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David Giffels of Akron, Ohio thought he was a handyman, but when he attempted to rehab a Tudor mansion, he learned a lot mostly about himself.
“The greatest lesson I learned from this adventure was that I wasn’t nearly as capable as I thought I was,” Giffels said in a phone inteview last week.
Giffels, author of “All The Way Home,” will be in Grant County at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Grant County High School auditorium for a book discussion and a book signing session.
His book, which chronicles his family’s adventures renovating a fall-down house, was selected as featured text for the Northern Kentucky One Book, One Community reading project. The Grant County Public Library is one of the partners in this project designed to get people in a four-county area to read and discuss the same book.
Giffels is an author and journalist. He was a longtime columnist for the Akron Beacon-Journal and former writer for the MTV series Beavis and Butthead. He is also a member of the creative writing faculty at the University of Akron.
His other books include the rock biography “Are We Not Men, We Are Devo!” and “Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron, a 1998 history of his hometown.
In his 18-year career in journalism, Giffels has received dozens of awards including the 2008 general excellence award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. In 2009, he was honored as Best News Writer in Ohio by the Associated Press. He has also been nominated six times for Pulitzer Prize.
Giffels said he knew when he began his journey of rehabbing an old house that it would make a good story. He just didn’t know that the story wouldn’t be about him conquering something, but rather about self discovery.
“We suffered from a wide array of romanticism about what the home would be,” he said.
Giffels said he and his wife were tested in ways they wouldn’t have been otherwise and in ways that could have ended their relationship, but instead their trials made them stronger.
The book was written 10 years after Giffels finished the house renovation.
“I had the idea for awhile, but it took me awhile to get started,” he said. “The hardest part was understanding the shape of what I wanted to tell and what to leave out.”
Giffels said there were many surprises along the way such as finding $14,000 hidden in a wall and a confrontation with a squirrel.
“This is definitely not a how-to book,” he said. “It really is about how a family becomes a family when all we thought we needed was another bedroom.”
He said he’s curious and a little nervous about the book signing in Grant County, but he’s anxious to meet people and hear their renovation stories.
“My favorite part of all this is listening to local people share their stories,” he said.
For more information about Giffels’ visit call the library at 859-824-2080.