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Trouble with Brunch, The: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure Paperback – Jul 10 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Coach House Books (July 15 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1552452859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552452851
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 12.2 x 0.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #210,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"As Toronto grows into a more mature, more compelling city, a new group of non-academic, street-smart urbanists has emerged to appreciate it -- with-it young writers, architects and men and women about town who love big cities and see things in Toronto that most of us miss. Shawn Micallef is one of the sharpest of this sharp-eyed breed." -- Globe and Mail "A smart and intimate guide to the city that makes you feel like an insider from start to finish." -- Douglas Coupland [on Stroll]

About the Author

Shawn Micallef is the author of Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto and the co - editor of Spacing magazine. He teaches at the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design and was a 2011 - 12 Journalism Fellow at Massey College. He writes about cities, culture, architecture, art and politics.

Shawn Micallef is the author of Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto and the co - editor of Spacing magazine. He teaches at the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design and was a 2011 - 12 Journalism Fellow at Massey College. He writes about cities, culture, architecture, art and politics.


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Format: Paperback
In "The Trouble With Brunch," Shawn Micallef wonders whether consumerism truly satisfies the middle class. To explore this question, he asks another: do we actually enjoy going out for brunch? The author specifically analyzes the "creative class" through their adoration of brunch, a symbol of leisure time, money and the ability to waste the two of them on cholesterol-packed, over-priced and probably sub-par eggs Benedict.

Micallef uses economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen’s words to explain brunch as “a conspicuous consumption of goods, a leisure-class requirement.” But, with reverence to distressed furniture, chipped dishware and farm-origin menus, this consumption actually celebrates the working class. Ironically, patrons would never define themselves as such; everyone now identifies as middle class, rendering the term useless.

Micallef astutely and engagingly discusses the intricacies of brunch: how we use it to display freedom, how consuming it fits us nicely into a mould and how the brunch experience, no matter how extraordinary the establishment tries to make it, is always the same. At times though, the topic of brunch simply bookends a more relevant essay about the current state of class. Micallef describes the people in Windsor, Ont., where he grew up: mostly immigrants who worked in factories. These families all qualified as middle class but had a completely different mindset from those he now hobnobs with in Toronto, the creative class subset who perceive they have the freedom to eschew Wal-Mart and change careers over a cocktail.

Somewhat frustratingly, Micallef doesn’t provide any answers, instead urging readers to give serious thought to how we can use authenticity, class and leisure time to improve social interactions.
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Format: Paperback
It's a wonder that Micallef accomplishes so much in so few pages. That he deftly ties together class, status and leisure in just over 100 pages is not small feat. The beauty of Micallef's work is a self-consciousness that doesn't seek to denigrate others while making incisive critiques. The result is a book that is less about screed and more about promoting self-awareness of one's position in a world increasingly becoming economically stratified. It's one of the few books I've read in two short sittings, and I know I'll definitely return to it again.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent personal & political take on class aspirations, with a heaping serving of snark about lining up for brunch.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9de23e4c) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dce421c) out of 5 stars Brunch-related class struggle Dec 1 2014
By Joel Kramer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This isn't really a book about brunch, but is instead an updated look at Thorsten Veblen's ideas of the leisure class and conspicuous consumption seen through the lens of the "brunching class". Micallef asks what it means to be "middle class", especially in an urban environment, and how class warfare is still alive and well in our society but buried at the unspoken bottom of discussions of gentrification, farmer's markets, big-box-store encroachment, the overlap of work and leisure, and what it means to be able to spend an entire morning paying too much for eggs and mimosas. Should it mean anything? Micallef argues that yes, it should, and forces people in the brunching class to take a good look at themselves and the way they are shaping the class warfare narrative. This was a short read, but interesting and thought provoking.
HASH(0x9dce44a4) out of 5 stars The one way it thoroughly succeeded for me was inspiring me to find better texts on each of those ideas June 27 2015
By Vincent Frisina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The premise was intriguing and every now and again the author touched on a legitimate criticism of hipster foodie culture, but too often he fell back to anecdotes of industrial life in Windsor and how much less authentic the Toronto creative class is. There are real issues to explore in foodie culture, the high status but low security of the modern creative class, and authenticity as a class signifier, but this book barely scratched the surface as it jumped from anecdote to unsupported claim. The one way it thoroughly succeeded for me was inspiring me to find better texts on each of those ideas.


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