Rhody Reads: Stories About Home

Get cozy with books by local authors about the comforts of home

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"Home is where the heart is” and the six books we’ve chosen for this month’s Rhody Reads are full of heart. These local selections celebrate the places we live, love, and, even more so today, work. You’ll experience spaces real and imagined that bring us a sense of comfort, security, and history.

A home is more than four walls with windows on a neighborhood street; it’s a feeling that is often hard to describe. In Home to Italy, Rhode Island author Peter Pezzelli tells the story of Mario, who returns to Abruzzo after his wife’s passing. Although he resists change, it may be exactly what he needs as he builds new relationships and reestablishes himself in the quaint village in Italy where he first learned to ride a bike. Sometimes, you can go home again.

Dwellings in New England may not be as old as those over yonder in Europe, but we still have some historic styles. Covering the American Revolution to the present day, Jane Nylander’s Windows on the Past: Four Centuries of New England Homes explores the rich history of where we live and how our spaces have changed as our needs evolved. The gorgeous photos accompanying make it a tour that you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch.

The summer home is a staple of New England, and George Howe Colt’s The Big House is a classic. The memoir explores a family’s century-long history with a treasured house on Cape Cod. As he faces the sale of the family landmark, Colt explores the emotions and experiences that accompany letting go and moving on. Times have changed, but our memories remain.

Many abodes may seem like museums, but Robert J. Regalbuto’s New England House Museums: A Guide to More than 100 Mansions, Cottages, and Historical Sites shows us actual institutions that explore and celebrate the structures that surround us. Plan your tour of 100 locations – that’s only two per week for a year – and experience what it was like to live in a different time and place.

While her father and uncle are fighting overseas during World War II, 11-year-old Alice remains in Providence, where she desperately wants to make a difference in fighting for the cause. In
Alice at the Home Front, Mardiyah Tarantino chronicles this young woman’s story as she helps prepare for the worst while dreaming of one day becoming a pilot. Will her imagination prevail as the war lingers on and those she loves face the worst?

Everyone enjoys a ride through the country, imagining what life must be like on a farm, then and now. Robert A. Geake’s Historic Rhode Island Farms is that road trip in book form. The historic barns and outbuildings that Geake features were an essential part of the local economy for centuries. Although that lifestyle is mostly behind us, the book provides a loving reminder of our history.

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