What’s Your Dewey? 152.4 Boredom – a matter of perception

I’m bored… disconcerting but true. I am almost never bored! There is too much to do, to see, to think, to learn. We are used to children and teens being bored… constantly stating the fact, expecting their designated adult to rectify the situation. There are consequently many titles devoted to the ‘meaningful occupation’ of the young. I thought it might be interesting, if somewhat briefly, to see how many ways Dewey approaches the ‘I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do!’ lament. The most obvious response is in the the 790s where you will find titles on recreation.

200 Boredom Busters by Paul Scott aimed at children 8 years old and over, is what you might expect to find in a book designed to keep the young active and busy – the only problem is, while there is a lot to do, it still does not relieve this notion that boredom is some kind of beast to be conquered.

Busting boredom seems a popular theme – it appears consistently across many Dewey areas.  They include Boredom Busters for…  work, students, adults, older people, online and pets. They include activities in craft, the arts, in nature, travel, science and passive pursuits for older people. As such, they travel the Dewey range quite comprehensively. Below are a couple of such titles you can preview:

Boredom Busters for Birds: 40 Fun and Feather-Friendly Toys and Activities by Nikki Moustaki (636) Preview here: books.google.com.au

Busting Boredom with Experiments by Jennifer Swanson (520)
Preview here:  books.google.com.au

Despite all the great boredom busting  ideas an exploration of Dewey provides, there is, nonetheless, a sense of unfinished business with the topic. Fortunately, Dewey  accounts for that too. The 306s include a number of titles that tackle the topic of Boredom from a cultural perspective.

Working on the premise that ‘Life is a game’, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of games by Ian Bogost looks at the way we engage in play, the rules and boundaries that play creates, and the function of inactivity (non-play time) in everyday life. Bogost tackles the topic from both contemporary and historical perspectives, and from the first chapter insists that anything can be ‘coaxed into releasing meaning and pleasure and joy… no matter how seemingly boring or stupid or meaningless.’ While there are some interesting observations in this book, it still tackles the subject of boredom in the context of doing or not doing, and suggesting ways to capitalise on the downtime. You can preview the book here:  books.google.com.au 

In an attempt to unravel the essence of boredom, I sought other Dewey approaches and that led me to 152.4 where a more scientific (aka psychological) approach is provided.
In The Science of Boredom: the upside (and downside) of downtime by Dr Sandi Mann, the causes and consequences of boredom in our fast-paced modern world are explored. While acknowledging that boredom can have some very negative effects, Mann also discusses how boredom can be a catalyst for reflection, humour or inspiration. According to Mann, we should embrace not avoid it – also according to Mann, we need to invest in device free time to invite it!

Some authors not only encourage us to embrace boredom, but suggest ways we can turn it into an artful occupation – an oxymoron perhaps? Eva Hoffman in How to be bored, encourages the all-too-busy, success-orientated individual, to ‘relish inactivity’ and find meaning in doing nothing – an opportunity to explore the richness of our inner lives.

Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi is another title that encourages us to allow ‘our minds wander’ because that is where ‘we do our most original thinking and problem solving.’ In her introduction to this book, Zomorodi states ‘Creativity… needs a push, and boredom, which allows new connections to form in our brain, is a most effective muse.’ The book outlines a program for improving our capacity for boredom. The 7-stepped program includes reviewing digital and media access habits; fakeaction days that are photo-free and when electronic messages are ignored. You can take a look inside here: www.amazon.com

Disappointingly, the crux of my boredom blues  remain elusive in this broad but brief sweep of Dewey. Clearly there is much to say about boredom and clearly there are many approaches to the topic. While I have only skimmed the surface of the topic, I weary of it and can only conclude that boredom is a matter of perception.


Children’s Preschool Storytime

This week’s Preschool Storytime theme is DOGS
Join us for tomorrow at Evanston Gardens Library at 10.15 and enjoy stories, rhymes, songs and a simple craft to take home. No need to book, just come along and join in the fun!

How Does That Work? Your Next Great Read/Watch…

So you’ve just finished the last episode of Game of Thrones or the latest installment from Robert Jordan, Janet Evanovich or James Patterson and you’re looking for something else to borrow from the library.  How do you find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?  There are some great links that us library staff use when trying to suggest books, TV series or movies for our customers and I’ll list them below so you can use them to find your next great read or viewing.

Confused Lady

Fantastic Fiction is a brilliant fiction database for people trying to follow an author through their bibliography or get a series in the correct order.  Containing bibliographies for over 40,000 authors and information about 500,000 books means you should find what you’re looking for.  Get a complete list of titles by the author with book cover illustrations, information about the authors and author recommendations. Fantastic Fiction

Internet Movie Database is a huge database, bursting at the seams with information, links, videos and images of movies, TV series, animations, actors/actresses, directors and more.  Watched a series recently and thought you recognised an actress? Search the movie on here and you’ll get a list of characters/actors that are linked to their own biographies on the site.  It can get a bit like falling down the rabbit hole when one links leads to another and another and so on.  You can join the community to add reviews to movies and find lists of other community members recommendations to watch.  Check out when movies are set to hit the cinema or be released onto DVD or BluRay.  IMDB

Which Book Selector is a nifty little website that gives you options to set parameters then it’ll give you recommendations based on your input. Keep changing your settings and scroll through the lists to find something that piques your interest.  You can look through the created lists the website give as well.

And you can always check out the Gawler Library’s online catalogue for new book suggestions which scroll along under the search area and our blog here has many suggestions for non-fiction books from our What’s Your Dewey series.