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At Home: A Short History of Private Life
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Chrissy (Navaboo) What has Bill Bryson taught you about every objects and rooms of your house?


Chrissy (Navaboo) As May came around, I got extremely busy and knew I wouldn't be able to tackle GEB in May/June, so I decided instead to grab this one. I'm kind of happy I did! It was a great book, and a perfect format for my extremely cramped couple of months; I ended up reading it incredibly slowly, a few pages at a time, and its casual format lent itself well to that piecemeal digestion. Had I tried that with GEB, I would have been lost every time I picked it back up again.

Below is the review I wrote for it:

A thoroughly enjoyable romp through the long, slow, and surprisingly elaborate history of the mundane and all the things that we in the modern world now take for granted.

I never expected that learning about topiary fashions, can openers, women's undergarments, or sewage could be so engaging, but Bill Bryson works his magic from start to finish. Roving freely though sensibly from prehistory to the second world war, he guides readers through the many rooms of his house and all the architectural, social, economical, engineering, and--in the case of many trends and inventions--personal transformations that filled them in order to bring private life to its current state.

Some of my favourite parts of the book were those about women's roles and rats. Probably in that order. That said, I could hardly read ten pages without being blown away by some trivial fact of history. I often found myself thinking, "Nobody would ever know this!" But Bill Bryson did, or at least he took the time to find out. That is, in a nutshell, what I love about his writing. He fishes the fascinating out of everything--nay, anything-- and presents it to his readers in a pure, condensed brick of awesome.


message 3: by Matt (last edited Sep 07, 2012 01:29AM) (new)

Matt Jarvis | 3 comments This is going to be my next purchase, along with A Short History of Nearly Everything, they both sound fascinating. :)

Now, if I can just finish my homework!


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