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Waiting for the Weekend
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Waiting for the Weekend

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  129 ratings  ·  21 reviews
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 illuminates ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 1st 1992 by Penguin Books (first published August 19th 1991)
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Paula Dembeck
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 fi
Ashland Mystery Oregon
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 anoth ...more
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.
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 o ...more
Mary Catelli
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. Pop
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 ...more
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 ...more
I will read anything and everything this man writes. He is a marvelous thinker, researcher, synthesizer and writer.
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!)
Oct 03, 2008 Jenreese rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jenreese by: found while browsing a used book shop
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!
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.
M.L. Rose
Sep 03, 2010 M.L. Rose rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to M.L. by: Professor
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.
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,
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.
Very interesting book, but avoid the audiobook - the reader is a woman, although Rybczynski speaks self referentially often ("my boyhood....").
Apr 08, 2010 RF is currently reading it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is one of my new favorite authors. I'm reading as many of his books as I can get my hands on.
Kristine Morris
What better topic - the history of how weekends, leisure time developed over the times.
The subject was interesting, but the writing style did not grab my attention and hold it.
Julie H.
This is a highly enjoyable history of leisure time in western civilization.
Zguba Salemenska
A good history of our working/leisure life.
Fun, fun, fun!
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Witold Rybczynski was born in Edinburgh, of Polish parentage, raised in London, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal, where he also taught for twenty years. He is currently the Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also co-edits the Wharton Real Estate Review. Rybczynski has ...more
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