Boredom and the Novel

In this lecture David Shields talks about his latest book, Reality Hunger. Why should you care? Well…. are you bored of novels? Are they just not worth your time? Do you wish they were? David Shields feels the same way. In his lecture Shields argues for at least three things:

  1. The most exciting work is genre defying work. 
  2. Art is theft. So steal.
  3. The best work plunges us into existential doubt.

He says that non-fiction is more closely related to the novel than one might think and that the novel may be dead. He tries to redefine what non-fiction is. He argues for a new kind of book, “an alternative to what is typically written”— one that actually relates to our current cultural conditions.

My favorite quote from his lecture:

“Writing is unbelievably important….I think we are existentially alone on the planet. I can’t know what you’re thinking and feeling, and you cant know what I am thinking and feeling. And writing at its very best is a bridge that we construct to cross that abyss of human loneliness… to me writing is an unbelievably serious project. It  actually connects human beings as well– perhaps better than any other human activity…. because in my view the best work does nothing less than show how the writer solved being alive.”

QOL: human, meaning and truth


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