SLOTH

Wendy Wasserstein, Author . Oxford Univ. $17.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-19-516630-9

Not as stirring as lust, as satisfactory as gluttony or as maddening as anger, sloth rarely commands the passionate attention that the other six deadly sins do. Thanks to Wasserstein, however, sloth finally gets its due. In a hilarious parody of self-help manuals, she offers a book-inside-a-book how-to guide—Sloth: And How to Get It—on living a happy and guilt-free slothful life. The first step in becoming a sloth is to enter into "lethargiosis," a state which "breaks the cycle of excess energy and stored dreams." Her guide recommends a two-week course of slowly eliminating activity by counting activity grams and restricting your daily gram intake. She chides overachievers like Shakespeare and offers a sloth mantra: "S: Sit instead of stand, L: Let yourself go, O: Open your mouth, T: Toil no more, H: Happiness is within me." Sloths in training will learn the 10 commandments of sloth ("Do not wash," "Do not clean up"), the top 10 lies about sloth ("Sloth leads to mental atrophy") as well as strategies for maintaining slothfulness through diet, work (when you have to do it) and sex. Wasserstein's rapid-fire comic prose offers the perfect satire on a culture that continually invents more ways of moving less (television remotes, cell phones) in order to be blissfully slothful. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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