Hooliganism: The Future of the Novel

Bookish Hooliganism is, true to form, an irregular feature in The Book Hooligan where I talk about the world of books, a world that I really love. This feature come and goes. It is in no way daily, weekly or monthly. It just is.

I have been browsing the internet for things about Philip Roth since, while reading EverymanI have this feeling that he will be one of the authors who I will like and, even love, in the future. It is then, while searching, that I came upon this article about Roth’s statements with regards to the future of the novel. Here is the video of his statements:

In the video, Roth says that reading novels will become a niche hobby in the future. He says that people will eventually tire of reading novels because of the amount of concentration and dedication necessary is far too great when compared to other forms of entertainment like movies or television shows where a lesser degree of attentiveness is necessary in order to enjoy the narrative. Then, in the next video, another potential favorite author of mine, Paul Auster, counters with his own thoughts. Here’s the video:

In the video, Auster comments that Roth is wrong because people will never tire of reading because we humans like to consume stories. He also adds that the novel is an ever-changing art form that can adapt to the demands of the public. Technology can help it and the people will keep on consuming.

Well, here’s my own two cents. I think that Roth is exaggerating his fears about the decline of the novel. Here in the Philippines alone, there are more people who read novels of varying genres as compared to ten years ago. You just have to look inside bookstore to know that the current generation is consuming books like hotcakes and it seems that the trend will not change anytime soon.

Also, in my opinion, novels and movies/television shows are not in competition, at least not yet, for the attention of the people since the public can always find time to juggle multiple sources of entertainment in their free time. I am a testament to this fact as I can consume vast amounts of novels, movies, and television shows in my free time without any medium suffering.

In summation, I think Roth have unfounded fears regarding the death of the novel. He being a prolific writer, with more than 20 novels to his belt, is proof that the novel is well and alive. So with this battle of two literary heavyweights’ opinion regarding the future of the novel, I have to side with Auster’s opinions on this one.

How about you, dear reader? What do you think about the future of the novel?

P.S. Isn’t it awesome that Auster does not own a computer or even a cellphone? That is, I think, badass in a Luddite sort of way. It reminds me of Cormac McCarthy who still uses a typewriter when writing.

4 Responses to “Hooliganism: The Future of the Novel”
  1. I agree with Auster, but I still have to watch that video at home because I’m just sneaking here from the office, haha. Technological advancements have indeed helped in increasing Filipino readership, but I’m not sure if this is a good thing. Attention span is admittedly becoming really short because of the conveniences that they bring, but reminding myself of the different book clubs here and there, we can be assured that novel readers are here to stay for a long time.

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