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From Animal House to Our House: A Love story Ron Tanner tells the story of his adventures with girlfriend Jill as they atttempt to save and restore a grand old Baltimore Victorian that was wrecked by a notorious fraternity. With Illustrations by the author.

Pub date: February 14, 2012
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National Book Tour

I fell for the house, I fell for the girl (and, predictably, her dowager of a basset hound), but most of all, I fell for Ron Tanner, one very fine storyteller. I'm still a bit stunned that I could become so entranced by a tale involving rehab nerds, real-estate shysters, frat-house vandals, Dumpsters, rats, and a whole lot of tools, but I'm enough of a writer to know this: when someone of great heart meets the most deeply personal challenge of a lifetime—especially when it seems strange or insane to just about everyone else—that's the place where the best and most moving stories begin. For Ron Tanner, it began with a woman wrapping glasses in an antique shop . . . and a small sign in a Baltimore window. How little he knew of what was to come, and how glad you'll be that he never backed down.
         Julia Glass author of Three Junes and A Widower's Tale

When I was a few pages into "From Animal House to Our House," I wanted to shout, "Go back! Go back!" But Tanner and his girlfriend persisted with their daunting home-renovation project, and ended up with (spoiler alert) a beautiful house, a marriage that survived beyond the last page, and an excellent book. And the man is a talented illustrator as well: he draws a mean perforated PVC drainpipe. This is the perfect read for anyone who has ever wandered the aisles at Home Depot in a blissful daze.
          David Owen, staff writer for the New Yorker, author of Green Metropolis

FROM ANIMAL HOUSE TO OUR HOUSE: A LOVE STORY will sweep you off your feet the way traditional love stories do, but with one difference: you'll also fall in love with the house. In this truly compelling story, love and a nail gun conquer everything.
         Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Drinking Closer to Home

Ron Tanner's life is a testament to the power of hard work, a big heart, blind romance, and even outright idiocy. What does he have to show for it? Only a beautiful house, a loving marriage, and now this inspiration of a book. Pass me my hammer!
         Chris Jones, writer-at-large for Esquire

I might seem the worst possible person to comment on Ron Tanner's memoir as I am totally uninterested in old houses and home renovation. Actually, this makes me the perfect person. Can you imagine how good a book it would have to be for me to like it? For me, the introspection, the humor, the incredible wisdom about bugs, the love story and the charming illustrations had to carry the book. They certainly do. Tanner is a master of small, sharp, hilarious insights, such as "There was no middle ground for mom. Either our lives were pitiful or miraculous." I love that.
         Marion Winik, author of Glen Rock Book of the Dead

In addition to being a love story, a how-to guide, an urban adventure, and even a coming-of-age memoir, From Animal House to Our House is a classic American tale, a portrait of an artist compelled to replace destruction with dignity, to consecrate the past, and to create – via hope and sweat – a life of beauty and meaning. It's rare for a book to appeal to poets and plumbers, but Ron Tanner's experiences are intensely human; this book is for anyone who's ever been seduced by a dream and yearned for the deepest sort of restoration.
         Lia Purpura, author of On Looking and Rough LIkeness


Excerpt: chapter 1, The Mystery House

Click here for PDF dowload of this excerpt.


Ron and Jill—his girlfriend of six months—discovered the house of their dreams in 2000: a landmark Baltimore brownstone that had belonged to a notorious fraternity. It was condemned property, had sat abandoned for nearly a year, and was such a wreck that no one would buy it. But Jill wanted the house and Ron wanted Jill. So he bought the 4500-square-foot ruin. Neither he nor Jill knew anything about house repair or renovation. The bank gave them six months to get the house up to code. The neighborhood historians told them flatly, "You'll never bring that house back." Ron's realtor said, "This house will eat you alive." Ron's mother said, "Why do you always do things the hard way?"

