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1. How Fiction Works
2. The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter
3. The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature
4. The Book Against God: A Novel
5. Into the Woods: John James Audubon
6. Democracy and the Will to Power
7. James Krenov Worker In Wood (Woodworking)
8. Simplified Design of Wood Structures
9. New Wood Puzzle Designs: A Guide
10. Grant Wood: An American Master
11. Utilitarianism, Institutions,
12. James Abbott McNeill Whistler:
13. An appreciation of James Wood
14. Forest Products and Wood Science:
15. Making and Mastering Wood Planes
16. Cibola
17. Wood Furniture: Finishing, Refinishing,
18. Unfinished Lives 4 (James Dean/
19. Dynamics of Human Reproduction
20. The Irresponsible Self: Essays

1. How Fiction Works
by James Wood
Paperback: 288 Pages (2009-07-21)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$2.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312428472
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

In the tradition of E. M. Forster's  Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel, How Fiction Works is a scintillating study of the magic of fiction--an analysis of its main elements and a celebration of its lasting power. Here one of the most prominent and stylish critics of our time looks into the machinery of storytelling to ask some fundamental questions: What do we mean when we say we "know" a fictional character? What constitutes a telling detail? When is a metaphor successful? Is Realism realistic? Why do some literary conventions become dated while others stay fresh?

James Wood ranges widely, from Homer to Make Way for Ducklings, from the Bible to John le Carré, and his book is both a study of the techniques of fiction-making and an alternative history of the novel. Playful and profound, How Fiction Works will be enlightening to writers, readers, and anyone else interested in what happens on the page.

Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, July 2008: The first thing you'll notice about How Fiction Works is its size. At 252 pages, it's a marvel of economy for a book that asks such a huge question and right away you'll want to know (as you might at the start of a new novel) what the author has in store. James Wood takes only his own bookshelves as his literary terrain for this study, and that in itself is the most delightful gift: he joins his audience as a reader, citing his chosen texts judiciously--ranging from Henry James (from whom he takes the best epigraph to a book I've ever read) to Nabokov, Joyce, Updike, and more--to explore not just how fiction works, mechanically speaking, but to reflect on how a novelist's choices make us feel that a novel ultimately works ... or doesn't. Wood remarks that you have to "read enough literature to be taught by it how to read it." His terrific bibliography will surely be a boon to anyone's education, but it's his masterful writing that you'll want to keep reading over the course of your life. --Anne Bartholomew

... Read more

Customer Reviews (45)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great book, but forty pages are missing!
I love this book, and I was very engrossed in it, but at page 108, suddenly about forty pages were missing.

Has anybody else had this problem?

5-0 out of 5 stars Or, How to Suck Out the Marrow in Your Fiction Reading
Wood has strong ideas about the blend and interaction between the voices of authors and those of their fictional characters. He admires most the authors who can write fiction that follows its own conventions faithfully by signaling the different voices without breaking a self-imposed aesthetic. And aesthetics may be the most important factor in Wood's evaluation. We should be able to take written fiction as we find it and evaluate it on its own terms, but authors who fail to grasp and commit to a consistent aesthetic within a work make it difficult for readers to do that.

Readers whose chief interactions with a book are to determine whether they are "entertained," whether they "like the characters," and whether "the plot is believable" may see Wood as just another snobbish aesthete that revels in a lack of what they might call "clarity" ("Why should the meaning of the story be indeterminate or encoded? Why not just come out and say what happened?"). But those interested in plumbing the depths of language and all its most artful employments should find enlightenment, or at least enjoyment, with Wood and How Fiction Works. For the others, do try--it may tarnish your love for what Wood calls "commercial realism," but it will add more potential dimensions to your enjoyment of a text than perhaps you thought possible.

3-0 out of 5 stars `The house of fiction has many windows but only two or three doors.'
The title attracted my attention: I know what I like when I read it, but I don't always stop to analyse how it works, or even why.I also wondered, as I made a decision to read, whether a book of less than 300 pages could address this to my satisfaction.

I found the book interesting.Far from attempting definitive answers, Professor Wood poses a set of questions to consider as part of critical reading.Consider the following:
`What do we mean when we say we `know' a fictional character?'
`What constitutes a `telling' detail?'
`When is a metaphor successful?'
`Why do most endings of novels disappoint?'

Professor Wood covers the narrative and style of a range of different authors, including Homer, Austen, Woolf, Bellow, Beatrix Potter, Coetzee, Le Carre and Pynchon.

For me, this book is a starting point rather than a destination.I enjoyed the writing, didn't always share the conclusions and would like to consider further some of the other forms of fiction apart from novels.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

5-0 out of 5 stars A Clear and Simple Pleasure
One the most enjoyable aspects of this wonderful little book is its brevity; a lesser writer would have written a book ten times as long.As a reader of fiction, I can attest that this is exactly the kind of thoughtful, heartfelt analysis that improves the experience of reading beyond measure.The simple, condensed and accessible style makes this a book that anyone who reads any type of fiction will doubtless appreciate.

Additionally, this edition (Picador, 2008) is one of the most elegantly designed books I've read in years.The layout, typeface, paper grade, etc., are all superb; everything about the book serves to calm and focus the reader on the ideas within.It's simply exceptional.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing
I loved this book.It's over two hundred pages but I could have read three times that much.I kept hoping he'd introduce more writers (he seems to have ready everyone), especially contemporary ones, although he does comment some on Delillo and Roth.His take down of Rick Moody's snobby assertion that the novel needs a kick in the butt was brilliant.It's not the hammer it's the carpenter, Rick!

If you love literature, read this book.It will make you a better reader.It's the equivalent of semesters in a college-level lit class. ... Read more

2. The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel
by James Wood
Paperback: 336 Pages (2005-04-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312424604
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

"James Wood has been called our best young critic. This is not true. He is our best critic; he thinks with a sublime ferocity."--Cynthia Ozick

Following the collection The Broken Estate--which established James Wood as the leading critic of his generation--The Irresponsible Self confirms Wood's preeminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as an appreciator of contemporary novels.

In twenty-three passionate, sparkling dispatches, he effortlessly connects his encyclopedic, passionate understanding of the literary canon with an equally earnest and appreciative view of the most discussed authors writing today, including Franzen, Pynchon, Rushdie, DeLillo, Naipaul, David Foster Wallace, and Zadie Smith.

