Books on a Hutch, A Giveaway

September 23rd, 2008

I have been having so much fun with these used book giveaways, that I have decided to just make it a regular part of my blog. What began as The Country Doctor’s Wife Summer Reading Program will now be more simply referred to as The Country Doctor’s Wife Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring Reading Program.

That way, it will be more catchy and much easier to remember. 

Since I spent yesterday painting my kitchen hutch – I decided to use it as a staging area for this book giveaway.

And that’s the last thing I am going to say about my hutch.

EXCEPT – you might as well take a gander at those three paint chips on the back of the hutch. That deep yellow is the color of my walls. The two blues are both recommended by Sherwin Williams as colors that coordinate with the color of the hutch. If one of them stands out as the perfect color for the interior of the cabinets let me know. 

I am giving three books away today. Three books in which a house plays a pivotal role. And while we are talking about these books,

Here is a close-up of those colors for the interior paint choices… 

Now onto the books.
I am not going to talk about my hutch anymore.

I am not going to even say the word hutch anymore.

It is starting to sound like a “bad word” to me.

My hutch, my hutch, my hutch… what am I really talking about here?

And why is it called a hutch anyway?

Oh dear! I just googled it and now I wish I hadn’t.

I am not going to be able to say hutch for a while now. I need to think of a new name for that cupboard I am painting. Let’s see – there’s sideboard… which kind of sounds like cyborg… There’s chiffarobe… and armoire… and buffet… and butler’s pantry… I always wanted a butler’s pantry, but I would settle for a butler… or an assistant.

That’s it! I will now refer to what used to be my…hu…my hu… my freshly painted cabinet as my assistant! My assistant Margot. I always thought the name Margot was so crisp and professional and efficient and brisk and a snappy dresser, low heels, neckerchief, bun, coordinating handbag, armed with a blackberry, understands her cell phone, reads directions, never eats candy, wait… NEVER EATS CANDY!!! I don’t know if I can get along with Margot or not.

Now let’s talk book shall we?

The first book I am giving away is House Dreams by Hugh Howard.

Please do not mistake Hugh Howard for Howard Hughes. They are vastly different people with entirely different aims. Howard Hughes was a fabulously wealthy guy who had a thing for airplanes. Hugh Howard is a writer who has a thing for old houses.

Hugh Howard has written several books on architectural preservation and I believe he is also the ghost writer for Bob Vila. The book I am giving away today is the story of Hugh building his own house.

It all starts when Hugh’s wife inherits a small sum and they decide to use it to buy a plot of land and to partially fund the construction of a new house. Their love for older houses leads them down the precipitous path to building a Georgian style home. Hugh designs it, frames it, and does as much of the work of building the house as his wife will let him get away with. He takes the project pretty seriously, but he is a good storyteller. If you like architecture, new houses, old houses, and a good story, you will like this book.

The second book I am giving away today is Two Part Invention by one of my very favorite authors, Madeleine L’Engle. Madeleine wrote the classic children’s books “A Wrinkle in Time” ,”A Swiftly Tilting Planet”, and “A Wind at the Door”. I loved those books as a kid and read them many times, but as an adult, I stumbled across this book and it has become one that I must re-read every other year or so. 

The book is primarily set in a house called “Crosswicks” that Madeleine and her husband bought as a refuge from New York City. Madeliene’s husband Hugh was a well known actor on a popular soap opera, but the couple decided to take a break from the glitz and glamour of New York and they moved their young family to the country and to Crosswicks.

The book covers their marriage from it’s beginnings in an abrupt ceremony while they were both part of a touring theater company, through the births of their children, and into their later years of illness and loss. They were both fascinating people involved in theater, literature and the arts, as well as having a family and trying to make ends meet during times when Hugh was not working in theater and Madeleine was not selling any manuscripts.

Madeleine was a master at writing stories about families dealing with unusual circumstances. After reading about her own family life, you will come to understand how she gained that skill. 

My last book is one of my all time favorite, favorite, favorite books. It is House written by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder

In the book, House Tracy follows a spirited construction company called “Apple Corps” as they build a large, classic, two story home. The four men who form “Apple Corps” are highly skilled craftsmen and colorful characters.

Tracy weaves the story of the builders, the architect and the couple for whom the house is being built together as deftly as a master craftsmen himself. This true story is full of humor and humanity and you get to “see” a beautiful house rise from the ground and watch the various personalities in the book sail along with it.

I love this book. I am not even kidding when I say I have probably read it ten times. 

Oh… and this is my friend Liz making a Victoria Sponge in front of my hu… I mean my assistant Margot…

Before Margot went and got herself all tricked out in Cottage Cream.

This giveaway has come to an end.