The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl

The Art of the Wasted Day

A spirited inquiry into the lost value of leisure and daydreamThe Art of the Wasted Day is a picaresque travelogue of leisure written from a lifelong enchantment with solitude. Patricia Hampl visits the homes of historic exemplars of ease who made repose a goal, even an art form. She begins with two celebrated eighteenth-century Irish ladies who ran off to live a life of "retirement" in rural Wales. Her search then leads to Moravia to consider th...

Details The Art of the Wasted Day

TitleThe Art of the Wasted Day
Release DateApr 17th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Travel, Writing, Essays, Philosophy, Biography

Reviews The Art of the Wasted Day

  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 Daydreaming, something often frowned on in our busy society of list makers. To achieve, cross out the things on our lists,but where are we rushing to, where do we hope to get.? Yet, as the author points out it is by daydreaming that we can really see things, observe our surrounding. In her musing of memories past and present the author travels ,but never alone. Many authors of wise words, Woolf,Kafka, Dickens, Whitman, accompany her everywher...
  • Sara
    The title almost makes it sound like a how-to manual, but it's anything but. She begins by describing how her childhood daydreaming gave way to adult self-improvement and achievement and to-do lists. After her husband died, and she had her first panic attacks, she remembered how she enjoyed a more Montaigne-inspired existence as a child, 'wasting her life to find it.'It's true it's not a linear narrative, but she states that is not her intention....
  • SabirSultan
    I love Patricia Hampl's work. I have since I was a freshman in college and read her essay, "Of Memory and Imagination." And, I love the "The Art of The Wasted Day."As I was reading this book, I found myself marveling at the review blurbs on the jacket. How to sum up the worlds contained in this .. this memoir, travelogue, love letter to her deceased husband? How do you sum up something that felt infinite in a few sentences? On a surface level the...
  • Paul Kelly
    Ever since I retired, I have struggled to leave behind my desire to "be productive", "useful" and "busy" and just be able to, as Blaise Pascal said, "sit Quietly in a room alone". The title of this book intrigued me as a "how to" guide to relaxing in my dotage. While the author did provide examples of successful "retirees" (Gregor Mendel, Montaigne, Whitman, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler), they were buried in an avalanche of self indulgent ph...
  • Oliver Badman
    I loved this book, highly recommend it, beyond it's anti-self help title the book does what it preaches, a demonstration of the way thoughts connect, obliquely or obviously, in a way that is fundamental to our experience of reality. Overall it serves as high-concept comfort-food for the person who's in the passenger seat of life's ever-accelerating car."Life is not a story, a settled version. It's an unsorted heap of images we keep going through,...
  • Polly
    I kept waiting for this book to start, if you know what I mean. Once I realized I was halfway through, I felt some disappointment that it was more meandering and rambling than the fanciful and whimsical book I was expecting considering the title.
  • Christine
    What is a wasted day? How do we understand, appreciate, and often (unfortunately) overlook the value in leisure? In The Art of the Wasted Day, Patricia Hampl explores her sense of leisure through memory and pilgrimage, conversation and contemplation. I loved her meandering reflections on reading and writing, love and loss, daydreams and Michel de Montaigne's study of the self. Along the way, I learned about the Irish ladies who retired to Wales, ...
  • Adam Barr
    Expertly written, flowing rumination on the notion of ease versus work versus productivity -- with an eddy of gain, loss, and love. What do we make with a life, and is toil the only -- or even the best -- way?
  • Randy Evans
    You Wrote This For MePatricia Hempl, your beautifully-written memoir has helped me in such a deep way, I have difficulty finding words to express my gratitude. I have wasted my life seeking accomplishment, even after the death of my wife, and the end of my business career. I plan to spend today and every day walking in the fresh air, reading lots of good books, writing what the world presents, singing, chanting, and praying silence, messing aroun...
  • Davina
    This book was a bit more philosophical and loosely constructed than I anticipated after reading and loving The Florist's Daughter. Maybe I could not get myself in a quiet enough headspace to appreciate it, but this was a slog for me.
  • richard
    I am turning my retirement into leisure time, raising it to an art form. Parts biography, memoir, travelogue, primer on writing, philosophy. I liked this book.
  • Amanda
    This was a Goodreads win for me and I really enjoyed the perspective of the author. While parts of the book are a bit slow, I did like it.
  • Gloria
    This book of observations contrasting the too busy world with the value of stepping off the treadmill is intellectual and a bit dry accordingly, but also offers plenty to ponder.The author is a well-traveled professor who grew up in the 1960s, inhaled literature, and studied music seriously. She is an introvert who loves solitude, yet keeps an intimidating to-do list going at all times. Her fascination with great thinkers takes her all over the w...
  • Sharron
    Elegant, thoughtful prose compensates for a loosely structured work.
  • Birgitta Hjalmarson
    An essay, or so my dictionary says, is "a short piece of writing on a particular subject." In Michel de Montaigne's case, the subject was ostensibly himself. And so he invented a genre, the personal essay, one that Patricia Hampl practices too. The Art of the Wasted Day is a memoir and travelogue. Hampl journeys to Moravia in search of Gregor Mendel, the 19th-century monk, whose research on peas would revolutionize science. She pursues two Irish ...
  • Ruthmarie
    Intelligent, moving, evocative, elegant, what more can I say? Patricia Hampl is always a must-read. I must have missed the lesson in The Baltimore Catechism that daydreaming is a sin, but it was nuns (from the same school as Hampl) who taught me to dream/daydream and who encouraged my reveries by providing me with the readings and the music to do so. Clearly they fostered this in Hampl too, or even more so, and she shines because she shares. Ever...
  • Linda
    With references to Montaigne throughout, the author examines the essay form as a tool of reflection, of imagination, of daydreaming--processes that demand patience and a letting go of agendas and to-do lists. She visits the Lake District in England, Czechoslovakia, and France in search of friends and historical figures who have mastered the art of living reflective yet fulfilled lives. People simply love living, being alive. I'm reminded of Dicki...
  • ELK
    I loved this book, but it took a strong will to keep my mind from constantly wandering off the page. The Art of the Wasted Day is unapologetically long-winded and vague. Reading it feels like reading a long, long journal entry. Or at least a very heavily researched long journal entry. It is an interesting combination of literary and personal. And it rewards patience and persistence, but in a small, quiet way.
  • Sharon
    I never really “connected” with “The Art of the Wasted Day.” I truly enjoyed Ms Hampl’s lovely use of language - much was lilting and poetic - and I found myself looking for the tender memories of her husband that she dropped in gently here and there. However, I was not persuaded by her examples that the retired life was worthwhile or to be sought after.
  • Victoria
    3.5*** A nifty intellectual reflection on the joy of daydreaming. Fully read some chapters, skimmed thru some.
  • Kris Lundgaard
    A joyful read.
  • Julie
    Hampl gives multiple examples from history and literature of why a day spent in solitude and deep thought is one that is never wasted.
  • Joan
  • Tycelia
    Gave up on this one-- I kept reading but I just could not become intrigued by what this woman had to say & found myself skipping through the pages.
  • Kelsey
    Hard to finish this one. Didn't really catch me personally, but at the same time, it was well written.