marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Waiting for the Weekend

Waiting for the Weekend by Witold Rybczynski

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.
Tags: history reviews: across eras, secondary source, world-building: economics

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