Nestled among the glitz and glitter of Tinseltown is a testament to American elbow grease and an honest-to-god hard day’s work: Offerman Woodshop. Captained by hirsute woodworker, actor, comedian, and writer Nick Offerman, the shop produces not only fine handcrafted furniture, but also fun stuff—kazoos, baseball bats, ukuleles, even mustache combs. In these pages you will find a variety of projects for every skill level, with personal, accessible instructions by the OWS woodworkers themselves; and, what’s more, this tutelage will be augmented by mouth-watering color photos (Nick calls it “wood porn”). You will also find writings by Nick, offering recipes for both comestibles and mirth, humorous essays, odes to his own woodworking heroes, insights into the ethos of woodworking in modern America, and other assorted tomfoolery. (Goodreads Description)
If you are unsure who Nick Offerman is I recommend you rent the entirety of Parks and Rec, order a pizza and watch all of it to educate yourself. His humor is dry and witty with a hint of burly mustache to top it off. Parks and Rec is just one of his many accomplishments as an actor, producer, writer, humorist, and carpenter.
I first came into contact with Offerman’s writing a couple of years ago when his newest title, Good Clean Fun, slide across my desk at work. I loved him in Parks and Rec so I figured I would give it a try. I ordered it on Overdrive and started my “misadventures” into the land of sawdust and carpentry, a world I never had much contact with. Narrated by Offerman himself, the book was many levels of hilarity and offered a backstory about the author and his upbringing amongst pine and theater. The audiobook version of this title has a musical ending with songs made for the book, while the physical book has recipes for things like delicious looking blueberry pie. This book seems to have a little bit of everything, much like Offerman and his many talents.
After finishing Good clean fun, I ventured further into Offerman’s writing by ordering his other two titles. Paddle your Own Canoe and Gumption. Paddle your own canoe dove further into Offerman’s childhood and his beginning days of stage work in Chicago. The book is filled with humorous “lessons” on style, religion and of course, woodworking. Gumption offered Offermans list of people he has been inspired by through the years, and it’s a very interesting list. Ben franklin is right alongside Willie nelson and Yoko Ono. Overall I would say this title was a pleasurable read but I enjoyed his autobiographical books a bit more, purely because I can literally hear him laughing at himself when talking about himself… but really… he does that in the book. He literally giggles.
Overall I enjoy Offerman’s outlook on life because it’s so simple, live as happy as you can, work hard and make sure to enjoy everything along the way. Listening to Offerman read his books is like an old friend telling a story, kind but ready to poke fun when the opportunity presents itself.
Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman—who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking—he runs his own woodshop—Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman’s childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois—“I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield”—to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally. It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other savory entrees. (Goodreads Description)
In Gumption: Relight the Torch of Freedom with America’s gutsiest trouble makers, Offerman focuses on the lives of those who inspired him. From George Washington to Willie Nelson, he describes twenty-one heroic figures and why they inspire in him such great meaning. He combines both serious history with light-hearted humor—comparing, say, Benjamin Franklin’s abstinence from daytime drinking to his own sage refusal to join his construction crew in getting plastered on the way to work. The subject matter also allows Offerman to expound upon his favorite topics, which readers love to hear—areas such as religion, politics, woodworking and handcrafting, agriculture, creativity, philosophy, fashion, and, of course, meat. (Goodreads Description)