Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Top 10 books about boredom

Lee Rourke, the editor of the literary magazine Scarecrow and co-editor at 3AM Magazine, is the author of a debut collection of short stories, Everyday, published by Social Disease Publishing.

He named his top 10 books about boredom for the Guardian. Here is his introduction, followed by one item on his list:
"Boredom has always fascinated me. I suppose it is the Heideggerian sense of 'profound boredom' that intrigues me the most. What he called a 'muffling fog' that swathes everything - including boredom itself - in apathy. Revealing 'being as a whole': that moment when we realise everything is truly meaningless, when everything is pared down and all we are confronted with is a prolonged, agonising nothingness. Obviously, we cannot handle this conclusion; it suspends us in constant dread. In my fictions I am concerned with two archetypes only, both of them suspended in this same dread: those who embrace boredom and those who try to fight it. The quotidian tension, the violence that this suspension and friction creates naturally filters itself into my work."
* * * *
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

For me this simply has to be the definitive book on boredom. I sometimes forget I am breathing when I find myself lost in passages from it, so engrossingly beautiful are they to read. Pessoa realised that beauty can be found in the everyday, the non-spaces of work and the naked moments we spend sitting in caf├ęs looking out onto the street at passers-by. Those perfectly empty moments when we find ourselves waiting for absolutely nothing, until it's time to walk back to work or back to our homes for the evening. Pessoa's entire philosophical study of boredom is possibly the greatest poem ever written.
Read the full list.

--Marshal Zeringue