Much of life is defined by routines. For many, coffee in the morning marks the advent of a new day; reading before bed can signal day’s end.
In The Bedroom, the historian Michelle Perrot examines the history of sleeping arrangements, using her archival research to reflect on the function of the bedroom as an intimate shared (or unshared) space. The author Marina Benjamin writes about dealing with the inability to sleep in Insomnia, meditating on the experience and offering advice to those who consistently struggle to drift off. Augustine Sedgewick’s Coffeeland traces the cultivation of the ubiquitous energy booster, focusing on one planter’s efforts to fuel his enterprise with cheap labor.
The author Laura van den Berg found that her routine of writing by hand every morning gave concrete structure to her existence in an uncertain world, a theme she explores in her novel The Third Hotel. Samantha Hunt also finds inspiration in mundane activities, spotting the peculiarities in seemingly ordinary settings—such as in her recent short story “Go, Team,” set at a youth soccer game where gathered moms notice a woman’s strange disappearance.
Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas.
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What We’re Reading
Samantha Hunt on the unbearable flatness of being
A short story about a disappearance.