Sunday, December 29, 2013

After The Holidays, We All Need This Book

An utterly charming, elegantly written, deeply researched study of lying down: how to do it, how not to do it, why we like it, how we've done it in the past, and why we should keep doing it in the future.

We spend a good third of our life lying down: sleeping, dreaming, making love, thinking, suffering, and getting well. Bernd Brunner's ode to lying down is a rich exploration of cultural history and an entertaining collection of tales all in one, ranging from the history of the mattress to the "slow living movement" to Stone Age repose, and beyond. He approaches the horizontal state from a number of directions, but never loses his keen sense for the odd or unusual detail.

And along the way, Brunner makes an eloquent case for the importance of lying down in a world that values ever greater levels of activity, arguing that time spent horizontally offers rewards that we'd do well not to ignore. Far from being a pose of passivity or laziness, lying down can be a protest, a chance to gather thoughts or change your point of view--the other side to our upright, productive lives.

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