My first impression as I began reading Plumbing, by L.V. Ripka, was that it was suitable only as a textbook for apprentices in the trade. But I soon saw its wider appeal, since there are many times on small jobs when a carpenter is faced with making minor plumbing changes that don't justify calling in a sub. Ripka tells you not only how to do the job right, but why one way is better than another. There may be more information here than you'll need, but this book is to plumbing what Fundamentals of Carpentry or Modern Carpentry is to building with wood — a comprehensive guide to the trade. The book opens with a thumbnail history of plumbing through the ages (the term "plumber" comes from the Latin plumbarius, or "worker of