This collection includes Wood's famous and controversial attack on "hysterical realism", and his sensitive but unsparing examinations of White Teeth and Brick Lane. The Irresponsible Self is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about modern fiction.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent criticism
"Comedy, like death and sex, is often awarded the prize of ineffability." So says James Wood, perhaps the finest living critic of literature. Just as he has prefaced, the art of comedy is often impossible to describe, and Wood falls victim to this perpetual difficulty. This collection of essays does not explain why some books are funny as much as it locates the brilliant moments of ironic and tragicomic paradox that accompany the finest works of literature. Although less focused than his 'How Fiction Works,' Wood is able to penetrate into the essence of an astonishing array of writers; he discusses the comic brilliance of 'Don Quixote' and the theological pull of 'The Brothers Karamozov' with equal depth and vibrancy. Perhaps he is most famous for his essay in this volume on "Hysterical Realism," the American novelist's proclivity towards the creation of a large and ridiculous vehicle of topical information. Wood sees writers like Pynchon, DeLillo, Rushdie, and Zadie Smith as prime culprits of this phenomenon. But not everyone gets skewered in this book- Bellow and Henry Green are lauded, as is Naipaul and Svevo. Like all excellent criticism, this book is both focused, principled, and provocative. All together an excellent work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sense and Sensibility
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is no current literary critic who writes as brilliantly as James Wood. His metaphoric precision, his moral rigor, his exacting standards of literary excellence, his humanistic compassion dwarfs all competitors for the title. One would have to revert to Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson and Alfred Kazin to find comparable peers and, except perhaps for Trilling, I feel he outshines them all. Luckily we are not reduced to reading only one writer for insight and thoughtful exploration of literature's richness and follies. But in this, his newest volume of essays, he demonstrates once again why his writing remains indispensible.

5-0 out of 5 stars a fine critical work by one of the best critics today
The surest way of killing a joke is to analyse it. Not true, when the analysis is being done by one of the greatest critics alive today. James Wood examines humour in literature and analyses why we like characters who make us laugh, and what about them makes us laugh in the first place. James Wood is never one to voice his opinions, informed and erudite as they are. He turns his scathing pen loose on, among others, Salman Rushdie, Tom Wolfe & J.M.Coetzee. he makes you wondered where, as a reader, your loyalties lie, as you find yourself nodding in agreement. In all, James Wood is a great companion who makes his readers think about their reading

4-0 out of 5 stars One part stimulating, one part predictable
There are a few problems with The Irresponsible Self, but the main one is that it so clearly reflects its origins in journalism.None of the essays have been crafted with a full length work in mind, so Wood frequently repeats himself and often has to throw in something that is clearly a later addition to make the essay fit in with the putative theme of this work, which is a certain kind of comic novel.It is clear that this umbrella of "laughter and the novel" is an afterthought, because many of the books Wood writes about - Anna Karenina jumps out, so does Coetzee's Disgrace - won't inspire the slightest grin, as great or good as they are.

Wood repeats himself in two ways: the obvious one involves just telling the same anecdote repeatedly, in the manner of a newspaper columnist who is not sure to have the same audience from one week to the next.From the essays in The Broken Estate to this book I think I have read the same couple of anecdotes about Chekhov five times.Not a big deal, but sort of annoying to come across in a book one hopes would be more carefully edited.The second sort of repetition is harder to avoid: in his first book, Wood was so exciting because he brought a set of critical standards that were not only sensible but seemed to have been disappearing from a great deal of reviews.He asked basic questions like Would the character really think this way? - What is the point of this fancy language? - Is the author being true to the world he or she has created or just playing games? - and put his finger on things that had probably been bothering people who wondered why so many of the books that critics encouraged them to read were finally so unsatisfying.

The problem is that Wood argued for certain standards so cogently and consistently that it's easy to know what he's going to say about many books before reading the reviews.Anyone that has read the essay on Thomas Pynchon will pretty much know what Wood is going to say about Zadie Smith and Rushdie.Anyone who's read the essay on Updike from the last book is going to know what Wood is going to say about Updike - again - in this book.He's right, I think, but I wish that he might have expanded his critical range a little more over the period, or not bothered to re-publish essays where he knew he was repeating himself.

But there are still marvels here.Wood seems to be a voracious discoverer, from Knut Hamsun in the last book to Verga and Hrabal in this book (Svevo might be a discovery to many people as well, and such a worthwhile one).These essays may not stand up to re-reading, like truly great criticism (see Randall Jarrell), but they will certainly lead you to books that will.The essay I loved the most, strangely, is the one that shows that Wood's talents may have moved in the direction of fiction.The essay on V.S. Naipaul's relationship with his father is pretty much just a summary of a book of letters, but it's also an incredibly subtle and moving character study that shows how fully Wood has entered into their relationship.He doesn't pull out his usual set of critical tools, but inhabits the book like a writer entering into the minds of his characters.

Finally, for someone writing about comic novels, Wood has the singular disadvantage of not being funny at all.The dry way he describes even the best jokes succeeds in making them boring.The only time I laughed in this book on laughter is when Wood quoted parts of the novels.But even with all of these problems, Wood makes me want to run out and read a book immediately more than any other critic.And unlike the compulsive enthusiasms of most newspaper reviewers, Wood's subjects justify his praise, and that is reason enough to read any book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Improving
James Wood's latest collection of essays is an improvement over his previous volume "The Broken Estate."For a start it shows off his cosmopolitanism to greater use.Whereas the only great but underappreciated novelist to appear in his first volume was the Norweigian Hamsun, here we see Giovanni Verga, Henry Green, Joseph Roth and Bohumil Hrabal.We are also provided with a usefully critical discussion of Isaac Babel.Even better, in my view, are reviews of Italo Svevo and the introduction he wrote to Saltykov-Shchedrin's "The Golovlyov Family." Reminding readers of the existence of this brilliant, deeply pessimistic, lacerating and criminally under-read novel is alone worth the price of purchase.Secondly, there is nothing in this volume that is as tendentious as his essay on Flaubert.Instead, what we have here are critical but intelligently appreciative reviews of "White Teeth" and "The Corrections," praise of Monica Ali, quite justified disappointment with Salman Rusdhie's "Fury," and quite caustic criticisms of Tom Wolfe's "A Man in Full."We are also blessed with the generous introduction that Wood produced for a collection of Saul Bellow's short stories.Thirdly, we also get solid appreciations of truly great novels.Wood starts off with "Don Quixote," which is relatively simple because in point of fact even well educated readers rarely actually read it.Any essay which scores Miguel de Unamuno as "relentlessly idealizing" and includes an amusing and mildly blasphemous analogy to summarize Part II has its uses. Later on, we see him discuss "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Anna Karenina."

If there is a common theme through this collection it is only partly about comedy.It is, one might think, about people who are fundamentally comic, which is why Wood devotes so much attention to Saltykov-Shchedrin's "Little Judas," in what is otherwise a horrifying satire.Over and over again we read about the deluded, the self-deceived, and the willfully irrational, whether it is the failed priests of J.F. Powers, the little emphasized callousness of Don Quixote, or the warped humility of Fyodor Karamazov.As a critic Wood delights in pointing out incidents that are precisely typical of the author in question, whether it is a hypocritical priest in Chekhov who berates a parishioner while pointing a food-laden fork at her, or the way "Little Judas," brushes aside his son's desperate need for help by invoking Job's acceptance of his children's death, or the way Karenin practices, like the good bureaucrat he is, the conversation he hopes to start on his wife's infidelity.He is adept at pointing out Bellow's striking imagery, or the way Rushdie gets it wrong in "Fury."He can see Zadie Smith's virtues, such as the way she points out the politically-correct gardening tips of a bien-pensant family, and the ultimately meretricious way she chose to end the novel (involving sex with twins and a fashionable comment about family).

