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

At Home by Bill Bryson
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Mar 08, 2011

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bookshelves: history

I am a fan of Bill Bryson. He always provides a witty and fact-filled read.In "At Home" There is a 21 page bibliography and a number of illustrations. It is a book where "Oh listen to this." cannot be helped. There is much one already knows. Still, his ramblings are a delight.

In this very accessible book Bryson tells us, "Whatever happens in the world -- whatever is discovered or created or bitterly fought over -- eventually winds up, in one way or another, in your house. . . . Houses aren't refuges from history. They are where history ends up." Bryson, an American lives with his family in a Victorian rectory in northern England. From there he explores how our homes came to be such sources of comfort. Taking us on a tour from room to room he once more gives us "A Short History of Absolutely Everything." The title of one of his earlier works
He has my approach to writing history with each subject leading to yet another another piece of trivia. The difference being he has talent. Jumping from one thing to another at warp speed can leave ones head spinning. But wouldn't he be the very best dinner guest?

I had the impossible dream of wanting to share every fascinating insight, like the fact that a refrigerator door creates more light than an entire 18th-century house could produce. At the same time I sometimes found myself impatient with his telling me things I already knew, or leaving out something I find fascinating like how Americans came to call the Parlor the Living room. There are random, pithy facts on every page and yet it flows smoothly along. My deepest pleasure came from the etymological details. Truly a good read.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Thanks for the recommendation; I want to try this one as I also enjoy his writing.

message 2: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann Canann Nancy, I found it on the "New Books" shelf at Woodland library.

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