The Home Owner's Manual is a straightforward guide to taking care of house and home. Sort of. Coming from an imprint whose name says it all, THOM is accordingly bizarrely technical in places and plain weird in others. You'll learn, for example, that a door is a hinged or sliding component that allows occupants to pass through a wall. Hmm.

How seriously can you take a book printed in trendy shades of turquoise, hazard-warning orange and brown, with drawings reminiscent of airline safety cards? As it happens, the manual includes many helpful tips from author Dan Ramsey, a licensed contractor, and his Fix-it Club, such as checklists for buying, selling or undertaking any household repairs. Useful definitions are sprinkled throughout the book and collected in a glossary and those illustrations are a clever way to illustrate different dwelling styles. While THOM is not without humor, it underscores the very serious point that being a homeowner requires a lot of work.

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