Perhaps the most useful essay is his criticism of Tom Wolfe.Wolfe has been called a "Dickensian" writer, and Wood shows how false that is.Where Wolfe's imagery is obvious, Dickens is subtle and clever, like Joe Gargery's eyes or saying Uriah Heep has a mouth like a post office.Wood points out that Wolfe's characters only feel one emotion at a time, like British water faucets that gush either hot or cold water.He points out that Wolfe's millionaire lacks the complexity of his real-life model Robert Maxwell, the millionaire who published Communist propaganda, the family tyrant with the loyal sons.Over and over again Wolfe describes his characters as typical or broadly representative.Moreover his physical description of them resembles fashion journalism, the concentration on their physical appearance and clothing, as if they were being judged on their appropriateness for a "Vanity Fair" shoot.Nothing is as damning as the comparison Wood makes with a passage with "Anna Karenina."A bit unfair one might think?Not so.In discussing the Doctor who delivers Levin's first child, Tolstoy does not follow Wolfe in discussing the cut of his clothes, or the cologne he uses.Instead it is the "thick cigarettes" that he insists of smoking before going while Levin panics as he thinks, like all first-time fathers, his wife will give birth at any moment.That is the sort of detail Wolfe never grasps.

Reservations?Well, Wood writes nothing on Latin American literature (nor Japanese literature come to think of it), and so the third world is represented by V.S. Naipaul.And as a lapsed evangelical Anglican the theme of religion appears just a bit too much and a bit too often.And one may suspect a certain blind spot with Catholicism in his review of J.F. Powers.Nevertheless this is a book of criticism with substantial virtues:it is cosmopolitan, acute, thoughtful, amusing, intelligent, serious, sensible.Most important, it reminds the reader of the moral necessity for reading and appreciating great literature. ... Read more

3. The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief
by James Wood
Paperback: 304 Pages (2010-05-25)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$7.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312429568
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Published when he was thirty-three, The Broken Estate is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging literature through its connection with the soul, its appeal to our appetites and identities, and he examines his subjects rigorously, without ever losing sight of the mysterious human impulse that has made these works valuable to generations of readers.
Amazon.com Review
For James Wood, great fiction is always a venture intodanger--a journey to the farthest shores. By extension, greatcriticism too should demand and risk all. And his first collection,The Broken Estate, does so again and again. Since Woodgraduated from Cambridge in the 1980s and began reviewing for TheGuardian, his name has been preceded by phrases such as enfantterrible and followed by adjectives such as fierce,fearless, and occasionally far worse. Few critics have such anurgent relation to their reading, and it is this, combined with hisall-encompassing intellect and verbal velvet, that makes Wood soterrifying--and so tender.

In his introduction to The Broken Estate he writes, "The gentlerequest to believe is what makes fiction so moving"(gentle, as both adjective and verb, and its adverbial form,seem key terms), and this is what Wood is drawn to explore in theRussian greats and the English, European, and American moderns, amongothers. Many of these essays originally appeared in the LondonReview of Books and The New Republic, where he is a senioreditor, but his book is far from a bundle of accident. Wood'scontention is that in the mid-19th century, the "distinctions betweenliterary belief and religious belief" began to blur (or, depending onthe writer, shimmer), causing a crisis for the likes of Melville,Gogol, and Flaubert, and leading to "a skepticism toward the real aswe encounter it in the narrative." I suspect, however, that some willhead straight for the pieces on their literary loves and not be soconcerned with Wood's overarching thesis, at least initially. Nomatter. Each essay also stands on its own, whether the author ispositing Jane Austen as "a ferocious innovator" more radical thanFlaubert, Melville as the ultimate linguistic spendthrift, or Gogol as"a defensive fantasist."

In a brilliant take on Virginia Woolf--Wood makes even themuch-discussed new--he declares (admits?) that "the writer-critic,wanting to be both faithful critic and original writer," is caught "ina flurry of trapped loyalties." But he himself almost always works hisway out of such snares, one of the many joys of this book. In hisanalysis of the several sides of Thomas More, for example, Wood firstreads Utopia as a comedy but then suggests we read it "moretragically--not as a Lucianic satire but as a darkly ironic vision ofthe impossible." The aphorisms and aperçus come thick andstrong. (Keepers of commonplace books should start a separate volumejust for Wood.) For example, "Leslie Stephen acted like a genius buthe thought like a merely gifted man." Or, "Hemingway has a reputationas a cold master of repetition, an icicle formed from the drip ofstyle, while Lawrence is most often seen as a hothead who fell overhimself, verbally." And he also has a gift for the telling domesticdetail: Gogol "irritated others by playing card games he had inventedand then changing the rules during play. He became rather selfishlyinvolved with undercooked macaroni cheese, a dish he made again andagain for guests." But Wood will dislike being complimented on hissentences as much as he claims Woolf did. His art, too, must bemeasured in chapters.

Wood is a great lover, and this makes him if not a great hater thenone who gets hot under the critical collar, his ardor turning toirritation and intemperance in pieces on Morrison, Pynchon, andMurdoch. But in his finest discussions--among them one on Chekhov andanother on late-20th-century treasure W.G. Sebald--he instantlyquickens writers, books, and readers into being. --Kerry Fried ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Redundant Smirking Mr. Wood

I've been working hard on Herman Melville and not paying attention to recent criticism, although I have been aware of James Wood when he popped up in one English or American paper or another taking pay for writing reviews on Melville which turned into bullying bloviations on theology.His information about Melville's life was sketchy, I knew, and I thought his notions of Calvinism vs. Unitarianism were shaky.Well, while I was dismissing Wood as a religious obsessive posing as a book reviewer everyone else was strewing palm branches along his way. Cynthia Ozick huffed at the idea that Wood was called "our best young literary critic." Untrue, cried she: "He is our best literary critic." Adam Begley in the Financial Times proclaimed Wood "the best literary critic of his generation." In LosAngeles Times Gideon Lewis-Kraus elaborated: "To call James Wood the finest literary critic writing in English today, as is commonplace, is to treat him like some sort of fancy terrier at Westminster.It both exaggerates and diminishes his importance. . . . It would be better to say simply that Wood is among the very few contemporary writers of great consequence. . . . He has earned a rare and awesome cultural authority."How wrong could I be?

Not very.Take the New Republic review of Delbanco's Melville: His World and Work which begins with some off-base theological bullying then frankly turns into an essay on Melville's language in Moby-Dick:
"Melville's words muster their associations, their deep histories, on every page.There are scores of allusions to the King James Bible. Adjectives and adverbs are placed in glorious, loaded convoy: 'The warmly cool, clear, ringing, perfumed, overflowing, redundant days, were as crystal goblets of Persian sherbert, heaped up, flaked up, with rose water snow.' With a tiny smirk of irony, Melville saves the word 'redundant' for the last place in that gorgeous list: as if to say, 'I dare you to find any of these multiple adjectives . . . redundant!'" Well, correct "sherbert" to "sherbet" and put a hyphen in "rose-water," to start with, assuming my online text is right.Then what?

