Today, sit with a favourite drink and enjoy this interview with the author of the book.
Why bother? Here is a short review of the book:
“In a media and tech ecosystem simultaneously obsessed with “digital detox” and building personal brands, How to Do Nothing is a breath of fresh air grounding readers in the complex, interdependent actual ecosystems of the physical world. Jenny Odell writes with remarkable clarity and compassion. Each chapter reads like going on a fascinating walk through a park in conversation with an old friend (who happens to also be able to tell you about every single bird in the park, which is awesome). It’s a book I already know I’ll be returning to and referencing for a long time.” Ingrid Burrington, author of Networks of New York.
In case it catches your attention, and you feel it is worthy of it, here are the details. You can look forward to ‘the impossibility of retreat’ and a whole chapter on ‘exercises in attention’. A gift from that chapter is this poem:
A Bird, came down the Walk –
He did not know I saw –
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass –
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass –
He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad –
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,
He stirred his Velvet Head. –
Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers,
And rowed him softer Home –
Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition, edited by R.W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)
If you want a book that gives you quick tips on how to do nothing, this is not for you. As the review above tells us, it really is like taking a walk through a park with an old friend – something to take time over.