cover image Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto

Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto

Tricia Hersey. Little, Brown Spark, $27 (224p) ISBN 978-0-31636-521-5

“All of culture is collaborating for us not to rest,” contends Hersey, the founder of the Nap Ministry, in this empathetic treatise. Arguing that rest is a political act, she suggests that capitalism and white supremacy have corrupted Americans’ relationship with relaxation, especially for Black Americans, whose “bodies have been a constant source of exploitation.” She critiques “grind culture” for equating productivity with self-worth and reducing “our divine bodies” to the level of machinery. Hersey describes how her belief in the liberatory power of rest stemmed from her exhaustion while in seminary school, as well as her church’s message that her body is a “deep reflection of God” worthy of cherishing. Plumbing her family’s history to highlight the painful consequences of constant work, the author describes how the stress of working two full-time jobs contributed to her father’s death at age 55. She relates how her great-grandmother always stayed up late to watch for Klansmen and how her grandmother took half-hour naps to “find peace” after escaping the Jim Crow South, illuminating the intersection of racism and rest. Hersey’s ministry background shines through in her passionate and eloquent arguments that read like a clear-eyed sermon, though the author sometimes struggles to find new ways to expand on her central point. Nonetheless, the provocative message will appeal to those tired of grind culture. (Oct.)