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At Home: A short history of private life…

At Home: A short history of private life (Bryson) (edition 2010)

by Bill Bryson (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,5802451,438 (3.94)272
Bryson takes readers on a tour of his house, a rural English parsonage, showing how each room has figured in the evolution of private life.
Title:At Home: A short history of private life (Bryson)
Authors:Bill Bryson (Author)
Info:Doubleday (2010), Edition: First U. S. Edition First Printing, 544 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

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

  1. 40
    The Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed by Judith Flanders (digifish_books, Booksloth)
    digifish_books: A more detailed room-by-room consideration of domestic life in Victorian Britain
  2. 41
    A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (petterw)
    petterw: Same style, same author, same enthusiasm, same fun
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
  5. 10
    Home; a Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski (liao)
  6. 00
    Nails, Noggins and Newels: An Alternative History of Every House by Bill Laws (meggyweg)
  7. 00
    How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both books address some of the same technological advances, such as refrigeration and electricity and artificial light, for a popular audience.
  8. 00
    The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars (grizzly.anderson)
    grizzly.anderson: What Bryson does for the home, taking it one room at a time and looking at how we got where we are, Mars & Kohlstedt do for cities and infrastructure.
  9. 00
    Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Tangential histories of commonplace things.
  10. 00
    If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley (Booksloth)
  11. 00
    In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life by James Deetz (Othemts)
  12. 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).
  13. 00
    Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson (meggyweg)
  14. 00
    The Archaeology of Home: An Epic Set on a Thousand Square Feet of the Lower East Side by Katharine Greider (Othemts)
  15. 00
    How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand (Othemts)
  16. 01
    London 1849: A Victorian Murder Story by Michael Alpert (meggyweg)

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» See also 272 mentions

English (228)  Dutch (5)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (245)
Showing 1-5 of 228 (next | show all)
Oh man, this one was amazing. So many facts! History is super gross!
It made me wish I could take notes so that I could whip all this interesting trivia out continually. Also, did you know that Thomas Jefferson was SUPER CRAZY? Well, he totally was. ( )
  readingjag | Nov 29, 2021 |
Bryson is always a great read ( )
  dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
I've always enjoyed Bill Bryson, and "At Home" is no exception. Bryson discusses human history using the homes in his English mansion as a catalyst. Much of what he discusses takes place in the Elizabethan and Victorian eras, with an emphasis on the changes that have taken place in the past 200 or so years. While it would be easy to get lost among all the characters we've never heard of, Bryson makes their appearances brief and sprinkled with interesting tidbits. Although people interested in architecture will enjoy it, there's also discussions about medicine, diseases, colonization, landscaping, history of agriculture, archaeology, sex, food, cement, glass, taxation, development of industry, working conditions, etc. Highly recommended! ( )
  Jeff.Rosendahl | Sep 21, 2021 |
Listening to this audio book reminded me of the Cliff Claven character on the old Cheers TV show, e.g., a character who injected a series of little known facts into every conversation. Not that some of those tidbits of information can't be interesting, but those facts can be tangential to the original topic of discussion. And that was the feeling I had throughout this book. Bryson gives a history lesson of individuals, political leaders, and inventors in Great Briton and the United States over the past several hundred years, somehow introduced by a walking tour of the rooms in a house. Interesting idea, but the logic of getting from one point to the next was frequently lost on me.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
not sure I read it
  18cran | Jul 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 228 (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
Bryson, BillAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryson, BillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Collica, MichaelDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keenan, JamieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murillo, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jesse & Wyatt
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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.
Jane Loudon published "Gardening for Ladies" in 1841. It was the first book to encourage women of elevated classes to get their hands dirty and even to take on a faint glow of perspiration. It bravely insisted that women could manage gardening independent of male supervision if they simply observed a few sensible precautions - working steadily but not too vigorously, using only light tools, never standing on damp ground because of the unhealthy emanations that would rise up though their skirts.
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Bryson takes readers on a tour of his house, a rural English parsonage, showing how each room has figured in the evolution of private life.

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