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playanythingPlay Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom and the Secret of Games
Ian Bogost
(UK: Basic Books, 2016; USA: Basic Books,, 2016)

Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we’d ever call fun. But what if we’ve got fun wrong? In this book, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities. The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games.

Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today’s chaotic world can only be tamed – and enjoyed – when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.

Recommended by:
Christopher NorrisJolabokaflod Book Campaign

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom and the Secret of Games)
Available in the USA via Amazon (Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games)

isntthisfunIsn’t This Fun? Investigating the Serious Business of Enjoying Ourselves
Michael Foley
(UK: Simon & Schuster, 2016; USA: Simon & Schuster, 2016)

Michael Foley wants to understand why he doesn’t appear to be experiencing as much ‘fun’ as everyone else. So, with characteristic wit and humour, he sets out to understand what fun really means, examining its heritage, its cultural significance and the various activities we associate with fun. He investigates pursuits such as dancing, sex, holidays, sport, gaming and comedy, and concludes that fun is not easy, simple and fixed, as many seem to believe, but elusive, complex and constantly changing.

In fact, fun is a profoundly serious business – a range of new group rituals evolving in response to cultural developments, often motivated as much by spirituality as hedonism. Also, while fun is a modern phenomenon it turns out to have recreated many of the elements of early ritual. His findings will invigorate you with insights, make you laugh at life, and quite possibly help you to understand why the post-post-modern is actually the pre-pre-modern.

Recommended by:
Christopher NorrisJolabokaflod Book Campaign

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Isn’t This Fun? Investigating the Serious Business of Enjoying Ourselves)
Available in the UK via Amazon (Isn’t This Fun? Investigating the Serious Business of Enjoying Ourselves)