Bryson, Bill. At Home

If you’re a regular reader, you probably know I’m a Bryson fan.  Still, I was hesitant to pick up his latest because the description made it sound a tad boring.  Recently, when I saw the audio edition available, I picked it up just to see.  I’m glad I did!

Bryson takes us on a tour of his old house, a parsonage in England, and gives us a history of domestic life as we follow along.  For instance, a tour of the scullery brings us to a discussion of the lives of servants in the 1800s, complete with gossip of the day. A discussion of the word “hall” brings us to the history of medieval halls where lord of the manor and servants coexisted in one large room out of the elements and near the fire. As it turns out, At Home is a fascinating look at history complete with a touch of Bryson’s trademark wit.  If you’ve ever read Simon Winchester (Krakatoa), you might see a glimpse of the constructs Winchester employs to connect his topics, which on the surface often seem unrelated.

Bryson narrates his own CD in his slightly British accent, making it a pleasure to listen to.

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