At Home: A Short History of Private Life. How I came in contact with the book is somewhat interesting. My uncle placed it in my hands saying, "This is such a Heather book, you must read it." He was absolutely right. Once I began reading the book I couldn't put it down.
The author is an interesting character. He was born in the Midwest but fell in love with an English girl and now resides in England in an old rectory. It was that rectory that inspired the book. While climbing up into the attic, he noticed his home had a tiny balcony of sorts in the roof and while he stood on the space taking in the view he wondered why in the world the original owner put in such an odd thing which led to him wondering why we have many odd traditions in our human existence that are never written about. In his introduction, Bryson states that he is covering English history since 1850, but I would chose to disagree since he covers history from the Stoneage to the Guilded Age.
Why do we call it "room and board," why do Americans have more love for ice in their drinks than the English, and why should we be most thankful for bats. These questions are answered and fun facts are on every page. Bryson's writing is funny and engaging so you don't feel as though you're in the classroom, you feel as if a pub-buddy is telling you a funny story over pints...and you don't want him to stop!
As an anglophile living in America I found Bryson's perspective very relatable. He is obviously as energetic about English history as everyone who journeys to this blog but he also enjoys the history of England and America's relationship with one another; so readers will get a large dose of English history with a a nice pinch of American. I can't recommend this book enough for all lovers of history and trivia, I believe the book's appeal is that it speaks to so many people in a way that is both educating and enjoyable.