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"A wonderful book about building both houses and relationships that is wise, touching, and as satisfying as a hard day's work well done. Mark Clement's message is to do everything well and do everything right, from plumbing a line to talking with your son. In writing this terrific book, he has followed his own advice. Like Chicken Soup for the Soul , it shows us that the greatest wisdom is built from the material of every day life."

Bret Witter, Editorial Director, HCI and

Publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul


"Home Improvement is a thread that runs through many of our lives. Mark has woven it into very rich and unique story."

Dean Johnson, co-host of Hometime

"Inspiring work and great reading — don’t miss it!”

Scott Phillips, host of Public Television’s

American Woodshop and American Homeshop



Two years after his father's death, Brendan Herlihy leaves his two daughters and a collapsing marriage to fulfill his promise that he would remodel his dad's dilapidated shop, transforming it into an art studio for his mother. In the process, Brendan uncovers some curled, yellowed papers upon which is father, Gideon, had recorded "True Things" that helped outline the mission of his life and make sense of his existence as a young father, a husband, and a man. It seems Gideon had utilized his tools for more than just carpentry in building and improving the homes in his small town -- he had used them to build and improve his life. With memories of working long ago summers at his father's side, Brendan rebuilds his father's workshop, and in doing so, begins to rebuild his own life and family. Highly recommended reading, The Carpenter's Notebook is a heartwarming, even inspirational novel written with a superbly engaging flair for original storytelling by author Mark Clement. —Midwest Book review

"Clement’s simple story tweaks many old job-related aches but also finds redemption in the personal victories delivered by plans well-made and followed to their end. Anyone who works for a living, but especially those enactors of allegory who build and remodel homes and whose line between work and personal time is often blurred, are sure to connect with this affirming tale – I polished it off in one satisfying sitting.”

Dave Holbrook, editor for JLC magazine

"Reading The Carpenter's Notebook was like having a depth-charge set off in the deepest recess of my mind — shaking me out of the routine of my life, waking me back to the beauty, love, and things of value that surround me. It was a reminder of who I am, who I could yet become, why I made the choices I have, and how I might learn from my trade to make better ones. My father died 19 years ago tomorrow and I have used his tools (the ones I keep in a toolbox, and the ones I keep in my heart) to build a home and a life for my family.

       As a young builder, I read Tracy Kidder’s House . Kidder put into words what I only felt about building, and after reading that book, I knew what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. Almost twenty years later, after reading Clement’s The Carpenter’s Notebook , I now know why.

       Part of the value of a story well-told is that it throws us back upon ourselves while securing for us the truth of our shared humanity. This book does that.” 

Dave Crosby, a custom builder and writer in Santa Fe, New Mexico

“This story put me in touch with my own life in a new way. But it also shows that when you fulfill a promise, the whole world opens up to you.

       Anybody who builds should read this book and see the legacy and memories they will leave behind for their children.”                                                                 

Rick Schwolsky, Editor-in-Chief of Tools of the Trade

and El Nuevo Constructor magazines from Lafayette, Colorado


“Mark Clement’s novel The Carpenter’s Notebook is truly magical. Not since Tuesday’s With Morrie has a book impacted me at such a deep level.

       I not only learned how to calculate the rise and run of a staircase, but, for first the first time in a long time, truly reflected on the importance of hard work, the rewards of doing a job right, the risks of loving with everything you’ve got, and the satisfaction that comes from appreciating everything you have — including the courage to love with everything you’ve got.”

Mark Gauthier is a tool industry specialist, father of two, husband,

and home improvement enthusiast in Wenham, Massachusetts


“A thoughtful journey to discovery — The Carpenter’s Notebook is about figuring out who you are using carpentry as the reference point. It was a fast, fun read.”                            

Steve Veroneau owns Transformations, LLC a high-end

custom building/remodeling firm in Falls Church, Virginia


“Not only does The Carpenter’s Notebook give great rules for doing different jobs, but Mark ties them with life-lessons as well. It is really interesting and enlightening.

       A very sweet and loving story. Well told.”               

Brent Hull, author of Historic Millwork and

founder of Hull Historical in Fort Worth, Texas



“As a fourth generation builder who grew up hearing family tales and musings of a heritage steeped in the proud but perpetually struggling trade of shelter, this story rings as true to life for me as plumb and square is true to a structure. A great lesson of home spun philosophy for those who have lived it, and even greater for those who haven't.”

Don Dunkley, coordinator of JLCLive!, the construction

industry’s only live demonstration trade exposition

The Carpenter’s Notebook hooked me after the first few pages with a simple, engaging and heartwarming story that reveals that the craft of building holds the keys to life’s lessons.”  

Mike Guertin, contributing editor to Fine Homebuilding magazine

and author of Precision Framing and Roofing with Asphalt Shingles

“I read it enthusiastically and I actually could not wait to get from one chapter to another. I really liked it...a lot. ”

Dennis A. Dixon, author of Finding Hidden Profits

and owner of Dixon Ventures, in Flagstaff, Arizona

"Mark Clement cleverly reveals that being a craftsman isn't just a profession, it's a way of life.  I thoroughly enjoyed his book."  

Michael Honan, a builder/carpenter in Danvers, Mass.



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