Make magazine editor Frauenfelder attempts to “forge a deeper connection and a more rewarding sense of involv"/>

Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World

Mark Frauenfelder, Author Portfolio $24.95 (241p) ISBN 978-1-59184-332-0

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)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
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Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61637-336-8
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-101-56945-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-6781-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-1781-9
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