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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(4 star). See all 40 reviews
on March 9, 2017
Not what I expected, but once I had got over that it was very interesting.
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on January 15, 2017
An interesting and instructive look at the evolution of house design over a millennium
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on January 2, 2017
Entertaining contains a huge amount of information about American society and language.
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on November 1, 2015
Bill Bryson is, of course, amusing and an enjoyable writer to read. However, while "At Home" is full of very interesting facts, some of his observations are a little exaggerated. A small, and probably silly example of this, would be his comments on wearing wigs. He points out to us that wigs were in high fashion in the late eighteenth century, a classic example of how people were (and still are) committed to fashion, no matter how uncomfortable. He describes how itchy and hot and generally disagreeable it was to have to wear wigs on a regular basis and how thankful we should be for not having to follow this absurd trend. Bill Bryson's comments here are clearly a way of entertaining us with historical "horrors" but anyone who wears wigs today(and there are quite a few people who do) realize that wigs are only itchy and uncomfortable the first few times you wear them. If you wear them over extended periods of time you don't notice them anymore. I assume it was true then and why the fashion lasted for so long. Bill Bryson makes other "entertaining" comments such as these throughout the book which makes "At Home" a fun read and helps us to appreciate living in the twenty-first century, but does not make a great history book. But I guess one doesn't read Bill Bryson for his historical research.

Definitely a fun and relaxing book to read before you go to bed.
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on December 8, 2014
I love Bill Bryson's friendly writing style. The book is strangely laid out but his writing is so much fun, I really don't care. An excellent read.
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on September 27, 2013
I enjoyed this book very much, but some chapters at the end were a little long.

Overall, we see how homes have evolved enormously in the last 150-200 years in the Western world.

The last paragrahs of the book remind of so many things we take for granted: electricity, telephones, plumbing and therefore water, comfortable spaces in winter and summer, etc. were not so commonplace not so long ago.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 10, 2012
This book caught my attention, in part, because I have read other books by the author and enjoyed them. I was also drawn to the topic, which purported to be a short history on private life. Well, while I enjoyed it overall, the author definitely went off on tangents and did not really deliver what he promised.

The author used his own home, a nineteenth century rectory, as the starting point for each chapter, which is named after each room in his home, plus the garden. As he goes through each of the chapters, which are really somewhat like essays in which he ruminates about the room and the things associated with them, he does goes off in many directions that often have little to do with the room in question. It is as if each room were merely a vehicle for expounding on various historical references and issues that caught his fancy.

Still, I found it enjoyable and interesting, though I do wonder about some of the assertions the author made, especially since the book contained an extensive bibliography but no footnotes or sources for his "history". In the final analysis, the book is a hodgepodge of historical trivia, tidbits that are often interesting and amusing, but hardly elevate to a cohesive history of any kind. It is a work of pure self-indulgence by the author and a guilty pleasure for the reader.
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on December 10, 2011
Another fascinating collection of historical facts and anecdotes from a master of chatty storytelling. However does he manage to uncover so many abstruse details? I love his friendly, rambley style of writing. "At Home" did not grab me as did Bryson's "Short History of Nearly Everything" but nevertheless an excellent read for plane or train, or just relaxing.
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on March 19, 2011
Some authors have that rare gift to take the drab, mundane, facts of history and make them sparkle and fascinate the reader...Bryson is one of these authors. I regretted getting to the end of 'At Home', but when I was done, I did check a few of his resources in book's bibliography. After a few days of checking a few items online, I was surprised at so much he had to leave out. There could be a sequel here, I hope.
Thank you, Bill for such an educational journey.
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I'm a long time fan of Bill Bryson. I jumped at the chance to read his newest book At Home.

The premise for the book was fascinating.' Bryson lives in a Victorian parsonage in a quiet part of England. He decided to go room by room and write about the history and impact on personal lives. So, for example the bedroom investigates sex, death, sleep, the bathroom - hygiene, the nursery- children's lives, the kitchen provides a wealth of subject matter. Indeed Bryson covers 17 different areas of his home, including the attic, stairs, the fuse box, the garden and many more. But if you think it's just household minutiae, you're mistaken. The narrative begins in the house buts slips out on tangents to encompass a much broader picture and then comes back full circle.

I loved At Home. It's not a book to be devoured, but rather slowly sipped and enjoyed. Bryson's investigative skills combined with his talent for turning those facts into absolutely captivating anecdotes made this a truly enjoyable read. I love British history and At Home was an entertaining account told in a totally unique manner.
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