The first thing you think of, if you know even a shallow history of Melville's words, is that he cannot be using "redundant" to mean "duplicative."He must be using it in a Latin sense, one easy enough to establish with a dictionary if you don't know Latin.

If you know Melville, whether or not you know Latin, you know that he takes many latinate words from John Milton.It takes only a moment on Google to locate a couple of likely analogues in Paradise Lost and in Samson Agonistes.

As it happens, the use of "redundant" in Paradise Lost is in a description of Satan as serpent which Melville was very familiar with: "his head / Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes; / With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect / Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass / Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape, /And lovely" . . . . Melville used the passage in The Confidence-Man, for example. Or look at this passage in Samson Agonistes where the fallen hero laments his condition: "to visitants a gaze, / Or pitied object, these redundant locks / Robustious to no purpose clust'/ring down, / Vain monument of strength" . . . . (lines 567-570).

When Melville's two-volume Milton first came into view in 1983 in the Phillips Gallery I got a glimpse of it, and when it came up for auction again at Sotheby's in 1989 I was equipped with a copy of the same set, onto which one cloudy Manhattan day I inscribed all Melville's marks and annotations I could see.Now I open my duplicate of Melville's Milton, marked as he marked his copy, and see that Melville did some underlining and marking of the page opposite "Floated redundant" and that in the Samson Agonistes he drew a line along all of 559-574, with another, shorter line along 567-569, three of the lines I just quoted, including "these redundant locks / Robustious."

It apparently did not occur to Wood that "redundant" did not mean something like "duplicative." If he had been sensitive to Melville's language enough to know the word had to be Miltonic (or most likely was Miltonic), he could have consulted Melville &Milton (2004), ed. Robin Grey, which reprints from Leviathan (March and October 2002) the transcription of Melville's marginalia in his Milton by Grey and Douglas Robillard, in consultation with me.But that would have meant being scholarly instead of a smirking, superior critic.

Nice people don't smirk. Dubya was a compulsive smirker, and look where he got the world.Wood may smirk, also compulsively, but he is wrong to bring Melville into his nasty little clique of smirkers.I could muster many other examples from Wood on Melville.He may be the greatest critic in the world, but he does not know anything worth knowing about Melville, and he certainly does not understand the nobility of Melville's literary ancestry and the towering grandeur of Melville's spirit.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Criticism
James Wood takes up the question of the novel and faith in this excellent collection of essays. Perhaps more philosophical here than usual, Wood still demonstrates why he is the most insightful and eloquent commentator of fiction. His criticisms of Morrison, Pynchon, and Dellilo encapsulate what is so often wrong with contemporary American fiction. The American novel has unfortunately descended into a lumping amalgam of ostentatious allegories and social commentaries. Our most esteemed writers seem to have lost touch with the basic elements that make great fiction tick: character, description, mystery. On the other hand, Wood reserves kind words for truly fine novelists like Henry Green and Iris Murdoch; he also makes decidedly uncontroversial appraisals of Gogol, Hamsun, Melville, and Austin. He is more critical of Flaubert than usual, drawing out what he perceives to be some of the problems of realism in a great work like 'A Sentimental Education.' James Wood is always interesting and erudite. 'The Broken Estate' is an enormously accomplished collection of criticism.

5-0 out of 5 stars writers on writing
not what i was hoping for in a work of fiction criticism.
'meaty' reading and hard going, but i am persistant.
very fine prose composition & worth the effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars repetitive to say...but brilliant
Criticism for people who want to read something smart and insightful about books. It's a book for those who appreciate thinking long and deep about literature, who appreciate being introduced to aspects of language and content they may never have previously considered, who take literature seriously and feel no need to apologize for it. There simply is no critic writing today as consistently well about literature as Mr. Wood and this book is a perfect introduction to why he has acquired such a reputation at such a comparatively young age. You may find yourself disagreeing but you will be forced to think hard as to why.

2-0 out of 5 stars Highly Overrated
This is literary criticism for people who don't like to read fiction. Or rather, for people who read novels just to squeeze them for big, important, gloomy ideas: alienation, the madness of being, the meaninglessness of world without God, and so on.

Actually, Wood writes quite well about God. Religion is the subject of his handful of good essays: in particular his look at God-haunted Herman Melville and the autobiographical title essay which explores Wood's own loss of religious faith. But spilt religion is his measure for all human experience, which is a strange point of view for someone who almost always writes about novels. Novels tend to be rather pagan, agnostic, compromised affairs. Which might explain why Wood usually writes about novelists without saying much about their novels. With Iris Murdoch, for example, he concentrates on her essays; his few words about her fiction--A FAIRLY HONORABLE DEFEAT--are just plain wrong. With other authors, such as Updike or Morrison, Wood picks at a sentence or two to suggest their prose style, then jumps ahead to their overarching themes and big ideas. He has almost nothing to say about characters or story, which for some of us is the meat and meaning of fiction. It's no surprise that Wood's favorite contemporary novelist, W.G. Sebald, is someone who's pulled off the difficult trick of writing novels WITHOUT characters or story.

Now and then Wood can come up with a nice turn of phrase, but this is a highly overrated critic: narrow, incurious and priggish. ... Read more

4. The Book Against God: A Novel
by James Wood
Paperback: 272 Pages (2004-06-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$2.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312422512
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Thomas Bunting while neglecting his philosophy Ph.D., still unfinished after seven years, is secretly writing what he hopes will be his masterwork--a vast atheistic project to be titled The Book Against God. In despair over his failed academic career and failing marriage, Bunting is also enraged to the point of near lunacy by his parents’ religiousness. When his father, a beloved parish priest, suddenly falls ill, Bunting returns to the Northern village of his childhood. Bunting’s hopes that this visit might enable him to finally talk honestly with his parents and sort out his wayward life, are soon destroyed.

