While my favorite reading is Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, or Steampunk, I try to read non-fiction books several times a year. Most of the time these are either historical or scientific works. These serve not only as part of my ongoing education but also to cleanse the mental palette.
Currently, I’m enjoying a wonderful bit of history from a slightly different perspective.
At Home: A Short History of Private Life, is a book where Bill Bryson uses his own house as a jumping off point to explore the general history of domesticity everywhere.
Bill Bryson has a gift for answering questions we might not have known we had asked. For example, why do we have dining rooms?
“I never stopped to think about that, but you don’t have dining rooms in your home because at some point in history people suddenly decided they wanted a room dedicated to eating,” Bryson says. “When [upholstered furniture] finally began to happen the late 18th century, guests, when they sat in these chairs, were tending to wipe their fingers on the upholstered furniture.”
The introduction alone is worth the price of the book. If history and good storytelling is your thing, give “At Home: A Short History of Private Life” a chance. You won’t regret it.