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Praise for Yawn: Adventures in Boredom

“All I want is a distinct sense of — and an interest in — the person I’m listening to. And then I want to be slapped across the face with a haddock. Ms. Mann has both these qualities in spades. By trade a researcher (“like being a private detective, without the danger and the sex”), the delightful Ms. Mann comes off as a funny, very hip nerd." —The New York Times

“An exhilarating tour of apathy, restlessness, torpor, depression, paralysis and the places in between—all without a single longueur. Beautifully done.” —Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life

“This book of essays on boredom is anything but soporific. Exploring such different settings as the workplace, war zones, and libraries, Mann offers a witty and enjoyable discourse on a ubiquitous state of mind … Mann’s wit and honesty will draw readers in, relegating actual boredom to the back burner until they’ve finished reading.” —Publishers Weekly

“Especially in interesting times, we need books by writers as nimble-minded and searching as Mary Mann. YAWN is fleet-flooted and wise, grounded by Mann’s methodical curiosity. Mann possesses that rare, rare thing—a big-hearted mind.” —Heidi Julavits, author of The Folded Clock

Ask for Yawn at your local bookstore or order it online from Powell’s or Amazon. An audiobook version is available on Audible.

More information, updates and various boredom-related news items available at


On the topic of boredom...

Mary Mann has written about boredom and running for Outside Magazine, about new technology for measuring attention at Slate, and about boredom and marriage for New York Magazine's The Science of Us. An excerpt from YAWN about boredom and travel was published by Electric Literature and recommended by Longreads.

If you're interested in an overview of boredom before diving into the specifics, then check out Mary's essay in The New York Times or her interview in Atlantic.

Rather just listen? You're in luck! You can hear Mary talk about boredom on Marketplace, NPR Seattle's On The Record, CBC's Alberta at Noon, BYU Radio's Matt Townsend Show, WHYY's Radio Times and WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show.



On the Pink Tax and Free Lipstick. The New York Times. 8.13.18

How Researching the Science of Boredom Prepared Me For Marriage. The Cut. 5.12.17

Pay Attention! Slate. 5.11.17

How to Turn Boredom into a Performance Enhancer. Outside. 5.9.17

The Secret Life of a Poll Worker. The New York Times. 11.8.16

Five Hundred Courses of the Sun: The Unchanging Nature of Change. Primer Stories. 9.18.16

How a Five-Letter Word Built a 104-Year-Old Company. Smithsonian. 8.3.15

Untitled: The Life and Work of the Artist Ray Johnson. The Believer. 7.1.15 (cover story)

The Other Side of Boredom. The New York Times. 4.19.15

Wax On, Wax Off: A History of Women’s-Only Karate. The  Hairpin. 12.26.14

Tis the Season for Shoplifting. Matter. 12.22.14

Saints in the Stars. The Believer Logger. 8.8.14

Everybody Smiley Poops. Matter. 8.5.14 (a Longreads recommended read)

Matrimony, War & the Habsburg Chin. Bookslut. 8.1.14

Strange Months at Lululemon. Salon. 12.31.13

One in Eight Million. The Hairpin. 6.27.13

Mega Millions. The Billfold. 4.11.13

PK. The Rumpus. 1.14.13


Review: Cruising the Library. Metropolitan Archivist. 3.6.19

Catchphrases. The Believer. 10.1.2018

Post-Blackness in the Arts. Los Angeles Review of Books. 1.22.17

Words Ain't What They Used To Be: A Conversation with Bernard Cooper. Music & Literature. 11.21.16

John Cage’s Endless Project. Los Angeles Review of Books. 11.7.15

The Innovative Mind of One of the World’s Most Inventive Architects. Smithsonian. 7.8.15

The Restless Supermarket. The Believer. 6.1.14

Essay as Inquiry: On Rebecca West. Bookslut. 2.1.14

What is Left Unsaid: On Natalia Ginzburg. Bookslut. 5.1.13

Max Beerbohm is Cranky. Bookslut. 4.1.13 (recommended by The Dish)