Home is Where the Story Is

Many of us are spending more (or even all) of our time at home these days; one of the consequences of this extended home-time is that, for better or worse, we are getting to know our dwellings in ways unimaginable in the thick of our regular lives. 

We’d like to offer you novels that deal with similar issues  --  for example, OK, Mr. Field by Katharine Kilalea, in which a pianist buys an architecturally significant house and lives in it alone as his life and mind change beyond recognition -- as does the house. Not a haunted house story, exactly, but a psychologically intense and transformative tale in which a house plays a major role. Authors have long explored this relationship, creating narratives in which humans and homes are intertwined in ways ranging from heartwarming to nightmarish; many of these stories feel eerily relatable in this contemporary moment. 

If you've been home for weeks on end and your house or apartment is taking on new meaning to you, or it seems like it has a life of its own, find solace (or confirmation) in one of these great home-centric novels, all available online as ebooks or downloadable and/or streamable audiobooks.

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house sees thirteen children get grown and gone - and some return; it sees the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit's East Side, and the loss of a father. Despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs, the house still stands. But now, as their powerful mother falls ill and loses her independence, the Turners might lose their family home. Beset by time and a national crisis, the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called back to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts might haunt - and shape - their family's future.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to life-long house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

                                                                                                                                              If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell

Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line. At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man and not end up a construction casualty herself... 

All annotations courtesy of goodreads.com

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