I couldn't really find a clear forum for book reviews, but since this book really is a "tool" for the mind, I figured this was as good a fit as any.
Tool: "Built-Ins", from Tauton's "Build Like a Pro" series
Reviewer: Bob Ashforth
Tool Rating: 10
Review: I purchased this book because I thought I might get some useful ideas for a built-in computer workstation for our living room. At $12.97 (on sale at Peachtree), I figured I was more likely than not to find something worth the purchase.
What I found was not just suggestions on specific ways to approach the "problem areas" of building around existing structure (and in my experience most of it nowhere near square), I found what I would describe as a "hands-on reference book."
For example, in a section on shelving, the author cites standard average reach height for males and females of specific heights, as well as standard heights for chairs, tables, and kitchen countertops. (In the latter case there are multiple heights for cooking surfaces, kneading surfaces, and "regular" countertop space.
In the section on installing countertops, the technique of scribing the back edge to take wavy walls into account is described in the context where you actually need to apply it.
Sprinkled throughout the book in each section are sidebars describing "What Can Go Wrong" and "Pro Tips"... for example, cutting the rabbet off the back side of a drawer box so that the bottom can be removed at will.
The description of carcase construction options, again, is in the context of specific applications, with the characteristics of each approach (and the reasons you might want to use it) described in detail.
I treasure the relatively limited access I've had to mentorship in woodworking (a void that these forums fill with warmth, wit, and wisdom), and in this book I see a nice package of "mentor-style" lessons from an expert.
Did I mention that I highly recommend this book? Um, well yeah, I guess so.