All posts tagged: design

Essential Reading? I think THE YELLOW HOUSE by Sarah M. Broom just might be. Displacement, rootedness, home and more in her astonishing story of survival

By Leslie Lindsay  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK: SPOTLIGHT~ 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2019 JOHN LEONARD AWARD FOR BEST FIRST BOOK RECIPIENT & NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER I read THE YELLOW HOUSE (Grove/Atlantic, August 2019) with an eye toward memoir and a personal connection to one’s home, but this book is so much more than a memoir. It’s an examination of race and class, about the pull of home and family, and destruction. Set in a neglected area of New Orleans, the Yellow House was never much of a house in the first place–even before Katrina. But that’s not the point. In 1961, Sarah’s mother, Ivory Mae was a determined 19-year old widow. She invests her savings and little inheritance from her first husband into a little shotgun house in a once-promising neighborhood. She meets another man–Simon Broom–who will become the father of the author–but not for many years–and then he, too dies just six months after she is born. Broom takes the tale of this home and interweaves it with narrative …

Erica Bauermeister, author of THE SCENT KEEPER turns to memoir in her fascinating exploration of renovating a 1909 Foursquare in HOUSE LESSONS, plus art, writing, empty-nests, and more

By Leslie Lindsay  A meditation of space, home, and what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a writer in this transformative memoir. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Can a home be cathartic? I think so. Can a home teach us life lessons? Absolutely! I know we’re not supposed to fall in love with a book based on its cover but O.M.G.! And the title: HOUSE LESSONS: Renovating a Life (Sasquatch Books, March 24 2020)…AND it’s a memoir? Sold. Erica Bauermeister is the author of mostly recently THE SCENT KEEPER, but has written other books, too. HOUSE LESSONS is her first memoir. This is a tale of love and family, hope and potential, all arising quite literally from a pile of junk. The 1909 American Four Square sat in eccentric Port Townsend, WA, not even for sale with the author and her husband stumbled upon it and knew it was ‘the one.’ Previously owned by a hoarder, Bauermeister and her family go about purchasing the home and cleaning it out, rebuilding the foundation, and renovating the interior …

Lisa Tognola talks about self-comparison,wish fulfillment, the American Dream, the book she ‘had’ to write and so much more in AS LONG AS IT’S PERFECT

By Leslie Lindsay  The all-American Dream to build the most perfect home comes crumbling down–and then up again–in this relatable tale about one woman’s obsession with home remodeling. Suburban mom, Janie Margolis is feeling cramped in their small-ish home with three children and no garage. She wants bigger and better and she wants it now. AS LONG AS IT’S PERFECT (SWP, October 2019) is all about that quest for the best. Janie starts watching HGTV shows and dreaming of the most perfect place. Finally, she convinces her husband, Wim, that it’s time to move. Together, they start house-hunting. They have a long list of ‘wants.’ Nothing and everything is right. Finally, a real estate agent shows them a house on the ‘perfect’ street, it’s a bit out of their price range and a little dated…but…the location is right. Still, it’s not quite right. Wim and Janie make plans for a tear-down. After all, they have to have the American Dream, the house that’s ‘just right’ for their family. But soon, the details of building a home from the ground up become a bit overwhelming. Wim …

What if a new father came home from the hospital with a newborn, but not a wife? That’s what happens in Pete Fromm’s gorgeous novel, A JOB YOU MOSTLY WON’T KNOW HOW TO DO about grief, love, second chances, and old homes

By Leslie Lindsay  Love, Loss, and oh gosh–an old house–a baby, and so much more in A JOB YOU MOSTLY WON’T KNOW HOW TO DO. I’m not sure why I haven’t heard of Pete Fromm before, but I am so glad I read A JOB YOU MOSTLY WON’T KNOW HOW TO DO (Counterpoint Press, May 7 2019). Pete’s a five-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award and it’s evident why: his writing is perceptive, big-hearted, authentic, and razor-sharp. This book hits on so many of my favorite things: renovating an old house, a baby, and gorgeous writing. Taz and Marnie are crazy in love. They are living in a fixer-upper with lots of dreams and countless projects. But Taz, a handyman/carpenter/cabinetmaker is a bit too overwhelmed with outside jobs to really give his heart to his own house. And then there’s a baby on the way–so he better get busy. Without going into too many plot details, A JOB YOU MOSTLY WON’T KNOW HOW TO DO is about throwing out the blueprint …

Elizabeth Garber talks about her relationship with her architect father, Modern architecture, mental health, & how poetry shaped her as an author

By Leslie Lindsay  Propulsive, poetic, and courageous, Elizabeth Garber’s IMPLOSION is the best kind of memoir: you experience right along with her and leave it feeling a sense of renewal.  But that’s not to say everything in IMPLOSION (SWP, June 2018) is glorious; it’s not. This is a subtle, intense exploration of a young woman’s survival through psychological oppression, as she (and her mother and two brothers) are raised in a glass house, a prison, constructed of her father’s mental illness. Woodie Garber was a famous Modernist architect, designing structures that would rise from the earth resembling glass cubes. He builds the family’s home–a glass house–in a privileged area of Cincinnati in the 1960s. The family leaves behind the 1870s Victorian where the Garber family has resided for many generations. But it’s not all sunshine and mirth in that glass house. At first, Woodie just seems eccentric. He’s brilliant and bursting with ideas. He loves jazz records and good wine, racing cars, and art. Elizabeth has a connection with her father–they share many of the same interests and she so wants to …

Gorgeously stark, yet lush poetry collection about homes, architecture, design, & more by Middlebury College President Laurie Patton

By Leslie Lindsay  A deeply moving and stirring collection of poems about houses and homes inspired by Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 classic, THE POETICS OF SPACE. Houses, homes, dwellings…they all have a mystical experience for me. They may be composed of timber and hardware, plaster and bricks and glass, but they hold truths deeper and darker still. A house may live only once, but it encompasses many lives.  HOUSE CROSSING (Station Hill, May 2018) is a “simple poetry of houses,” as author Laurie Patton says. Ultimately, she was inspired by the “geometry of intimacy” in urbane, basic architecture–a corner, the end of a hallway, a window, the attic. While the 32 short poems in the collection are a study in brevity, they pack such a soft-focused punch, going deep and leaving the reader with a disquieting contemplation. Titles are simple, but oh how they had me swooning: eaves, cupola, well, demolition, grave.  I don’t mean to be glib when I say these poems are haunting. Patton’s work dwells in the white space, the what-might-have-been. One reads the words and imagines a scene, but …