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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 (4032 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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
  •  
    Michael Honolulu, HI 07-28-14
    Michael Honolulu, HI 07-28-14 Member Since 2012

    Hiker

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    "Great in small doses"
    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Bryson's ability to research is second-to-none. This book is absolutely packed with information about so much! However with that said, this book took me nearly two months to finish. The problem is that I can only listen in 20 to 30 minute periods before my mind would start to wander....Still great stuff, just had to listen in small doses.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Rathoe, Ireland. 07-11-14
    Dave Rathoe, Ireland. 07-11-14
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    "Bill is just great."
    What did you love best about At Home?

    It is full of snippits of history that lodge in your subconcious and then pop out in conversation which just make you sound clever.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It for the most part is just interesting all the way true.


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

    It is more of a book you would listen for an hour and then come back to a couple of hours later. It needs to be digested it is so information-laden.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't know he had an English accent! I thought he would sound like Richard Drayfuss.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Texas Bob 06-08-14
    Texas Bob 06-08-14

    Bob

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    "Fantastic read"
    Any additional comments?

    I have read a few Bryson books and recommend all of them. This one was recommended by a friend so I listened on audio. Great read! You learn something new on each page. I have been telling stories from this book since I finished it and have recommended to friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 05-29-14
    Emily 05-29-14 Member Since 2014
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    "such a fan of Bill Bryson"
    Any additional comments?

    Bryson writes about the kinds of things I think and wonder about every day. He delves into such detail and has made living in my own house just a bit more interesting. Thank you for writing books I love to listen to!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Conklin Providence, RI United States 05-01-14
    Heather Conklin Providence, RI United States 05-01-14 Member Since 2013
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    "So many wonderful things!"
    Where does At Home rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At Home is one of the audiobooks I have enjoyed the most.


    What did you like best about this story?

    My favorite thing about this book - as with others by Bill Bryson - is the somewhat randomness of it. He dives into such fascinating detail on such a wide range of topics. Every chapter is full of surprising things. Some of them are subjects I would have said I had no interest in knowing more about (mites, the history of venereal disease, the bathing habits of Victorians) but they fit together so well and Bryson tells their stories in such a way that they are completely engrossing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The section on staircase theory and statistics stands out as particularly unexpected and wonderful. That may sound a little insane but maybe I just hit that part of the book at the right moment in my evening commute.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Crowe Boynton Beach, FL 02-20-14
    Adam Crowe Boynton Beach, FL 02-20-14

    Ad

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    "My Favorite Author"
    Where does At Home rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I'm new to audiobooks, but this book inspired me to get an audible account. It's the best, but there are more to come.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    So many characters are mentioned in this that it's impossible to settle on a favorite. Though learning about past US presidential home life is enlightening.


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

    No. That's a lot of sitting. Though I could listen to this book about a hundred times before it would get old. Just a wealth of information delivered in a tongue-in-cheek way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gettica 01-07-14
    Gettica 01-07-14
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    "History, in entertaining bites"
    Any additional comments?

    This is the sort of book that you want to read before you will be expected to make small talk with people you don't know very well. Lots of fascinating bites of information. I wish I had the print book as well to verify and cross-reference some dates.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone 11-30-13
    Simone 11-30-13 Member Since 2016

    Follow me on Goodreads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Compilation of Miscellaneous Factoids."

    Great book!

    I love learning about the “history of stuff” like why do we use forks and where does pepper come from and what are the origins of the term ‘chairman of the board’. I just eat it up!

    It’s supposed to be about the history of the home (why is it called a drawing room and when did houses start having upstairses etc), but I felt it reached so far out beyond the four walls that I found it hard to see the link back to the home at times – doesn’t matter really because it was all still interesting to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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