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At Home

A Short History of Private Life

by Bill Bryson

At Home by Bill Bryson

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Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder

Another excellent Bryson offering.
“…centuries and centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - eating, sleeping, having sex, endeavouring to be amused – ant it occurred to me….that that’s really what history is: masses of people doing ordinary things”

At Home: a short history of private life is the fifteenth book by American author, Bill Bryson. With his uniquely individual style, Bryson takes the reader around his house, an 1851 Norfolk rectory, and he explores the history of activities that are (sometimes very loosely) associated with each room’s designation. Thus he touches on a vast array of topics and presents all sorts of noteworthy, sometimes surprising and occasionally hilarious facts.

At over six hundred pages of content, this is quite a brick, but is, as with many Bryson books, easy to read and thoroughly fascinating. Bryson has a talent for making the most ordinary, everyday subject interesting, and in this book he also explains the origin of many terms in common usage that we seldom think about, along with their meanings. Another excellent Bryson offering.
avid

history, not home improvement
I found this book in my local bookstore's home improvement section, obviously placed there by someone who hasn't read it. As a fan of history, I absolutely loved "At Home". Bryson's voice is the best I've found for conveying historical information, and the home is used in this effort as an organizational tool for all the historical data he has packed in his head. Like many, I've loved Bryson since "A Walk in the Woods", and have read many of his travel essays, but "At Home" is a departure from the hilarious romps he's taken us on in previous books. Not as dry as "A Short History...", but a serious research effort told in a light, enjoyable voice. Fascinating read.
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