Sunday, November 14, 2010

98 and Counting

I set an ambitious goal for the year - to read 125 books.  I don't think I'll make it, and may not even make my last year's total.  Oh well.   Maybe a more interesting goal would be to count the number of pages read!

At any rate, here's book #98.  I really enjoy Bill Bryson's writing.

At Home: A Short History of Private LifeAt Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bill Bryson's book is a fascinating compendium of social history.   Using his 1851 Victorian parsonage as the organizing structure of the book, Bryson proceeds to share a wealth of research about the development of "life as we know it."  As he travels room by room in his house he covers such topics as plumbing, garden design, concrete, telephones, the buttons on suit jackets, evolution, archeology, architecture, the treatment of the poor, hair styles, sanitation, heating, and spices, just to name a few!  I think I drove my husband crazy with all the interesting tidbits of information that intrigued me.  It's packed with information that might sound dull and dreary, but his breezy,conversational, and humorous style is quite enjoyable.  One of the bits of information I learned was that Thomas Edison bought a concrete company and attempted to build concrete houses.  I was also fascinated by the engineering involved in the construction of the Eiffel Tower.  Some of the connections he makes between the room he's in and the topics he's covering are little stretched, but it doesn't really matter.  Sometimes this book reminds me of the current commercials on TV for the Bing internet search engine, where some hapless information consumer wanders off into stream-of-consciousness linkages.  But it's all good!

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