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
"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)
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
This was a fascinating book and for whatever reason, not at all what I expected. As Bryson meandered through is old rectory home he provided extensive and mildly amusing information that has brought that room into the current day. I now know why we say "room and board," the controversy over who created the telephone and how Alexander Graham Bell contributed to President Garfield's death. A better subtitle for the book might be "a short history of nearly everything without leaving home." Well done, Mr. Bryson!
I'm not certain. The audio book was wonderful, but this might be something I would want to pick up and read sections of later. I'm a bit torn. I do know that I'll listen to it again.
Actually it was at the beginning when he was describing the construction of the Crystal Palace in the Hyde Park. What an amazing feat! He really gets you into the story and the history of the people involved.
This was the first time I'd heard him read. I had often wondered what he would sound like given his US/UK existence. He's got a pleasant voice and a nearly unique accent.
The bit about child labor at the beginning of the industrial revolution. I had known of it, but I really didn't understand how horrible it was.
If you're ever wondering what to read. Bill Bryson is always a good choice.
Yes, so filled with interesting tidbits that I'm sure I would hear more the more I listen.
It made me laugh at lot though there were moments were I cringed (rats and bedbugs, eeek!!!)!
I would listen to this again because there are a lot of interesting facts to take absorb.
I liked the topic and how the past affects the future.
I liked every part of the book.
The author does a great job as the narrator!!
At Home is a wonderful collection of trivia about the objects in and around our home and our homes themselves. It does not delve into the type of details that A Short History of Nearly Everything does, but includes a lot of interesting Tidbits.
I don’t have much else to say about the book, I found it interesting and a good listen but it did not wow me.
I love Bill Bryson, and its such a pleasure to have a title that he also reads himself. Bryson makes the most seemingly mundane things absolutely fascinating. If you liked "A Short History of Nearly Everything", you'll love this.
Admittedly, I am a bit of a geek about the Victorian era so this book was kind of right down my alley. It's kind of half "Extraordinary Origins of Ordinary Things" and half "What Jane Austen Ate" (a writer's guide to the 19th century), but jam-packed with humor and insight in the particular way that only Bryson can do. If you like history but are maybe a bit done with the "drum and trumpet" style that concentrates on battles and leaders and ignores ordinary people lucky enough not to get into a battle and unlucky enough not to become a leader, this is a great book for you.
Another thing: this is narrated by Bryson. I've noticed in some of the reviews of his earlier books (the Appalachian Trail book, for instance) that getting someone else to read was a good idea. Well, maybe he's changed or something. He's not a professional reader or anything but he does just fine if you ask me. He's legitimately excited about the subject matter, knows the bits which are funny and the ones which are more interesting than funny, and doesn't get in the way of the prose.
Bill Bryson has the ability to make any subject - no matter how dry, seemingly irrelevant or complicated - into compelling, informative and funny prose. He has a pleasant, relaxed voice. The book jumps from subject to subject, historic person to historic person, with a self confident, relaxed grip on what it wants to convey. I finished the book feeling genuinely enlightened and wanting to dwelve deeper into some of the subjects in the book (particularly the reemerging history of architecture)
Yes. I love to hear Bryson read! His tales are funny and relatable. However, I'd warn them that it meanders and meanders along every little path.
It's among his best.
The stories of Samuel Pepys. Byrson is hilarious in his descriptions.
Yes! It's a book that can be easily picked up and put down because it does not have a strong narrative arc, so it's length is not so intimidating.
Bill Bryson's style is one of guided exploration into the topic. One of my favorite books of all time was "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and this book pretty much follows that format. The topic is a bit odd, but the guided tour is a both entertaining and enjoyable.
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