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At home : a short history of private life (edition 2010)

by Bill Bryson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9911971,283 (3.93)207
Member:bblum
Title:At home : a short history of private life
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:New York : Doubleday, c2010.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Audio, NF, Great Britain

Work details

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

Recently added byLitaVore, CFlinn, Juliasb, tudorprice2, larry123, mysterium, MandyRudd, private library, marshapetry, dVivar
  1. 40
    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. 10
    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)
  6. 00
    If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley (Booksloth)
  7. 00
    Nails, Noggins and Newels: An Alternative History of Every House by Bill Laws (meggyweg)
  8. 00
    Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Tangential histories of commonplace things.
  9. 00
    Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson (meggyweg)
  10. 00
    The Archaeology of Home: An Epic Set on a Thousand Square Feet of the Lower East Side by Katharine Greider (Othemts)
  11. 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).
  12. 00
    In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life by James Deetz (Othemts)
  13. 00
    How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand (Othemts)
  14. 01
    London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story by Michael Alpert (meggyweg)
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» See also 207 mentions

English (187)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All (198)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
Excellent, easy to read book, and Bryson is an excellent audiobook narrator. I haven't been particularly fond of Bryson's books before but I gave this a shot based on a friend's recommendation and it was GREAT!. Bryson gives tidbits of history about each room in a home and some of "yard" history too, and explained the meaning of the room's/yard's name. It got a little long, with extra trivia that got a little old, but that would be harsh to ding a book for doing *more* of what was great in the beginning. Even if you aren't a Bryson fan, if you lost history, and in particular cultural history (why is it called a "hall"? wow! I never knew), try this book. Downright fun to read. ( )
  marshapetry | Nov 24, 2016 |
Bill Bryson lives in a former Victorian parsonage in England. In this book, he uses each of the rooms in his old house as a starting point for a bit of history about technology, culture, and architecture. It makes for an enjoyable and informative read. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
This is not his best but more than good enough for those curious minds on how our homes became as they are.
  newnoz | Aug 6, 2016 |
Bill Bryson uses his nineteenth century house, a former rectory, as a springboard for discussing all manner of tangentially-related domestic inventions and situations. He specializes in resurrecting forgotten architects and inventors, most of whom died in poverty and obscurity after designing influential houses or inventing essential household items.

While some readers will admire Bryson's Anglo-American wit and wide-ranging research, for me, it was all a bit too much. If I hadn't had to finish it for a book club, I probably wouldn't have made it to the end. ( )
  akblanchard | Jul 12, 2016 |
Not my favourite Bill Bryson book. While it is informative it is lacking the usual humour, occasionally raising a smile but never laugh out loud funny. The only reason I've marked this as a keeper is that I've kept all my other Bill Bryson books so I'll keep this one as well. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (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.
 
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.
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Brysonprimary authorall editionscalculated
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:45 -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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