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Cabin: Two Brothers, a Dream, and Five Acres in Maine Paperback – 27 Nov 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (27 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143122088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143122081
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,300,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Loved this book, not only is it about a guy building himself a cabin, but hum re-building his life, and sharing the experience with his family. A book to read if;
A. You dream of building a cabin
B. Have been to Maine/New England
C. Like a good read

Overall a very good book, wish there were more photos of the cabin etc!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 34 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent work ! 16 Sept. 2011
By Fred J. Field - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a really well written book.
Lou weaves a fascinating tapestry intertwining fibers of our human condition along with the primal need to bond with 'place.'
There is a simple elegance to his prose, "In a world that hadn't seemed entirely reliable or kind these past few years, the memories of the woods and waters of my boyhood were pleasurable, and the notion of the cabin, which I had been entertaining, seemed a natural next step extension of them."
Lou takes us along on his fascinating journey.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Cabin 27 Sept. 2011
By D. Kallas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A few years ago, I started following Ureneck's Maine cabin blog after spotting an excerpt in the New York Times. From the comfort my home, I was able to vicariously enjoy as Ureneck followed a dream and endeavored to build a cabin in the Maine woods with the help of his brother. I looked forward to the arrival of his book to learn more from this adventure.
I was not disappointed,-- the book delivers the goods, and more.
There much to learn about the fundamentals of building the cabin and the Maine countryside. It is at times transcendant, as in Ureneck's descriptions of the Maine woods, and at times poignant, as in Ureneck's recounting of the rebuilding his relationship with his brother and his family.
Before beginning this venture, Ureneck admits that the loss of his mother and several other changes in his life had left him somewhat dispirited. Through his perserverence in staking out a place in the woods, Ureneck is able to offer an inspirational and practical remedy toward getting back on track.
It is a testament to the reinvigorating power of nature and the strength of family.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Lacks Emotional Depth 20 Mar. 2012
By SFDrake - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Given the book's subtitle, I expected it to be as much about the relationship between the author and his brother as between the author and his cabin and land. Not so. Ureneck remains self-absorbed throughout, even going so far as to avoid asking his brother what's wrong when the man is clearly troubled -- not just on one occasion, but day after day. (Ureneck justifies this by saying the cabin should be a place to escape troubles, not talk about them.) The author does mention his own personal problems, ones firmly in the past, but he passes over them quickly, whereas he goes on at length about the features and history of his land and its trees.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with a book whose aim is simply to speak lyrically about nature and the building of a cabin--and as other reviews indicate, Urenick does this fairly well. (I say "fairly well" instead of "well" because the author relies on certain words a little too often, and there are a few grammatical errors in the book that alter the intended meaning.) But as I've said, I expected this book to show how the building of a cabin affected a sibling relationship (just as Sarahlee Lawrence's memoir RIVER HOUSE shows how the building of a log home affects a father/daughter relationship), and I don't want others to be as blindsided as I was by CABIN's lack of emotional depth.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Book 30 Sept. 2011
By A K M - Published on
Format: Hardcover
An absolutely wonderful book. Mr. Ureneck is truly skilled. "Cabin" is book that would appeal to anyone who has a desire to get back to basics and reconnect with what is important.

After following his New York Times blog "From the Ground Up", I anxiously awaited this book and felt as if I was standing with him on a cold New England morning as I strapped on my tool belt and prepared to do some good old fashioned manual labor. Sometimes what is hard on the hands is good for the soul.

America needs more books like this. Bravo.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
uplifting and informative, bringing us along on an inner journey towards a physical and metaphysical goal 30 Sept. 2011
By Bookreporter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Lou Ureneck is a journalism professor who has built a cabin in the Maine woods, in small but significant ways recalling Henry David Thoreau. His book is uplifting and informative, bringing us along on an inner journey towards a physical and metaphysical goal.

To begin to build the cabin took time --- his lifetime up to that point, especially the sorrows and loss of his accumulated experience, and the hope that remained for a worthwhile outcome. Following a divorce and the death of his mother, and a couple of cardiac incidents, Lou says, "The idea had taken hold of me that I needed nothing so much as a cabin in the woods."

The land was purchased, five acres with a pond, and the lumber had been accumulated, though it was old and warped. He tried to buy a collection of old-fashioned windows and ended up getting them for free. His plan morphed from a one-room sort of affair to something with two stories, a wing, a porch and a complex roofline.

The joy of creation came from working with his brother Paul and some of the younger men in their families. The book, as the subtitle suggests, is about the two brothers and how they interacted as they took on this shared task. For Lou, the cabin was an idyllic dream scene for writing and relaxing, and for Paul, it became an escape hatch when problems arose in his marriage. Utilizing their different kinds of energies became a dance that the two brothers did, with and around each other, with each new challenge.

As he built, Lou learned more about the local landscape and his neighbors. He had to get permission for a smaller driveway and in the process met the town councilors. When the foundation pillars were being dug, he got to know his land better: water-logged, requiring a pump to get the cement poured. He couldn't do a lot during the winter, of course, so he fished and explored when he wasn't building. He had to work on the place when he had breaks from teaching, and not every visit to the cabin site was for construction. Being something of an introvert, Lou's solitary forays were valuable and rewarding, allowing him to observe the changing weather and the passing of the year. The book is also a retrospective of his childhood and early relationship with Paul, and casts a net farther into the past, calling up the ghosts of previous occupants of the five-acre tract.

Like Thoreau, Lou spent his first night in the cabin when it was unfinished. Thoreau: " house was not finished for winter, but was merely a defence against the rain, without plastering or chimney, the walls being of rough, weather-stained boards, with wide chinks, which made it cool at night." Ureneck: "There was still no roof cover, and the walls remained unsheathed. In other words, it was a frame, open to the weather."

The cabin becomes a family gathering place against the storms of life (as when Paul finally confesses that his marriage has collapsed). It is a physical reality and a symbol of shared responsibility, quiet enjoyment, and brotherly cohesion. By the end, Lou has started an orchard, another signal of hope's triumph over life's adversities.

--- Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
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