Book Review : At Home

February 27, 2013
Author: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Random House Publishers
Year: 2010
ISBN: 9780385608275
Rating: ★★½☆☆
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History of this and history of that, from answers for ‘which?’ to answers for ‘what?’, everything about everything at home can indeed be found At Home. Experiencing this research endeavor is like strolling around an old British home with a History Machine, you focus an object and its history gets displayed, delightfully.
Hall, kitchen, drawing room, dining room, cellar, study, garden, stairs, bathroom, bedroom… Each room in so analyzed British home is a 30 page chapter. At Home apart from concentrating significantly on architecture, is also a repository of interesting facts about each room. This is the only source of pace for reader in an otherwise dull and slow process of reading this. In particular, the etymologies strewn around in this book more than fascinated me. My favorites: Why are ‘Sperm whales’ called so? How did the term “Sleep Tight” originate? Etymology of the word “Curfew”.
Diseases of the world history were discussed with morbid descriptiveness and unbearable and disturbing facts are thrown with unwanted generosity. I slammed the book on my desk twice and threw it against the wall thrice during these diseased discussions on diseases. The book has a hard back and is quite strong and hence survived.
All in all it’s a chronological compilation of historical information of various household entities, living and nonliving. However if you question me, “Of what use is this diligently arranged random information?” I can only answer you with silence and a smile, because, facts like these: a fully grown rat can squeeze through a hole of just a millimeter have thier effects which are very dependent on the reader. Or in another instance, it’s read that when rats are neither eating nor sleeping, all they do is have sex. So, whether the reader gets motivated by this, or just laughs it off, is left for him to decide. And of what I think: only an anti-utilitarian book lover can survive this. And if you are a history lover, apart from surviving, you might enjoy this one.
One Line Verdict: This is a Non-fiction for historians and history enthusiasts with a British background.    
Lakshmikanth Koundinya

Lakshmikanth Koundinya

Writer at IndiaBookStore
Of Poe's heart, Russell's brain, Wilde's thought and Rand's strength - a hedonic wanderer and enchantress' apprentice in the world of Literature
Lakshmikanth Koundinya

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