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At Home: A Short History of Private Life Audiobook

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

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Publisher's Summary

Here is Bill Bryson’s entertaining and illuminating book about the history of the way we live - complete, unabridged and read by the author.

Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be. Along the way, he researched the history of anything and everything, from architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the spice trade to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets. And he discovered that there is a huge amount of history, interest and excitement - and even a little danger - lurking in the corners of every home.

Where A Short History of Nearly Everything was a sweeping panorama of the world, the universe and everything, At Home peers at private life through a microscope. Bryson applies the same irrepressible curiosity, irresistible wit, stylish prose, and masterful storytelling that made A Short History of Nearly Everything one of the most lauded books of the last decade.

©2010 Bill Bryson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance


There are no reviews for this title yet.

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  • Avril
    Cinderford, United Kingdom
    4/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Potted history at its best"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Excellent very interesting research that can be listened to in small sound bites or in great gulps.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Bill Bryson's evident enthusiasm and enjoyment of his subject


    Which character – as performed by Bill Bryson – was your favourite?

    There were no characters in this except Mr Bryson who read his own words beautifully.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Did it provide a laugh, oh yes, many parts were very amusing.


    Any additional comments?

    I love most of Bill Bryson's writings. This book was particularly enjoyable and will stand listening to many times just to take in all the well researched information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    RUNCORN, United Kingdom
    3/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The little things that make a house a home"
    What did you like most about At Home: A Short History of Private Life?

    It's Bill Bryson, so you know by now (if you've ever read and/or listened to any of his other works) what you're going to get - lots of detail and history combined with amusing anecdotes that are made all the more funny by Bryson's wonderful narration.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Bill Bryson? Why or why not?

    Yes, of course. I've yet to encounter one of his books that I didn't like.


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    His ability to imbue what are, at best, sometimes only mildly amusing anecdotes with a real impish sense of joy and fun.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    You'll never look at your house in quite the same way again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    YORK, United Kingdom
    12/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another excellent Bryson book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of At Home: A Short History of Private Life to be better than the print version?

    Having read and enjoyed some of Bryson's travel writing and 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' I was looking forward to this book. I wasn't disappointed. Bryson provides a fascinating account of the history of every day objects.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of At Home: A Short History of Private Life?

    Full of interesting trivia that will leave you looking at tables and windows with renewed appreciation!


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    This is the first audio version of Bryson's work I have listened to -it was great that it is read by the man himself!


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It was very entertaining. We listened to it on a long drive and it kept us laughing/snorting and 'wowing' along the way!


    Any additional comments?

    I would thoroughly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cupcake fan
    Somerset
    12/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A pleasant surprise"
    What did you like most about At Home: A Short History of Private Life?

    I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this book was. I have read/listened to a few of Bill Bryson's books but was not convinced that this one was based on a strong enough base to make it interesting, but I was very wrong. A fascinating and accessible social history of our homes. Even with no country, large or small, to make notes from Bill Bryson was as fascinating as ever. When I heard about his latest book based on one summer's events I had similar feeling of uncertainty, after enjoying this book so much those doubts have been vanquished and I will certainly be adding it to my wish list!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Katherine
    Edinburgh
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Most enjoyable and easy listen"
    Would you listen to At Home: A Short History of Private Life again? Why?

    I really enjoyed this book and could see myself dipping into it again just to remind myself of some of the interesting facts that Bryson revealed.


    What other book might you compare At Home: A Short History of Private Life to, and why?

    Not a book, but 'At Home' at times seemed like an extended version of TV show 'QI' - indeed I'm sure I've heard some of the facts and figures on that show. But in the book we get so much more historical background to flesh out the stories of how, for example, tea became so popular, or how concrete became so important, or how cosmetics killed people.


    Any additional comments?

    This for me was a perfect audio book in that each time I started to listen I didn''t have to remember plot or characters or where exactly the story had stopped on my last visit. (Which you obviously have to do when listening to fiction, so I often find myself having to replay a few minutes worth of the book to 'get my bearings').You probably could just start listening anywhere in the book and almost immediately get caught up in an interesting tale. Which made it for me a very, very easy listen. I'll definitely listen to more of his work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sally
    Ilford, United Kingdom
    10/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bryson does it again!"
    If you could sum up At Home: A Short History of Private Life in three words, what would they be?

    fascinating, informative, masterful


    What other book might you compare At Home: A Short History of Private Life to, and why?

    It is every bit as absorbing and informative as his 'history of nearly everything'. He covers little known facts of the inert and populates his narrative with the very human stories of the long forgotten people behind them, so that each page engages the reader with an atmospheric and witty charm.

    If you are a fan of Bryson already then you must read this. If you are not acquainted with Bryson then starting here wont hurt - but the length may overwhelm you.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Balor of the Evil Eye
    Éire
    7/17/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tenuous links between the home and the history!"

    While this is not a bad book, do not expect it to blow your socks off like A Short History of Nearly Everything. Bryson provides the impression that he is to give a detailed discussion of the development of the house, its rooms, their function, etc., but he only does so in part. His tour through his rectory in England is a novel way to approach the subject, but is actually quite clumsily stitched into the narrative. There are some interesting discussions included, but too often Bryson veers away from what you imagine he should be talking about to something apparently quite unrelated. For example, when discussing 'the attic' he ends up discussing Charles Darwin and his On the Origin of Species. Links between the two are thready to say the least. Also he concentrates disproportionately on the 'big house', famous architects and the experiences of the 'higher ups', when discussing the evolution of house design.

    Bryson's voice is soft and easy to listen to, while his writing style is, as ever, engaging.

    I would recommend, but listen to this before A Short History...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amir Ahmed
    UK
    7/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's hard not to love Bill Bryson"
    Where does At Home: A Short History of Private Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    one of the best


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The central character - Bill


    Have you listened to any of Bill Bryson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No but I will now


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it's too long


    Any additional comments?

    Bryson's writing sounds as good as it reads, charming and witty, insightful and life affirming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Katherine
    Wellington, New Zealand
    5/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Book, Great Delivery!"

    A joy to hear Bryson's wit with his own timing and tempo. His softened American accent, while in truth is not best suited for narration, is more than made up for in the delivery of his material as intended.

    The book itself is a eclectic mash up of researched social history, distilled into portions with both alarming amount of fact and entertainment. Each chapter is never too long or tedious, and the variety of information is huge. This book (and Bryson's others) have kept me in dinner party conversation for the last year.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Martin Davidson
    Luton, United Kingdom
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "Very interesting listen"

    Bill Bryson has done it again! This is a really fascinating book bringing to life the history of home life, including the spice trade, the life of servants and the garden, as well as much else besides. Bill Bryson has a certain knack of making subjects light and enjoyable, that in another author's hands could be a bit hard going. I have listened to it twice now. Well worth the money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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