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Publisher's Summary

What is it about the rustic beauty of hardwood floors or the luxury of natural stone countertops that turns ordinary people into covetous friends, competitive neighbors, and shameless snoops? In House Lust, Newsweek writer Daniel McGinn takes readers inside the homes and the psyches of people all over the country to discover what's fueling the national fixation on where and how we live today.

If eyes are the windows to our souls, then our homes are the windows into our taste, our wallets, and, arguably, our very identities. Buying a house or apartment is a rite of passage, so it's only natural that we spend a lot of time talking about our homes - and our neighbors' homes. House Lust is filled with stories of what people are not talking about:

  • The kitchen designer who in four years saw seven of her 20 clients' marriages end in divorce
  • The woman who took a sledgehammer to her kitchen while her husband was away on a fishing trip to motivate him to start remodeling
  • "Zillowing: using the Web site Zillow.com to find out how much your friends (and enemies) paid for their homes

In a narrative that blends comic social commentary with incisive reporting, McGinn proves what real-estate agents have known all along: people are not just buying a house, they're buying an identity. House Lust is an astute, funny, and sometimes disturbing portrait of contemporary America.

©2008 Daniel McGinn; (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Daniel McGinn has written an insightful, comical read for the real estate junkie in all of us." (Alex McLeod, original host of Trading Spaces)
"The best part of this smart, entertaining book is that while you're laughing at other people's excesses, you're simultaneously calculating how much it would cost to do a renovation like theirs." (Joel Stein, Time)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

If you read real estate ads...

...or watch HGTV and have no intention of either buying a house or renovating the one you're in, this book is for you. It's basically a series of really well researched and written magazine articles about real estate-related topics, and anyone who's ever been amused or fascinated by real estate, home improvement, and related topics should thoroughly enjoy this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ellen
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 03-02-09

Just the right amount of sarcasm

This book reminds me of Richistan and Bobos in Paradise in that it has just the right touch of sarcasm but isn't bitter enough to overshoot its target. The author spreads the blame for the housing bubble around (rightly, in my opinion.) It isn't even too far out of date for March, 2009 (the date I wrote this review.) It covers the beginning of the housing slide and financial crisis. Definitely the most delicious aspect is the mild, but biting, snark.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful