From bestselling author Michael McGirr comes Snooze, a revised edition of the entertaining and enlightening The Lost Art of Sleep (2009).
Michael always had trouble sleeping, but the arrival of twins made him realise he’d never known true exhaustion. While he celebrated these small children who brought him so much joy, he also found himself desperately searching for a few extra winks a night.
In Snooze, McGirr delves into the mysterious world of sleep: its many benefits, its stubborn elusiveness and what our brains get up to while we’re in bed. He takes readers on a tour through the odd sleep patterns of some of history’s greatest figures, including Plato and Homer, Shakespeare and Dickens, Florence Nightingale (who slept a great deal) and Thomas Edison (who hardly slept at all). He looks at the demise of sleep in our ever more fragmented world, and what that means for everyone from average sleepers to those with serious sleep disorders. And he describes his own family’s quest to master the ancient art of getting a decent kip.
A profound and humorous exploration of the precious resource of sleep—and the causes and consequences of getting too little of it—Snooze is the perfect book for sleepless nights.
In the history of human civilisation, sleep is the unrivalled hero. It is the wellspring of creativity. It is the space in which so much happens, mainly because, while we are asleep, we can’t squeeze any extra appointments or make any extra phone calls or look at one more thing on the internet. In sleep we are most ourselves because we have to surrender our egos.
Michael McGirr is the bestselling author of Things You Get for Free and Bypass: The Story of a Road, a popular Year 12 English text in Victoria. He has reviewed more than nine hundred books for the Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times; his short fiction has appeared in numerous publications in Australia and overseas; and he has been the publisher of Eureka Street and fiction editor of Meanjin. He currently teaches literature and philosophy at St Kevin’s College in Melbourne. Michael’s expertise in the area of sleep derives not only from having several sleep disorders but also from having three children.
‘Although this book is about insomnia and sleep, it will not send the reader off to sleep... It is a happy book. It is a compendium of anecdotes about living with small, sleepless children and of moving house.’ ArtsHub
‘A former priest examines the way shut-eye—or lack there of it—affects us on and off the pillow. If you’re among the flock who count sheep most nights, these pages reassure.’ O, The Oprah Magazine
‘McGirr is a good writer who is able to share information in an entertaining way…His anecdotes will make you out laugh out loud. If you haven’t read any books by him before, seek them out.’ Good Reading
'McGirr is an inspired synthesiser, serious in intent even while riotous in execution. You could call The Lost Art of Sleep volume three of a complex autobiography (with Things You Get for Free and Bypass). But if the central character embodies the quandaries, the delight of the writing lies in the world around him.’ Morag Fraser, Eureka Street
‘Amid the stories of famous sleepers and famous insomniacs, McGirr has interspersed personal tales, where he captures a young household very much in need of sleep…A lovely readable tone, highly recommended!’ Louise Swinn, Triple R
‘An eyes-wide-open look at the penumbral world of sleep, where we spend so much of our time without quite knowing why…Lively…A good book to curl up with while pondering the mysteries of Morpheus.’Kirkus Reviews
‘With Snooze, Michael McGirr has, pardon the pun, produced a wake-up call about the fascinating yet little known history and science of sleep. A delightful read, Snooze takes on the one activity we spend the most time doing, yet still manages to surprise. It’s one bedtime read that won’t put you to sleep.’ Edward Humes, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Door to Door and Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash
‘A delightful eye-opener. [McGirr's] loving account of life with his family gives Snooze: The Lost Art of Sleep its big heart...Its blend of memoir, science history, mythological lore and cultural commentary is a constant delight.’ Seattle Times
‘Readers have McGirr’s tossing and turning to thank for a dynamic, multifaceted book that serves as an entertaining, philosophical lullaby for the deprived.’ Shelf Awareness
‘This revised and expanded edition offers a broader base of experience to share with readers…It reads like chapters of a one-sided conversation with an amiable, liberal-minded man-of-the-world, who thinks fondly of the almost unattainable—the undisturbed night of blissful sleep.’ Otago Daily Times
‘A exploration of and reassurance for our overloaded century. McGirr’s journey through this “profound form of absence” is spirited, sympathetic and commendably non-soporific.’ NZ Listener
‘Michael McGirr takes the serious subject of sleep and whimsically reflects on its mysteries; at the same time amusing us with stories from the past and present…A wise and witty book.’ Toowoomba Chronicle