"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Am I Keeping You Awake?

Interesting essay on boredom in the Times Book Review:

As a general state of mind, boredom is morally suspect, threatening to shine its dull light back on the person who invokes it. “The only horrible thing in the world is ­ennui,” Oscar Wilde once wrote, suggesting that boredom doesn’t feel much better in French. “That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness.”

And yet boredom is woven into the very fabric of the literary enterprise. We read, and write, in large part to avoid it. At the same time, few experiences carry more risk of active boredom than picking up a book. Boring people can, paradoxically, prove interesting. As they prattle on, you step back mentally and start to catalog the irritating timbre of the offending voice, the reliance on cliché, the almost comic repetitiousness — in short, you begin constructing a story. But a boring book, especially a boring novel, is just boring. A library is an enormous repository of information, entertainment, the best that has been thought and said. It is also probably the densest concentration of potential boredom on earth.

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1 Just Fair   ~  Jan 23, 2010 10:13 am

Yo, Alex. I've been reading Peter Dexter per your suggestion. Deadwood. Meh. Train I liked. Nearly done with Paris Trout which is my favorite thus far. What a bastard.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 23, 2010 2:22 pm

I wasn't able to get into DEADWOOD myself but I think that has to do with my natural aversion to westerns more than it does the writing. TRAIN is the only other one I haven't read. I really liked PARIS TROUT, couldn't put it down. It was relentless. For what it is worth, DEADWOOD, THE PAPERBOY and SPOONER are Dexter's personal favorites. Most are brutally dark. BROTHERLY LOVE is dark to the extreme. I think SPOONER is the funniest. Oh, and his book PAPER TRAILS that is a collection of his newspaper stuff is a fun read though I wasn't wild about the way the pieces were compiled.

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