique as it should be. It catches the attention and holds it through the last page.
I can hardly wait to rearrange my linen closet using her suggestions-Brilliant

5-0 out of 5 stars A lovely special book, December 15, 2010
Bunny Williams' SCRAPBOOK FOR LIVING is a wonderful beautiful reference book on how to make one's life, one's home the best possible comfortable splendid world, both aesthetically and practically. It should be on everyone's bookshelf or coffee table. In Bunny Williams' very sure handed and thorough way, she enlightens how to optimize that which we cherish. Her splendid text is complemented by some truly amazing photography. The photographer, Amy Archer, not only photographs rooms but also details upon details within a room and creates what she calls 'Place Portraits'. They are grid shaped four across four and when one looks at them, the full effect of the total that one sees is greater than any of the lovely details within. It is an extraordinary way to visually communicate, a dining room, or chairs, or bookshelves, each and every subject that Bunny talks about. They are breathtakingly beautiful and by themselves, would look great mounted on a wall as a work of art. If there are horse whispers in this world that can divine the secret of horses, these two ladies are house whispers who can divine the secrets of own homes and way of life. As one leafs through the pages, it becomes readily apparent that the collaboration between these two gifted ladies is akin to composing a classic appealing resonating song or a musical score. Ms. Williams is the pitch perfect lyricist and Ms. Archer contributes the wondrous music with her great photography which is, indeed, art. It is a book one will treasure and return to over and over and each time be greatly rewarded.

4-0 out of 5 stars bunny williams' scrapbook for living, November 23, 2010
Bunny Williams is the best!*! I have read this fine book line by line and refer to it often for guidance while decorating my home. It is filled with sticky notes so I can locate Ms. Williams most thoughtful ideas quickly.

Ms. Williams has wonderful ideas on every decorating subject. I am proud to own this book!*!

5-0 out of 5 stars Scrapbook for Living - Details that Make a Difference, November 21, 2010
Please make sure that you do not overlook one of the most unique and helpful design books recently published. If you were commissioned, as photographer Amy Archer
most likely was, to visit homes designed by Bunny Williams, and asked to focus on all the small moments in the homes that give them character and soul, she has triumphed. Archer's poetic style of imagery compliments Williams' eye for design and detail, and the combination of the two points of view are magic. Amy Archer shows you small stunning bits of a space and Bunny Williams tells you how and why those elements add up to what makes a comfortable, personal, well organized house. For anyone starting their first home, or for those simply passionate about rethinking or refining an existing one - this book is a treasure.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed in Scrapebook!, October 15, 2010
Ii adore Bunny Williams! but, bought this book and was so disappointed, I sent it back. Thought most of the photography, especially the filler repeated over and over again snapshots, not to Bunny's top notch design ethic.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, December 28, 2010
As much as I respect Bunny Williams as a designer/decorator, this book was a joke. The cover looks promising, but photos of her interiors might as well have been left out, as the "collage" motif presented throughout the book would have been much more effective had she used 1 or 2 good photos instead of 20 or so pics of this corner or that chair leg. The photos didn't even have much to do with the content of the book. Nothing that would inspire. The advice for how to live in one's home, such as making sure you have a box of tissue next to a guest bed or using a large vase for an umbrella stand by the door, might be applicable for an 18 year old living on his/her own for the first time, but for those already familiar with basic house necessities (such as using a basket to store wood by the fireplace, another pearl of wisdom I paid $40 for) this was worthless. You're better off getting a copy of The Domino Book of Decorating.

2-0 out of 5 stars Bunny is no Martha Stewart, November 25, 2010
I am a big fan of Bunny Williams but Bunny Williams' Scrapbook for Living is a huge disappointment. The pictures are numerous but much
too small to be enjoyed. The text is preachy and the housekeeping tips she offers should be left to Martha Stewart. The housekeeping is
Home Economics 1-A for junior high school students. Bunny should stick to her field of expertise, interior design. I'm sorry I spent my
hard earned money for this book. I feel cheated. ... Read more

152. Cowl Girls: The Neck's Big Thing to Knit
by Cathy Carron
list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1936096048
Publisher: Sixth&Spring Books
Sales Rank: 3306
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Editorial Review

Forget tired scarves and bulky turtlenecks-funky, chunky, hip and happening cowls are where it's at! Following up her hit book Hattitude, author and designer Cathy Carron weaves a fashion statement that puts in-the-know women head and shoulders above the rest. Among the more than 35 patterns provided here are a cozy neck wrap featuring a built-in iPod holder, a lacy drawstring hood, and a woven necklace sparkling with Swarovski crystals.
... Read more

153. Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids
by Todd Davis
list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 081186958X
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 3386
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Skate ramps, zip lines, go-carts, and more! In this super-fun book, Todd Davis extreme sports athlete and host of HGTV's Over Your Head presents 25 awesome projects for dads to build with their kids. Busy dads can choose projects that range from simple to challenging and take anywhere from five minutes to a full weekend. Readers are given all the directions they need to grab materials that can be found around the house or at the local hardware store and get to work banging up a sweet BMX ramp or half-pipe, building a tree house or tire swing, or throwing together a slip-and-slide or tie-dye station for an afternoon of fun. With plenty of color photographs, easy-to-follow instructions, and detailed illustrations, Handy Dad is chock-full of creative and inexpensive ways to keep kids (and dads) entertained for hours. ... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect antidote to a world oversaturated with television and video games, July 8, 2010
Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids is a user-friendly compendium of construction projects that dads (or moms, uncles/aunts, grandparents, or anyone else!) can create to promote quality playtime activities with children. From a backyard rope swing, to a bird feeder, a tree house, a half-pipe, or even a tie-dye shirt, the ideas range from toys that promote physical activity to delightful personal keepsakes. (Not all of the projects involve woodworking, although many do.) Older children can even participate in the joy of building something with one's own hands, under close supervision of course. Each project listing spells out the needed tools and materials and where to find them, along with step-by-step instructions. Full color photographs illustrate this wonderful guide to tapping into one's creativity to spend quality time with children. The perfect antidote to a world oversaturated with television and video games, Handy Dad is highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for older kids- maybe 5 and up, August 7, 2010
This is a detailed book! I guess I was expecting a picture book with IDEAS about things to do with kids. It's instructions, step-by-step, page by page for completing the projects. It's a good resource to keep around for the coming years. Our kids are 2 and 10 months, and most of the ideas are aimed at older kids, so I think it will get used more later.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Dad Gift!, July 31, 2010
Like others, I gave this to my husband for Father's Day. There are many projects ranging from simple to nearly expert. We are in the 'novice' category right now. My husband is just mastering the art of power tools and simple carpentry. (He is a computer geek!)

This book gives simple, direct instructions for lots of fun things to do with your kids. I recommend it for any loose ended weekends!

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun for all ages, July 19, 2010
I bought this book for my husband and 6-year old son. They found 4 or 5 projects they could reasonably do together without too much cost or time. It will also come in handy for some of the school science projects this year!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great gift for fathers day, July 18, 2010
Gave this to my son for fathers day. He was intrigued and was definetly going to try out some of the ideas with his 2 boys.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book - Bad Title, November 28, 2010
I wish that I had this book when my kids were young. There are a lot of projects that I would have loved to worked on. My four girls and I would have had lot of fun making the projects. My eldest would have loved to have made her own skateboard, and she did help a friend make a skateboard ramp in his back yard - some 15 years ago.

My only complaint is the title. The title of the book is rather sexist. My husband would not have touched this book. (I'm the one who fixes the recliner.) ... Read more

154. Forbidden Lego: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against!
by Ulrik Pilegaard, Mike Dooley
list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1593271379
Publisher: No Starch Press
Sales Rank: 3087
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

It just may be impossible to exhaust the creative potential of LEGO bricks. With an active imagination as your guide, there are endless possibilities--provided you follow the LEGO Company's official (and sensible) rules. This means no cutting or tampering with bricks, creating models that shoot unapproved projectiles, or using non-standard parts with any LEGO product. After all, those little precision-molded ABS bricks can be dangerous in the wrong hands! Well, toss those rules out the window.

Forbidden LEGO introduces you to the type of free-style building that LEGO's master builders do for fun in the back room. Using LEGO bricks in combination with common household materials (from rubber bands and glue to plastic spoons and ping-pong balls) along with some very unorthodox building techniques, you'll learn to create working models that LEGO would never endorse. Try your hand at a toy gun that shoots LEGO plates, a candy catapult, a high voltage LEGO vehicle, a continuous-fire ping-pong ball launcher, and other useless but incredibly fun inventions.

