BED­TIME STO­RIES FOR GROWN-UPS

North & South - - Review - JULIE COOK

BEN HOLDEN (SI­MON & SCHUS­TER, $39.99)

You’re just the right age to re­dis­cover the joys of a bed­time story – so hit the hay with this eclec­tic, en­gag­ing col­lec­tion of po­ems, fa­bles, fairy tales and short sto­ries re­flect­ing our drift to­wards sleep. Lu­mi­nar­ies such as Shake­speare, Dick­ens and Nabokov, Nora Ephron, Haruki Mu­rakami, P.G. Wode­house and Mar­garet At­wood are in­ter­spersed with ex­plo­rations on the sci­ence of sleep, the work­ings of our dream­ing sub­con­scious, and notes on the na­ture of sto­ry­telling from au­thor­i­ties on folk­lore and fairy tales. I found this an­thol­ogy’s of­fer­ings poignant, com­i­cal, and thought-pro­vok­ing; from Os­car Wilde’s heart­break­ing The Happy Prince to the tale of the Hub­ble tele­scope and Wode­house’s Wooster mus­ing amus­ingly on mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness. If sleep’s “slow ap­proach is a sub­tle plea­sure”, this book en­cap­su­lates that plea­sure on your bed­side table.

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