Mr. Bryson's ability to research is second-to-none. This book is absolutely packed with information about so much! However with that said, this book took me nearly two months to finish. The problem is that I can only listen in 20 to 30 minute periods before my mind would start to wander....Still great stuff, just had to listen in small doses.
It is full of snippits of history that lodge in your subconcious and then pop out in conversation which just make you sound clever.
It for the most part is just interesting all the way true.
It is more of a book you would listen for an hour and then come back to a couple of hours later. It needs to be digested it is so information-laden.
I didn't know he had an English accent! I thought he would sound like Richard Drayfuss.
I have read a few Bryson books and recommend all of them. This one was recommended by a friend so I listened on audio. Great read! You learn something new on each page. I have been telling stories from this book since I finished it and have recommended to friends.
Bryson writes about the kinds of things I think and wonder about every day. He delves into such detail and has made living in my own house just a bit more interesting. Thank you for writing books I love to listen to!
At Home is one of the audiobooks I have enjoyed the most.
My favorite thing about this book - as with others by Bill Bryson - is the somewhat randomness of it. He dives into such fascinating detail on such a wide range of topics. Every chapter is full of surprising things. Some of them are subjects I would have said I had no interest in knowing more about (mites, the history of venereal disease, the bathing habits of Victorians) but they fit together so well and Bryson tells their stories in such a way that they are completely engrossing.
The section on staircase theory and statistics stands out as particularly unexpected and wonderful. That may sound a little insane but maybe I just hit that part of the book at the right moment in my evening commute.
I'm new to audiobooks, but this book inspired me to get an audible account. It's the best, but there are more to come.
So many characters are mentioned in this that it's impossible to settle on a favorite. Though learning about past US presidential home life is enlightening.
No. That's a lot of sitting. Though I could listen to this book about a hundred times before it would get old. Just a wealth of information delivered in a tongue-in-cheek way.
This is the sort of book that you want to read before you will be expected to make small talk with people you don't know very well. Lots of fascinating bites of information. I wish I had the print book as well to verify and cross-reference some dates.
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I love learning about the “history of stuff” like why do we use forks and where does pepper come from and what are the origins of the term ‘chairman of the board’. I just eat it up!
It’s supposed to be about the history of the home (why is it called a drawing room and when did houses start having upstairses etc), but I felt it reached so far out beyond the four walls that I found it hard to see the link back to the home at times – doesn’t matter really because it was all still interesting to me.
Bill Bryson has a pleasant voice, and can be entertaining, but you won't learn very much from this book. It uses the different rooms of an old parsonage to leap to a wide variety of topics that span 300 years or so. The book doesn't hold together, and Mr. Bryson spends a lot of time attempting to find humor by poking fun at the non-scientific theories and behavior of people living several hundred years ago.
I was looking for a book that gave a sense of how ordinary people lived, and the relationship between their lives and the evolution of the home. This book is just light entertainment, focused on a broad array of historical topics, and a bit long given its lack of serious intent.
If you like Bill Bryson, you will like this offering, as well. Bryson brings attention and life to glossed-over ( or never-mentioned ) aspects of history. I found it difficult to stop listening to this entertaining and fascinating ( and sometimes wonderfull icky -see chapter 11) ) book.
The structure of the book was not as I expected, being less tightly anchored to the room-by-room history adventure I anticipated from the publisher's summary. But if you are not too picky about tight structure, and don't mind ~occasionally~ not having the threads of the narrative tied together a bit more, then you will enjoy this wandering trip through some of the foundations (no pun intended) of why our homes ended up designed and built the way they are. If you are familiar with and like the old PBS television series, Connections, you are probably someone who will devour this book.
Bryson continues to introduce us to a trove of people in history who deserve credit ( both good and bad ) for the contributions and sacrifices they made to engineering and invention that lead us, sometimes circuitously, to many of the comforts of home we take for granted today. You can expect to hear more about the men and women who deserve more credit than most historical writings give them, and we learn of many poor individuals who were left penniless and forgotten in spite of their immense contributions. Bryson's research and distillation of information makes history , even that previously considered mundane, richly interesting. His talent makes history more relevant and real than any other history book you read in school. We are not just told who invented what, but are treated to tidbits of fascinating information about the private lives of these individuals, which makes the stories even more inviting and memorable.
Get ready to find out why most early homes didn't have second stories, why dining forks have 4 tines, where the word "boardroom" comes from, and how a bizarre experiment gave us strong steel.
If Bryson decides to keep writing on this topic, I will definitely keep reading. There are many more items in the home that need a delightful back-story brought to life . Yay for Bryson!!