Impulsive and quixotic—and with two marriages behind him—Ron inspired little confidence. His life had been a series of mistakes and wrong turns. He recognized that taking on this wrecked frat house could be the biggest mistake of his life and he wondered if this time, in what seemed his final reach for love, he had reached too far. As soon as he and Jill started working on the house, they were at odds every day and it became clear to them both that the project would very likely ruin them financially and emotionally. Panicked, flirting with bankruptcy, and barreling through disasters, they had to learn how to live, love, and work together—and succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds.

A book for lovers, dreamers, do-it-yourselfers, and fans of old houses, From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story recounts Ron and Jill's adventure, offering inspiration, insight, and hilarity as they hammer away at the American Dream of home ownership and true love. In 2008, This Old House magazine published a feature story about Ron and Jill's work. The online version of this story drew more than 400,000 readers to the magazine's website.

The Animal House National Book Tour: 2014

Freeport, ME: Weds. May 19, 6:30 PM: Freeport Community Library:
Hartford, CT: Weds. May 14: Connecticut Historical Society
Baltimore, MD: Weds., April 9, 6:00 PM: Village Learning Place
Eugene, OR: Mon., March 3, 6:00 PM: Eugene Public Library
Portland, OR: Sun., March 2, 3:00 PM: Multnomah County Library: Kenton Branch
Portland, OR: Tues., Feb. 25, 6:30 PM: Multnomah County Library: Hillsdale Branch
Portland, OR: Mon., Feb. 25, 2:00 PM: Multnomah County Library, Central
Portland, OR: Mon., Feb. 24, 6:30 PM: Multnomah County Library, Holgate Branch
Portland, OR: Mon., Feb. 24, 2:00 PM: Multnomah County Library, Belmont Branch
Tucson, AZ: Tues., Feb. 11, 6:00 PM: Santa Rosa Public Library
Winston-Salem, NC: Friday, January 24, 7:00 PM New Winston Museum, hosted by Preserve Historic Forsyth.
Charlottesville, VA: Wednesdy, Jan. 22: 7:00 PM Jefferson-Madison Library
Tampa, FL: January 8, 7:00 PM Temple Terrace Public Library .

The Animal House National Book Tour: 2013

Baltimore, MD: Weds., Dec. 11: Barnes & Noble (Charles Village)
Gaithersburg, MD: Thurs., Dec. 5: Fiction at HearArts
Baltimore, MD: Tues., Dec. 3: Woman's Club of Roland Park
Baltimore, MD: Tues., Nov. 5: Hamilton Street Club
Providence, RI: Sun., Oct. 27: The Lippitt House, hosted by Preserve Rhode Island
Burlington, VT: Tues., Oct. 22: Fletcher Free Library co-hosted by Preservation Burlington
Montpelier, VT: Sat., Oct. 19: the Kellogg Hubbard Library
Newburyport, MA: Thurs, Oct. 17:Newburyport Public Library
co-hosted by Newburyport Preservation Trust
Hartford, CT: Tues, Oct. 15: Hartford Public Library
co-hosted by the Hartford Preservation Alliance
Manchester, NH: Thurs., Oct. 10: Manchester City Library
Dedham, MA: Tues., Oct. 8: Dedham Historical Society, co-hosted by the Fairbanks House
Philadelphia, PA: Sun., Sept 22:St. James the Less Episcopal Church,
hosted by The Victorian Society in America
Cleveland, OH: Saturday, July 27: Sarah Benedict House
hosted by Cleveland Restoration Society
Pittsburgh, PA: Fri., June 28: Construction Junction hosted by Preservation Pittsburgh
Wheeling, WV: Tues., June 25: Ohio County Public Library
Indianapolis, IN: Mon., June 24: Indianapolis Public Library
co-hosted by Historic Indianapolis
Cincinnati, OH: Sat., June 22: Cincinnati Public Library
co-hosted Cincinnati Preservation Association
Dayton, OH: Thurs., June 20: Dayton Metro Library, co-hosted by Dayton Preservation Inc.
Akron, OH: Weds., June 19: Akron-Summit County Library
Toledo, OH: Mon., June 17: Toledo Public Library
Buffalo, NY: Thurs., June 13: Buffalo Public Librar
y co-hosted by Preservation Buffalo Niagra
Detroit, MI: Weds., June 12: Detroit Public Library co-hosted Preservation Detroit
Ann Arbor, MI: Mon., June 10: Ann Arbor District Library (downtown)
Atlanta, GA: Weds., May 22: the LP Grant Mansion
hosted by the Atlanta Preservation Center
Macon, GA.: Tues., May 21: Sidney Lanier Cottage, hosted by Historic Macon
Chattanooga, TN: Mon., May 20: Chattanooga Public Library
hosted by Chattanooga Area Historical Association
Savannah, GA: Thurs., May 16: Savannah Public Library
co-hosted by Historic Savannah Foundation
Charleston, SC: Weds., May 15: Charleston Public Library
co-hosted by Historic Charleston Foundation
Columbia, SC: Tues., May 7: Columbia Public Library
co-hosted by Historic Columbia Foundation
Asheville, NC, Mon., May 6: Asheville Public Library
co-hosted by the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County
Hickory, NC, Sat., May 4: Hickory Public Library (main)
Winston-Salem, NC, Wed., May 1: New Winston Museum,
hosted by Preserve Historic Forsyth Foundation
Roanoke, VA, Tues, April 30: >Roanoke Public Library
Westminster, MD: April 22: Carroll County Library
Richmond, VA: Tues., April 9: Richmond Public Library
co-hosted by Historic Richmond Foundation
Cumberland, MD: March 23: Allegany County Historic Society
Philadelphia, PA: March 21: Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks
Tampa, FL: January 9: Tampa Public Library (main),
co-hosted by Tampa Preservation Inc
Orlando, FL: January 8: Orlando Public Library (main)

