Stone Bookshelf

I like books. I collect them like some people collect rocks. I collect rocks in a similar fashion…

These are quick reviews for stone and book enthusiasts. Many of these titles can be found on-line, but I’d encourage you to seek them at your local bookstore. More than a few of the treasures in my collection are things I stumbled across in the dusty stacks of used book stores. Some titles might appear more than once on this list, if they defy simple categorization.

How-To & Restoration

Stone Primer: Ideas and Techniques for Incorporating Stone In and Around Your Home
Charles McRaven
Storey Publishing, 2007
The best overview on stonework available, this is the book I suggest to people who want to get started with stonework. The techniques are sound and the image galleries offer a wide array of styles from some of the best masons currently working. And I frequently find McRaven’s earlier work Building With Stone (Storey Publishing, 1989) on the shelves of used book stores. My mentor and colleague Fred Lashley is a featured ‘Rock Star’ in Stone Primer.


The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood
David R. Montgomery
Norton & Co., 2012
This book is a favorite. It’s an amazing blend of geology and culture, science and religion. And though the author is a passionate advocate for science and rationality, his prose is generous and his conclusions are inclusive. It’s a nice antidote to the shouting that passes for discourse in modern media.

Architecture & Engineering

Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Inventing of the Gothic
Phillip Ball
Harper Perennial, 2008
Universe of Stone is very readable blend of architecture, history, and stone building lore. The line drawings and glossary helped me wrap my head around the details of Gothic architecture. It has some lovely photographs as well, but they are small in my paperback edition. As I read it I would reference the wonderfully illustrated Cathedral, by David Macaulay.

Art, Design, Sculpture & Other Inspiration

Pietre Dure, Hardstone Mosaic & Decorative Stone