Books by Susan Allen Toth

Released: April 1, 2014

"An inward-looking account with an important take-home message: Caring for a dying loved one is a demanding task, and caregivers are only human."
A wife's frank memoir of her time as a caregiver during the last 18 months of her husband's life. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

Another engaging thematic ramble from the author of How to Prepare for Your High School Reunion (1988), Ivy Days (1984), and Blooming (1981). Toth made her first trip to England in 1960. Armed with street map and umbrella, the college senior attended classes, mastered the London Underground, and nearly overdosed on theater before hitchhiking through the countryside with a friend. Here, her gently shaded reminiscences of this and subsequent trips have the simple declarative style and self-revealing moments of her other books and especially fit her subject. From Pixey Green to Hickley Broad, Sheepy Magna to Great Wapses, Toth focuses on the singular features and quirky details that not only make each visit supremely satisfying but also keep her returning for more. She shares the excitement of a badger-sighting arranged by a protective country- house host; a search for the smallest church in England (she and husband James prefer unspoiled, out-of-the-way places); a morning at local sheepdog trials; rhapsodies on clotted cream and English breakfasts; and, in recent years, the start of a collection of walking sticks for the footpaths that provide her most exhilarating excursions. Thirty years and many trips later, Toth still seeks England as a refuge despite the inevitably troubling signs of the times, and her idiosyncratic observations are a cheery contrast to more traditional tour books (or what she calls ``bleak chic''). Anglophiles will cherish this kindred spirit like a delicately flowered teacup, and will envy her unique finds. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1991

An architect and his writer wife (Blooming, 1981 and Ivy Days, 1984) collaborate on this lyrical, likeable tale of the creation of Wind Whistle, their Minnesota summer getaway—and of the joys of the house-building process in general. A modernist architect marries a clutter-addicted Victoriana buff and resolves to build her a perfect dream house. Sounds like the plot of a sit-com, but this was real life, frighteningly enough, for Stageberg and Toth in the early eighties. Surprisingly, the collaboration proved fruitful and the marriage survived intact as Stageberg managed, after the usual series of discarded drafts, to combine airy, open rooms with a mile or so of built-in bookcases and come up with a graceful, intergrated whole. The key lay in in knowing when to back off: Toth's decision to let her husband design the country house's exterior on his own while he gave in on staining the ceilings sky-blue resulted in a custom-designed retreat so charming and unique that both now find it difficult to leave. In this account, Toth's rhapsodies over the delights of home ownership alternate with Stageberg's informative comments on the architect's point of view ('Always remember that the architect needs you, the client, to realize his vision.'). Drawing on decades of experience custom- designing domeciles for his Minneapolis firm, Stageberg Partners, Inc., he also offers down-to-earth advice on hiring, working with and even firing an architect while simultaneously infecting the reader with his obvious enthusiasm for the craft. Dangerously seductive—those without the house-building bug will catch Read full book review >