Precise reveries about the essential, overlooked domestic elements that shape our perception of a home. Thorne, who usually writes about food (Serious Pig, 1996; Outlaw Cook, 1992), brings the eye for specifics of a culinary writer to meditations on beds, closets (""A house lives in the space where we do not. . . . The cellar is its base, the attic the apex, and every closet a column: a temple of invisible, unlived-in space""), chests of drawers, stairs (""A stairway isn't merely a means of getting up and down. It's also a kind of doorway between floors, which is to say, between two competing realms of space""), windows, bathtubs, chairs, and stoves. Such celebrations of the everyday can quickly become precious. Thorne's don't because he displays a deft wit and a talent for basing his musings on autobiographical incidents. A modest charmer.