At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Although Bill Bryson’s most well-known book is A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson is not a traditional historian. He does not offer illuminating insights or new interpretations of historical data, but he is an enthusiastic master of the, “Hmm, I didn’t know that.”
In his most recent book, At Home: A Short History of Private Life, Bryson is at his rambling best. For example, the chapter on the entrance hall includes discussions of medieval diet, the science of dendrochronology, chimneys, and royal progresses. And he does (eventually)explain how the hall morphed from the most important room in the house to a small passageway in which to greet guests and store umbrellas.
If you love fun facts and don’t object to the meandering prose, you’ll enjoy Bill Bryson’s latest book, as I did.