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Book Recommendation: A Century in the Life of an American Summer

Posted by VictoriaElizabeth (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 13, 12 at 11:24

I just finished reading: The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer House. If you have an interest in American architecture, Gilded Age history, shingle-style cottages, or family memoirs... I really loved the book. (Although it left me irritated that my great-grandfather didn't have the foresight to build a giant summer mansion in Cape Cod.)

Care to share any house-related books you loved?


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RE: Book Recommendation: A Century in the Life of an American Sum

Great topic, VictoriaElizabeth. I picked up Lucy Worsley's "If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home" at the library yesterday and can't put it down! It is a history of the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom from Medieval to contemporary times: how people thought of these rooms, what they did in them, how they furnished them, and the technological changes that occurred over time to transform them. It is focused on England but relevant to the U.S. A fun read!

On another note, I've been searching for a book on American FourSquare houses since I am renovating one. Does anyone have a source? Preferably illustrated!!


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RE: Book Recommendation: A Century in the Life of an American Sum

I loved 'A Little Better Than Plumb, the Biography of a House' by Janice Holt Giles, 1963 (with her husband, Henry Giles), probably more because it's written about an area not far from where I live, than the fact that it's a great work. It's a light, humorous read about her move from the southwest to Kentucky, and includes observations on Appalachian culture (shock, LOL), as well as the home that she and her Kentuckian husband created from a collection of log cabins.

I've always loved historical fiction--when I was in HS had read her 'Johnny Osage', and have since picked up a few more of her old fashioned, down-to-earth works.


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RE: Book Recommendation: A Century in the Life of an American Sum

Marita40-- Added that to my request list from the library... it sounds great, thank you for the reccomendation.
MamaGoose--I drove through part of Appalachia years ago and I think I had culture shock without ever leaving my car! That part of the country is unbelievably beautiful!

Probably my favorite Old House book was "All the Way Home- building a family in a falling down house," by David Giffels. His writing is funny and relatable and includes raccoon infestation, crazy people, and a wife wishing for a clean space...


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