Yawn: Adventures in Boredom

Mary Mann. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-374-53584-1
With Mann’s choice of title, one might think she is damning her own tome, but this book of essays on boredom is anything but soporific. Exploring such different settings as the workplace, war zones, and libraries, Mann offers a witty and enjoyable discourse on a ubiquitous state of mind. Certain topics are universal—“All sorts of things went through my head,” she recalls of restaurant hostessing, “but nine times out of ten they turned into sexual fantasy.” She notes, as well, that boredom can lead to anger and loneliness. Another central theme is curiosity as the cure for boredom, as Mann demonstrates by pursuing varied and quirky subjects. One chapter extolls the virtues of naptime, naming tech giant Google as a notable proponent of the practice; another discusses how U.S. service members spent their downtime in Iraq. In each chapter, Mann discusses how a particular topic relates to her life, inviting readers to take an empathetic view of a common emotion and its myriad causes. Mann’s wit and honesty will draw readers in, relegating actual boredom to the back burner until they’ve finished reading. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Release date: 05/16/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-374-71442-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5436-4467-8
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