Tabitha's Reviews > At Home: A Short History of Private Life

At Home by Bill Bryson
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's review
Dec 16, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: ebooks, absolute-favorites
Read from July 02 to August 23, 2011

This is a book about why we live the way we do. (Mostly focusing on the we that is American and Western European, but a lot of the information can be applied to many cultures.) Not why in a context of where the morals were at various points, although that does occasionally enter into it. It is more of a why in a context of response to new input in our lives, how people adapted and integrated all the huge changes of modern history into their personal worlds.
Well that was convoluted... Trying again.
This is a book about rooms and what they have been used for in our collective human history. It's all about how the modern home has evolved from the hut built around a hearth.
That was too simple. And not really accurate.
This is a book about the home. It is written in Bill Bryson's unequaled voice, it is fascinating and enveloping. There's too much information to process in one reading and it still doesn't feel overwhelming. Anyone and everyone interested in history should give it their attention.
It also struck me as I finished this book, a very large change in the world that I was taking part in. I read this book on a Nook. At one point /paper/ let alone actual books were rare. People who could read and write, even more so. Then owning large fancy old books was a status symbol. Books became commonplace. And now here I am, with a magical electronic paperless book, with enough storage space to maintain a decent library. What's next?

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