Once you get into the spirit, you'll want to try inventing your own rule-breaking models. Forbidden LEGO's authors, share tips and tricks that will inspire you and help you turn your visions into reality. Nothing's against the rules in this book!
... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars Could easily get you addicted to LEGO building..., September 1, 2007
Having a couple of close friends who are LEGO-maniacs, I couldn't pass up the chance to read and review this particular title in order to see what it's all about... Forbidden LEGO: Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against! by Ulrik Pilegaard and Mike Dooley. I now understand why they find LEGO building so much fun, and it probably wouldn't take much to bring me into the fold...

Introduction; How to Build Great Things; Project 1 - Paper Plane Launcher (PPL); Project 2 - Candy Coated Catapult (CCC); Project 3 - Ping-Pong Cannon (PPC); Project 4 - All-Terrain LEGO (ATL); Project 5 - High Velocity Automatic LEGO Plate Dispenser (HVALPD); Tips and Tricks

So what makes these projects "forbidden"? There are certain rules that have to be followed in order for a LEGO model to be allowed to be marketed as a kit. Some of these rules would be:

Never launch a non-approved object into the air.
Never launch a non-approved object into the air with great force.
Never alter any LEGO part.
Never connect two moters to run together.
Never double the approved voltage.

And so on. Generally speaking, a LEGO kit should not be able to injure someone, should be able to be built with standard pieces, and shouldn't use anything that doesn't come directly from LEGO. In varying degrees, these five projects break some (or all) of the official rules. Which is why they are appealing to the LEGO builder's inner-geek. For as complex as these devices look on the surface, the authors do an excellent job in breaking things down into step-by-step instructions. They start with a brief explanation of the project, some of the design hurdles they faced, what rules are broken, and what non-LEGO parts you might need. From there, you find a full parts list (in color, complete with pictures and amounts) followed by a numbered series of steps. The steps show what parts are needed for that specific step, as well as how they fit together with the growing assembly. Surprisingly, they do this without directions... just the pictures. But the assembly is broken down into very small steps, so you don't have to make any major intuitive leaps to get from step 45 to 46. And if you've been building with LEGO before this, I'll guess that you wouldn't have any trouble following along. I could even see myself making any one of these, and I'm definitely *not* an engineering wizard. :) Oh, and another nice touch... the binding is designed to allow the book to lay flat when opened. So you won't be looking for weighted objects to hold the book open while you're building your next contraption.

I don't know that I'd want to give this book to a 10 year old for fear of what he'd do with the items once built. But knowing the person(s) who I'll be giving my copy to after this, I should probably trust the 10 year old a bit more. Great book, wonderful quality, and it should provide a number of hours of fun walking on the "wild side".

3-0 out of 5 stars A good effort but it IS somewhat impractical, December 14, 2007
This book was a good effort. The instructions are pretty good, in full color and it somewhat interesting to find out why these models would be forbidden from the perspective of a former Lego designer.
There are some problems though. My two biggest beefs with the book were

1. The author didn't tell you what sets you could pull pieces from to make the given model. I had to use a Lego set inventory web site ([...]) to determine that which took about an hour per model.
2. The models didn't use the latest pieces and motors in the Technic line. Most of the models in the book were built with pieces and motors from sets that came out in 2000-2003. Thus, unless you're a collector like me, the people who buy this book will have a hard time finding the right pieces to use.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very fun to read and build, September 2, 2007
What an absolutely fun book to read. The authors, Pilegaard and Dooley, both worked at LEGO. Apparently, as a LEGO engineer, there are many rules that need to be followed when creating a new toy. Most of these rules appear to be in place to protect children from getting hurt. The purpose of this book is to allow two amazing LEGO designers to create models that break one or more of the LEGO rules. The results are some really interesting models that are a lot of fun to build--just don't let your 5 year old play with them!

I've read some previous LEGO books where the construction information was printed in black and white, making it difficult to follow. This book has all model instructions printed in full-color, making this book as easy to read as any LEGO-printed construction manual.

It also helps that the models are a lot of fun to build. You'll see instructions for a paper plane launcher, a candy catapult, a ping-pong cannon, an all-terrain vehicle, and "high velocity automatic plate dispenser". Each model starts out with the builder's inspiration for the model, as well as why it is forbidden by LEGO. While some reasons include safety concerns for young builders (any catapulted item must be below a certain velocity for it to be deemed "safe"), others include models that use non-LEGO parts.

