Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Toilet, loo, bathroom...

One of my favourite authors Bill Bryson has a new book out. This one is called At Home: A short history of private life.

I'm guessing it's a record of the evolution of modern home life as we know it. There is a short excerpt in The Guardian newspaper where he revealed a little about the history about toilets, stairs and the lawn. I especially like the part about Thomas Crapper.

Amazon lists this book for pre-order. It will be launched only in October. It probably won't be as hot as Harry Potter or the iPad, where one has to queue up overnight or even 48 hours in advance to get hold of the goods. As for me, I will probably wait until next year when some bookstore out there offers 20% off.

I've read two of Bill Bryson's books so far: A Brief History of Nearly Everything, then Shakespeare. The first book is like reading a science textbook, but also like a history text packed with trivia. Also, it's not brief at all. As someone who has spent more than a decade of my life studying science, the book was filled with familiar information yet I feel like I'm re-discovering science all over again.

Same for Shakespeare. It's a book about a famous figure and Bryson weaves in Shakespeare's life history with some little-known facts. Even the name Shakespeare is apparently a consensual name because the guy had signed off with different spellings on different occasions.

Bryson delved into libraries and history records, as well as visited the sites and conducted interviews with experts. The books are based on real research but they are also extremely funny because he has a really great sense of humour. He is subtle though so if you get his joke, it's really funny. I laughed and giggled when I read Brief History.*

Bryson also enjoyed travelling. He has written several books based on his travels. I'll buy one of them next time it goes on sale.

* HG has said it's a matter of perspective when it comes to humour. What's funny to me may not be funny to you. Hahaha

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