My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a trip! Ordinary life illuminated extraordinarily. Bill Bryson takes us through his 19th century English manse room by room and traces not only its history, but the history of each room. This is no ordinary history; he explores every nook and cranny that led up to, or is remotely associated with, the creation of a scullery, drawing room, dining room, bathroom, or bedroom. “Nighty night; sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Translation: cinch up the ropes on the wooden frame that supports your straw stuffed mattress and try to keep it vermin free. Sewage from bathrooms that spewed waste through pipes directly to the Thames made the stench in London unbearable. From plagues to power sources, 500+ pages compel the reader to take nothing for granted. Ordinary life will never seem ordinary again.