Hello dear reader(s) and welcome back to another weekend instalment of Nessa reads and reviews! At the beginning of the month I posted my December reading list and Greg Jenner’s A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Daily Life has been one of my picks. Side note: if you’re wondering how that’s coming along – I’m actually doing rather well. I just have to finish one and a half book and I can cross everything of the list. The reviewing portion of the process is a little slower as usual. 🙂 Getting back to A Million Years in a Day, I finished it a few days ago and I finally have the afternoon off to type my thoughts about the book. Unfortunately, because I hurt my back a few days ago, there won’t be a lot of photos. And quite frankly the book looks like it’s been through 2 world wars 😀 because I’ve been lugging it my backpack for a week. So perhaps it’s better you don’t see the state of it 🙂
Right, enough chit-chat let’s get on with the review. If I had to describe Greg Jenner, the British historian famous for his work on Horrible Histories, in one sentence it would be this one:
the chief nerd to BBC’s Horrible Histories
I can’t take credit for this one, I copied it from the blurb from the cover of A Million Years in a Day. 😀 If you’ve never watched Horrible Histories (how rude! What are you doing with your life mate?!) you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about, but for those of you who did it will make perfect sense. 🙂 You can find more information about Greg on his website where he has a hilarious about section which I strongly encourage you to check out. You can also find him on Twitter @greg_jenner where he tweets about history, football (personally I skip these bits, not really a football fan. Sorry Greg!), TV, his writing process and various other topics.
A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Daily Life, From the Stone Age… to the Phone Age a mouthful of a title worthy of all the great history book titles. Although more amusing than some of the mouthful titles from Croatia’s 19th century historians I’ve seen. 😀 This fascinating book takes the reader on historical journey through 13 chapters that are structured to describe typical activities a person goes through on an average Saturday. From waking up in the morning, to going to bed at night and every possible activity in between – including walking the dog 😀 Greg Jenner with much humour describes the history of everyday life and objects.
Jenner’s writing is fluid and accessible, sprinkled with humour, fascinating facts, puns
and cultural references (the one about the beacons from Lord of the Rings is just precious). He never misses a beat and the text is never boring or dreary. Although one might not think that the history of everyday life, actions and objects is not really all that interesting you’d be wrong. The author’s masterful writing manages to capture the reader’s attention, thus making the history and the development of the common loo or any other random object one has around the house as fascinating as a treasure hoard found in an archaeological dig.
Overall A Million Years in a Day is a breath of fresh air! It’s a marvellous little gem of a book, captivating, easy to read and what’s most important it’s incredibly witty. Moreover, it differs from the history we’re used to learning in school. It shows you that historians don’t just research, explore and write about serious, diplomatic history; we also research, explore and write about the mundane, everyday stuff. So I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this book, buy it as a Christmas present and give it as a tongue-in-cheek present to your friends and family members to show them a different, less serious, but also important side of history. Until next time dear reader(s) I’m wishing you a happy Christmas (if you’re celebrating it)!
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