As one would expect from Bill Bryson this is very informative and entertaining but I think I would rather have this book in its paper edition. You feel you would like to go back and forward to check up on different things – might there even be an index in the paper edition whic,h would help?
I have read and liked a few Bryson books. He is something of an acquired taste. Moreover, I think I might prefer his books with someone else reading them. In any case, if you like interesting stories built around a theme mixed with lots of fascinating trivia, this is the book for you. I plan to listen to it again, as some of the stories are so good I don't want to forget them.
A transplanted Englishman, I spend my time on biography, history and military books. I appreciate good English and good narration.
A fascinating book, read by the author who has a gentle, easy voice and delivery which suits the text well.
Bryson writes in a simple style and must have conducted more research per point made than any writer I have read. He weaves his wondrous web of tantilising facts around a skeleton of history and gives us amazing context for life as we have come to know it. I found myself needing to write down some of the points he made as he read but they just kept coming, minute by minute, without ever making me tired of the process. Perhaps I was easily lulled since I know well the place where Bryson was "...At Home..." but anyone with a sense of fascination of how we got here should get much out of these two volumes.
This has been better in retrospect than at the moment of reading. It certainly is not the laugh out loud Bryson I love the best, but a well researched and thoughtful book about everyday objects and our homes. I have thought about it often, and am glad that I listened to it.
As a long-time admirer of both his writing and audio narration, I am sad to say that Bill Bryson's AT HOME: A SHORT HISTORY OF PRIVATE LIFE is a bit of a disappointment. Granted, there are touches of Bryson's wry humor and off-beat but spot-on observational gifts, but the wonderful sense of mischief that propels so much of the author's previous writing - from his memorable travel adventures, through his uncanny ability to map the mysteries of science and childhood with humor and wonder, seems somewhat stalled on this particular project. It's another great Bill Bryson idea - a whimsical investigation into Man's continuing quest for domestic comforts - but by Bryson standards, AT HOME remains far too domesticated. Likewise, gone is Bryson's keen narrative voice - that hilarious, contagious, point-of-view skill that he has employed so effectively in his readings - an alluring invitation to accompany him on some precarious journey despite the common reader's common sense. At times AT HOME sounds as if Bryson is searching the studio for his microphone or recovering from an overdose of cold remedies. What's left is a bit mushy - in both substance and sound. I remain, however, a loyal Bryson fan.
Bill, get another narrator. Bryson is an excellent story teller but his narration isn't great. The subject matter is very interesting however.
I had trouble following and connecting the dots. Bryson has a wonderful amount of quirky information. Reminded me of the old TV Series Connections without the transitions. The connections through rooms in the house did not work for me.
Don't get this one if you need to stay alert behind the wheel. This is a great book for an insomniac only. I loved A Walk in the Woods, but this one was just a bunch of well researched trivia strung poorly together inside a house. Worse - Bryson tries the narration and he doesn't have the voice for it. His words run together, you've got to keep the volume all the way up to understand him.
This is not in the same league as "A Short History of Nearly Everything". Though Bryson uses objects in different rooms of his "rectory" as jumping off points, he quickly and consistently starts his verbal meanderings and the listener is left wondering "what was the topic again"?
A lot about England's Victorian gilded age and English class, or lack thereof, and their class system. Overall the book doesn't seem very focused and we really don't learn much about the objects that populate our homes and their back story.
Still, pretty good because, hey, it's Bryson. Moderately recommended.