If These Walls Could Talk: 9 Fascinating Books About Your Favorite Household Objects

There’s no place like home. And there’s nothing quite like the items we surround ourselves with in our private residences—but we often take many of those items for granted. Below, discover the remarkable stories behind the so-called unremarkable appliances, tools, and decorations we all have in our households.

If Walls Could Talk
by Lucy Worsley

The home as we know it today is a relatively new concept—one that has evolved to reflect society. In this fascinating and amusing exploration of “home sweet home,” Lucy Worsley enthralls you with how ordinary people lived in their private residences from medieval times until now.

Consider the Fork
by Bee Wilson

The kitchen is so much more than just the favorite room in the house. It’s the holding place of astonishing tools, from the simplest wooden spoon to a modern garbage disposal. Bee Wilson examines how the earliest humans crafted primitive tools and how technology has altered our relationship with food since prehistory.

The Toothpick
by Henry Petroski

Emperor Nero once entered a banquet carrying a silver toothpick between his teeth. Who knew that the humble toothpick had such lofty beginnings? Mixing engineering, history, and contemporary business investigation, Henry Petroski effectively demonstrates that along with its perfect design, the toothpick is also one of the oldest tools mankind ever created.

by Mark Kurlansky

Has any piece of technology so irrevocably altered human culture as paper? In this illuminating and gripping history, Mark Kurlansky studies how paper has laid the foundation for modern civilization, revolutionized how people learn, and allowed for countless works of art. He also considers the “going paperless” revolution and paper’s future.

Life of the Party
by Bob Kealing

Discover the true story behind Tupperware, the ubiquitous plastic containers that have been a part of American families since the 1940s and host of countless suburban parties. A remarkable tale of success, power, and gender politics, LIFE OF THE PARTY brings a clear-eyed spotlight to overlooked business icon Brownie Wise.

American Green
by Ted Steinberg

The crowning achievement of suburban fathers, the idea of the perfect lawn is fairly new concept. In this witty, sharp-eyed, and fascinating exposé, Ted Steinberg explains the origins of our love affair with all things lawn care, which began after World War II.

Put A Stamp On It!
by Herman Herst Jr.

Often overlooked or even reviled as annoyances, stamps have a long and storied past—and have been both inspired by and inspiration for history. In this engaging and humorous book, discover how these small decorative stickers are an important and fascinating part of not only the mail system but also culture itself.

One Good Turn
by Witold Rybczynski

From Archimedes to the handyman of today, the screwdriver has been at the forefront of their work. As one of the most ubiquitous tools ever invented, the screwdriver has a storied and fascinating history. In clear and engaging prose, Witold Rybczynski demonstrates just why civilization changed with one good turn.

Refrigeration Nation
by Jonathan Rees

Few things have changed how mankind lives like refrigeration. From using blocks of river ice to the digital refrigerators of today, Jonathan Rees considers how refrigeration has irrevocably changed how we cook, transport, and eat food in this fascinating, comprehensive history of an appliance we often take for granted…until the power goes out.