All in all, this is a very fun book to read and build along with. If you've got a Technik set and want to try something new--something forbidden--then this is a great book to pick up. Not only are the models easy to follow (thanks in part to the color instructions), but they're fun to build.

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 Little-Known Reasons To Buy This Book, September 13, 2007
Here are my best 5 little-known reasons for you to consider buying this book:

1. It's got a great little summary (10 or so pages) about LEGO, the company's mindset, how these 2 authors got involved in LEGO, and how the design process works at LEGO. LEGO's safety test is described which is important because it helps to determine what is safe vs. non-safe for consumers (from LEGO's point of view). It's a great behind-the-scenes summary and very enjoyable to read.

2. What follows is a short 6 page summary about the LEGO master builders' design theory. With headers such as "How We Build at LEGO" and "The Hero Model," (don't know what that is - get the book!) readers can read a short essay on LEGO's design strategy as well as steps on incorporating it into your own design process.

3. Each project has an "Inspiration" and "Design" short discussion that lets you know how the project came to be. My favorite "LEGO Rules Broken" which tells you EXACTLY why this book is titled "Forbidden LEGO!" (You're also told if any non-LEGO parts are used which is a HUGE benefit before starting to build a project.)

4. "How it Works" short discussions tell you the principle behind the project's design and operation. After that, you've got full color building instructions.

5. Every project can be "MINDSTORM"-ed! These projects all have the ability to be converted to robotic platforms, automating them and giving your robots some real firepower. I've already got some ideas moving through my head after reading over some of these projects.

A great book - definitely a LOT of time and energy put into it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Half an instruction book - no way to order parts needed to build, October 30, 2008
A waste of money. This is a well done instruction book that motivates you to build the design and then stops. There isn't a parts list and since it doesnt give you the Lego parts numbers, neither is there any place you can go to get the parts. The Lego website won't let you order without them and, even with hours of searching, you can't find most of the special gears the authors magically came up with. A good example for business classes of how to foul up a really great idea. I raised this question to the publisher, NoStarch Press and they thanked me for my comments but offered no solution. They said they talked to the authors "from time to time" and would ask them - 6 months later, still no response.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get creative and have a blast, September 13, 2007
What an awesome, fun book! My 9-yr old son and I are having a blast creating all the cool models. The instructions are clear and as good as any official lego kit, while the text is funny and informative.

Included is some behind the scenes information on the inner workings at Lego, and how the design process operates there. Interesting reading for all ages.

The book has also inspired my son to build other creations of his own design. A great way to watch less TV and video games, and get the creative juices flowing.

Any fan of the Lego Technic line would enjoy this book. But be forewarned, unless you have a stockpile of technic parts, you will be buying more Lego sets and pieces to complete all the cool models. But it's not that bad, and well worth the effort.

2-0 out of 5 stars useless unless you have a robotics kit, May 31, 2009
I was excited to get this book for my 12-year-old budding engineer. He was too, until he looked through it and saw that he would need to have a Lego robotics kit to make a good number of the creations. Since the kit is $250, that ain't happening, so back it goes.

And as other reviewers mentioned, they show pictures of the pieces you need, but they don't label them with names or part numbers. It would be EXTREMELY hard to find the parts you need to build most of these projects. It's amazing to me that the authors would create such great projects but then provide such incomplete info, rendering their book virtually useless to most users. What a waste of the return postage!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Cool book, August 29, 2007
I ordered this book a week ago, and I'm having a lot of fun with it now.

It's a very thorough, thick book for the somewhat small number of models it shows you how to build, (only 5 different models), but it does cover them all in depth and with full illustrations, just like any Lego manual you've ever used. There's a lot of interesting notes written in the comments at the beginning and end of the projects, offering some interesting insight into what goes on at the Lego thinktank. Overall, if you've got a lot of lego bricks on hand, and time to kill, this is a very fun and amusing book, and I would definitely recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hopefully the first of a long series, April 4, 2008
This is a great book for LEGO aficionados wanting to push the boundaries of this wonderful Danish product.

Personal favourites include the full-functioning ground-to-air missile - built from the Fire Rescue set - and the life-size girlfriend with realistic hair that can be cobbled together from combining the Star Wars: Clone Trooper with various Bionicle sets.

