Books on Home Maintenance, Heartbreak, and Poetry

Four new releases of local interest.


The Home Book: A Complete Guide to Homeowner and Homebuilder Responsibilities by David E. MacLellan, George E. Wolfson, AIA, and Douglas Hansen (The Building Standards Institute, 2014, $49.95, 274 pp.)

Homebuilding and home repairs can be tricky, often with murky relations between homebuilder and homeowner (or contractor and property owner) when something goes awry with a residential job. But this resource guide from the Building Standards Institute addresses most issues, from foundations, floors and ceilings, walls, and roofs to exteriors, interiors, utility systems, and grounds with a miscellaneous section tossed in for good measure. The manual attempts to clearly delineate where both sides in the construction biz stand from a responsibility perspective.


Master of Leaves by Murray Silverstein (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2014, 89 pp.) and How a Mirage Works by Beverly Burch (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2014, 79 pp.)

Sixteen Rivers Press, the shared-work, nonprofit poetry collective for San Francisco Bay Area poets, has two new collections out featuring the work of two East Bay poets. One is Master of Leaves by Oakland’s Murray Silverstein, an architect, author, and often-published poet. The second is How a Mirage Works by Beverly Burch, a Berkeley-based poet, author, and psychotherapist. “These are poems that celebrate the multiple blessings of life and time,” is how Silverstein’s poems are characterized on the book blurb. Meanwhile, Burch’s poetry is described as “an astonishingly stark and honest exploration of rupture and renewal, fearlessly and joyously observed …”


Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear (William Morrow, 2014, $11.24, 357 pp.)

San Francisco writer Mary McNear, in her debut novel being released this month, spins a tale of small-town middle America with the quintessential elements of a good yarn: heartbreak, longing, hardship, and hope. The story, the first in a series, follows Allie Beckett, reeling from the recent death of her husband in Afghanistan, and her 5-year-old son Wyatt on a healing journey with a rustic Minnesota cabin serving as their safe sanctuary. With a little help from a longtime friends and a enigmatic newcomer, Allie and Wyatt learn to find their way again.

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