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At Home : A Short History of Private Life (edition 2011)

by Bill Bryson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3021621,651 (3.96)166
Member:rWd
Title:At Home : A Short History of Private Life
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Black Swan Books, Limited (2011), Paperback, 700 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

  1. 30
    Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders (digifish_books, Booksloth)
    digifish_books: A more detailed room-by-room consideration of domestic life in Victorian Britain
  2. 31
    A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (petterw)
    petterw: Same style, same author, same enthusiasm, same fun
  3. 10
    Schott's Original Miscellany by Ben Schott (grizzly.anderson)
    grizzly.anderson: Bryson likes to wander from one topic to another, and toss in bits of trivia and history. Schott's Miscellany is a fascinating collection of trivia without the attempt to thread it together.
  4. 10
    Home; a Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski (liao)
  5. 00
    If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley (Booksloth)
  6. 00
    Nails, Noggins and Newels: An Alternative History of Every House by Bill Laws (meggyweg)
  7. 00
    Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge (fannyprice)
    fannyprice: Bryson's discussion of the development of the home from a more open, collaborative space to a warren of special-purpose rooms as the concept of "privacy" became more important dovetails nicely with Lethbridge's discussion of the increasing physical separation between servants and the served in 18th and 19th century British homes.… (more)
  8. 00
    Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson (meggyweg)
  9. 00
    The Archaeology of Home: An Epic Set on 1000 Square Feet of the Lower East Side by Katharine Greider (Othemts)
  10. 00
    House Thinking: A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live by Winifred Gallagher (jcbrunner)
    jcbrunner: Adds the developments of the 20th century to Bryson's story (from a US point of view).
  11. 00
    In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life by James Deetz (Othemts)
  12. 00
    How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand (Othemts)
  13. 01
    London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story by Michael Alpert (meggyweg)
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» See also 166 mentions

English (153)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
This book has forever cemented Bill Brysons place on my book shelves. He is a wonderful story teller and extremely good at breaking down difficult topics into easily understandable language.

This book is based on the history of the home and consists of fascinating tidbits of history based around a wide array of, sometimes loosely, topics about the home.

I think Bill Bryson could write a book titled 'Stuff I found Interesting and Would like to Share with You' and I would find it fascinating. ( )
  sscarllet | Jul 1, 2014 |
This book, published in 2010, is the sixth book I've read by Bryson. Some of it is less than great, but most of it reads easily and is filled with interesting details, most of which seem to be correct though some of the strictures he expounds on about bedbugs and mites and lice supposedly even today do not seem likely. The book has an extensive bibliography--always of interest to me. Sometimes when I am trying to decide if I should read a book I go through the bibliography--and if I had done that in this case I would have read the book. The book is filled with odd and amazing things,often giving rise to laughter and incredulity. So I am glad I read it. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 19, 2014 |
Bill Bryson can make anything interesting, and is such an avid researcher that you simply don't have to. Not as laugh-out-loud entertaining as his travel books, but certainly a great and interesting read. ( )
  LibraryOfRodAndCyn | Jun 1, 2014 |
Didn't enjoy it at all. It was rambling. ( )
  rhiand | Apr 28, 2014 |
This is a great read - full of interesting, sometimes funny and sometimes appalling facts. The bits about dirt and sanitation were shiver making and made me glad to live in the 21st century.
I didn't enjoy it quite as much as "A short history of nearly everything" but otherwise well worth working your way through this tome. ( )
  infjsarah | Apr 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
“At Home” is baggy, loose-jointed and genial. It moves along at a vigorously restless pace, with the energy of a Labrador retriever off the leash, racing up to each person it encounters, pawing and sniffing and barking at every fragrant thing, plunging into icy waters only to dash off again, invigorated. You do, somehow, maintain forward momentum and eventually get to the end. Bryson is fascinated by everything, and his curiosity is infectious.
 
In a sense, Bryson’s book is a history of “getting comfortable slowly,” and he notes that flushing toilets were the most popular feature at theCrystal Palace exhibition in 1851. Informative, readable and great fun.
added by khuggard | editKirkus Reviews (Jul 1, 2010)
 
Bryson is certainly famous enough to have got away with a far less bulging compendium. Instead, on our behalf, he’s been through those hundreds of books (508 according to the bibliography) some of which even the most assiduous readers among us might never have got around to: Jacques Gelis’s History of Childbirth: Fertility, Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern Europe, say, or John A Templer’s The Staircase: Studies of Hazards, Falls and Safer Designs. He’s then extracted their most arresting material and turned the result into a book that, for all its winning randomness, is not just hugely readable but a genuine page-turner — mainly because you can’t wait to see what you’ll find out next.
 
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.
added by khuggard | editPublishers Weekly
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collica, MichaelDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keenan, JamieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murillo, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Introduction

Some time after we moved into a former Church of England rectory in a village of tranquil anonymity in Norfolk, I had occasion to go up into the attic to look for the source of a slow but mysterious drip.
Chapter I
The Year


In the autumn of 1850, in Hyde Park in London, there arose a most extraordinary structure: a giant iron-and-glass greenhouse covering nineteen acres of ground and containing within its airy vastness enough room for four St. Paul's Cathedrals.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767919386, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything) turns his attention from science to society in his authoritative history of domesticity, At Home: A Short History of Private Life. While walking through his own home, a former Church of England rectory built in the 19th century, Bryson reconstructs the fascinating history of the household, room by room. With waggish humor and a knack for unearthing the extraordinary stories behind the seemingly commonplace, he examines how everyday items--things like ice, cookbooks, glass windows, and salt and pepper--transformed the way people lived, and how houses evolved around these new commodities. "Houses are really quite odd things," Bryson writes, and, luckily for us, he is a writer who thrives on oddities. He gracefully draws connections between an eclectic array of events that have affected home life, covering everything from the relationship between cholera outbreaks and modern landscaping, to toxic makeup, highly flammable hoopskirts, and other unexpected hazards of fashion. Fans of Bryson's travel writing will find plenty to love here; his keen eye for detail and delightfully wry wit emerge in the most unlikely places, making At Home an engrossing journey through history, without ever leaving the house. --Lynette Mong

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:23 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything) takes readers on a tour of his house, a rural English parsonage, showing how each room has figured in the evolution of private life.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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