Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dreamland: A review

Adventures in the Strange Since of Sleep
Author: David K. Randall
Info: W.W. Norton & Company, copyright 2012, 290 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): How to frustrate an insomniac even more, or why sleep in so darn frustrating.

Like many of us, journalist David K. Randall never gave sleep much thought. That is, until he began sleepwalking. One midnight crash into a hallway wall sent him on an investigation into the strange science of sleep.

In Dreamland, Randall explores the research that is investigating those dark hours that make up nearly a third of our lives. Taking readers from military battlefields to children 's bedrooms, Dreamland shows that sleep isn't as simple as it seems. Why did the results of one sleep study change the bookmakers odds for certain Monday Night Football games? Do women sleep differently than men? And if you happen to kill someone while you are sleepwalking, does that count as murder?

This book is a tour of the often odd, sometimes disturbing, and always fascinating things that go on in the peculiar world of sleep. You ll never look at your pillow the same way again.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
If I woke up in terrible pain from a night of unfortunate sleepwalking, I too would want to get to the bottom of my nighttime wanderings.  Randall dives into the history and science of sleep, providing interesting anecdotes and clarifying stories to show how little we really know about a necessary part of our daily lives.

The Awesome
Randall is telling you a story; he's a journalist that is also a conversationalist.  Without getting too technical, he weaves his way through the mysteries of sleep through personal narrative and using historical context.  Each chapter tackles a different topic; the setup creates a pleasant, fast-paced reading experience.

The Not So Awesome
The book was fascinating, but I can't shake the thought that Mary Roach's approach is better.  So, once again, the "not so awesome" is really just personal taste.

Overall, most definitely a worthwhile read.  Randall is personable which makes all the difference.  If you've ever wondered why sleep eludes you, or why things go all wonky the next day, check out Dreamland by David K. Randall.

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