House Hold

A Memoir of Place


“Makes my Heart go Pitter Pat”

AuthorGroupie Reviews House Hold

“Whew!  What I thought to be a memoir consisting of memories related to places turned out to be so much more in Ann Peters’ House Hold:  A Memoir of Place.  Peters, an English professor, also offers the reader a mini survey course of sorts of literature which pertains to dwellings.

Raised in Wisconsin and eventually finding her way to New York City, Peters describes the architecture of each home as well as the people associated with said residences using insightful rhetoric:

Homesickness, the longing for a familiar landscape, was part of it, and homesickness, of course, has as much to do with what one wanted and didn’t get as it does with the facts of the past.  (12)

I liked the reminiscing, but still I was surprised by it. . . .

It occurred to me that the requirements for authenticity had changed, no longer defined by staying put, but by a hunger for shared memory. . . . Of course , lots of people were still around who could talk to Betty about those early days, but it was as if my memories seemed more pure because they had not been altered by the new taverns or been crowded out by all the new people who had since moved out to the ledge.  In leaving I’d frozen the Holy Land in time.  (81)

Besides her deep analysis, Peters presents the players in her memoir with uncanny description:

In obvious ways, Kathryn was the more urbane of the two, the one who seemed most like what I imagined city people to be- quick, competitve, fast talking.  She had a flair for satire and for rage.  I see, fuzzily, the Watergate trials blasting from a television and then my grandmother, a lifelong Democrat, cursing from the couch before sending a book hurtling at the screen.  At the bridge table, she bested all the ladies in town, and when she played Scrabble with her grandchildren, she would not be moved by discrepancies in age or education, giggling gleefully when she dropped her xon the triple letter score. (118)

Oooh, how I love that above description of her grandmother.

Furthermore, Peters philosophy on teaching and reading makes my heart go pitter pat:

I usually tell my students that on a second reading of a book, you go back and notice what you are trying to ignore or resist.  Or you identify the places in the text that lull you, the places where you find yourself unthinkingly giving in.  (214)

When discussing Jefferson, the summer/weekend home purchased by Peters and her husband, she tells of the need to tackle the perennial garden and raised vegetable gardens already in place.  Although admiring her mother’s gardening as a child, “. . . [Peters] never paid attention to how she created it. . . . So much excitement at the beginning.  By August, vegetables rotting on the vine” (238).  With a smile, this quote brought to mind my own laziness in terms of gardening especially towards the end of the growing season.

A discussion of House Hold:  A Memoir of Place accompanied with a small tray of cheese and olives as Peters often did with Dee at 113 1/2 West Fifteenth Street would be ideal for that feeling of home.

Read the full article….


Hear Ann on Wisconsin Public Radio

MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014 (4:45 PM Central Time)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2014 (6:35 AM Central Time)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2014 (8:35 AM Central Time)

Don’t miss an interview with Ann Peters, discussing House Hold on Wisconsin Life.


Peters to Speak at Milwaukee’s Lynden Sculpture Garden

2145 West Brown Deer Road
Milwaukee, WI 53217

Peters will be a featured reader in the Women’s Speakers Series at Milwaukee’s Lynden Sculpture Garden.

Register online. $30/$25 members – includes an autographed copy of House Hold, refreshments and admission to the sculpture garden — come early for a stroll around the grounds! More details…


Fond du Lac Public Library Reading & Discussion

32 Sheboygan St, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54935

Ann Peters will be the featured speaker at the Friends of the Fond du Lac Public Library Annual Meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in the McLane Room of the downtown Main Library. The meeting is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served. No registration is required.

In “House Hold,” Peters revisits the modern split-level where she grew up, remembering her family, friends and neighbors, including Dr. Fuller McBride and Ann Hanson, among others. She charts her personal story through two decades of New York City apartments, before traveling to a cabin in the mountains of Colorado and finally purchasing an old farmhouse in upstate New York.

According to reviewer Alice Kaplan of Yale University, the book “has the makings of an American classic: a perceptive and deeply affecting book about belonging to a place and yet never quite belonging.”

After a discussion and reading, Peters will sign copies of her book, which will be available for purchase.

The Friends’ Annual Meeting is held to celebrate National Library week – April 13-19 – a decades-old observance sponsored by the American Library Association to highlight the value of libraries, librarians and library workers. The Friends organization is a non-profit that promotes and encourages the use of library services by fundraising, supporting special events such as Fond du Lac Reads and providing programs for the community. For more information, visit


Memoirist Takes Reader from Fond du Lac to NYC

The Capital Times’s Stephanie Bedford Interviews Peters on her new book, House Hold.

“Peters….has written a book that charts her life’s journey so far through the buildings she’s lived in and the books that shaped her thought, and tells of the surprising ways in which they overlap. The memoir is as hard to describe as it is engaging to read. House Hold weaves personal narrative with the writing and lives of authors Peters has read and studied — writers like Henry James and Willa Cather, whose vivid descriptions of place are essential to understanding their fictional characters.

‘I really wanted to write a book that somehow could be both true to myself as a reader, and true to myself as a writer,’ said Peters in a recent phone interview. ‘I wanted to show how my sense of place is both coming out of my personal experience and connected to the stuff I read and teach.’ In combining the story of her journey from her childhood home to her adult life in New York City with history and literature, Peters hits on common truths about the universal search for a home.

With her acute eye for detail, Peters points out the way some of her favorite authors have drawn on memories of their own surroundings in creating fictional places. In doing so, she also reconstructs the lives of her parents — especially her father, a restless entrepreneur whose forward-thinking architectural design was literally the landscape of Peter’s childhood….”

Read the full article….


Public Reading at UW – Stout Honors College

4:30 – 5:30 PM
Library Room 206, UW-Stout, Wisconsin

Ann Peters, author of “House Hold: A Memoir of Place,” will visit UW-Stout and read from her new book from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in room 206 of the Robert S. Swanson Library and Learning Center.

The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Literature Committee of the English and philosophy department; College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and Honors College.

Parking in UW-Stout lots is free after 4 p.m.

More information…


Book Launch at powerHouse Arena

MONDAY, MARCH 03, 2014
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Dumbo)

Ann Peters reads from House Hold, followed by conversation with poet and memoirist Honor Moore.
For more information, please call 718.666.3049
RSVP appreciated:
More information….

More events with the author…


Brooklyn Daily Eagle: “Brooklyn Author To Launch Poignant Memoir in DUMBO”

Samantha Samel interviews author Ann Peters

Peters: “What do you learn about the meaning of home when you are watching a neighborhood transform, almost, it seems, in the blink of an eye, outside your window? And how do you deal with the fact that you are resenting the changes to a neighborhood (the “intruders”) when you yourself were someone else’s intruder? In a way, Brooklyn in the last fifteen years has taught me something about America, even about my childhood and the rural area where I grew up. Unless you are a Native American—and maybe not even then— this state of believing a place was yours first is always fraught, always complicated. It forces you to take a hard look at yourself.”

Read the full article and interview…


“You may never look at yourself or the place you live in the same way”

Excerpted from Amos Lassen’s Review of House Hold 

“Peters reflects on the romance of pastoral retreat, the hazards of nostalgia, America’s history of expansion and land ownership, and the conflicted desires to put down roots and to hit the road. Throughout House Hold, she asks us how places make us who we are. Do we need to have a place to call home if we want to live an authentic life and if we want to belong somewhere?

…I do not remember being so enrapt in a book before…. You may never look at yourself or the place you live in the same way.”



Kirkus Reviews

“Peters (English/Stern Coll., Yeshiva Univ.) grew up in Wisconsin in a quirky house designed and built by her father. Perched on a hill overlooking woods and farms, the house reappears as the central image in the author’s lyrical memoir—not just of her family and childhood, but of her lifelong struggle to reconcile ‘the call to take root, the call to set forth.’“

Read the full review…