At Home: A Short History of Private Life - Bill Bryson Bill Bryson's curiosity is boundless, and he loves research. He seems to have a particular fondness for digging up bizarre, creepy, and freaky tidbits to share with his readers. If you don't mind skimming over the dull parts, At Home is worth reading for all the trivia and historical weirdness Bryson shares. The book is essentially a history of domestic life in Britain and America--its comforts and discomforts, and the inventions along the way that made things easier and cleaner. I found both the title and chapter headings to be a bit misleading, but Bryson was going for a sort of theme that didn't quite come together. If he'd dropped the theme, the book could have been organized a lot more sensibly.Several of the chapters could be named Architecture, More Architecture, and Still More Architecture. I had to scan over all the long architectural descriptions. I like to look at architecture, but it numbs my brain to read about it.The chapter called The Passage should be entitled VERMIN! *shudder* And the chapter called The Garden would be more appropriately called Cemeteries, Guano, and More Vermin. Oh, and trust me on this: You do NOT want to read the chapter on The Bathroom at any time directly before, during, or directly after meals. GROSS!If you like history and don't mind "editing" as you go along (i.e. scan past the boring stuff), you can learn a lot from this book. If nothing else, it will cure you forever of wishing you lived in "the good old days."As a little teaser, here are some of the strange, fascinating, and alarming things you'll discover in this book:* In the 1780s, it was fashionable to wear fake eyebrows made of mouse skin. * Contrary to common legend, the person who invented the brassiere was not named Otto Titzling.* If you completely remove zinc from your diet, your taste buds will stop working.* A sample of ice cream in London in 1881 contained human hair, cat hair, insects, and cotton fibers, among other things. EEEEEEEWWWWW!* If a girl wears a corset six days a week, she can reduce her waist size from 23 inches to 13 inches in just two years.* The expression "in the limelight" comes from the days before light bulbs, when they actually burned lumps of lime to light up the theater stage.*Of the total energy produced on Earth since the Industrial Revolution began, half has been consumed in just the last twenty years. (Wake up, America.)