My life would be complete if they were to publish a second book showing how to make a working distillery.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read, but needs some updating., January 10, 2009
Pro's: gives an insider's view of Lego and the Lego mindset in very well-written text sections; has easy to follow diagrams for assembling the fun forbidden models.

Con's: text is incredibly small (especially compared to the large assembly diagrams) and the Lego constructs rely on older Mindstorm motors.

Overall, very worthwhile. I bought this for my kids but it is geared more toward adults (despite the small type!) and serious entry-level robotics. It would be great to have a new edition! ... Read more

155. Country Living Aged to Perfection: Adding Rustic Charm to Your Modern Home Inside & Out
by Leslie Linsley
list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1588167739
Publisher: Hearst
Sales Rank: 3123
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Editorial Review

Lavishly illustrated and inspirational, this guide reveals the secrets to adding old-world charm and character to any home-even newly constructed houses. From heirloom furniture to classic window treatments, ideas abound for creating a beautiful rustic effect. Add simple architectural details such as crown molding. Or try paint techniques like crackling, mosaics, and staining to keep a new house from seeming too new. Gorgeous photographs show what's possible with a wide variety of homes.
... Read more

156. How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home
by Charlie Wing
list price: $21.95 -- our price: $16.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0876290152
Publisher: R.S. Means Company
Sales Rank: 2021
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Why is my faucet leaking, my toilet running, or my dishwasher refusing to start? Can I fix it myself? What's causing the heating system to smell bad or the foundation to crack? Do I need an air filtration system? Is the new "engineered lumber" as good as conventional wood? These are just a few examples of questions homeowners face when repairs are needed, or when a new house or addition is being planned.

There's no question that it pays to be an informed consumer. Knowledge of your home's systems helps you control repair and construction costs and make sure the correct elements are being installed or replaced.

This book uncovers the mysteries behind just about every major appliance and building element in your house. Clear, "exploded" drawings show you exactly how these things should be put together and how they function - what to check if they don't work, and what you can do that might save you having to call in a professional.

The easy-to-understand pictures and explanations on every page get right to the point, helping you understand how things work, what can go wrong, and how to trouble-shoot a problem.

Virtually everything in your house is included:

  • Electrical - circuit breakers and grounding, service, outlets, lamps and fixtures.
  • Heating and Air conditioning - gas, electrical and oil - ductwork and piping, thermostats, central and window AC units, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and air filtering systems.
  • Plumbing - kitchen and bath fixtures, piping, water heaters, traps and vents, septic tanks, pumps and water softener systems - even sprinkler systems and swimming pool filters/heaters.
  • Major household appliances - from kitchen to laundry.
  • Foundation, framing, doors and windows - including issues like drainage and radon, types of framing and how it supports the house, and all types of doors and windows.
... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars Best book available on this topic!, December 22, 2007
I bought this and two other "visual guide to your home" books from Amazon. This book is by far the best of the lot. I can't say enough good things about it. Here's why:

1. CURRENCY AND COVERAGE. Published in 2007, it's the most current title, and covers modern home fixtures better than the others. It's also very comprehensive in it's coverage

2. QUALITY. The diagrams and cutaways are highly detailed, and the best that I've seen - they're also full color, compared to the black and white in other books.

3. CLARITY AND ORGANIZATION. The explanations are straightforward and insight, with just enough detail to understand home systems.

4. TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS. Every topic includes a sidebar containing "Before hiring a professional" troubleshooting tips. They explain the 2 to 3 most likely problems with the system, along with the solutions. I just used this book to troubleshoot our malfunctioning garbage disposal. The troubleshooting tip was 100% right. I made the fix in 2 minutes and saved $180+ on the cost of replacing the disposal. The book just paid for itself 10 times over.

I have 30+ books on home building. This one has a special place on my bookshelf. If you own a house, buy this book. You'll thank me the first time you have the satisfaction of fixing something that goes wrong!

5-0 out of 5 stars This book pays for itself!, October 12, 2007
What a great book! The fantastic detailed color illustrations are clearer than looking at the object itself. The very first day I had the book, I was able to repair a broken flush handle on my toilet. In my area a plumber charges $100 just to come to the house, so the book has already paid for itself four times. I'm giving the book as Christmas presents to all of my homeowning friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Engineer, January 2, 2008
I have numerous reference books but this is the first one to actually describe to me how the device functions. The "Before calling the...(technician)" feature was a brilliant idea and a potential money saver for most homeowners.

