When you’re in the market for holiday gifts this year, there are few things that will please the do-it-yourselfer on your list more than a good book or two–other than a new table saw, of course. Here are a few suggestions for this year’s sure-fire winners.

-“Renovation, 3rd Edition” (Michael Litchfield, Taunton Press, suggested retail $39.95): This is the third edition of this very well presented volume on just about every aspect of construction that you’re likely to encounter on a remodeling or construction project. There are over 1,000 illustrations, and every system in the home is covered in detail.

Small Houses of the Twenties: The Sears, Roebuck 1926 House Catalog”(Dover Publications, suggested retail $14.95): This is a reprint of an actual catalog from that classic of American mail-order retailers, Sears, Roebuck. This is really a fun and fascinating book, and is great for any reader with an interest in construction or architecture. It is not only an interesting look at this period of history, but it offers some excellent ideas for small-house design and exterior construction details.

-“Big Book of Backyard Projects: Walls, Fences, Paths, Patios, Benches, Chairs & More” (Lark Books, suggested retail $19.95): Got someone who’s already sick of winter and longing to get back out into the yard? This is a great book of ideas and inspiration for a wide range of backyard projects that will keep that spring fever at bay for a little while longer. The book includes everything from planning considerations to tools and materials.

-“Drywall: Professional Techniques for Great Results”(Myron Ferguson, Taunton Press, suggested retail $19.95): Drywall is a part of virtually every home remodeling, redecorating, and repair project, but it’s still something that is intimidating for a lot of do-it-yourselfers. This book describes in detail, through both text and detail photos, how to handle every phase of dry walling, from installation of the sheets through taping, topping, sanding, to the application of various textures.

-“Constructing Staircases, Balustrades, & Landings” (William Spence, Sterling Publishing Company, suggested retail $14.95): If building a stairway is something you’re considering undertaking–from a simple set of steps for your deck to something more intricate for that new home you’re designing–this is the book for you. Through drawings, photos, and text, the author takes you through the basics of stair design and layout, including calculating rise and run, then describes chapter-by-chapter how to cut stringers, make skirt boards, install railings, and much more. This is a very complete book on the subject of stairs.

-“Building an Affordable House: Trade Secrets to High-Value, Low-Cost Construction” (Fernando Pages Ruiz, Taunton Press, suggested retail $24.95): This book is unique in its focus on how to save money while still creating a top-quality home. Written by an experienced contractor who is known for his cost control techniques, you’ll discover any number of practical tips on how to save money when building a house or doing significant repairs or remodeling. Every aspect of the home is covered, from top to bottom, framing to finish, with, as the book says, “an emphasis on saving money without compromising quality of distinctive results.”

The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repairs”(The Staff of Black & Decker, Creative Publishing International, suggested retail $34.95): There is a lot of very good books available on home repair techniques, but this one stands out for its use of some 2,500 high-quality, detailed photographs. The book deals with every aspect of your home, including exterior siding, roofing, plumbing systems, electrical systems, flooring, windows–you name it. If you subscribe to the philosophy that a picture is worth a thousand words, then this is definitely the right book to have on your shelf.

-“Build Your Own Garage Manual” (Michael Kirchwehm, ed., Home Design Alternatives, suggested retail $12.95): For anyone who is planning on adding a garage, shop, or other outbuilding, this book offers a simple, straightforward examination of everything that’s involved. Separate chapters cover design, site preparation, concrete, framing, and finishing–everything you need to get that new garage or shop project off the ground.

All of these books are currently available at local bookstores, or on the Web through sources such as www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paul2887@direcway.com.

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