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At Home: A Short History of Private Life | [Bill Bryson]

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

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.
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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.

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  • Simon
    Exeter, United Kingdom
    11/29/11
    Overall
    "A star off for the narration..."

    I'm finding this a fascinating listen, but BB sounds as though he has been using plenty of whisky to battle a very heavy cold.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maureen
    EDINBURGH, United Kingdom
    11/26/11
    Overall
    "Highly enjoyable"

    An excellent book full of fascinating facts and insights on a much wider range of topics than I had imagined from the title. Unlike some reviewers, I much prefer Bill Bryson's readings of his books to those of other actors. I love his gentle pace and obvious dry sense of humour. This is a book I will definitely return to and one I recommend you buy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Near Royston, United Kingdom
    10/14/11
    Overall
    "Loved this book"

    Packed with lots of interesting facts and cleverly linked back to a journey though the author's home. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alison
    Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom
    9/24/11
    Overall
    "Struggling on"

    I'm about 50% through this and I'm struggling. In fact, I've done what I rarely do and left it while listening to 2 other books in the mean time. I think the problems are: his voice is not easy to listen to and he sometimes speaks very fast so the words can get lost. Listening to it with headphones on a train journey was impossible as I couldn't make it loud enough to be distinct over the noises of the train! And then, because I don't really like his voice, my mind wanders and so I feel bored. In fact, the things he's telling me are rather interesting (but not actually funny), however, I can't seem to keep my mind on it. I'll go back to it though. I imagine it'd be good if you wanted to drift off to sleep...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • George
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    8/6/11
    Overall
    "One of the best books I have "read"!"

    I'm near the end of this and have to say that it's one of the best books I've ever read. It's astounding, enlightening and gives you so many things to feel grateful for, now you know about the genesis of the things and practices around you, and how it was before they came along. Am on the verge of insisting everyone I know read it too :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Wincanton, United Kingdom
    2/4/11
    Overall
    "Perfectly read"

    I am writing this review to act as a balance to those who found Bill Bryson's narration poor. I felt that his reading of the book matched the content perfectly. I did not find it droning or unpleasant, quite the contrary.

    The content of the book was marvellous. An interesting flood of seemingly unconnected historical trivia loosely based around the floor plan of his Norfolk rectory, full of interesting facts and potted biographies. Bravo to Mr Bryson!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vivian
    New Malden, United Kingdom
    10/5/10
    Overall
    "Usual Bryson"

    This was what I expected - somewhat over long and rambling on times - but full of amazingly interesting, if trivial facts. Bryson's narration is not inspired, but is certainly acceptable and easy to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    9/23/10
    Overall
    "Author/ Narrator"

    I have read and listened with equal enthusiasm to almost all of Bill Bryson's books. However although this book is an excellent read it is not an equally excellent listen. The previous titles, read by William Roberts, were fabulous to listen to. This one however is not In the same league. Please keep writing fabulous books but perhaps give William Roberts his job back - he was rather excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel Crussell
    8/31/10
    Overall
    "Suprisingly great"

    This audiobook has amazed me. When I first listened to it I felt it was good but rambled a bit to much and was very disjointed.

    Bill Bryson takes us on tour of home and gives us a history of almost everything from the slave trade to how high rats can jump. The most amazing thing about this audiobook is how much it seeps in to your mind.

    I have found myself of late reeling out random facts about table manners or jumping rats which all have come from this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    Leigh-on-sea, Essex, United Kingdom
    8/10/10
    Overall
    "Relaxing listen"

    Excellent listen. Typical Bryson - entertaining, educating, humorous and a very relaxing, slightly soporific read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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