My son-in-law teaches middle school science and will be using this book for its wonderful schematics. My other reference books are stashed away on a bookshelf - this one stays on my desk where it is good and handy!

3-0 out of 5 stars REALLY basic...., May 15, 2009
After buying my first house, I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me and wanted as much help as I could get. I looked at lots of reviews of DIY books, and this one seemed great. It is kind of a neat book, and does have some good information, but this isn't a book for a do-it-yourselfer. I'm new at it, to be sure, but even so, most of the information in this book is much, much too basic, and all the information inside could easily be found online. This book might be good for someone who usually calls professional help for home problems and wants to save a few bucks here or there.

1-0 out of 5 stars All But Useless As A DIY Guide., February 26, 2009
I have four general home improvement books and a score of special topic wiring, carpentry, decking, landscaping, etc., books which have helped immensely as a homeowner seeking to do some of the inevitably needed work without calling a contractor.

A friend who has zero handyman skills just purchased a home, so I searched Amazon to find a good current book on the subject of general home maintenance as a gift (mine are 10 years old or so). Unfortunately I stumbled upon this book with "rave" reviews and ordered it blindly.

All in all this book is a waste of time for anyone but the near sighted little old lady living in a rented condo who needs to know what a fuse is. It offers no real repair advice to speak of. What it does is give a simplistic, generalized diagrammatic idea of what things in the home do (such as a furnace, a water heater, a microwave oven, etc.) Then it instructs you to see whether it is really broken in an extremely simplistic way, under the theme of "before you call for help."

If the item in question actually is broken, instead of suffering from say, a burned out fuse or a burned out light bulb (actual example), there is no repair instruction of any caliber to be found. It is merely a book to determine whether you need someone else to fix the problem or if there is actually no problem to begin with.

This book is useless except for previously mentioned blue haired bespectacled tenants.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful large diagrams. For newbies OR as supplement to DIY books, June 16, 2009
Buy this book for the diagrams, OR as an introductory book for newbies. This book consists mainly of diagrams -- very large, clear, detailed diagrams that show how a house works.

We own several books on home maintenance, repair, and home improvement. Those other books offer much more advice on repairs and improvement, but the diagrams and photos are often inadequate -- not enough diagrams/photos, or not clear enough, or not labeled and explained enough. This book is the opposite of that; it has wonderful diagrams, with arrows and labels for the parts, plus brief text explanations and hints. This book has the best diagrams, so we use it as a supplement to the other books.

The book includes some "how to" information for basic maintenance and common, easy repairs. However, it is not a comprehensive manual for DIY home repair and improvement. For DIY, you will want to buy additional books for more depth.

I was pleasantly surprised at what diagrams were included in the book. For example, there are 6 pages of water heater diagrams, for 6 types of water heaters -- electric (tank), gas (tank), electric tankless, gas tankless, BoilerMate(Trademark) water heater, and solar water heater.

Diagrams showing major appliances are also included -- refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry washers, dryers, air conditioners, ranges, ovens, garbage disposal, vacuums. The clothes washer diagrams just show a belt-driven top-loader machine. No diagrams of the newer front-loading type.

The index is not bad; it could be improved by adding more terms. For example it has an entry for "evaporative coolers", but not for "swamp coolers".

5-0 out of 5 stars great for first time home buyers, August 8, 2008
this is a nice, solid little book - its really quite interesting and informative - presented in a clear way. The illustrations are very helpful - this seems like it would be a good foundation book to have if you are a new home buyer especially.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, August 1, 2008
My husband and I are not really handy around the house, so we purchased this book so we could get to know our home better. We were not disappointed. The diagrams are wonderfully clear and the tips for things to try before calling a professional are wonderful. We have already used the book several times to fix things around the house. The book has paid for itself ten-fold.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great confidence builder! Great resource! Great gift!, June 11, 2008
I originally checked this book out of the library; I was quite impressed with the clearly labeled drawings, the How It Works section and the Before You Call For Help sections. I then checked out the ratings by reviewers on [...]. Then I purchased several as gifts; all of them were well received. I think that this book is a great resource and confidence builder for any individual who wants to know more about the plumbing, wiring, heating/cooling, ventilation, appliances, windows/doors &/or foundation of one's dwelling. It is very visual and it is presented in clear, easy-to-understand, brief language for the layman. Yet Mr. Wing also writes for professionals in these fields. A highly recommended resource!

