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Extended Audio Sample House Lust: America’s Obsession with Our Homes, by Daniel McGinn Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (261 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel McGinn Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9781400175826
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What is it about the rustic beauty of hardwood floors or the luxury of natural stone counter tops that turns ordinary people into covetous friends, competitive neighbors, and shameless snoops? In House Lust, Newsweek writer Daniel McGinn takes readers inside the homes—and the psyches—of people all over the country to discover what’s fueling the national fixation on where and how we live today.

If eyes are the windows to our souls, then our homes are the windows into our taste, our wallets, and, arguably, our very identities. Buying a house or apartment is a rite of passage, so it’s only natural that we spend a lot of time talking about our homes—and our neighbors’ homes. House Lust is filled with stories of what people are not talking about:

  • The kitchen designer who in four years saw seven of her twenty clients’ marriages end in divorce
  • The woman who took a sledgehammer to her kitchen while her husband was away on a fishing trip to motivate him to start remodeling
  • “Zillowing”—using the website Zillow.com to find out how much your friends (and enemies) paid for their homes

In a narrative that blends comic social commentary with incisive reporting, McGinn proves what real estate agents have known all along: people are not just buying a house, they’re buying an identity. House Lust is an astute, funny, and sometimes disturbing portrait of contemporary America.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[House Lust] is a witty survey of the world of buying, selling, and gossiping about homes.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • House Lust remains relevant in spite of the bust because, by and large, people will never stop jonesing to keep up with the Joneses.”

    USA Today

  • “[House Lust] raises provocative questions that strike at the covetous soul of America’s culture and economy.”

    New York Times

  • “Daniel McGinn examines what drove history’s greatest real estate boom with insightful, often amusing, anecdotes.”

    New York Post

  • “To understand this overweening desire for residential improvement, McGinn takes a humorous journey across the country…It’s obvious McGinn has done his homework.”

    Seattle Times

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 2/19/2014

    " Wonder why the housing market tanked? Read this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 2/19/2014

    " Not much new here if you followed the housing bust. Irrational exuberance and all that in a narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 2/14/2014

    " A little outdated now, given the housing collapse. Still an interesting read, particularly for a home-owner who watches too much HGTV (me). I am definitely a house-luster. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 1/20/2014

    " Entertaining and speaks to my, shall we say, current preoccupation. Does this mean I'm not the only one who gets emotional while watching 'House Hunters'? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 12/26/2013

    " Heard about it on NPR. It sounded interesting, and it was to a degree, but I thought they would get more in depth with why people have house lust. It could have been consolidated into an essay in a magazine and been as interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisha | 12/25/2013

    " I usually don't read these kinds of books, but this one caught my interest. It is written by a reporter who analyzes what caused the housing market to crash and how our way of life not only affects the kinds of things we want in a house but also the way houses are built and marketed to different demographics. I really quite enjoyed it because it made me take a step back and think about why I live in the house that I do. (It wasn't because of the live actors they paid to act like a family in the model home either! Even though it is a syntex home lol) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 12/1/2013

    " It was a little too long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 8/18/2013

    " Lighthearted look at a serious topic, the runaway American dream home. Well researched and entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 7/29/2013

    " I never thought a book about houses without pictures could be so good! Great reading, and lots of really interesting observations. Hope my book club agrees! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Theo | 7/29/2013

    " This book sucks. I thought it might provide some interesting insight into the housing craze, but I was sorely disappointed. I couldn't finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannongeorgina | 5/1/2013

    " Hreat book - well written, balanced perspective! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tobey | 9/13/2012

    " I learned a lot reading this book, but could not stand the author's writing style--he thinks he's just so darn clever and funny. I ended up skimming the last half of the book, reading the data and skipping the 'me me me' stuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 KayLyn | 3/28/2011

    " This gave an interesting perspective on how we as Americans view houses. It makes our desires seem trifle, which most of the time they are. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 2/10/2011

    " Fast read and a bit extra interesting to me since we've just started house hunting. Pretty brief looks into things like house flipping, time shares, McMansions and other current housing phenomena. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julie | 1/25/2011

    " Published in 2008, this book may provide some insight to the housing bust. Not worth reading, really. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 2/5/2010

    " I am trying to understand why so many people think bigger is better. As a residential architect, these are not the people I design for, but they are the majority of the home buyers out there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shari | 12/8/2009

    " this book was so insightful -- why we love our homes, remodeling and all the stuff that goes along with it! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sensibly Sassy | 4/13/2009

    " 7th book of 2010 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary Lynn | 1/23/2009

    " Anyone who watches HGTV obsessively should skim through this book. (You don't have to read the whole thing like i did!) It totally confirms and puts into writing a lot of my ideas and theories. "

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