Glassware, silverware, chi-na! Dirty dishes and kitch-en utensils! This was the mantra of our seventh-grade home economics teacher. Mrs. Douglas chirped the words as we sat scowling by our assigned "kitchenettes." It was our rally call signaling us to assume positions at the sink and start cleaning. There were some of us, however, who secretly liked home ec some of us who still do. Here's a fabulous book for those who have gotten in touch with their inner housecleaner.

Don't let the cover fool you, Biting the Dust: The Joys of Housework by Margaret Horsfield (St. Martin's, $24.95, 0312212143) is no campy portrait of domestic bliss but an exhaustive exploration of housework and its history. It will surprise you with its humor and insight.

It would behoover you to read it.

Reviewed by Katherine H. Wyrick.

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