Comic, edgy, lyrical, and indignant Bunting gives the term unreliable narrator a new twist with his irrepressible incapacity to tell the truth.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

3-0 out of 5 stars Pilgrim's Regress
Raised in an evangelical Anglican family, James Wood - a successful literary critic who teaches at Harvard and is a New Yorker staff writer - discusses the failure of Christian apologetics to justify belief in a God who allows so much suffering and evil to exist in The New Yorker: "Holiday in Hellmouth," a review of Bart Ehrman's God's Problem: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2008/06/09/080609crbo_books_wood.
The feckless protagonist of Wood's 2003 novel, The Book against God, is hard to identify with the high-achieving Wood, but they share a compulsion to argue against theodicy - the branch of theology devoted to justifying God's ways to man - from the Old Testament to Kierkegaard.
Tom Bunting is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy with a dissertation he cannot finish.It bores him, as does the prospect of a career of teaching and research that finishing the degree might lead to.He spends his time on another project instead - an endless series of screeds against the God he was raised to believe in, quarreling with writers who try to justify Him.The inadequacy of Christian apologists to make a watertight argument in God's defense is proof, in Tom's eyes,that Christianity is absurd and that God does not exist.If Christianity is to be accepted at all, it must be done on faith alone, and faith is what Tom sorely lacks.
The comedy is mostly in the early chapters, as Tom lays out his predicament - unable to finish his degree, separated from his wife, lying habitually to get out of scrapes, but whose lies are catching up with him.As we meet his wife, Jane, his few friends, and finally his parents - all of whom are concerned for him and wanting him to grow up and face responsibilities - the comedy drops away, and the tone becomes more serious.His father, particularly, is an impressive man who about the time Tom was born gave up a career as a theology professor to become a parish priest.Like Chaucer's Parson, Peter Bunting lives the gospel in his daily life, ministers to his flock, and is kindly and cheerful into the bargain.The only real issue Tom can find to differ with this loving father is their inability to agree theologically.
Why do some children raised in a faith take it on so easily, while others rebel?There's no question here of abuse, physical or emotional.Tom believes he had a happy childhood, if a bit of a lonely one.His parents' marriage is exceptionally loving, and he too was loved as a child.Yet he exhibits the traits of many children of successful parents (Bunting pere is successful in his own terms - a beloved pastor who genuinely embodies the virtues of the faith he ardently espouses).Tom fails to measure up to his father, or to meet his parents' gentle expectations that he will share their faith.Instead he quarrels incessantly with that faith - not face-to-face, since he can't bear to hurt his father - but behind his back, in his unpublishable book against his father's God.
This is an incomplete summary of a book that is full of incidents and nicely drawn characters.Wood has a knack for metaphor and simile that Aristotle says is the one part of a poet's craft that cannot be learned.Anyone who has had a half-finished thesis hanging over his head will recognize the sort of limbo it puts one in.The novel is hardly an advertisement for abandoning religious belief.Rather it is a wistful statement of someone who sees the horror of existence in this world, but is unable to console himself with visions of the next.
This all makes the book sound somber, but it is not.It is lightened with amusing portraits of Tom's friends and relations, and in later chapters set in the parsonage in the North of England, in Peter Bunting's parish outside the city of Durham, a gallery of local country "types" is diverting.Inevitably hints of allegory creep in - doubting Thomas, a man called Peter, the rhythms of the Christian calendar - but if some sort of Pilgrim's Progress is suspected, there is no resolution.Without redemption, this world is absurd and awful.But redemption is a fairy tale that cannot stand up to scrutiny.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not For Readers Expecting A Good Story
The plot in The Book Against God seems simply an armature, on which the author has molded his ideas.The characters are also formed to fortify the primacy of ideas and witty lines.The main character, Thomas Bunting, has lost the garden of childhood and with it his innocence.He, therefore, cannot take the leap of faith that his theologian father has.Quite aptly, Tommy becomes a philosopher.Although he will never finish his Ph.D., the occupation allows him to become a "Doubting Thomas."Opposing her husband's weak skepticism, Thomas's wife Jane, a musician, insists on conducting life with a measured rationalism.Of course, Jane's father, who left his legal practice early because of nervous problems, seems to approve of Thomas.Other views are offered by Max, the pundit, and his very academic parents, and so forth.The book is really quite funny, and is about the nature of truth as much as it is about belief.Perhaps this novel should be classified as a metaphysical novel.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not a novel of ideas but ideas trying to make a novel
The fulsome reactions to this brave attempt by a sensible critic of other's novels who tries to write his own fiction same make me wonder if some of Wood's readers have forgotten to distinguish form from content. True, this storyline has marvellously observed moments, for me especially in the observation of the narrator's friend Max's academic parents in their separate studies, waiting impatiently for human contacts to ebb so they can get back to their research.

But the arguments about atheism, agnosticism, and theology are scattershot and frankly rather disappointing, given their lack of originality. I expected more from this book, but instead of a sustained assault by a young thinker against too comfortable assumptions, instead I received a few hundred pages of a story that moved in fits and starts, with remarkably few interesting scenes, characters, or developments. I do admit that around the halfway point, the conversation between Tom and Colin does perk up the philosophical underpinnings that stay far too buried for most of the narrative. It barely earns two stars, only for attempts at insight that occasionally prove moving, if far too fleetingly. A glimpse of Wood's promise does emerge at the funeral of one of the main characters and the eulogy attempted by another (no plot spoilers) make for a finely tragicomic scene in the tradition of Waugh or Kingsley Amis.

But the whole musical realm within which Jane is shown takes up energy that would have better been spent on Tom's own musings, if they were to convince us at all. A few potshots at Kierkegaard's name and admittedly frustrating aphorisms do not make much of a case for his "book against God" project. Now, is this rather Wood's point? The open-ended denouement may support a rejection of Tom's ambitions.

If so, then these 250 pp. could have been better condensed and tightened into a fine novella. Wood gives you no real weight for his protagonist, who appears far too closely drawn on his own early experiences. This muddled semi-autobiographical portrait of a rebel academic shows only intermittent control of the fictional process. Without his previous reputation at the Guardian and New Republic, I wonder if this would have been published. Given the evidence of this debut, Wood's a better critic than creator of weighty fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars reminiscent of Waugh
It's a heavy comparison to be sure, but I couldn't help thinking how similar Wood's writing style is to Evelyn Waugh's. I've lost count of how many times I've been told a novel is going to be funny, or that the book is a "comic novel," and it produced a nary a snicker. But aside from Waugh and probably Kurt Vonnegut, Wood's novel is one of the funniest I've read in recent memory. Of course, this achievement is all the more remarkable since Wood's book is chiefly a thoughtful meditation on religion, belief, and, most of all, father-son relationships. How many writers can say they've written a top-notch philosophical novel that makes one laugh out loud?
The more I read this book and began to realize what an achievement it was, the more annoyed I became as I recalled the snarky reviews it received. There were many positive reviews and, sure, Wood is well known for his own occasionally mean-spirited reviews, although they are always unfailingly thoughtful and critical for good reason (at least in Wood's mind). I remember reading one review that went something like, "Wood's `The Book Against God,' is merely that, a book that tries to convince the reader there is no God." Um, no. Not even close. What this book is, more than anything, is an intelligently philosophical look at a father-son relationship where neither party is at fault, intimacy is painfully difficult to come by, and philosophical differences get in the way of familial love. It would seem to me that any review of this book by a professional reviewer that is entirely negative is the result of someone trying to dish out some kind of payback. The immaturity of such an act strikes me as an act by someone who either takes him of herself entirely too seriously or has enjoyed an extraordinarily easy life in which he or she has nothing more important to get upset about. Literary journalism and journalism in general has always been a profession where thick skin is a necessity, and if a reviewer doesn't understand this, perhaps he or she should consider another line of work.
The biggest shame of this type of attitude may be that it prevents one from learning from Wood's reviews, which never fail in this regard whether they are positive or negative. I think many fiction writers could also learn from Wood's splendid novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and entertaining
An atheistic and rather seedy son and his relationship with (principally) his attractive clergyman father.Superb, inventively and wittily phrased descriptions of a large cast of characters and of places; intelligent conversations about belief and non-belief; a moving coda (not quite at the end of the book).Because the chronology is all mixed up, it really needs to be read twice. ... Read more

5. Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream
by Robert Burleigh
Hardcover: 40 Pages (2003-02-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$52.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0689830408
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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As a young man, John James Audubon, the renowned American woodsman and artist, had to make a choice between following his father's dreams for him and discovering his own special destiny.

