Thursday, December 18, 2014

"At Home A Short History of Private Live" by Bill Bryson

The author is a popular travel writer, I'm told, though I hadn't yet discovered this books. In "At Home" he takes us on a trip, from room to room, in his current home in England. The house was built as a Rectory in 1851. So first, Bryson explains about the 19th Century English church system; notable accomplishments were achieved by some of these clerics. The book reminded me a bit of the early chapters of "The Devil in the White City" with the explanation of the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London which was as difficult to launch as the Chicago Fair in 1893. No detail of domestic life is too trivial to escape mention: construction, arrangement of spaces, materials, stairs and the changes in life style they enabled, utilities, plumbing, etc. Sounds like it could be boring? No, it is a delightful book, written in a light, amusing and conversational style. Much was familiar to me: I was a Home Economics major in college; but I learned a lot too. I will definitely find other books by this author.

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