Books

The Book of Idle Pleasures

Dan Kieran (and others)

The Book of Idle Pleasures is a restorative gift book for the stressed out, tired and hassled. An antidote to our non-stop culture, it is a welcome compendium of timeless delights.

The book lists and reflects on 75 simple pastimes and proves that the best things in life really are free: lighting fires, skimming stones, catching falling leaves, whittling, staring out of the window, dreaming, doodling or taking a nap. The Book of Idle Pleasures is a celebration of pleasure for its own sake in a world of consumer overload.

The Idler (Issue 40) Carnal Knowledge

Dan Kieran (and others)

Sex today seems too much like hard work. Magazines tell us we have to put more effort in and learn new tips. So how can we bring the playfulness back?

This issue of the Idler features an exclusive cover from Damien Hirst and an interview with Esther Perel, author of the best-seller Mating in Captivity. Michael Bywater condemns the rise of frantic sex. Neil Boorman asks whether he is the only one who's not doing it all day every day, and attacks the adman's commercialisation of sex. Jay Griffiths argues that the real spirit of Christmas is bawdy and raucous and naughty. Sarah Janes reveals her sex-dream diaries, and Nicholas Lezard wonders where all the fun went. We meet Kevin Godley of 10cc fame and feature new work from Gee Vaucher and Penny Rimbaud. With its mix of savage humour, warm wisdom, radical thought and uncompromising art, the Idler will amuse, instruct and help bring the pleasure back into everyday life.

The Idler (Issue 39) Lie Back and Protest

Dan Kieran (and others)

We are all agreed that there's a lot to complain about in contemporary society. Boredom, exploitation, an explosion of legislation and interference with our everyday freedoms: central government and big business seem to make life more difficult with each month that passes.

But do we really need to take to the streets to protest? Or would a more effective form of resistance be to take to our beds and quietly recreate our own lives? In this issue of the Idler, we reflect and philosophise on the notion of protest.

CORINNE MAIER interviews three French filmmakers making anti-work movies; we meet the brilliant history professor RONALD HUTTON. JAY GRIFFITHS writes on missionaries; JOHN NICHOLSON celebrates paradise; we ask whether there's any point in going to university and PENNY RIMBAUD reveals the meaning of life. Plus articles on the practical side of idling with advice on treehouse-building and beer-brewing.

The Idler (Issue 38) How to Save the World Without Really Trying

Dan Kieran (and others)

The Idler team believe that idleness is unjustly criticised in modern society when it is, in fact, a vital component of a happy life. This new issue of the Idler looks at man, nature and the earth and reveals that doing nothing is the only way to save the planet.

Richard Benson on growing a wild flower meadow
Noted Gaia scientist Stephen Harding on why we need to stop interfering with nature
On a Green Note The new folk movement by Will Hodgkinson
Alan Moore on the Green Man in history and legend
Cosmic Gardening Mark Manning is blown away by Rudolf Steiner
The One-Straw RevolutionThe legacy of Masanobu Fukuoka and his technique of "no-work farming", where you let nature take the strain
Growing Vegetables the Easy Way An idler's guide
John Michel on William Corbett
Ukulele Special All you need to know about the history of the uke, where to buy one, how to play it and why the uke is more punk than the guitar.

All this as well as tips for living the good life and full colour illustrations and photography throughout.

The Idler (Issue 37) Childish Things

Dan Kieran (and others)

This new issue of The Idler explores childhood and wonders whether today's kids are suffering from too much education, too many activities and too much interfering.

Childish Things features Bertrand Russell's essay on education and freedom, an attack on professionalism, a visit to Summerhill School, where lessons are optional, and a guide to childcare for the lazy by editor Tom Hodgkinson. There's an interview with Michael Palin, a man who has gone with the flow to great acclaim. You'll also find Nicholas Lezard on Samuel Beckett, John Michel on William Cobbett, new short stories, and biting satire and humour from Gwyn, Ian Vince, Adam Buxton, Tony Husband, Chris Donald and The Idler's own agony uncles, Bill Drummond and Mark Manning. And the ejected bass player from The Darkness writes from his French château.

All this as well as tips for living the good life, and full colour illustrations and photography throughout.

The Idler (Issue 36) Money Madness

Tom Hodgkinson

The Idler team believe that idleness is unjustly criticised in modern society when it is, in fact, a vital component of a happy life. In this new edition of The Idler, the team examine the way money and greed have taken over our lives and look at ways of escaping its clutches.

In Medieval times, prioritising money-making was seen as a sin. On their deathbed, usurers tried to pay back the money they had extorted so they would have a better chance of getting into heaven. Money was just a part of life, a means of exchange, rather than an end in itself. Then came the Protestant work ethic, which introduced the damaging notion that "time is money".

The Idler wants to reintroduce a fun-loving medieval attitude to life. The last issue looked at how to avoid work; now it looks at how to avoid consuming. You can also expect The Idler's characteristic blend of well-known writers, humour and art.

Biography

Tom Hodgkinson was born in 1968. His book publications include the bestselling How To Be Idle, which has been published in fifteen countries, and How To Be Free. Tom lives in Devon with his expanding family.