In this beautifully conceived book, Robert Burleigh imagines a conversation in which Audubon tells his father why he has chosen to forgo the ordinary life of a shop-keeper and instead live out in nature to develop his art and his relationship with the world. Illustrated not only with sumptuous images by Wendell Minor, but with actual drawings by Audubon himself, this book will appeal to his fans of all ages. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Tribute to the Father of American Bird Conservation
This beautiful picture book is a real treat for any admirer, young or old, of nature and the work of John James Audubon.From first page to last, it is a tribute to an extraordinary man who had a passion for America's wilderness, as well as to the wilderness itself.Robert Burleigh tells the story of the pioneering environmentalist through an imaginary rhyming letter to his father, with accompanying excerpts from Audubon's journals.Wendell Minor, a renowned jacket artist and distinguished picture book illustrator, enlivens the text with some of his finest work, which is complemented by a few of Audubon's original paintings.Mr. Minor portrays the curious woodsman as he rambles through sun-dappled forests, investigates a cormorant's nest on the side of a rocky cliff, and admires the untamed spirit of a temporarily captive hawk.Later on, the story's tone changes from carefree revelry to a heartfelt plea for wilderness preservation, as Audubon mourns the loss of the woodlands and the birds he holds so dear.While holding a dying pigeon in his hands he remarks: "And as I watched it die I knew/The world I love is passing too.And I must paint it all because/We need this memory of what was. . ."These inspiring words are accompanied by some poignant pictures of a flock of now-extinct passenger pigeons--once the most populous bird in the world--streaming across the sky, and a once-mighty forest reduced to stumps.There is a hopeful note in the story, as well: "But listen, now, from every tree/I hear them calling out to me: The crow's ka-kow, the lark's ti-ti/The warbler and the chickadee."In order to preserve nature, we must first appreciate even the smallest aspects of it, from the the mighty bald eagle to the tiny chickadee.The book leaves one with a sense of hope about the conservation movement and a refreshed passion for the outdoors, especially birds, which are so plentiful and so striking in this country.With his paintings Mr. Minor has skillfully captured the personality of the man and the beauty of the birds he loved, and Mr. Burleigh has brought poetic words to help us remember Audubon not just as the vanguard in the American conservation movement, a mere icon of history books, but as a true woodsman who loved this country and its wilderness with his whole heart.INTO THE WOODS makes a lovely gift for any aspiring naturalist of age 8 to a lifelong birder of age 80.Pick up a copy for the child in your life and one for yourself.Also be sure to check out another new picture book, RACHEL: THE STORY OF RACHEL CARSON, which, like INTO THE WOODS, tells the story of a pioneering American environmentalist and is wonderfully illustrated by Wendell Minor. ... Read more

6. Democracy and the Will to Power
by James Nelson Wood
Paperback: 76 Pages (2010-03-28)
list price: US$16.38 -- used & new: US$16.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1154975746
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The book has no illustrations or index. It may have numerous typos or missing text. However, purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original rare book from the publisher's website (GeneralBooksClub.com). You can also preview excerpts of the book there. Purchasers are also entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Original Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf; Publication date: 1921; Subjects: Democracy; Individualism; Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy; ... Read more

7. James Krenov Worker In Wood (Woodworking)
by James Krenov
 Paperback: 128 Pages (1997-06-30)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$112.69
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Asin: 0806996897
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Krenov once again provides instruction and inspiration to his legions of fans.In this oversized format you'll find 100 black-and-white photographs, 47 in color, and an intimate text that showcases the peak of his talent. The pictures by Bengt Carlen reveal the signature on all of Krenov's pieces-- precision, delicacy, quiet strength, intricate grains, satin-smooth finishes, matched joints, attention to detail, and a respect for the tools and materials themselves. These are but a few of the more than 20 examples exhibited in this collection--*a cabinet of old Swedish elm *a writing table of Italian walnut *a no-glass showcase of lemon wood *a wall cabinet of English brown oak *plus numerous others. 128 pages (all in color), 8 1/2 x 11 1/2.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars It is Krenov
When I read reviews I look at the 1 star and 2 star reviews. Especially in tools.If there was a problem I will get that problem. Would give this book five stars, but like me you might think...I won't find what I need?I got what I needed from James Krenov.James Krenov can suprise you, and inspire you.He tells us how it feels to be a woodworker. He always said it feels great to be able to do this and get paid for it. ( Not in so many words...:) )He credits the photographer for giving us the feel and spirit of his pieces.

For many woodworkers and others he has triggered a change in how we work and why we work,Mr. Krenov was instrumental, along with others in promoting a new way of making furniture with the craftsmanship of the person who creates rather than follows a pattern/plan.

This is not a detailed "how too." Really none of his books are.There are many better "plan books" and tool books out there.He is however, a must see, must read?At least for me?I have been on a journey. I asked to gopher for some old timers to learn what they "know", but no takers?Perhaps because like another reviewer I am what might be considered "too old."Oh yeah, I can't afford to go to a woodworking school?

Mr. Krenov died in 2009, but continues to be my mentor. I study this and other Krenov essays, and find new inspiration each time I look.Also to help me in the process.Mr. Krenov did not want to be called a master. He made mistakes. he worried if others would like what he made.

When I showed my wife his cabinets when I was first reading the "impractical cabinetmaker" she said "something like "they are not very functional."I was filled with inspiration when I asked her because I wondered what she saw?If you like art, craftsmanship, and inspiration, then like me ya gotta have it.LOL

5-0 out of 5 stars KRENOV RULES
This book is a "must have" for anyone over 60 so they can see what they should have done with their youth.That is my humble opinion.

I just can't believe I didn't read this book 29 years ago.I am sure glad I was blessed with the chance to read it now..!!

Bruce at [...]

