Book Review: House Lust

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McGinn, Daniel F. House lust : America’s obsession with our homes.
Currency Doubleday, 2008.

A few years ago friends moved to my town from a hotter housing market, thus allowing me to join them on their house hunt. My own home is small, takes me about 90 minutes to clean from baseboards to ceiling, and holds just enough stuff that I don’t have to “weed my collection” more than once a year. It fits my small family of 3 humans, one dog, and one kitten just fine. My friends have several children plus the accoutrement that goes with them, they needed the amenities new houses offer. We met with a Realtor who took us to see homes with mud rooms, jacuzzi tubs, more bathrooms than bedrooms, deluxe game rooms, cathedral ceilings, granite everything, cherry wood this and that. After a certain point, I wondered how I could live without a subzero refrigerator – so changed was my idea of shelter.

House Lust, the new book by Newsweek reporter Daniel McGinn, explores our obsession with our homes in the unique American way of bigger is better. Since the bust, many people view their homes not only as shelter but as investments, as McGinn points out, it’s easier to show off a barbecue pit than a stock portfolio. From MacMansions, to the renovation craze, to vacation homes, we see that, even following a market bust, we’re still attached to our dream home(s) ideals.

A highly entertaining, sometimes funny, read, House Lust offers a cautionary tale of the next housing boom while at the same time causing me to think about, maybe, pushing out the master bedroom wall a tiny bit to add just the smallest of walk-in, cedar lined, closets.

© Reviewer: Jane Day & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.


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