... a startling, generous new work ... Hersey does more than just explain the problems of modern capitalism; she also provides practical methods of resistance through a variety of resting practices. Hersey argues that prayer, daydreams, sleep and intense laughter are not just enjoyable but sacred balms. But at the forefront of this work is the understanding that these spiritual practices go beyond the individual. According to Hersey, cultivating rest honors the labor of our ancestors and promises a better world for our descendants ... Hersey’s prose is exquisitely beautiful, dripping with lyrical grace and wisdom that make her background as a poet and scholar obvious. Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler and bell hooks are named inspirations for her craft, and their work echoes throughout Hersey’s thinking ... a book to read and reread with a pen in hand and pad beside you; one that you will find yourself wanting to give to friends, co-workers and strangers.
... not only about naps or even literally about the cessation of body movement. Rest is a highly individualized pursuit, and it can take many forms ... I’d hoped the extra space of a book-length treatment about rest would likewise promote an expansiveness in the scope of her thinking so that some of my most fervent and long-held queries might be answered. In this regard, however, Rest Is Resistance was a letdown ... The can of worms for all revolutionary roads is that they must pass through the wide open gateway of Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto (1985), which allows equal chances that technology can save us or destroy us. Hersey’s book comes down on the side of technology destroying us, never acknowledging the other possibility—which she should ... The form was also frustrating at times, as I was too frequently reading a line and felt strongly that that exact line had already appeared in the text. Some of these repetitious mantras, like 'rest is resistance', are valuable, but it often seems the author repeats her analysis without expanding upon it. Hersey’s poetic prose has a way of shallow looping, like a whirling Dervish that spins in a circle, each circle much the same yet slightly different. Reading Rest Is Resistance often made me want to nap, sometimes because it’s emotionally exhausting to confront one’s exhaustion. Other times, this looping writing style lulled me to sleep ... On the one hand, it’s performatively excellent that a book on naps makes the reader want to nap. On the other hand, sliding around under there might imply that some will judge Rest Is Resistance‘s style is boring. I’m not insisting on a more academic (ahem, 'white') style, but there are missed opportunities to clarify and rigorously build arguments ... People who can’t let go of their anxiety about suitable alternatives to capitalism may find Rest Is Resistance tough to swallow, but that’s not what irks me most...The second thing is that nearly all manifestos deliver anger. Rest as resistance can’t really do that and Hersey doesn’t try. Wonderfully, she skips right past 99 percent of the weeping and gnashing of teeth accompanying most manifestos that tackle subjects like these. Anger can be distancing to some readers, especially those who feel called out by the arguments in the text. Yet the author does convey a seriousness that is on par with the average manifesto—and it is much too much seriousness ... Hersey explicitly states the intersectional nature of her rest project, yet her voice and her content both heavily foreground her experience of Blackness over any other aspects of her identity. There is a brief section on womanism. I would’ve liked to hear more about her understanding of rest and parenthood, for example ... Hersey’s book sticks to the language she knows best, which is preaching—perhaps a more performance-based cousin of the manifesto ... So far, long-form work does not seem to suit her voice, but that may change over time ... offers one layer in a manifold project of revolution and is worthy of a read for anyone—anarchist, socialist, feminist, liberationist, philosopher, lover of manifestos—looking to add rest back into their life and add to the methodologies they are already using to destroy grind culture.
With key breakdowns about the hidden cost of toxic productivity standards and grind culture, Rest Is Resistance offers crucial guidance on how people can slow down, reclaim rest, and make space for self-care. Although these things may not seem revolutionary, Hersey demonstrates why and how they are radical.