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, many examples, details...
This book is not like his first three books; readers should not expect this book to be the same becasue it was NOT INTENDED to be the same.i feel it is unfair to say this books does not give instruction or that it is not "hands on" and give it a low rating when this book was not written to be "hands on."this book contains many beautiful photos, though many in black and white, of krenov's great works.this book contains pictures of krenov's work that are NOT in his other books and with many close-up shots of details.This book, in conjunction with his first three, gives the reader a satifying number of photos and details of krenov's work to look at.Invaluable when you are working on your own piece that you aspire to make as fine as krenov's and would like to see how Krenov detailed the back of his cabinet, or the stand which is sits on, or when you are lost and don't know how it should be done.There is a bit of text here and there, though not that much, mostly explaining a certain piece or how he arrived at it's final appearace - all very important if you are trying to understand how a master craftsman thinks.overall a great book that no real krenov fan should be without.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not hands on
This was a beautifully photographed book with lots of great pictures of gorgeous projects.I recommend it for that, but not if you want hands on information on the actual creation process. ... Read more

8. Simplified Design of Wood Structures (Parker/Ambrose Series of Simplified Design Guides)
by James Ambrose, Patrick Tripeny
Hardcover: 416 Pages (2009-03-03)
list price: US$90.00 -- used & new: US$62.59
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Asin: 0470187840
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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No architect's education would be complete without a basic understanding of how structures respond to the action of forces and how these forces affect the performance of various building material (wood, steel, concrete, etc.). In continous publication for over 60 years, this standard guide to structural design with wood has now been updated to include current design practices, standards, and consideration of new wood products. Now covering the LRFD method of structural design in addition to the ASD method, expanded treatment of wood products besides sawn lumber, and with more examples and exercise problems, this edition stands as a valuable resource that no architect or builder should be without. The Parker/Ambrose Series of Simplified Design Guides has been providing students with simple, concise solutions to common structural and environmental design problems for more than seven decades. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Horrible
I have tried to contact the seller various times to return the book but I get no reply. I have dropped this course and for a month now I have unsuccessfully tried to contact the seller. I did receive the book on time but the course was dropped and no return/refund policy was posted. ... Read more

9. New Wood Puzzle Designs: A Guide to the Construction of Both New and Historic Puzzles
by James W. FolletteMD
Paperback: 96 Pages (2001-06-01)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$13.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0941936570
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Wooden puzzles are fun to solve, but with this guide to the almost perfectly square sticks, rings, disks, and other shapes that they require, they are even more fun to make. Twelve puzzles of four different basic types are described in this guide, along with the tools and techniques needed to make them. There is also expert advice on the woods, glues, and finishes that will give the best results. These puzzles are beautiful and intriguing objects in their own right, and they offer woodworkers a delightful means of sharpening their skills and astonishing their friends. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Puzzle
Not a good value for the money even though it was on sale.All the puzzles are very similiar and once you have made one it doesn't seem to hold interest to make the rest.

5-0 out of 5 stars For woodcrafters of all ages and skill levels
New Wood Puzzle Designs: A Guide To The Construction Of Both New And Historic Puzzles is a detailed, involved and definitive woodworker's guide to creating timeless classic wooden puzzles as well as new and innovative wood puzzle types. Superbly illustrated throughout with full-color photographs and unambiguous sketches, New Wood Puzzle Designs is clearly and cleanly written in language the lay reader and novice woodworker can understand as readily as the long-devoted hobbyist. New Wood Puzzle Designs in a truly excellent and highly recommended book for woodcrafters of all ages and skill levels. ... Read more

10. Grant Wood: An American Master Revealed
by James M. Dennis, James S. Hornes, Helen Mar Parkin, Joslyn Art Museum, Davenport Museum of Art, Worcester Art Museum, Grant Wood
Paperback: 112 Pages (1995-10)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$72.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0876544855
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Grant Wood: An American Master Revealed
What can I say?I love this guy's work and this book is a great start for those unfamiliar with his art!Highly recommend purchasing a copy!

5-0 out of 5 stars From the Publisher
"Grant Wood's (1891-1942) paintings epitomized the Regionalist movement and attracted an immense popular audience. This book, published as the catalog for the traveling exhibit which premiered at the Davenport Museum of Art in Iowa (1995), is richly illustrated with some sixty of Wood's paintings and preparatory studies. The text examines Modernist influences on the artist, specifically in relation to his abstract design principles and the lasting influence of Neo-Impressionism on his painting.

"By Brady Roberts, James M. Dennis, James Hornes, and Helen Mar Parkin, Davenport Museum of Art. 128 pages, 60 full-color reproductions, 27 black-and-white illustrations, size: 11 x 9". Smythe-sewn paperbound book. ISBN: 0-87654-485-5."--© Pomegranate ... Read more

11. Utilitarianism, Institutions, and Justice
by James Wood Bailey
Hardcover: 224 Pages (1997-09-04)
list price: US$125.00 -- used & new: US$58.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195105109
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This book is a rebuttal of the common charge that the moral doctrine of utilitarianism permits horrible acts, justifies unfair distribution of wealth and other social goods, and demands too much of moral agents. Bailey defends utilitarianism by applying central insights of game theory regarding feasible equilibria and evolutionary stability of norms to elaborate an account of institutions that real-world utilitarians would want to foster. With such an account he shows that utilitarianism, while still a useful doctrine for criticizing existing institutions, is far more congruent with ordinary moral common sense than has been generally recognized. A controversial attempt to support the practical use of utilitarian ethics in a world of conflicting interests and competing moral agents, Bailey's work uniquely bridges the abstract debate of philosophers and the practical, consequence-based debates of political scientists. ... Read more

12. James Abbott McNeill Whistler: Pastels
by James McNeill Whistler
Hardcover: 199 Pages (1991-11)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$27.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0807612669
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13. An appreciation of James Wood Coffroth: Written for his son James W. Coffroth
by Edward F O'Day
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1926)

Asin: B00086SRWE
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14. Forest Products and Wood Science: An Introduction
by James L. Bowyer, Rubin Shmulsky, John G. Haygreen
Hardcover: 576 Pages (2007-05-25)
list price: US$104.99 -- used & new: US$52.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813820367
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Forest Products and Wood Science: An Introduction, 5th Edition is a completely revised and updated edition of the venerable classic textbook. Expanding and updating key data, the new edition of this text will provide students, wood scientists, and wood product professionals with a comprehensive overview of the anatomical and physical nature of wood and the relationship of these characteristics to its use as an industrial raw material. With updated research findings and expanded discussions of key areas in wood science that reflect the changing face of the forest products industry, Forest Products and Wood Science: An Introduction, 5th Edition will continue to be an indispensable text for students and professionals in the field. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars More than pleased
Book was in better condition than description stated.Very pleased. Second timed used this way to purchase book and was not disappointed. Will definitely use again and recommend to others. ... Read more

15. Making and Mastering Wood Planes
by David Finck
Paperback: 192 Pages (2009)
-- used & new: US$24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 061527353X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The latest edition of this highly regarded instructional manual. See the great reader reviews posted for the previous editions. With this book and a weekend of your time you can make a plane and learn to use it effectively. You'll also discover a wealth of general woodworking tips and acquire a solid grounding in many fundamentals of fine woodworking. Now in its third printing, "Making and Mastering Wood Planes" by master craftsman David Finck is the definitive book in the field and a classic introduction to the art of fine woodworking.Reviews:". . . the best book available on making and using Krenov-style wooden planes. Finck's advice on construction and planing techniques is a woodworking education in itself. He also provides excellent insights and instructions on tools, power-tool techniques, jigs and the theories underlying the process of planemaking. A clearly written and far-ranging treatise." -- Ellis WalentineWebmaster & Host, WoodCentral"Essential reading for anyone with an interest in handplanes. I wore out my first copy." -- Christopher Schwarz, Editor, "Popular Woodworking" and "Woodworking Magazine." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An in depth look at a simple tool
This is a marvelous book about wood planes. Every step in the making of a wood plane is detailed here in very consise chapters. As the previous reviewers mentioned, there is so much great information here on all facets of woodworking, it feels like quite a bargain.

