In the first part of the chapter I will review two contributions that I think help us to think critically about the politics of reading, the foundational work of Richard Hoggart and Michel de Certeau. Both have shaped fundamentally how we think about consumption. This will be followed by a critical discussion of reading formations and paratextuality. I will then use this work to further develop an argument around social practices of reading and the politics of utopian fiction. Within utopian studies the concept that comes closest to my argument is ‘the education of desire’, a concept formulated by Miguel Abensour (1999). Abensour was almost certainly drawing on part of a point made by William Morris, who writes of the teaching of desire and political organization as the two main components necessary to bring about radical change: ‘The means whereby this is brought about is first, educating people into desiring it, next organising them into claiming it’ (1984: 138). But he also writes of another form of education, what he called ‘the education of discontent’ (1979: 83). As he explained, ‘It is my business here to-night and everywhere to foster your discontent … [and] to help in educating that discontent into hope, that is into the demand for the new birth of society’ (74, 82).