I've been reading a lot lately. Who am I kidding? I always read a lot. The difference is that recently I've been passing over longer tomes in favor of quick reads, which are perfect for summer. A recent favorite is Meghan Daum's Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House (Random House), a collection of essays about the author's lifelong search for the perfect dwelling place.
I was initially attracted to the book because of Daum's short-lived relocation from New York City to Lincoln, Nebraska. I like reading about Nebraska transplants, mainly because native Nebraskans just can't understand my obsession with the weather and the sky out here. It's nice to read other people's reflections and know that I'm not crazy.
The Nebraska sections of the book are short and not entirely crucial to the story. What matters the most in this great collection is how external factors like where one lives--and how one's style is reflected in his or her surroundings--can overshadow the significance of how one lives. That is, your life will never be perfect just because you live in that house. Shelter magazines, design blogs...I am among that guilty group of people who get a thrill of aesthetic excitement (and oftentimes jealousy) from simply looking at pictures of how other people live in their well appointed abodes. My insistence on real hardwood floors significantly narrowed my options when searching for apartments, and those floors were only the tip of the iceberg.
Life Would Be Perfect is a funny,well-written, poignant exploration of what makes a home. I highly recommend it for your summer reading list.