July 2009 (hugely long)
To those receiving this for the first time: it's an irregularly
written newsletter describing what's going on with Shelter
Publications and what I run across out in the world. I apologize for
the length of this: blah blah blah...
Our 3 next books:
1. Stretching - 30th Anniversary Edition
We've just about finished several months of work on this, our
most popular book (3-1/2 million copies, 23 languages). It's set for
December pub date. Core of book same, but these significant
- 8 new stretching routines for office workers and computer users
- Tips on office ergonomics and preventing repetitive stress injuries
- 2-color illustrations (first time)
- "Dynamic stretching:" What is it?
- Newly-designed cover (subtle changes)
What's made this book so popular world-wide? Clear, simple
drawings, 1-page stretching routines (to photocopy), and plain
(non-PhD) language. Bob and Jean Anderson have connected with people
ever since they put together their 1st homemade version of this book
in the mid-'70s.
You may have read recent articles that "static stretching"
is not a good way for athletes to prepare for competition. See article
I wrote on it at: http://bit.ly/42zDOt
2. The Gardners' and Poultry Keepers Guide and Illustrated
Catalogue of Goods Manufactured and Supplied by W. Cooper, circa
I found this little (5" x 7") gem in a small London bookstore in 1974 and have wanted to reproduce it ever since. The Cooper company manufactured prefabricated greenhouses, sheds, shacks, stables, kiosks, and rustic furniture in London around the turn of the (20th) century. These buildings were shipped all over the British Isles, and to British colonies worldwide. Not only is this catalogue a charming picture of turn-of-the-century country life in England, but the drawings - of greenhouses, chicken coops, barns and small buildings (with corrugated metal roofing and siding, very much in vogue these days) - were still relevant 100 years later. Here is a source of ideas for builders, architects, and homeowners - perhaps even more relevant in these days of rapidly depleting resources.
We're printing only 1500 copies (high quality soft cover, linen
finish, gold foil-stamped), but I think this could be a hit, with all
that's going on with gardening, building simply, & saving
resources these days.
3. Tiny Houses
That's the subject matter of our next major building book, not
the title (which will evolve as we put it together). There are a slew
of books on the subject, more coming out soon, but ours will have our
signature approach and design. The time is right. Scaling back.
100-500 square ft. houses. Add on later. No bank or mortgage. It CAN
still be done, friends. Of course land was cheaper in '60s-'70s, as
were materials; codes were less Draconian, but if you get far enough
away from cities, or put your house on wheels or in the water, you can
create shelter and retain your freedom. I haven't had a mortgage for
the last 40 years, not being tied to a bank or landlord, no monthly
We already have tons of great stuff for this book. We'll start
putting it together in October. I can't wait - to be working on
something so timely, and fascinating. Simplify. Get rid of stuff. Pare
down to essentials in getting started.
They're Gonna Put Me in the Movies...
Jason Sussberg, a documentary film graduate student at Stanford,
contacted me after seeing my Builders of the Pacific Coast
slide show at Bookshop Santa Cruz in April. Jason emailed he wanted to
do a piece on "...idea of "home....I am curious about how
the new American landscape is going to be shaped after the financial
crisis; how people are going to view homes as a place to live, not as
an investment to live off of. I am especially interested in your
latest project that you eluded to last night about small homes being
something you create, without necessarily needing banks. My film is
going to be a poetic and philosophical project, not necessarily
Jason and friends, as an exercise in shooting real film (as
opposed to digital), ended up with a 6-minute movie on me and Lesley
and our home, and by golly, they got it right. Which hasn't always
happened in my encounters with the media. They even got me
skateboarding. Here it is: http://jasonsussberg.com/SHELTER.mov
Jeff Galloway is Hot!
Our author Jeff Galloway was quoted extensively in a New York
Times article on running marathons with his walk/run technique.
He's all over the place these days, directing races, running 6
marathons a year (at age 64), doing clinics. At any one time there may
be 15,000 people following his revolutionary walk/run training
"Jeff Galloway has put a whole new segment of people into
-Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 28, 2009
To see the NY Times article of June 1, 2009, click here:
Jeff's two books (actually the, ahem, best running books in the
Galloway's Book on Running (over 600,000 sold)
Marathon: You Can Do It! (105,000 sold)
Shelter Sales Up
Right now, at least, we're not singin the blues. Our sales are
somewhat up right now.
These are other ways I am communicating these days, in addition
to real books. I started blogging - jeez! - almost 4 years ago. Took
me years, but now I love it. I skipped Facebook and MySpace, but
Twitter timing was perfect. Tweets are the way I think! I've been
tweeting (in my head) my whole life. Too much to get into books or
even a blog. But tweets...plus the brevity of them forces tight
writing, a good exercise any time. "Haikus of our times,"
per British architect Richard Harris.
