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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)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

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  •  
    Andrew Sydney, Australia 09-05-12
    Andrew Sydney, Australia 09-05-12

    "With every mistake we must surely be - learning?"

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "New Speaker Needed acquire within!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Bill Bryson is a terrific writer I have everything he has written to-date, however please use a professional reader on future books. Your voice is far too soft lacking in any emotional impact.


    What could Bill Bryson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Find a professional reader!


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bill Bryson?

    William Roberts was great narrating The History of Nearly Everything. Grover Gardner is another name that comes to mind.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. The subject matter is too vast and spasmodic.


    Any additional comments?

    Keep the books coming Bill.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Fitzroy, Australia 05-22-12
    Rachel Fitzroy, Australia 05-22-12
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    "Best use of a credit"

    I've listened to "a short history of nearly everything" before and I enjoyed "at home" just as much. It's great for listening to in short bursts as each chapter doesn't rely on the previous one, but is explained in such a way that listening for a longer period isn't overwhelming. I can see myself listening to this again as there is no way I will be able to remember all of it after one reading and I think it would be just as enjoyable a second time around. Bill Bryson is a fantastic reader, really drawing you into his superb writing. I couldn't recommend this more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mr kieran j murphy 10-21-11
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    "right up my alley"

    The trivial nature of this book wad right up my alley. If you like finding out about both the history of words and also where everyday objects came from this is the book for you. I am an unabashed Bryson fan, and he has used one of the techniques which makes him such a good travel writer (weaving 'trivial', but fascinating facts throughout a story) to create this book - it is really good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Berwick, Australia 04-03-11
    Steven Berwick, Australia 04-03-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Informative"

    At Home is informative and educational in quirky sort of way, but doesn't deliver on the humour evident in some of Bryson's other works. Well researched, this book explodes the myths of the refined and gentile times of old. Bryson does a good job of narrating the book, although at times seemed lacking in expression, making the narration a little dull. If you've got a desire to learn all sorts of factiods of life in centuries gone by, then you'll probably enjoy At Home.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Glen Iris, VIC, Australia 07-06-10
    David Glen Iris, VIC, Australia 07-06-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Beyond bricks and mortar"

    Hearing Bill read his book is briefly pure pleasure. He threads patterns, beads and narratives in telling story upon story, ancient and modern. How grateful I am to live now, and not then.The only thing I missed was being able to underline and note some of the aspects of private life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John OSLO, Norway 01-02-11
    John OSLO, Norway 01-02-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Too bad Bill"

    I just love Bill Bryson's books, but not when he reads them himself. His reading-voice distracts my attention from the content. In this book, the multitude of s-sounds, vocal abbreviations and vocal slurs(that leaving you wondering what he just said) are so annoying, that's it's quite a challenge to keep listening to him read the book. Maybe it would be better if he read in his natural American dialect - more like how he reads "A walk in the woods".

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Manly, Australia 02-28-14
    Bill Manly, Australia 02-28-14
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    "Perhaps my favourite book"
    If you could sum up At Home: A Short History of Private Life in three words, what would they be?

    Bill Bryson has a knack for researching and describing events from the past in a way that can turn an encyclopedia into a ripping yarn.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Gisborne, New Zealand 03-21-13
    Jamie Gisborne, New Zealand 03-21-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Snobbish fawning & far too many long lists."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Viewers of 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous'.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I didn't get there.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Someone else could have read it. His voice is annoying.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, fascinating subject matter, and interesting stories of peoples' lives and achievements.


    Any additional comments?

    Wandering.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    adelise seven hills, Australia 11-13-12
    adelise seven hills, Australia 11-13-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Bill Bryson is a Legend"

    Bill Bryson has an ability to make you see everything from your everyday life in a new light. Everything is different, more interesting, more meaningful, and often not as innosent as you may have always believed! 'At Home' is thouroughly enjoyable and read perfectly by Mr Bryson, himself. I cannot wait for his next work of art!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Sydney, Australia 08-13-12
    Paul Sydney, Australia 08-13-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Living History"
    What made the experience of listening to At Home: A Short History of Private Life the most enjoyable?

    This book is full of very interesting anecdotes and people. It help put how we live today in a next context.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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