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This month’s Memoir title


Sleep Demons : An Insomniac’s Memoir

by Hayes, Bill

We often think of sleep as mere stasis, a pause button we press at the end of each day. Yet sleep is full of untold mysteries-eluding us when we seek it too fervently, throwing us into surreal dream worlds when we don’t, sometimes even possessing our bodies so that they walk and talk without our conscious volition. Delving into the mysteries of his own sleep patterns, Bill Hayes marvels, “I have come to see that sleep itself tells a story.” An acclaimed journalist and memoirist-and partner of the late neurologist Oliver Sacks-Hayes has been plagued by insomnia his entire life. The science and mythology of sleep and sleeplessness form the backbone to Hayes’s narrative of his personal battles with sleep and how they colored his waking life, as he threads stories of fugitive sleep through memories of growing up in the closet, coming out to his Irish Catholic family, watching his friends fall ill during the early years of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco, and finding a lover. An erudite blend of science and personal narrative, Sleep Demons offers a poignant introduction to the topics for which Hayes has since become famous, including art, eros, city life, the history of medical science, and queer identity.


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