How To Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson

May 6th, 2011 at 10:07 am

Writing a book is probably the least idle thing I can think of. Try to not hold that against Mr. Hodgkinson when reading his “How to be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto.” The inherent irony of this book’s existence will torment your lazy brain.

How To Be Idle

Take your time with it. Library fines be damned.

“How to be Idle” is a whimsical lark of a book, pondering such hefty topics as Saint Monday, hangovers, and the “Death of Lunch.”

There are pertinent references to [productive] cultural luminaries such as Keats and his concept of “diligent Indolence.” Diligent Indolence. Now that’s something I could get behind. If I weren’t so torpid.

I am also a big fan of the chapter, “On Being Ill.” If you cannot relate to the “exquisite langour of surrender,” then this book is either for you or not for you.

Did you know that in 1839 it was considered elegant to take a tortoise out walking?

“How to be Idle” is peppered with poets and songs and philosophers, musings and collections. It is humorous and admirable, a dutiful effort for a book on idleness. It affords for worthy ruminations on drinking, working, and dreaming. As well as the impact of the Industrial Revolution on our modern working lives and consumer culture. Damn you Robber Barons and Titans of Industry!!!! My clenched fist shakes in your general direction.

“How to be Idle” is ultimately an eloquently argued plea for the value and worth of less. I hope that makes sense to you. Less is more. Small is the new big. Downsizing is the new expansion. Fuck outsourcing, you shouldn’t be sourcing in the first place.

Buy this book. If you get around to it.

And then read it. Eventually.

I guess.

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