Hanging Out

A smart and funny manifesto about the simple art of hanging out and how our collective social experiences can be transformed into acts of resistance and solidarity, from a brilliant young feminist critic.

Almost every day it seems that our world becomes more fractured, more digital, and more chaotic. Sheila Liming has the answer: we need to hang out more.

Starting with the assumption that play is to children as hanging out is to adult, Liming makes a brilliant case for the necessity of unstructured social time as a key element of our cultural vitality. The book asks questions like what is hanging out? why is it important? why do we do it? how do we do it? and examines the various ways we hang out — in groups, online, at parties, at work.

Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time makes an intelligent case for the importance of this most casual of social structuresand shows us how just getting together can be a potent act of resistance all on its own.

Sheila Liming is an associate professor at Champlain College (Burlington, VT), where she teaches classes on literature, media, and writing. She is the author of two books, What a Library Means to a Woman (Minnesota UP, 2020) and Office (Bloomsbury, 2020), and the editor of one, a new edition of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence (forthcoming from W.W. Norton in 2022). Her essays have appeared in venues like The Atlantic, McSweeney’s, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, and The Point.

”Like me, you will thoroughly enjoy hanging out with this book. Jam-packed with eloquent and authentic testimony, it delivers many fresh insights on experiences that we might otherwise take for granted.” —Andrew Ross, author of Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times

”Readers will gain a new appreciation for their next get-together after reading this fascinating book and taking the author’s well written words to heart” Booklist

”[A] meditation on the value of spending idle time with friends, family, and strangers.” Kirkus Reviews