I try to find time to tweet 4-5 days a week. Not weekends.
Fascinating process. I'm actually in communications heaven right now.
I don't have a business model (marketing is our weak point) for all
the posts and tweets, but it seems natural to be doing. I hope it
drives some book sales.
Usually you can get to it by just typing in lloydkahn in yr.
Ordered 3GS yesterday.
Book Expo America in NYC Last Month
I had such a great 6 days in New York, I love the place. Walked
around the Javits center for 3 days, had random and highly productive
encounters. Books are not f***ing dead! Our books with 1000 photos
work best held in hand. TV didn't eliminate radio. Computers didn't
eliminate TV. There'll always be futurist cheerleaders, hustling the
new, denigrating the old. (Space colonies, my ass!) It's all in
picking the appropriate technology. Many instances these days
of technology in search of an application.
My blog postings from New York late May: * Small Town Hick
Once Again Dazzled By New York City * Hot Party for New Book, New
York In the '70s * Antibalas at Publishers Group West Party *
Motorcycle on 30th Street Made by Orange County Choppers * Alley
Near Washington Square * Midtown Manhattan Flower Store: See:
Blog postings from New York early June: Warm Summer Night
in Washington Square * Baby Soda Jazz Band - Muskrat Ramble at
Washington Square Park. See:
Architecture Award For Builders of the Pacific
It was announced at the BEA that our book was named
"Architecture Book of the Year" by ForeWord magazine. (It's
got a 5% rate of returns in its first 10 months.)
New Roof on Tower
Photo on left: L-R, Billy Cummings &, me, July 3,
2009. Photo on right: Billy with shingling hatchet, July 1.
This is just outside our production studio, where I'm writing this
38 years ago, when I first moved to this small town, Billy was a
surfer who wanted to learn to build, and he started working with me.
First a 10 x 12' shed, next he helped me frame the roof for this 30'
tall 3-story hexagonal tower. In the intervening years, Billy's become
a skilled carpenter.
The cedar shakes I put on the roof almost 40 years ago finally
needed replacing. My friend Bruno Atkey, of Vancouver Island, British
Columbia (see pp. 74-91 of Builders of the Pacific
Coast*), offered to make me hand-split cedar shakes and I
jumped at the chance. These are made from old-growth cedar driftwood
as well as logs left felled in the woods. They're split both sides
(commercial shakes are sawn on one side) and gorgeous. I just
described it to Bruno's friend Godfrey, and he wrote,
"Tower of Powa mon!"
Right now, Billy's about 2/3 through with the job. We're going to
put a copper cap at the top, with a small crystal for sunlight sparkle
and good vibes.
On Thomas Jefferson by Maira Kalman
Here is a unique and quite wonderful illustrated piece on Thomas
Jefferson and friends by illustrator Maira Kalman.
http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/ (Sent us by Fritzi
"He studied Hessian flies and Voltaire and maps of Africa
and the Koran and Shakespeare. In the study were his telescopes and
polygraph copying machine and revolving bookstand in books. he knew
Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, and Italian. When he read Spinoza, he
read him in Latin. When he read Euripides, he read him in Greek.
Muddy Waters & The Band - Last Waltz
"I'm a full grown natural man..."
Look at how Robbie Robertson's face comes in and out of shadow
and light. To be backing Muddy, it doesn't get any better. Robby's in
heaven when Muddy sings:The line I shoot/I'll never miss/When I
make love to a girl/She can't resist &
Some Photos From A Few Hours Ago
Poppies (bees at work on purple one) in our garden
Native California snail in my office window. You find the
occasional shell out in the hills. V. different from garden snails,
(which came from Europe). Note the elegant spiral.
Back on the Road
I've started running, after a 2-year hiatus. Boy, it feels good,
not only to run, but to explore the hills again. Went 6 mi. with the
boys last night, seemed like a long way...
London, Ireland, Frankfurt, Paris This Fall
Lesley and I are leaving mid-September for Europe. We'll travel
around in England and Ireland for 3-4 weeks, then I'll head for the
Frankfurt Book Fair (where I have a lot of business to conduct thanks
to the new edition of Stretching), then I'll take a night train
and meet Lesley in Paris.
Albums of This Week
Best of Delbert McClinton
Stadium Arcadium, Red Hot Chili Peppers. I'm late in
discovering a lot of musicians.
More Best Of, Leonard Cohen. My album of the year. So
I've seen the future, brother,
It is murder.
Still the Same, Tom, 200 Years Later ...
"I cannot live without books..."
-Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1815.
In the garden just outside the office, a few weeks