A Year in Books/Day 8: At Home A Short History of Private Life

  • Tea-Drinking. 1903

    Image via Wikipedia

    Title: At Home A Short History of Private Life

  • Author: Bill Bryson
  • Year Published: 2010 (Doubleday)
  • Year Purchased: 2010
  • Source: History Book Club
  • About: In the author’s words, he set out to “write a history of the world without leaving home”. He accomplished this by equating the rooms in a typical Victorian home with their worldly counterparts (i.e. the bedroom=sex, the bathroom=hygiene).
  • Motivation: I love Bill Bryson. ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ and ‘Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words’ are well-worn personal favorites. I am also a sucker for Victorian history; anything with a sociological aspect easily catches my fancy.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 181: “Not everyone got the hang of tea immediately. The poet Robert Southey related the story of a lady in the country who received a pound of tea as a gift from a city friend when it was still a novelty. Uncertain how to engage with it, she boiled it up in a pot, spread the leaves on toast with butter and salt, and served it to her friends, who nibbled it gamely and declared it interesting but not quite to their taste. Elsewhere, however, it raced ahead, in tandem with sugar.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10