How I Built Myself a Hobbit Fire Pit, by Gisela Hausmann
Four out of five stars
There are three components to this book, the only common thread is that they have the same author. The first section from which the title is derived relates the author’s experiences in building a backyard fire pit. That part opens with a snippet of autobiography, where Hausmann relates the enjoyment she and her family acquired from the use of recreational fire.
When a bug-infested tree had to be taken down, there was an empty spot that Hausmann felt needed to be filled. Since she is a very experienced “handywoman” her decision was to create a fire pit having a unique structure that would make it look like it could have a group of Hobbits around it.
Clearly demonstrating that she could serve as an instructor in community education classes in do-it-yourself home improvement, Hausmann then takes the reader through detailed step-by-step instructions on how she built her pit. Using a series of colored images and a list of materials that is detailed down to the part number at a nationwide home improvement store, Hausmann explains how the pit was built.
The second section contains excerpts from two of Hausmann’s other books, "Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear" and "NAKED TEXT: Email Writing Skills From Teenagers." Both books are very well done and I highly recommend them, yet they seem oddly misplaced in a book about doing the work of a mason. The third section is four pages of material touting Hausmann and her work, basically an ad.
Having built a backyard fire pit myself using smooth metamorphic rocks, I know how difficult it is to make the walls. Hausmann shows how it is done, including the addition of vents for the smooth flow of air into the fire. If learning how to do this is your reason for reading the book, then the rest is most likely irrelevant to you. Read it anyway if you are unfamiliar with the books, for it is possible you will learn other things important to you.