The Art of the Wasted Day Audiobook, by Patricia Hampl Play Audiobook Sample

The Art of the Wasted Day Audiobook

The Art of the Wasted Day Audiobook, by Patricia Hampl Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Patricia Hampl Publisher: Penguin Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 6.17 hours at 1.5x Speed 4.63 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: April 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9780525529750

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

74:33 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

11 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

45:49 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Publisher Description

A spirited inquiry into the lost value of leisure and daydream The 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 the monk-geneticist, Gregor Mendel, and finally to Bordeaux for Michel Montaigne--the hero of this book--who retreated from court life to sit in his chateau tower and write about whatever passed through his mind, thus inventing the personal essay.  Hampl's own life winds through these pilgrimages, from childhood days lazing under a neighbor's beechnut tree, to a fascination with monastic life, and then to love--and the loss of that love which forms this book's silver thread of inquiry. Finally, a remembered journey down the Mississippi near home in an old cabin cruiser with her husband turns out, after all her international quests, to be the great adventure of her life.  The real job of being human, Hampl finds, is getting lost in thought, something only leisure can provide. The Art of the Wasted Day is a compelling celebration of the purpose and appeal of letting go. Cover Illustration © 2018 Peter Sis

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“What makes this audiobook remarkable is Hampl’s performance—gentle and wise, along with a dash of wry humor and an edge of melancholy…She travels and learns about her inspirations—two ladies who retired together to read and garden in Wales, a monk at Brno, and writer Michel de Montaigne, who popularized the personal essay. Throughout, Hampl weaves in sweet memories of her husband with a wistful and dreamy tone…Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

— AudioFile 


  • “The Art of the Wasted Day is literary art in and of itself…Hampl invites readers to take a journey to explore the idea of a life steeped in leisure without schedules.”

    — Washington Post
  • “A wise and beautiful ode to the imagination.”

    — Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “About how rich life is when one focuses, at least part of the time, on being rather than on doing…It’s about being still, being aware, about seeing what is in front of your eyes, about being open to what one thinks and remembers and feels.”

    — Chicago Tribune
  • “A sharp and unconventional book—a swirl of memoir, travelogue, and biography of some of history’s champion day-dreamers.”

    — NPR


  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About Patricia Hampl

Patricia Hampl is the author of several books, including A Romantic Education and The Florist’s Daughter. Four of her books have been named Notable Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Granta, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. She has received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, Bush Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and Djerassi Foundation. She teaches in the English MFA program at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.