Mar 30, 2012
History of the home, room by room
30 Mar 2012
Posted by Andrew Kantor
The latest book from one of my favorite authors, Bill Bryson, is a bit of a treat for people who are dealing with “home.” It’s called, in fact, At Home, and it’s got a simple premise: What’s the history of each room in a house?
Bedrooms are a fairly recent thing. The hall was once the most important room in the house (hence “Carnegie Hall,” “Royal Albert Hall,” etc.). There’s a reason the two spices on our tables are salt and pepper (and not, as Bryson muses, pepper and cardamom or salt and cinnamon). And lots more.
The point of the book, he said, was to “write a history of the world without leaving home” — to “to wander from room to room and consider how each has featured in the evolution of private life.”
As with all of Bryson’s books, it’s a fun read, chock full of “Wow, I didn’t know that” moments, and great conversational fodder, especially as you’re touring a home.