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Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin

61wqJOmW3NLA warm and inspiring book for anyone who has ever dreamed of changing tracks: the story of a young woman who quit her desk job to become a carpenter.

Nina MacLaughlin spent her twenties working at a Boston newspaper, sitting behind a desk and staring at a screen. Yearning for more tangible work, she applied for a job she saw on Craigslist―Carpenter’s Assistant: Women strongly encouraged to apply―despite being a Classics major who couldn’t tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver. She got the job, and in Hammer Head she tells the rich and entertaining story of becoming a carpenter.

Writing with infectious curiosity, MacLaughlin describes the joys and frustrations of making things by hand, reveals the challenges of working as a woman in an occupation that is 99 percent male, and explains how manual labor changed the way she sees the world. We meet her unflappable mentor, Mary, a petite but tough carpenter-sage (“Be smarter than the tools!”), as well as wild demo dudes, foul-mouthed plumbers, grizzled hardware store clerks, and the colorful clients whose homes she and Mary work in.

Whisking her readers from job to job―building a wall, remodeling a kitchen, gut-renovating a house―MacLaughlin examines the history of the tools she uses and the virtues and varieties of wood. Throughout, she draws on the wisdom of Ovid, Annie Dillard, Studs Terkel, and Mary Oliver to illuminate her experience of work. And, in a deeply moving climax, MacLaughlin strikes out on her own for the first time to build bookshelves for her own father.

Hammer Head is a passionate book full of sweat, swearing, bashed thumbs, and a deep sense of finding real meaning in work and life.

8 illustrations

Nina MacLaughlin grew up in Massachusetts and lives in Cambridge, where she works as a carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she has written for the Believer, Bookslut, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.

The American Lover by Rose Tremain

51bCPR7w-rL“A collection of stylish daring, tonal mastery and smart, tough love.”―New York Times Book Review

Trapped in a London apartment, Beth remembers a transgressive love affair in 1960s Paris. The most famous writer in Russia takes his last breath in a stationmaster’s cottage, miles from Moscow. A young woman who is about to marry a rich aristocrat instead begins a torrid relationship with a construction worker. A father, finally free of his daughter’s demands, embarks on a long swim from his Canadian lakeside retreat. A middle-aged woman cares for her injured mother at Christmas. And in the grandest house of all, Danni the Polish housekeeper catches the eye of an enigmatic visitor, Daphne du Maurier.

Rose Tremain awakens the senses in this magnificent and diverse collection of short stories. In her precise yet sensuous style, she lays bare the soul of her characters―the admirable, the embarrassing, the unfulfilled, the sexy, and the adorable―to uncover a dazzling range of human emotions and desires.

Lost Kin by Steve Anderson

41-Z9wVB+wLReunited brothers confront a secret Allied betrayal in postwar Munich.

Occupied Munich, 1946: Irina, a Cossack refugee, confesses to murdering a GI, but American captain Harry Kaspar doesn’t buy it. As Harry scours the devastated city for the truth, it leads him to his long-lost German brother, Max, who returned to Hitler’s Germany before the war.

Max has a questionable past, and he needs Harry for the cause that could redeem him: rescuing Irina’s stranded clan of Cossacks who have been disowned by the Allies and are now being hunted by Soviet death squads—the cold-blooded upshot of a callous postwar policy.

As a harsh winter brews, the Soviets close in and the Cold War looms, Harry and Max desperately plan for a risky last-ditch rescue on a remote stretch of the German-Czech border. A mysterious visitor from Max’s darkest days shadows them. Everyone is suspect, including Harry’s lover, Sabine, and Munich detective Hartmut Dietz—both of whom have pledged to help. But before the Kaspar brothers can save the innocent victims of peace, grave secrets and the deep contempt sown during the war threaten to damn them all.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction—novels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Broken Three Times by Joan Kaufman

41aWZi-slmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Broken Three Times is a story about child abuse in America. It begins with snapshots from a mother’s abusive childhood, then fast-forwards to her family’s first involvement with Connecticut protective services when her children are eleven and ten. After a brief investigation, the family’s case is closed, and despite their many needs, they are not provided links to any ongoing supportive services. Over the next five years we see the children pass through nearly twenty placements, while their mother continually relapses on crack and moves from one violent relationship to the next. Each chapter of the book provides a launching point for discussing state-of-the-art policy, practice, and scientific updates relevant for understanding risk, promoting resilience, and improving the child welfare system. This book will provide readers with some information about innovations and recent improvements in the system, concrete steps to take to enhance practice, ongoing gaps in our knowledge, and a deepening appreciation of the value of incorporating broad perspectives into this work–from neurobiology to social policy.

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