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Conservative commentators have long bemoaned the proliferation of “studies” fields in the university. Women’s and gender studies are well known, but now students can take courses in topics as unusual as “surf studies” and “fat studies.” Given all the boring lectures that undergraduates have endured throughout the ages, it’s amusing to note that this list now includes “boredom studies,” for which there is even a journal—the Journal of Boredom Studies. Anyone who has ever attended an academic conference will find some humor in its call for papers: “Submit a proposal for the 5th boredom conference.”

Much of this literature runs to the mundane or quantitative, but Kevin Hood Gary’s insightful book reflects his immersion in theology, philosophy, and literature. This is really a book about liberal education, as indicated by its subtitle: “Education, Leisure, and the Quest for a Meaningful Life.” If boredom is the problem, Gary argues, then the solution is learning how to be leisurely, in the classical sense.

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