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.
This is my first Audible review, even though I listened faithfully for almost four years now. I really loved the print versions of Bryson's "Down Under", and "A Walk in the Woods". They were packed with laugh out loud moments, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. This one is interesting, but awfully dry. I'm not too fond of Bryson as a narrator. I wish I'd checked the print version out of the library before spending my credit on this.
Listening to this book makes me feel like I'm in a college history class where the professor just rambles on and on for hours without stopping. Some points are interesting but most of the material is off topic and not very captivating. I couldn't make it through all of part 1. This book is a PASS.
Clever, Interesting, Thoughtful
Bill Bryson has the uncanny ability to turn seemingly mundane and ordinary into the intriguing and exciting.
Only Bill Bryson could deliver his thoughts and experiences with this kind of precision and inflection.
Suddenly, you find yourself less familiar At Home.