Inspired by Pierre Bourdieu's observation that practice is not in time but makes time and Michael Flaherty's concept of time work, this article explores temporal aspects of the use of literature in contemporary Denmark and describes how reading allows readers to manipulate their experience of time. The main part of the article focuses on cultural norms and readers’ expectations in relation to reading time, while the last, shorter part discusses the structuring temporal effects of a literary text, such as presence, narrative, and endings. The article concludes that time is not just a practical issue to consider (when and where to read), or just something to work on through reading (e.g., changing a boring time into flow time). Texts also affect the readers’ sense of time; that is, agency lies in the literature read as well as the reader. The empirical data are drawn from extensive ethnographic fieldwork (mainly qualitative interviews) in different social and geographical contexts in Denmark from 2014 to 2019. The article contributes to empirical reading studies by exploring everyday reading as a practice in and of time.

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