While reading the book At Home by Bill Bryson,  I have been thinking about is how little the word "home" is used in everyday conversation.  Usually it is only mentioned in a phrase like, "I'm going home" or "I need to pick/drop something off at home" or "See you at home."  

"House" seems to be used more frequently.  After all it was the "housing crisis," not the "home crisis".  And the name of this website it is "Blake's Tiny House."

Well, I am off on an tangent.  But, perhaps that is appropriate, given that Bill Bryson is constantly jumping around in this book.  

In At Home, Bryson, who also authored  A Brief History of Nearly Everything, offers the history of the house.  Specifically, his small stone home in England that was built in the mid-1800s.  Although his Victorian vicarage differs from the residence of most people, it does not really matter because, as stated earlier, Bryson switches topic a lot.  He reminds us that the house---which started as the simple one room hall---has over time, been molded into something much more complicated and cluttered.  I think the modern complexity of houses, is good to keep in mind while working on a tiny house.

At Home is not a dull, dry historical tome, but a quirky book with facts and stories that are funny, unique and interesting.  Of particular note, is the section dealing with the impact of artificial light.  After reading it, I am sure no one would willingly return to the days of the single candle.

Sections of At Home can be found at Google Books.  NPR also has an interview with BIll Bryson.



01/20/2012 7:03pm

This is a great book full of fascinating tidbits of history and culture that we don't usually learn in history class. I highly recommend it. jfd


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