9 domestic arts books

Mendelson's enthusiasm for housekeeping is delightfully contagious. From the publisher: "For Cheryl Mendelson, laundering is the best part of housekeeping. It's full of physical pleasures—the look of favorite clothes restored to freshness and beauty, the tactile satisfaction of crisp linens in beautifully folded stacks. It doesn’t take much time or effort. What it takes is knowledge. Both pragmatic and eloquent, Mendelson provides beginning and veteran homemakers with a seamless combination of reliable instruction, time-tested advice, and fascinating personal narrative."
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A nonfiction book about laundry in the Summer Reading Guide? Absolutely. This conversational guide to a dreaded household chore was the book I didn’t know my reading life—or laundry room—needed in the pandemic era. I find reading about domesticity to be reliably soothing, but in Richardson’s hands, the subject makes for fascinating narrative fodder as well. Who knew? Among his entertaining anecdotes (my favorite being his hero’s account of removing a fresh permanent marker stain from a bride’s gown on her wedding day), Richardson offers practical tips I tried right away: I’ve removed lipstick from ivory cashmere, chocolate and marinara from a beloved white hoodie, and brightened our white bed linens so they look like new. I never expected to find so much satisfaction in doing laundry, but this bright and cheerful book changed my outlook. A perfect gift for myriad occasions.
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Kennesha Buycks' blog has provided me with design inspiration and vicarious project completion (so satisfying), and now her book sits on my coffee table for whenever I need a dose of soothing home decor images or practical tips for a new improvement project of my own. With advice for creating inviting spaces for your friends and family (that also make you happy), Buycks helps you feel at home wherever you live, no matter your budget or design goals.
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“Quotidian” means “ordinary,” or “everyday,” and in this slim volume (88 pages!) Norris affirms the inherent worth of the mundane tasks that consume our everyday–the cooking, the cleaning, the dishes, the diapering. “What is it about repetitive acts that makes us feel that we are wasting our time?” Norris asks. Yet she insists that our daily activities are anything but trivial, and have the power to shape our souls, if we let them. A beautiful book worth reading over and over again.
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Our culture values domesticity more today than it did when Home Comforts was first released twelve years ago, but Ms. Mendelson’s passion for housekeeping continues to inspire me, and I still regularly pull the book off the shelf when I’m not sure how best to tackle a household task.
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I adore Berry's evocative, deceptively simple style. From the publisher: "Ranging from America’s insatiable consumerism and household economies to literary subjects and America’s attitude toward waste, here Berry gracefully navigates from one topic to the next. He speaks candidly about the ills plaguing America and the growing gap between people and the land. Despite the somber nature of these essays, Berry’s voice and prose provide an underlying sense of faith and hope. He frames his reflections with poetic responsibility, standing up as a firm believer in the power of the human race not only to fix its past mistakes but to build a future that will provide a better life for all."
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From the publisher: "Most of us feel constantly behind, unsure how to escape feeling oppressed by busyness. Laura Vanderkam, unlike other time-management gurus, believes that in order to get more done, we must first feel like we have all the time in the world. Think about it: why haven't you trained for that 5K or read War and Peace? In this book, Vanderkam reveals the seven counterintuitive principles the most time-free people have adopted. She teaches mindset shifts to help you feel calm on the busiest days and tools to help you get more done without feeling overwhelmed. Vanderkam has packed this book with insights from busy yet relaxed professionals, including 'time makeovers' of people who are learning how to use these tools. Off the Clock can inspire the rest of us to create lives that are not only productive, but enjoyable in the moment."
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Even before I finished Welcome Home, I was putting Myquillyn's principles into action—and enjoying the process. There's no one I trust more for guidance on making my home livable, welcoming, and beautiful. Her new book walks you through the seasons of the year, highlighting simple and gratifying ways to decorate (yay) and host (eventually) in tune with the rhythms of the year. For the fall season, I'm ready to shop my backyard for fall decor, as she suggests, and my kids can't wait to try the stacked apple cider bar she demonstrates how to do for a fall celebration. This would make a lovely gift book. Publication date September 15.
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