Joe Cottonwood

Selected Works

Books for grown-ups
Joe repairs homes. With each job,he enters somebody’s private world. Revealing a life. Or changing it.
"It's funny, very tender, and enormously, tremendously human." —Colleen Mondor, Bookslut
Books for children
"Cottonwood presents a terrifying geological phenomenon in accessible you-are-there terms." —Publishers Weekly
Babcock, for reasons he can't explain, wants to be friends with a girl who is his complete opposite, as different as black and white. "Full of humor, hope, and bravery." —School Library Journal
"A finely crafted story. The characters are enormously appealing." — School Library Journal
"A book that is resplendent with humor, irony, thoughtful introspection, and well-paced plotting." —School Library Journal
Novels for grown-ups
"An engaging picaresque novel of a young man on the run. A warm, well-told story of a likable character with a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time." —Publisher's Weekly
Young Adult
Four smart kids. One beat-up guitar. Stolen waterfalls. The end of a millennium. The birth of Google.

Fresh from the press:


99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses — life in the construction zone.

Joe repairs homes. With each job,he enters somebody’s private world. Revealing a life. Or changing it.

"This is a delightful book, full of engaging stories about work and working life. It is humane and warmly funny."
—Mike Rose, author of The Mind at Work.

"In this gritty and entertaining memoir, Cottonwood presents his experiences working odd jobs as a contractor, carpenter, plumber, and electrician. As the title suggests, the work wasn’t always easy, but it brought Cottonwood into contact with a variety of colorful characters and situations. Cottonwood’s prose is lively and his stories charming. Readers will find it easy to relate to the author and his experiences, which are likely to appeal to anyone who has worked a less-than-perfect job."
—Publishers Weekly

Here’s blue collar writing, finely crafted, about good hard work—and some bad work, too. Meet proud carpenters and working-class hippies. Meet clients who flirt, cheat, seduce, fight—and clients who warm your heart. Learn the taste of sewage, the jolt of a live wire. Drive to the emergency clinic with a wooden stake through your hand. Feel the satisfaction of work that is honest, simple, strong—sometimes perfect.

“A house is alive. It breathes. It expands and contracts. It ages. Sometimes it falls sick, and then I’m a doctor of houses. I probe intimate cavities. I study the bones, the nerves, the flesh of an old house where generations of remodels have built upon themselves. The structure tells a story: tragedy, comedy, or heartwarming family drama as day-to-day life slowly, inexorably leaves an imprint over the attic, on the walls, under the sink—or in the crawlspace.”
—From 99 Jobs

Ninety-nine stories that are gritty, funny, wise. And always deeply humane.

Print edition available now from Clear Heart Books (fulfilled by Amazon). Order on-line with this link. Or order the good old-fashioned way — through your local bookstore.

E-book edition available now:
Order the Kindle edition with this link to Kindle.
Order the iBook with this link to Apple iBooks.
Or order any format of the e-book (Sony, Nook, Kobo, PDF, etc) with this link to Smashwords.