The Animal House National Book Tour: 2012

Baltimore, MD: Mon., Dec. 10, Center Stage: Stoop Stories
Baltimore, MD: Wed., Dec. 5, Barnes & Noble (Charles Village)
Morgantown, WV: Fri., Nov. 9: Preservation Alliance of West Virginia
Maplewood, NJ: Sun., Sept. 23, 2012: Words Book Store,
Baltimore, MD: Sat., Aug. 25, 2012: New Mercury Readings
Worcester, MA: Thurs., Aug. 16, 2012: Preservation Worcester
Marblehead, MA: Weds., Aug. 15, 2012: Abbot Public Library, Spirit of '76 Books, Marblehead Historical Society,
Boston, MA: Tues., Aug. 14, 2012:Otis House, Historic New England, Victorian Society in America,
Portsmouth, NH: Sat., Aug. 11, 2012: Portsmouth Historical Society
Cleveland, OH: Mon., Aug 6, 2012:Cleveland Public Library (Carnegie Branch)
Indianapolis, IN: Friday, Aug. 3, 2012:Bookmama's
Chicago, IL: Fri., Aug. 2, 2012:The Book Cellar
Milwaukee, WI: Wed., Aug 1, 2012: Boswell's Books
Winnetka, IL: Tues, July 31, 2012: The Book Stall
Normal/Bloomington, IL: Mon., July 30, 2012:Normal Public Library
Quincy, IL: Sat., July 28, 2012: Great Debate Books, The Quincy Historical Society and Quincy Preserves
Kansas City, KS: Thurs., July 26, 2012: Kansas City Library, Historic Kansas City Foundation,
Hays, KS: Wed., July 25, 2012: Hays Public Library,
Denver, CO: Tues., July 24, 2012: the Tattered Cover, Historic Denver,
Grand Junction, CO: Sun., July 22, 2012: Main Street Bagels
Ogden, UT: Sat., July 21, Historic Pingree Mansion, hosted by Sproututah
Butte, MN: Mon., July 16, 2012: Clark Arts Chateau, Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization
Missoula, MN: Sun., July 15, 2012: Missoula Public Library, Missoula Historic Preservation
Spokane, WA: Sat., July 14, 2012: Auntie's Books, Spokane Preservation Advocates
Seattle, WA: Thurs., July 12, 2012: Elliott Bay Books, with Historic Seattle
Portland, OR: Wed., July 11, 2012: the Washington County Museum,
Portland, OR: Tues., July 10, 2012: VeloCult, Historic Preservation League of Oregon
Eugene, OR: Mon., July 9, 2012: Lane County Historical Society
Arcata, CA: Sun., July 8, 2012: Northtown Books,
Sonoma, CA: Fri., July 6, 2012: Sonoma League for Historic Preservation
Berkeley, CA: Thurs., July 5, 2012: Books Inc., California Preservation Foundation
San Francisco, CA: Tues., July 3, 2012: the Booksmith, Victorian Alliance of San Francisco and California Preservation Foundation
San Jose, CA: Mon., July 2, 2012: The San Jose Women's Club, hosted by the Preservation Action Council of San Jose
Phoenix, AZ: Monday, June 25, 2012: Friendship Village
