Just in time for the end of summer and back to school, more pieces about the virtues and challenges of boredom.
My friend Martin Schwirn points out this piece by Lyn Lenz about how the desire for fulfilling idle days, and the demands of programming a full summer, conflict:
I love the idea of summer. I love the idea of pool days with my kids, watermelon on the patio, building secret forts in the attic during rainstorms, and spoiling our dinner with ice cream. But the reality of summer is altogether something else. The reality of modern summers is an inane slog of scheduling sitters, negotiating work time with my husband, begging grandma’s to babysit, purchasing pool passes, museum passes, and whatever other pass seems appealing at the time. Then, there are camps. This year, my daughter’s teacher suggested three different academic camps for her to attend and the school sent her home with a summer workbook. She’s six.
Then there’s this long New York Times Book Review piece on “The Boredom Boom:”
Say you were bold enough to gather together seven of the recent or upcoming books about boredom. To stack the deck, say you were to do this gathering during a week of intense, attention-imperiling humidity — a week when, purely coincidentally, you’d just reached page 508 of “Moby-Dick,” and thus had arrived at a kind of sweet spot in your appreciation of lengthy descriptions of rope. Would you crack a single one of the boredom brigade open? Or would you soon be found desiccated and near-dead in your apartment, eyeballs dangling from their sockets?
Quietly asserting itself in books and personal essays since 2015, the “boredom boom” would seem to be a reaction to the short attention spans bred by our computers and smartphones. The words “boring” and “interesting” didn’t exist in English till the 1800s, a period when…
… Whoa, is that a candy-colored hula hoop on that book jacket?
The New York Times misses REST, but then again they already reviewed it, so that’s okay.