The Art of Lying Down (Hardcover)

A Guide to Horizontal Living

By Bernd Brunner, Lori Lantz (Translator)

Melville House Publishing, 9781612193090, 167pp.

Publication Date: November 19, 2013



A strange and dreamy voice . . ., like an Italo Calvino short story, curiously translated from some lost, obscure language.
--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
An utterly charming study of the history of lying down--which is more complicated than you might think
We spend a good third of our lives lying down: sleeping, dreaming, making love, thinking, reading, and getting well. Bernd Brunner's ode to lying down is a rich exploration of cultural history and an entertaining collection of tales, ranging from the history of the mattress to the slow living movement to Stone Age repose--when people did not sleep lying down--and beyond. He approaches the horizontal state from a number of directions, but never loses his keen sense for the odd or unusual detail.
Far from being a pose of passivity or laziness, lying down can be a protest, a chance to gather thoughts or change your point of view--the other side to our upright, productive lives. Brunner makes an eloquent case for the importance of lying down in a world that values ever-greater levels of activity, arguing that time spent horizontally offers rewards that we'd do well not to ignore.

About the Author

Bernd Brunner is the author of "Inventing the Christmas Tree," "Moon: A Brief History," "Bears: A Brief History," and "The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium." His essay "The Wild Dogs of Istanbul" was selected for "The Best American Travel Writing 2013." He lives in Istanbul, where he is at work on a novel set in Turkey. Visit him at

Lori Lantz has translated Bernd Brunner's "Bears: A Brief History" and Julia Voss's "Darwin's Pictures: Views of Evolutionary Theory, 1837-1874."

Praise For The Art of Lying Down: A Guide to Horizontal Living

Praise for Bernd Brunner 

“A strange and dreamy voice . . . , like an Italo Calvino short story, curiously translated from some lost, obscure language.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Praise for Moon: A Brief History

“[An] elegant cultural history . . . Brunner ably dispatches recent science . . . and takes us on a lively tour of lunar folklore and speculative fiction.”
—The New Yorker

“In [Moon], we are plunged immediately into a fascinating tour of the moon in ancient cultures . . . Well written . . . Full of fascinating bits.”
The Washington Post

“Perky cultural history.” 
—The Guardian

Praise for Bears: A Brief History

“[A] little gem.” 
—The New York Times

“Packed with intriguing facts and miscellany.”
—The Washington Post

“A fascinating exploration of how many cultures see bears as almost human.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer