Read Waiting for the Weekend by Witold Rybczynski Online


Aristotle wrote that we work in order to have leisure. But is the leisure that Aristotle spoke of--the freedom to do nothing--the same as the leisure we look forward to each weekend? With fascinating anecdotal detail, Rybczynski unfolds the history of leisure from ancient Rome to the Enlightenment to today, explores the origins of the week and the weekend, and illuminatesAristotle wrote that we work in order to have leisure. But is the leisure that Aristotle spoke of--the freedom to do nothing--the same as the leisure we look forward to each weekend? With fascinating anecdotal detail, Rybczynski unfolds the history of leisure from ancient Rome to the Enlightenment to today, explores the origins of the week and the weekend, and illuminates its profound influences on our lives....

Title : Waiting for the Weekend
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140126631
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Waiting for the Weekend Reviews

  • Austin Kleon
    2018-10-14 08:34

  • Lori
    2018-10-19 13:09

    OK, I found this book a little dry & unengaging. Yet, its slow-moving approach fits the topic of leisure appropriately. And, I don't know where else you'll find some of the cultural history tidbits in this volume. When & how did everyone decide that Saturday/Sunday was the weekend? Good question, but apparently it's harder to pin down than you'd think. Working seven days a week without a day off in the Industrial Age didn't work so well, for example, because of absenteeism, especially on Mondays. Various countries have tried a variety of approaches, including a 10-day work week with three weeks per 30-day month and a shared holiday at the end of the year to even it up with the lunar year. Didn't take. And, as six-and-a-half-day work weeks were whittled down to five, people had to find other stuff to do -- before there were malls. And, yes, that leisure time had something to do with launching the film industry, which had to happen before we could go to movies on our weekends.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-12 13:10

    Nonfiction view at the evolution of our 5-and-2 pattern of days; leisure versus hobbies; reading versus watching tv. The chapter on "Pastimes" was quite interesting. Is leisure time a time to work at play? Or to do nothing, a kind of personal freedom? The book became a little slow during the historical recountings of how weekdays were developed, but made up for it in the other chapters. Worth reading.

  • Teo Sartori
    2018-09-21 16:22

    A lot of good info and speculation on the origins of the weekend. At times it seems as though the author himself is unsure of what conclusions to draw and, in exasperation, ends up regurgitating collected dates and events that seem relevant. I ended up drawing my own timeline from all the dates but ultimately the origins of the weekend remain unclear.

  • Jennifer
    2018-10-15 13:21

    Interesting stuff.

  • Heather
    2018-09-28 11:08

    Despite the title, and despite the fact that much of this book tells the story of how the weekend as we know it came into being, Waiting for the Weekend isn’t just about Saturday and Sunday and how they got that way. It also examines larger questions of leisure: what is leisure, anyhow? And how do work and leisure and recreation and play interrelate? To start with an answer: leisure, as Rybczynski defines it, is not “an antidote to work”—that would be recreation, which “carries with it a sense of necessity and purpose” (p 224). Leisure, following the ideas of GK Chesterton, is the freedom to do nothing, but above all the freedom to think and to reflect. So if leisure is the freedom to do nothing, where does leisure fit into the modern weekend, the regularly-scheduled two-day break many of us have, into which we often try to cram as many activities as possible? In writing about what leisure is and how free time came to be parceled out into Saturdays and Sundays, Rybczynski writes a lot about the history of the week and the history of the weekend, all of which is really interesting precisely because it’s the sort of thing that many tend to take for granted. He talks about the (dim) origins of the seven-day week, the irregular working hours of the 18th-century, the practice of "keeping Saint Monday" (i.e. taking Monday off work - sometimes to recover from Sunday drinking), and the push for reform that led to Saturday being granted special half-holiday status in Britain. From there, it's not a big jump to the weekend as we know it, though the adoption of the two-day weekend has varied in timing and motivation from country to country. After focusing mainly on the UK and the US at first, Rybczynski shifts the discussion to the adoption of the two-day weekend elsewhere, including Solidarity-era Poland, Fascist Italy, and Japan. He talks, too, about pastimes and about weekend “retreats,” country campgrounds/trailer parks where working-class families go for the weekend in the summer, and the long heritage of the idea of an escape from the city—from Pliny’s countryside villas to Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon. These last chapters sometimes feel like they’re not so well-connected to the ones that came before, but that’s a small criticism for a book that, on the whole, is pretty pleasing.

  • Mary Catelli
    2018-10-09 15:12

    Being a study in that instrument of leisure time, the weekend.Starts with history: how the week came to be, with the Jewish Sabbath and the planetary week coming into play -- plus attempts by the French Revolution and the Soviet Union to "reform" it -- and leisure time in the forms of holidays throughout the world and history. the differences and similarities between sacred time and taboo time. The increase in such leisurely things as parks, consuming coffee, tea, and tobacco, and the novel. Popular sports (including some quite bloody ones) and drinking."Saint Monday": -- the English habit of taking Monday off as long as you had money enough. Pious souls introducing the half-holiday Saturdays in hopes of getting people to take their leisure then and then go to church on Sunday; factor owners endorsing it in hopes of getting their workers there reliably. In the US, the reduction was first pushed by the labor movement and then cemented by the Great Depression, in hopes of spreading the work around. And other places -- the slow increase of two-day weekends in Israel (where the Orthodox support springs from hopes people can then use the day to get the stuff they now do on the Sabbath done), Japan where leisure time is much less, Poland where, unusually, leisure time was demanded in the absence of entertainments to fill the hours. How the decline of working time stopped.And what you do in it: country retreats for the weekend. Reading, TV, and gardening, and what leisure will mean, in the future.

