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The irresistible book by Bill Bryson which does for the history of the way we live what A Short History of Nearly Everything did for science.

In At Home, Bill Bryson applies the same irrepressible curiosity, irresistible wit, stylish prose and masterful storytelling that made A Short History of Nearly Everything one of the most lauded books of the last decade, and delivers one of the most entertaining and illuminating books ever written about the history of the way we live.

Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote a lot more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - eating, sleeping and merely endeavouring to get more comfortable. And that most of the key discoveries for humankind can be found in the very fabric of the houses in which we live.This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, wandering from room to room considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.

Along the way he did a prodigious amount of research on the history of anything and everything, from architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the spice trade to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets; and on the brilliant, creative and often eccentric minds behind them. And he discovered that, although there may seem to be nothing as unremarkable as our domestic lives, there is a huge amount of history, interest and excitement - and even a little danger - lurking in the corners of every home.

Reviews

A work of constant delight and discovery. Bryson's wit is both dry and charmingly goofy. His great skill is to make daily life simultaneously strange and familiar, and in so doing, help us to recognise ourselves. At Home is a treasure: don't leave home without it.

Judith Flanders, Sunday Telegraph

Enchanting...a book about reinventing the ordinary, and finding the extraordinary in the humdrum business of living...Bryson tackled science in his brilliant A Short History of Nearly Everything. This new book could as easily be categorised as 'a short history of nearly everything else'...extraordinarily entertaining.

Antonia Senior, The Times

The much-loved writer takes the attention to detail that made A Short History of Nearly Everything such a fantastic guide to all things science, and applies it to our homes. Written in his laid-back style, this is a wonderful celebration of what makes a house a home.

News of the World

Quite as ambitious as his A Short History of Nearly Everything. This is a genuinely compelling book...a kind of layman's encyclopaedia full of 'did you know' moments...This companionable volume is as dense as a rich fruit cake and, by the same measure, rewarding, too.

Country Life

A charming read that blends scholarship with warm writing and provides an endless source of banter for dinner parties.

Good Housekeeping

The method is to amass a dazzling number of facts and findings from disparate sources...riveting...arguing with Bryson is part of the enjoyment of reading him, and accompanying him across swathes of layered history.

Victoria Glendinning, Spectator

By rummaging down the back of the nation's sofa, Bryson has come up with a light-hearted and endlessly fascinating story...What you want from him is his wry humour and ability to raise a quizzical eyebrow at the sheer oddness of the human race.

Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

Bryson hoards facts. He can't resist a well-turned story...An idiosyncratic sweep through the makings of modernity.

Observer

At Home takes us on a tour not merely of Bryson's house but of the amazingly well-stocked mind of a man who can see a world in a grain of sand. He addresses his readers as if they were welcome visitors to his home whom he is eager both to inform and to entertain; he is a guide of inexhaustible patience, good humour, and irresistible enthusiasm.

Susan Hill, The Lady

Entertaining, fact-packed...He is a cheery,idiosyncratic guide, eclectic rather than scholarly, a true populariser. At Home will have every reader eyeing home rather differently.

Financial Times

By now, Bryson is certainly famous enough to have got away with a a far less bulging compendium. Instead, on our behalf, he's been through those hundreds of books (508 according to the bibliography)....He's then extracted their most arresting material and turned the result into a book that, for all its winning randomness, is not just hugely readable but a genuine pageturner...None of these things, needless to say, are as easy as Bryson in his ever-genial way makes them seem.

James Walton, Daily Telegraph

Effortlessly digestible prose, wry self-deprecating humour and lightly-worn erudition...everyone will find something to surprise them.

Economist

Join this amiable tour guide as he wanders through his house...it takes a very particular kind of thoughtfulness, as well as a bold temperament, to stuff all this research into a mattress that's supportive enough to loll about on while pondering the real subject of this book- the development of the modern world....Bryson's enthusiasm brightens any dull corner. I recommend that you hand over control and simply enjoy the ride. You'll be given a delightful smattering of information about everything but, weirdly, the kitchen sink.

New York Times Book Review

For blockbuster Bill Bryson, no subject is too vast...So he could write a history of the world without leaving home. And very genially and quirkily he does...His theme is how nowadays we take home comfort for granted, but how recently we obtained it...he is very good company indeed.

Daily Mail

Delightful...Considering our homes means a dash through history, politics, science, sex, and dozens of other fields. If this book doesn't supply you with five years' worth of dinner conversation, you're not paying attention.

People Magazine

Compelling, quirky and wonderfully original.

Mail on Sunday

Immensely readable.

Guardian

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784161873

    May 30, 2016

    Black Swan

    704 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Audio CD

    9781846572319

    June 1, 2010

    Audiobooks

    RRP $39.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781409095545

    June 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    704 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Also by Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Road to Little Dribbling
Down Under
At Home (Illustrated Edition)
One Summer
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything
Troublesome Words
Icons of England
The Lost Continent
Walkabout
Bryson's Dictionary: for Writers and Editors
Mother Tongue: Popular Penguins
The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid
Bryson's Dictionary
Neither Here, Nor There
Bill Bryson's African Diary
Notes From A Big Country
A Walk In The Woods
Made In America
Large Print: One Summer
Notes From A Small Island

Recommendations

Sapiens
Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls
The Water Kingdom
Long Road from Jarrow
Queer City
Spitalfields
Albanese
Home and Away
Flaneuse
Fifty Years of Hurt
A Walk in the Park
The Long Weekend
The Black Prince of Florence
The German War
Republic or Death!
The Private Lives of the Saints
Neither Nowt Nor Summat
Buy Me the Sky
The Wife Drought
The Great War