Monday, June 20, 2011

book review: at home

Title: At Home: A Short History of Private Life
Author: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Random House, 2010

I just finished reading Bill Bryson's recent book "At Home: A Short History of Private Life." It's a book that takes us on an excursion into the history behind the place we call home. 
"Houses aren't refuges from history. They are where history ends up."
Bill Bryson and his family live in a Victorian parsonage in a part of England where nothing of any great significance has happened since the Romans decamped. 
One day, he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as he found them in his home, and so Bryson takes us on a journey through his house, going from room to room to "write a history of the world without leaving home.
So the bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade; and so on throughout the house, showing the interconnectedness of the world and private life.
Bryson writes well. And while there is a lot of information in this 452-page book , it doesn't lag. If you are interested in history, in understanding our world, this is good book to read. 
One thing that would make this book even better is an online version that would take us to some links to explore people and images and concepts that Bryson begins to explore.

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