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How to be Idle


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About the Author

Tom Hodgkinson was born in 1968. Since founding the Idler in 1993, he has been a frequent contributor to many newspapers and magazines and appears regularly on TV and radio to discuss 'idler' issues. This is his first book.


When your alarm clock jolts you awake in the morning, do you wish you could just lie in bed, read a book, sip a cup of tea and be idle all day? Hodgkinson, founder of the Idler magazine, does. And in this book he presents 24 essays defending life's idle pleasures, which are, he says, vilified by our modern society. He meditates on sleeping in, fishing, smoking and drinking, and even waxes poetic about the hangover. The whole book is soaked with nostalgia for the turn-of-the-century English gentleman's lifestyle; Hodgkinson defends his arguments by quoting Jerome K. Jerome, G.K. Chesterton and, of course, that icon of British foppery, Oscar Wilde. Although billed as tongue-in-cheek witticisms about the idle life, the book fails to maintain the comic tone. In his chapter on the evils of the 9-to-5 job ("wage slavery," as the author calls it), Hodgkinson cites Heinrich Himmler as a spokesperson for the defense of work, tacitly comparing shuffling papers in a cubicle for 40 hours a week to the horrors of Auschwitz. The book gives tantalizing anthropological insights into society's views on those lazy habits that the author so enjoys, but the viewpoint is so antiquated and condescending toward the poor slobs who must actually go to work every day that readers will often find themselves staring aghast at the page. B&w line illus. Agent, Cat Ledger. (May 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

In these stress-filled times of dashing from one meeting to another and often running behind, we should all give ourselves the gift of reading this debut by the founding editor of Idler magazine. Arguing that the modern work ethic enslaves us all and that joy and wisdom have been replaced by work and worry, Hodgkinson insists that we can create our own paradise by defending our right to be lazy. Quoting literature, poetry, and philosophy, he offers a humorous peek at the worth and wonders of slowing down. The chapters are cunningly arranged according to the hours of the day, illustrating that every minute offers opportunities for idleness. Hodgkinson revels in the pleasures of sleeping in, taking leisurely lunches, napping, and other such pursuits. Artfully combining British and American perspectives, this book promises to be just as big a hit here as it was in the United Kingdom. Recommended for most public libraries.-Wendy Lee, Marshall-Lyon Cty. Lib., MN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"A true literary gem... irresistable" -- USA Today
In these stress-filled times . . . we should all give ourselves the gift of reading this debut. --Library Journal
A true literary gem... irresistable --USA Today
"In these stress-filled times . . . we should all give ourselves the gift of reading this debut."--Library Journal
"A true literary gem... irresistable"--USA Today

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