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At Home Audiobook

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

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Publisher's Summary

From one of the most beloved authors of our time—more than six million copies of his books have been sold in this country alone - a fascinating excursion into the history behind the place we call home.

“Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”

Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. Yet one day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found it in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about his house from room to room to “write a history of the world without leaving home.”

The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on, as Bryson shows how each has fig­ured in the evolution of private life. Whatever happens in the world, he demonstrates, ends up in our house, in the paint and the pipes and the pillows and every item of furniture.

Bill Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and he is a master at turning the seemingly isolated or mundane fact into an occasion for the most diverting exposi­tion imaginable. His wit and sheer prose fluency make At Home one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.

©2010 Bill Bryson (P)2010 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"There are many guilty pleasures, from Bryson's droll prose - "What really turned the Victorians to bathing, however, was the realization that it could be gloriously punishing" - to the many tantalizing glimpses behind closed doors at aristocratic English country houses. In demonstrating how everything we take for granted, from comfortable furniture to smoke-free air, went from unimaginable luxury to humdrum routine, Bryson shows us how odd and improbable our own lives really are." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3989 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Diane 05-06-15
    Diane 05-06-15 Member Since 2005

    In every book, there is a little vacation'

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Long History of Private Life"
    Would you listen to At Home again? Why?

    Yes. Bryson's writing is erudite, humor is razor sharp and he easily blends information with history offering the details of life we all think about though sometimes only in private.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of At Home?

    I was fascinated to learn about the invention, development and valuation of 'glass'....something I have never considered an interesting subject..until now.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It is too long a book to parse out one scene!


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

    No, no, no....a slow walk through this book is how I listened.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Govert 04-03-15
    Jeff Govert 04-03-15 Listener Since 2009
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    50
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    "Not At Home: Tangents in architecture and misery"

    If you love Bill Bryson, or if you love British history of all sorts, then maybe you'll like this book. In At Home, Bryson begins each chapter with one fact about a room in his house and then goes off on an hour long tangent about whatever suits him which turns out to be mostly British architecture, ways to die, and the dramatics of aristocrats. While the latter 2 of the 3 tend to be pretty interesting, I found the book to be far too long and far too off topic. I think he started writing it and found that the premise of writing a book about boring household items and rooms turned out to be just as boring as one might expect it to be. I was not astonished despite how much I had hoped to be.

    Furthermore, while this is my first attempt at a Bill Bryson audiobook (though not my first Bill Bryson book), I did not find his narration to be engaging or enlivening to the text at all. Pretty disappointed overall, though I did force myself to finish it despite finding only about 1/3 of the book interesting, the rest of the time simply zoning out until something good eventually came up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Knight Everett, WA 03-25-15
    C. Knight Everett, WA 03-25-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Packed with information. Unfortunately..."
    What did you love best about At Home?

    Historical background and details were abundant.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Just because someone wrote a fine piece of work DOESN'T make them a good choice for narrating that work. Bryson should have hired it out. His breathy delivery didn't do his book any favors and became downright annoying after about three hours (it's a nineteen hour story)


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

    The information in the book was interesting and sometimes it was funny as well.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dirk Diggler 02-19-15
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    "Favorite Audible book to re listen to"

    I love this book. It's well researched. It's funny. It's read by the author, which is usually a plus. Bill Bryson is the best!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant Wentworth 02-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "a lot of fun facts"

    it was just really enjoyable. it was randomness combined the structure of a history course. very good

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Gregory Grand Junction, CO 02-04-15
    L. Gregory Grand Junction, CO 02-04-15
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    "Outstandingly engaging, informative, entertaining."

    Bill Bryson's research, organization and presentation are nothing short of miraculous. I love all of his works and, of course, his voice. Keep up the good work, Bill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FerOlea Mexico City 01-24-15
    FerOlea Mexico City 01-24-15 Member Since 2017

    FerOlea

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    "Random yet entertaining historical narrative"

    Jumping from room to room, object to object with randomness and well illustrated anecdotes, Bill Bryson takes us through the history of British Life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Ellington 01-05-15

    musicalmom1

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    "Good but..."

    The performance was amazing and it was very informative but it was kind of random and you end up saying "how the heck did we get here?!?!?"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack 11-09-14
    Jack 11-09-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Didn`t I wanted to know"
    What did you love best about At Home?

    Piles of information delivered with subtle humor.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of At Home?

    How many people are buried in that church yard.


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

    First one and will not be the last.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Moves much to fast for the "Big Screen".


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annie Smart Oakland 08-03-14
    Annie Smart Oakland 08-03-14 Member Since 2010

    Have been a listener since 2008. Audible programs are not very good. But the books are.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a lot of information in a gentle and rational mode"
    Would you consider the audio edition of At Home to be better than the print version?

    don't know. did not read book so cannot compare


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    no characters in that sense as this is not a novel


    Any additional comments?

    for anyone who likes social history this book is a must. about 1/3 of the content was already familiar to me but the rest was not and the way all the information and events were linked and contextualised made it endlessly interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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