The Pocket Renovator
Mother and daughter team Pamela and Leslie Banker follow up their Pocket Decorator with this handsome if anemic primer to ""the language of home improvement and renovation."" Like its predecessor, this volume functions more as a glossary than a how-to or troubleshooting resource. Everything from architects to zoning are defined in short passages and clean, clear illustrations. In addition to defining just about every noun and verb associated with home construction, the duo cover the pros and cons of various roof styles, offer a handy guide to symbols used on plans and blueprints and provide basic tips on furniture arranging for a handful of standard rooms layouts. Unfortunately, a lack of elaboration and focus can frustrate; furnaces garner all of two paragraphs, more time is spent on the history of the refrigerator than what homeowners should look for when buying one, and there's a notable lack of tips on maintenance, installation or upkeep. Though it will help novices distinguish between a lintel (""horizontal supports that span an opening such as a doorway"") and a joist (""supports for floors and ceilings typically made of lumber""), this reference is best suited for those who prefer to let others do the work.