Santa Fe, NM: Thurs., June 21, 2012: Collected Works, Historic Santa Fe Foundation
Albuquerque, NM: Wed., June 20: Book Works
Oklahoma City, OK: Mon., June 18, 2012: Oklahoma Heritage Museum
Eureka, AR: Sunday, June 17, 2012: The Writers Colony
Fayetteville, AR: Saturday, June 16, 2012: Nightbird Books
Little Rock, AR: Fri., June 15, 2012: the Quapaw Quarter Association, Arkansas Historic Preservation and the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas
Oxford, MS: Thurs., June 14, 2012: Square Books,
Blytheville, AR: Weds., June 13, 2012: That Bookstore in Blytheville,
Nashville, TN: Tues., June 12, 2012: Nashville Public Library (Green Hills), Historic Nashville and Tennessee Preservation Trust
St. Louis, MO: Mon., June 11, 2012: Left Bank Books
Cincinnati, OH: Sat., June 9, 2012: Joseph-Beth Books
Columbus, OH: Thurs., June 7, 2012: The Book Loft, German Village Society,
Pittsburgh, PA: Wed., June 6, 2012: Writers Live Series at the Carnegie Library in partnership with Preservation Pittsburgh
Louisville, KY: Sat., May 26, 2012: Barnes & Noble (Plainview),
Baton Rouge, LA: Tues., May 22, 2012: at the Old Governor's Mansion, sponsored by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana
New Orleans, LA: Mon., May 21, 2012: Maple Street Bookshop,
Hattiesburg, MS: Sat., May 19, 2012: Main Street Books,
Tuscaloosa, AL: Fri., May 18, 2012: Barnes & Noble
Birmingham, AL: Thurs., May 17, 2012: Little Professor Bookshop
Macon, GA: Tues., May 15, 2012: Sidney Lanier Cottage sponsored by Historic Macon
Atlanta, GA: Mon., May 14, 2012: Georgia Center for the Book
Savannah, GA: Fri., May 11, 2012: The Book Lady book store
Charleston, SC: Thurs., May 10, 2012: Charleston County Public Library 6:30 PM
Columbia, SC: Weds., May 9, 2012: Barnes & Noble (Harbison),
Raleigh, NC: Mon., May 7, 2012: Preservation North Carolina, Raleigh Historic Development Commission and the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office
Durham, NC: Tues., May 8, 2012: Regulator Bookshop
Baltimore, MD: Sat., April 14, 2012: Citylit Festival
Arlington, VA: Sun., March 25, 2012:One More Page
Chapel Hill, NC: Sat., March 10, 2012:McIntyres' Books
Greensboro, NC: Fri., March 9, 2012: Barnes & Noble
Charlotte, NC: Thurs., March 8, 2012: Park Road Books
Spartanburg, SC: Weds., March 7, 2012: Hub City Bookshop
Winston Salem, NC: Tues., March 6, 2012: Barnhill's Books
Asheville, NC: Mon., March 5, 2012: Malaprops Bookstore
Richmond, VA: Sat, Feb.25, 2012: Fountain Book Store
Baltimore: Sat., Feb. 11, 2012: Enoch Pratt Library

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