4-0 out of 5 stars Perfect For My Son, December 14, 2009
I gave this book to my son when he bought his first house. It explains the mechanics of each individual system in his home and familiarizes him with the vocabulary associated with them. He doesn't like to fix things himself but he reports that he's now able to diagnose problems around the house and to communicate effectively with repairmen. ... Read more

157. 365 Puppies a Year Calendar 2011 (Picture-A-Day Wall Calendars)
by Workman Publishing
list price: $12.99 -- our price: $11.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0761158049
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 3221
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Puppies, puppies, and more puppies! Packed with hundreds of adorable winners of the 16th Annual Puppies of Distinction contest, 365 Puppies-A-Year is the calendar for people who just can't get enough of soft, playful, sweet yet mischievous puppies. Here they are in their lovable, huggable glory: pudgy Boxers, always-on-the-go Jack Russells, lanky Labs, worried-looking Bulldogs, mop-headed Maltese, Chihuahuas small enough to fit inside a slipper. Plus lots of mutts—every one irresistible in its own special way. Each month's spread includes health and training tips to ensure that your own puppy is in the best possible shape.
... Read more


5-0 out of 5 stars Puppies Galore, December 16, 2010
We have been buying this calendar for years and years. My daughters (and they are quite grown up now) and I even have rules about how it is cheating to flip the page to look at the puppies ahead. If you like dogs and especially puppies and pictures taken by owners this is definitely the calendar for you. Oh and it has plenty of space to write things in too. ... Read more

158. Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship
by Peter Korn
list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 156158620X
Publisher: Taunton Press
Sales Rank: 2609
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Editorial Review

Based on a two-week course in woodworking fundamentals offered at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Camden, Maine, this book takes a traditional approach to teaching, with the idea that learning basic skills is essential to craftsmanship. In the process, the book covers all the bases, from working with hand tools to cutting dovetails. Over 250 color photos and drawings and two complete projects — a bench and a small cabinet — are included. ... Read more

159. 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Garments, Accessories, and More
by Lesley Stanfield
list price: $21.95 -- our price: $14.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0312538340
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 2239
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Editorial Review

100 Flowers to Knit& Crochet showcases a lush bouquet of blossoms perfect for embellishing your favorite clothing or accessories. As a finishing touch for all yourhandmade garments or a great pick-me-up fora vintage find, these lovely bloomsare the perfect way to use up scraps of yarn or try out interesting new yarns.
Breeze through this gorgeous collection featuring a colorful palette of simple spiraling roses, saucer-sized poppies, delicate lilacs, anassortment of vegetables, and more. All are shown full-size andin scale and iscomplete with stitched leaves and embroidered stems. Each flower has full instructions, yarn requirements, and a suggested skill level. An additional section serves as a refresher course with basic techniques and provides inspiration for embellishing your finished flowers with beads, buttons, and sequins. You can also learn how to use the flowers in a range of fun projects, from customizing clothing and accessories, to decorating gift-wrapped packages.
This book will inspire all knitters and crocheters to pick up their needles and start creating their ownbeautiful blooms.
... Read more

160. Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life
by Cesar Millan, Melissa Jo Peltier
list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0307381676
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 3624
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Editorial Review

The New York Times bestseller!

Be the Pack Leader is Cesar Millan’s guide for taking your relationship with your dog to a higher level. By developing the skills necessary to become the calm-assertive owner your dog needs in order for him to live a balanced, fulfilled life, you’ll improve your dog’s behavior and your own life as well.

Be the Pack Leader is filled with practical tips and techniques, including:

• How to use calm-assertive energy in relating to your dog—and to others around you
• The truth about behavioral tools, from leashes and harnesses to clickers and e-collars
• How to satisfy the needs of your dog’s breed
• Success stories from Cesar’s clients, viewers, and fans—including the Grogan family of Marley & Me fame
• A quick reference guide of specific, step-by-step procedures to tackling some of the most common dog behavior problems

“[Cesar] arrives amid chaos and leaves behind peace.”
—Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

“[Millan is] serene and mesmerizing. . . . He deserves a cape and a mask.”
New York Times
... Read more

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