At Home: A Short History of Private Life (Unabridged)
by Bill Bryson
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From one of the most beloved authors of our time—more than six million copies of his books have been sold in this country alone - a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home. “Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.” Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.” The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has figured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture. Bill Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly isolated or mundane fact into an occasion for the most diverting exposition imaginable. His wit and sheer prose fluency make At Home one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.
I have listened to this once and I am coming around again for the second go at it, although, you don't want to fall asleep listening to this or you might have some disturbed dreams! I didn't enjoy this as much as a few of his other books and that is why I am only giving it a 4. It was not as light hearted a read as some of his other books, but I realize, more than ever, that the history of humans can be quite disturbing. I must say that there are a few spots that are really disturbing, not just in how people can treat other people, but how humans choose to live, in general, at times. What I DO suggest is that every professor in any sort of human studies course makes this required reading! I always learn more from Bill than any professor I ever heard or any other person writing on the subject(s). Okay Bill, we are waiting for the next one! Chop chop!
Great Concept - Poor Delivery
The concept of the book is great, however, Bryson is long winded and rambles far more than usual. I found my mind wandering often while listening to this book. It does not captivate the attention.
If you like Bryson then give it a shot, however be prepared for dull segments, long lists, and tangents that aren't even interesting.
On his game
I have read everything this man has written. It doesn't get better than this. If by chance you were curious about everything in, on, and around your home this would be the book to read. It's one of those books you wish were longer... Enjoy