  • Paula Dembeck
    2018-10-07 11:20

    In this small volume, Rybcznski gets us to thinking about an everyday aspect of life we may never have given much thought to in the past. What is the weekend and why do we have it? In examining the relationship between work and leisure, he recounts the evolution of the seven day week, its roots historically in the Babylonian calendar and then the later more recent development of the two day weekend. In doing so he explores the history of leisure and the concept of time off from work, starting first with “taboo days”, and later with the Industrial Revolution the habit of keeping Saint Monday as a day at home away from work. It is this practice which eventually evolved into the modern weekend.Rybczynski also raises some interesting points about specialization and automation in the work force and the fact that we may now require greater skills in our leisure pursuits than in our jobs.Well researched with extensive notes, but at the same time very readable.Makes you think about a man made phenomenon that we take for granted and which is still evolving.

  • Rogue Reader
    2018-10-03 08:13

    Fascinating work on how time is defined by the two day week end, and why it has come to be. Really the cultural history of recreation - citing GK Chesteron's definitions of "leisure": "The first is being allowed to do something. The second is being allowed to do anything. And the third (and perhaps most rare and precious) is being allowed to do nothing." Rybecynski writes of the increasing structure of free time and how likely that the commercialization of leisure time turns free time into another form of work time. In the moments of reflection while reading Waiting for the Weekend, I think of William Stafford's beautiful and liberating poem, You Reading This, Be Ready. His first line is: "Starting here, what do you want to remember?" and his last: "What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?" Every word in between is exquisite and reminds me why I'm not waiting for the weekend.Lots of references for more reading, and there's also Rybczynski's other work to be read, Home.

  • Natalie
    2018-09-27 10:36

    I liked this book, it is a fascinating topic that made me stop and think about time and how it is being used. I took several breaks in reading this book though, so I can't recall most of the end though, he discusses the difference between 'recreation' and 'leisure' that I found interesting. Both are important to balance time spent at work. We have more free time then we realize (i.e. if tv watching can add up to 20 hours a week! wow! its like a part time job!). This book is one I'd like to re-read just to absorb some of the points again. I'd like to change how I spend my time and how I think about time, and this book moved me in the right direction. Well researched and well told.

  • Shannon
    2018-10-22 10:31

    This is a surprisingly in-depth study of the history of our current work-week (and, of course, the weekend). It dragged a little during some of the detailed examples of different cultures that had a hand in inspiring the 7-day week, but I think it would be worth reading again. It also discusses leisure and freetime and hobbies briefly--I would have liked to hear more on these subjects, although he references plenty of books on the subject, like "A Civilized Guide to Loafing" (Hilarious!)

  • Jenreese
    2018-09-23 15:29

    Way better than I initially thought...this is a quick history of our calendar and an exploration of where in the world the concept of the weekend came from. Despite my having to look up a number of words in the first couple chapters, it's super easy to read. I read it in a flight from tx to the east coast, maybe with a delay on the runway. It's so interesting to think about what forces have come together to shape the way we shape our time. Happy Friday & have a great weekend!

  • Peter
    2018-10-04 09:20

    Rybczynski is a great chronicler of the way we live and this work examines the origins and evolution of the idea of the weekend...there is much culture, religion, economics and history spread through this exploration of an idea that has seized the western imagination. In addition to a mass of fact and interpretation the work is well written and witty.

  • Krayfish1
    2018-10-19 08:34

    Interesting history of where the two day weekend came from, including the custom of going to the countryside, gardening. Intellectuals worrying commonfolk would use it to get drunk. A little discussion about the meaning of leisure & why don't people just do things for fun anymore.

  • M.L. Rose
    2018-10-16 13:10

    As a society the more we change the more we remain the same. We often forget the meaning of the weekend and take for granted what we have in life without remembering how any of it came about, and how much we as humans like to fool ourselves.

  • Heidi
    2018-10-08 10:08

    A fun and whimsical history of leisure and the weekend as we know it, as well as a plea for treating savoring of leisure as time to do nothing at all. The history of our seven day week was neat - never heard anything about it before,

  • Zguba Salemenska
    2018-10-01 15:30

    A good history of our working/leisure life.

  • Laura
    2018-10-09 08:27

    The subject was interesting, but the writing style did not grab my attention and hold it.

  • Johanna Lemon
    2018-09-26 08:11

    This book was assigned for a class and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Learning about the evolution of the weekend and how it relates to the development of leisure was very intriguing.

  • Christy
    2018-10-13 15:28

    I found this book to be a thoughtful, thought-provoking, investigation of the weekend. It raised questions I had never thought about before and was brimful of fascinating facts.

  • Libraryvixen
    2018-10-01 15:24

    Very interesting book, but avoid the audiobook - the reader is a woman, although Rybczynski speaks self referentially often ("my boyhood....").

  • Rhode
    2018-10-12 09:34

    I will read anything and everything this man writes. He is a marvelous thinker, researcher, synthesizer and writer.

  • Alain
    2018-10-04 08:23

    Fun, fun, fun!

  • Eric
    2018-09-27 14:27

    Everybody's working for the weekend!This book tries to understand why we do that exactly.

  • Janet
    2018-10-02 12:25

    Funny, insightful and full of interesting facts about leisure and the development over the ages of how we use our free time. "We work to have leisure." ~ Aristotle

  • Julie H.
    2018-10-02 13:07

    This is a highly enjoyable history of leisure time in western civilization.