5-0 out of 5 stars The First Woodworking Book You Should Buy
I've read a lot of woodworking books, but next to Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking, this is the most practical primer for furniture building. The author covers almost every necessary skill from rip sawing to making router templates. His coverage of grinding, honing, planing and shaping may be more thoroughly covered in other books, but this is a welcome addition to a book about the oft-overlooked wood plane.

Of course, what this book excels at is describing how to build a Krenov-style wooden plane which may be nearer a tool used by Romans 2000 years ago than our modern electric planes, but it finishes wood with unsurpassed efficiency and exactitude.

The only two minor omissions are a Janka hardness listing of appropriate plane-making woods and a mention of Hock Tools as a plane iron option, in addition to the author's own firm. In fact, Hock sells a Krenov-style plane kit for those who are too busy or lazy to complete a first one unassisted.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than just Wood Planes
I purchased this book directly from the Author, so my copy came signed.

I am really amazed by this clearly written book. In less than 200 pages, with a modest list of tools, Finck details the process of wooden plane design and construction. He also covers the use and care of all the associated tools that go into the building, sharpening, and use of the planes. So many woodworking techniques and topics are covered that the text would make a great introduction and reference to wood working, while encouraging readers to make their own tools.

Topics included are: Selecting, preparing, and properly marking stock, tuning up a bandsaw, grinding/sharpening of irons and chisels, making your own marking knives and plane hammers,clamping and glue-ups, workbench use, pinch dogs and shooting boards, scraper sharpening and use, and planing techniques for stock preparation and edge joining. The list goes on and on.

I couldn't recommend it more. ... Read more

16. Cibola
by David Wood
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-03-12)
list price: US$3.99
Asin: B001VH7PKE
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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1539- In a remote Spanish outpost, one man holds the secret to the greatest treasure and deadliest secret in human history. Utah, Present Day Cave paintings in a newly-discovered Indian site provide evidence that Christ visited the New World. Or do they? Dane Maddock returns in another unforgettable adventure! When Dane rescues beautiful archaeologist Jade Ihara , he joins her on asearch for the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola. Cibola takes the reader on a journey across the American southwest, where the ruins of the mysterious Anasazi hide deadly secrets, and foes lurk around every corner. Dane and his partner "Bones" Bonebrake must decipher clues from the fabled Copper Scroll, outwit their enemies, and be the first to unlock the secret of Cibola. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good idea; execution lacking
I enjoyed the basic idea the book presented, but thought it was poorly written.It seemed like it was written for juveniles rather than adults.Ideas could have been expounded upon more.Okay for an afternoon read on the beach.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cibola
Great , good story line, a little disappointed with the dominion. buts thats okay too. overall a great book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good action
This was a fun book to read.Obviously an attempt at matching Clive Cussler.Not quite, but good try.Also, it's poorly edited.There were grammar errors, etc. polluting the text.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a ride your in forWOWWOW!
I just loved this book. A really good read.I could not put it down!

1-0 out of 5 stars Shallow, laughable effort.
This is a book that made me laugh frequently... and not for the right reasons.Anyone who cares about national parks will want to pound their head against the wall during any of the many scenes of vandalism that the "heroes" of this unlikely tale perform.Anyone who knows anything about history or southwestern archaeology will start muttering to themselves during the many, many laughable exploits.Plus, the characters are wooden stereotypes with names to match.(Bones, Dane, etc.) The final straw is the "monster" that lurks underground.One cliche too many.If you know nothing about the Southwest and don't care to know more, it might be a mildly entertaining read.If you have ever been to any of the parks referenced in the book, forget it.Save your money. ... Read more

17. Wood Furniture: Finishing, Refinishing, Repairing (An Audel Book)
by James E. Brumbaugh
Hardcover: 424 Pages (1992-08-15)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$27.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0025178717
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The primary emphasis of this book is on the application of various types of finishes to wood furniture. It also contains chapters on furniture repair and the preparation of wood surfaces. New to this edition are a glossary of terms; rewritten and updated information on antiquing, stencilling, and other craft-type finishes; references to specific brand names and products and the companies that produce them; emphasis on safety precautions when using finishes; and extensive rewritten and updated information on all types of stains. ... Read more

18. Unfinished Lives 4 (James Dean/ Natalie Wood)
 Audio Cassette: Pages (1996)
-- used & new: US$12.95
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Asin: 0787112739
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19. Dynamics of Human Reproduction (Foundations of Human Behavior)
by James Wood
Paperback: 653 Pages (1994-12-31)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$3.87
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Asin: 0202011801
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This long-awaited book presents a comprehensive, integrated and up-to-dateoverview of the major physiological and behavioral factors affecting humanreproduction. Trained as an anthropologist as well as a demographer, the authorsummarizes data from a wide range of societies, and writes with signal clarity on the interaction between biology and behavior. A unique combination of comprehensive subject matter and an integrated analytical approach makes the book ideally suited both as a graduate-level textbook and as a reference work. ... Read more

20. The Irresponsible Self: Essays on Comedy and Fiction
by James Wood
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2004-05-13)
list price: US$35.10 -- used & new: US$13.23
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Asin: 0224064509
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Editorial Review

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When James Wood's first collection of essays, The Broken Estate, was published in 1999, the reviewers hailed a master critic. John Banville described Wood as a 'a close reader of genius-illuminating and exciting and compelling', and Malcolm Bradbury described him as 'a true critic: an urgent, impassioned reader of literature, a tireless interpreter, a live and learned intelligence'; Adam Begley, in the Financial Times, said that 'Wood is not just a keen critic, our best, but a superb writer'; Geoff Dyer admired the 'passionately sustained vigour of his writing' which 'towered above most of what passes for criticism'; Natasha Walter, in the Independent, described The Broken Estate as 'a book that makes you feel, having closed it, as if your mind has been oxygenated'. The common thread in Wood's latest collection of essays is what makes us laugh - and the book is an attempt to distinguish between the perhaps rather limited English comedy (as seen in Waugh, for example) and a 'continental' tragic-comedy, which he sees as real, universal and Quixotic. A particularly acerbic, and very funny, essay - which has been widely celebrated - deals with Zadie Smith, Rushdie, Pynchon and DeLillo, ... Read more

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