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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Ennui to Go: The Art of Boredom » User review

Amusing Yourself With Ennui

  • Nov 1, 2010
I found this to be a surprisingly meaningful and entertaining look at what is arguably the most boring topic of them all: boredom itself. I've read many collections of trivia and notable quotations, and have become a bit weary of the genre. Many such books pay little heed to coherence and thematic integrity, and feel rather haphazard and random in their choices of the included material. Even the ones that are organized around a theme oftentimes come across as little more than a casual assortment of uncorrelated musings on a loosely defined theme. In "Ennui To Go" Jon Winokur seems to achieve the impossible: make boredom interesting. His thoughtful introduction and carefully arranged thematic section suggest someone who had deeply and thoughtfully thought about ennui in all its manifestations. Granted, some of the quotes and material that has been included come across as only tangentially relevant to the topic of ennui, but a bit more thought reveals some subtle and unforeseen connections.

I find the best way of reading this book to be by randomly opening a page and going over whatever is presented there. The book provides some amusing material for those situations in life when you are not going anywhere, and yet don't have the time to read something of a substance - dentist's waiting room, hairdresser, bathroom, etc. It could also be used as an inexpensive gift, especially to someone to whom you are not-too-subtly trying to convey a certain message. However, if you decide to use it as a gift you better prepare yourself for an outcome that is anything but boring.

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About the reviewer
Bojan Tunguz ()
Ranked #50
I am a benevolent rascal. I love lounging in bed on a Sunday morning. Rainy days make me melancholy, but in a good kind of way. I am an incorrigible chocoholic. I hate Mondays, but I get over it by Wednesday. … more
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About this book


The Romans called itTaedium vitae,"the tedium of life," and Nietzsche described it as "that disagreeable, windless calm of the soul." By whatever name it’s known, ennui has reached epidemic proportions. The good news? Ennui causes all sorts of fascinating behavior — and lots of terrific quotes collected in this surprisingly fun book. They range from Louis XV’s "What would life be without coffee? But then, what is it even with coffee?" to Oscar Levant’s immortal "So much time, so little to do." Contributors include Gore Vidal, M. F. K. Fisher, Eddie Murphy, Andy Warhol, Fran Lebowitz, and many others.
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ISBN-10: 157061444X
ISBN-13: 978-1570614446
Author: Jon Winokur
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Date Published: August 29, 2005
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