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In this overwrought ode to doing it yourself, Make magazine editor Frauenfelder attempts to forge a deeper connection and a more rewarding sense of involvement with the world by making more of the things his family uses and eats. His DIY projects are varied—organic gardening, building a chicken coop, constructing cigar-box guitars, keeping bees, tutoring his daughter—and not uniformly successful: chickens get devoured by a coyote; the bees subsist on sugar-water handouts; his daughter fails the big math test. (Not to worry, he insists, since accepting mistakes is foundational to the DIY ethos.) Frauenfelder's hand-making procedurals are engaging, but, for him, practicality takes a back seat to spirituality, to living authentically, to grokking the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, the beauty found in an object's imperfections. He often presents DIY as a form of therapy: spoon-whittling isn't about spoons, it's about the calming and focusing effect of spoon-whittling. (And like most therapies, these projects often require lots of disposable income—a thousand dollars for a load of mulch!—and spare time.) People have hobbies because they are interesting and fun; by inflating hobbyism into a belief system, Frauenfelder doesn't add much to their appeal. (June)
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Is it possible that anyone living today can be so devoid of common sense and mechanical ability? Everything that the author touches on, he treats as his own discovery. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Minor Player
Weak. The author boasts about things most of us achieved by age ten. Pathetic and a waste of my time and money.Published 22 months ago by Zenmaster
Thank you for making the most part of the conversation today and get the best of everything that you can update your email preferences.Published on August 20, 2013 by Eric Farrell
I'm listening to the audio version, and Mark does such a beautiful reading. I can't believe I'm so engrossed and moved by what happens to his chickens. But I am! Read morePublished on March 22, 2013 by skl;lskdg
I know Mr. Jalopy and when I heard about referencing his work in the book I just HAD to have it. I picture myself as somewhat of a "maker" and problem solver, but no... Read morePublished on January 24, 2013 by Dave Olsen
Since Mark Frauenfelder is a successful freelance writer and editor, I was expecting a lot more from this book. Read morePublished on August 18, 2012 by Sonnenblme