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.
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"Potted history at its best"
Excellent very interesting research that can be listened to in small sound bites or in great gulps.
Bill Bryson's evident enthusiasm and enjoyment of his subject
There were no characters in this except Mr Bryson who read his own words beautifully.
Did it provide a laugh, oh yes, many parts were very amusing.
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.
"The little things that make a house a home"
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.
Yes, of course. I've yet to encounter one of his books that I didn't like.
His ability to imbue what are, at best, sometimes only mildly amusing anecdotes with a real impish sense of joy and fun.
You'll never look at your house in quite the same way again.
"Another excellent Bryson book"
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.
Full of interesting trivia that will leave you looking at tables and windows with renewed appreciation!
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!
It was very entertaining. We listened to it on a long drive and it kept us laughing/snorting and 'wowing' along the way!
I would thoroughly recommend it.
"A pleasant surprise"
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!
"Most enjoyable and easy listen"
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.
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.
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.
"Bryson does it again!"
fascinating, informative, masterful
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.
"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...
"It's hard not to love Bill Bryson"
one of the best
The central character - Bill
No but I will now
No, it's too long
Bryson's writing sounds as good as it reads, charming and witty, insightful and life affirming.
"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.
"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.
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