mccormick


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At Home by Bill Bryson

It is alarming how little I know. I consider myself a well-educated man but I am regularly flabbergasted by normal day items. I am not talking about modern technology like television, phones, or computers; I am referring to mattresses, carpet, clothes, cement, grass, stairs, etc.

Why is my home the way it is? Why do we still call it the Master Bedroom? Why do we call it a garage? Why are fireplaces so loved yet nearly useless?

Of course, I turned to Bill Bryson to answer these questions for me. A while back I read the amazing A Short History of Nearly Everything and I quickly put his other books on my list.

I finally got around to another robust work, At Home. Each chapter takes you through a room in his home, an old rectory in Norfolk, England. Each room launches Bryson into an interesting history lesson with exciting characters and forgotten episodes. Though I learned a lot, I was hoping for more history related to the house or houses in particular. Instead, the home tour is just a conduit for the information. There were several chapters I forgot what room we were in completely (luckily the header on top of each page kept me informed continuously). The chapter focused on the Drawing Room actually focused on architects and manufacturing. Though interesting, Bryson did little to breakdown the history of the Drawing Room, its development over the years and perhaps why the term has fallen out of favor recently.

If you are an enthusiast for random trivia, this is a book for you. If you are looking for something particular on homes, houses, or living areas this book will leave you wanting more.