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

By dsbs | Book Reviews | September 9, 2011 | Comments ()


at_home.jpg

The first Bryson book I ever read was A Walk in the Woods. It's a good starting point - short, interesting, and absolutely hilarious, I've been a fan of his ever since. (Sorry James May.) But recently, Bryson has moved away from travel writing and starting focusing more on history, social and scientific. He also seems to have moved away from laugh-out-loud funny, to simply incredibly interesting. This is not a bad thing.

The conceit of the book is a tour of Bryson's old country house in England, which he uses as a backdrop to explain the history of the house from prehistory to the modern day. Each chapter describes a specific room or area of the house, while telling the story of how it came to be that way today.

The book is a bit of a brick in hardcover, but at just under 500 pages, its scope is enormous. It is incredible the number of times that things that actually came up in my life in the days I was reading this book were mentioned, directly, in the book. The origin of the phrase "room and board," the reason "K" means "strike out" in baseball, the architecture of Palladio, and more (although I was surprised that there was no mention of Tesla in the section on light bulbs). Not directly applicable to that week, but equally interesting, were the discussions on the history of salt, sex, and fashion as they relate to the development of what we now call the "home."

The book is filed under the category of "social history," which may turn some people off, but I would suggest you give it a chance. Bryson, as usual, takes us on a very accessible and entertaining journey. At Home is a great way to increase your general knowledge without having to do anything more than enjoy a book.


For more of dsbs' reviews, check out her blog, Dsbs42's Blog.

This review is part of Cannonball Read III. For more information, click here.



Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Because every time you do an angel does the Paul Rudd dance

Around the Web


Dreamboat Anti-Semitic Mel Gibson Dons Yarmulke, Makes Film about Jewish Hero. What Could Go Wrong? | Because You Asked For It, More Michael Keaton





Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


blog comments powered by Disqus





Follow Us



Related Posts




Viral Hits
Celebrity Facts

The Best TV & Movie Quotes

The Walking Dead

How I Met Your Mother

True Detective

Parks and Recreation

Cosmos

Hannibal

30 Practical Tips About the Horrors of Raising Children

25 Practical Tips About the Horrors of Raising Twins