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Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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In my case, I've been heating my home exclusively with wood for 5+ years (I know, I know, "newb!" shout many). I went into the process of selecting and ordering a high-efficiency insert with my eyes open and did a LOT of research. Then I did a LOT of research on wood, wood sourcing, wood chopping, wood stacking, wood storing, wood moving, wood burning. A LOT of research. You name it, I read up on it. Mostly on-line, thanks to some terrific forums, as they seem to have the latest "state of the art" opinions on efficiently turning wood into heat. After all, processing wood is a whole mountain of backbreaking work, and as a city slicker recently converted to the suburbs, I wanted to make sure I was doing all that work as efficiently as possible.
Given all that background research, I was hesitant to buy this book: "I doubt it'll have anything new. I'm sure it's a compendium of old news I've already seen." It can't teach *me* anything. But I found myself adding it to my cart anyway, on a whim (and, perhaps, for an opportunity to read through a book with a feeling of smug superiority? naw).
Largely, if you're experienced and/or Scandinavian and/or well read on the topic, there's not a *lot* of new information here. But, it's all presented so charmingly, so engagingly, so compellingly that it's nearly impossible to put down.
And even my over-researching self found a few new tidbits to try. There's something in here for everyone, and reading through the stuff you might already know is entertaining enough that it's still time well spent!
It's so charming, in fact, that I repeatedly thought to myself, "I wish I could read Norwegian fluently, as I bet it loses some small touches between 'well written' and 'fantastic' in translation." Great, funny, informative, opinionated-without-being-off-putting book. Actually, maybe more than anything else, it made me start wondering about a vacation in Norway!
Further, it should be commended for its physical presentation: This is a -beautiful- book, with a nice, heavy cover, lovely thick paper, nice pictures, great layout, etc. Just on that note, it would make a lovely gift presentation. Much care, effort, and cost went into publishing this. The pictures suffer a touch from being on matte paper instead of glossy, but I bet that was a choice made with environmental concerns in mind (or, perhaps, the thought that this book might need to be used as kindling in a dire situation! : ) ). I will be looking for books from Abrams Image publishing in the future, just because of this book.
Great book. Punches way above its weight class and cost. Grab it. Worst case, you can light a month's worth of fires with it, if you disagree!
It is hardcover and the binding felt solid, I like the feel of the paper in the book. It's weird, but books with poor quality paper can just ruin it for me. The book discusses the Norwegian way of "dealing with" wood. I waited (I think) 2 years for it to be translated in English as I knew it would be the perfect gift. But it is just so damn interesting I couldn't let it go. There are many full colored pictures of wood, and even more words about wood. It's a book that is entirely about wood. I don't know how else to describe it. You'll probably like it. Buy 2; one for you, one for the most outdoorsy wood chopping obsessed person you know.
Disclaimer: if you DON'T like woodsy stuff, you probably shouldn't buy this book. Because that is ALL it is about.
We first cleared aspen and ponderosa deadfall and got used to burning imperfectly dried wood. Reading about the ways to cure for this undervalued resource were uplifting. Realizing that, at 73, I am still a youngster as a woodsman was rejuvenating. I am particularly thankful to have been able to save our woodland first from mountain pine beetle and then from the High Park fire.
Is there any way to award this book six stars?
As much as anything, I guess I'm impressed by the Norwegian awareness and appreciation of the importance of wood heat in their history and their current society. Promoting clean and efficient use of firewood for heating homes seems to be a national policy of energy independence and emergency preparedness. New homes are required by law to have an alternate source of heat that is not electricity dependent - and that is usually wood heat. A pile of firewood doesn't disappear when a blizzard brings down the power lines, it doesn't leak pollution when the fuel tank springs a leak, and the firewood will sit there unattended and useful for a very long time.
The author covers a wide variety of associated topics in a clear and enjoyable style. Additionally, the book is illustrated with beautiful photos and is well bound and produced - it is as substantial as some of the woodpiles it discusses.
It doesn't go into details about sharpening a chainsaw or ax but anyone interested in heating with wood will probably enjoy this book.