Langlands’ tenacious curiosity about the Old Ways gains eloquence and momentum in Craeft a deft, engaging meditation on utterly misunderstood but once critical pursuits such as haymaking, weaving, and fence-mending, pursuits that continue to leave their mark on our language, culture, and landscapes, if no longer our bodies and minds. Craeft should not be understood as some commodified, heirloom mark of human hands for which you pay more at the farmer's market stall, but is itself power and agency, traditionally understood. Not to be missed are Langland’s thoughts on skep beekeeping and their similarities to modern day obstetrics.
Kelli Anderson is a graphic designer whose works on paper don’t stay flat on a table. Previously she’s made, among other things, a paper record player and a paper camera. Her newest project, This Book Is a Planetarium (Chronicle, $40), is not so much a pop-up book as it is a book of pop-up mechanisms. In addition to being a planetarium that can project the autumn night sky on your ceiling, it’s also a decoder ring to encrypt secret messages, a spiralgraph to create unique designs, a smart phone speaker, a perpetual calendar, and a paper lyre. Each contraption is accompanied by easy-to-understand explanations of why and how they work. In addition to its contents, the book itself is a stunningly engineered object and beautiful, too. As you open each page, the colors pop at the same time the gadget unfurls. The sturdy cardboard construction will hold up well to repeated use and two elastic bands are cleverly positioned to hold the book open when investigating each device. Get ready to be amazed and delighted.
Tired of the same old holiday crafts? Handprint turkeys, popsicle-stick God’s eyes, quaint silhouettes—that stuff is for preschoolers. Step up your DIY game with funny gal Amy Sedaris’s kooky craftiness. Sedaris’s colorful, tonguein- cheek nod to the current economic atmosphere is on full display in her many “crafts” created from found and salvaged materials such as tinfoil, hair, and rotting fruit. From the Crafty Candle Salad to the Crab-Claw Roach Clip to an entire chapter on “fornicrafting,” SIMPLE TIMES (Grand Central, $27.99) will cure your craft blues with hilarious and bizarre projects easily made from everyday household items.