At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Yup, I’m fancying up the nest here at Casa Unruly. So this book was an appropriate choice, I s’pose.
Also, I’m pretty sure Bill Bryson could make anything entertaining.
For those of us who are history geeks who also are addicted to HGTV (seriously: I’m hooked, and I don’t even have cable [thank you, Hulu!]), this book is the sort of thing we just feast on.
Now. A book about the history of private life sounds like it would be rather cozy, doesn’t it? I kinda thought so. Which is why it was a bit shocking that I had to fast-forward (the audiobook) through one part about disease. I was driving the car and getting woozy (oh, yes…. I’m a fainter), and that is not exactly a winning combination.
Also, there’s rats and mice in this book. You’ve been warned.
That having been said, this is also the kind of book that makes a person wildly annoying, because there are factoids here that simply Must Be Shared. For example: Jefferson had window screens at Monticello. And, brick buildings came into vogue in England because they could handle the horrible coal smoke pollution better than stone buildings, which discolored. And, we really should appreciate staircases more than we do; apparently it’s pretty darn easy to build a screwed-up staircase that’s more likely to trip people up or down the stairs.
Yes, some of it was too gross for me, and some of it was a bit dull. But the overall effect: quite pleasing.
16.5 hours; read by the author (whose voice you either like, or you don’t)