So, here we are. Still (mostly) at home. Hoping that our domestic self-quarantining will help win the war against our invisible enemy. We might like to imagine ourselves as citizens of a contemporary home front–the ones making it possible for front-liners to do their jobs, chiefly by cheering them on, wearing our masks, and staying out of the way.
Even so, it may all feel somewhat less than heroic. To bolster morale, you might turn to APL’s new hoopla collection of home-themed listens: 2020 APL At Home: Domestic Listens for Lockdown. Here, you’ll find a variety of approaches to the idea of “home”: biographies imagining life as a metaphorical journey from–or return to–home (see Josh Grogan’s The Longest Trip Home and Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage by Caroline Jane Knight), or perhaps a history of early American women’s domestic lives in the newly-released Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England. Also set close to our home here in the Northeast is an autobiography of boyhood that documents farm life during the last great world conflict–Home Front: A Memoir from World War II by C. D. Peterson.
You can also explore “home” as a cultural concept in Domesticity, where “Ann Tudor examines the joy and the sorrow, the guilt and the satisfaction of domestic life, all of it related in her usual wry voice.”
Or, if you’re in a philosophical frame of mind, try New York Times-bestselling author Erica Bauermeister’s House Lessons: Renovating a Life, a collection of biographical essays that “takes listeners on a journey to discover the ways our spaces subliminally affect us.”
If you’d like to enjoy a bit of Bill Bryson’s brilliant-but-curmudgeonly humor as he ranges through an eccentric history of domestic architecture and culture, have a listen to At Home: A Short History of Private Life on Overdrive or through the Libby app. For this book, Bryson challenged himself to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”
For a spot of escape from your own humdrum domestic sphere, tune in to several of Acorn TV’s documentary offerings showcasing the home life of days gone by–and modern attempts to relive or conserve those realities: 1900 Island, Victorian House of Arts & Crafts, or Keeping the Castle.
And keep those home fires burning!
*Quoted material from authors and/or publishers.