Monday, October 11, 2010

At Home

Bill Bryson bought a Victorian parsonage in Norfolk England in which he lives. In this book, he uses the rooms in the house as a platform to jump into descriptions of life in Britain from Roman to modern times. Perhaps this is a trend. Toby Lester in The Fourth Part of the World uses an ancient map as a platform in a similar way. Each room in the house is a chapter in At Home and each chapter describes a wide range of history appropriate to the room. For example, The Kitchen describes the economic impact of the rarity of sources of spices for Europe and its influence on European exploration. That may sound like dull reading but it isn't. Bryson spices up (pun intended) the text with clever turns of phrase and funny, or should I say spicy, anecdotes. I was charmed. Try this book and if you're not yet a Bryson fan, you're likely to become one. Also a great Christmas present for a father or Bryson fan.

~ Dick Sommerfeld

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