What I’ve Been Reading Lately #4

Home: A Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski

Home: A Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski

My mother bought this book for me at a booksale, and it floated around from place to place before it landed somewhere near my bed. I wasn’t feeling so great that night, and the Christian Science Monitor said its prose was like a down blanket, so I picked it up. It immediately sucked me in, but I like this sort of thing. I took a class on the history of the English country house in college, and definitely did all my reading for that class. In fact, while reading Home I wondered why we hadn’t read this book as well for that class.

Home, written by a historian of architecture, tells the story of how houses became homes, and on its way delves into the history of private life and the rise of the bourgeois (true story, I have never once been able to spell bourgeois correctly. Spell check told me I was wrong this time.) I asked Mike if he’d ever thought about not sitting in chairs or even not knowing what chairs were. He found that question preposterous, but if you find that question worth pondering, try this book.

Short takes

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

This bestseller finally explain statistics and probability in a way that even I manage to understand it and can’t put down. The author is a mathematician and screenwriter, and is heavy on the anecdotes. This is generally ok, since this is a quick read.

Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul by Karen Abbott

It’s kind of silly and dramatic, but if you are a Chicagoan or are interested in Chicago history, this is a fun one. Similar to Devi in the White City with its sensationalized real history, this book tells about the most famous brothel in Chicago’s history.