Infinite Summer

It looks like one of my summer projects will be trying to complete last summer’s failed read-through of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The book represents one of my most personally embarrassing acts of hubris. I had heard that there were bloggers a few summers ago that read through the book in a group. I read that there was a lot of attrition in the group, and like a fool, assumed it was because professional bloggers lacked the mental energy and sustained focus to read the 1000+ page book.
I made it to page 66.
To be fair, that number does not include the copious endnotes that pepper the book. In fact, it was one such section–a catalog of the fictional films of James O. Incandenza, Jr.–that led me to give up. I knew that I wanted to read the book well (ex. reading every word/every page) but it reminded me of the (and here I’m showing that I’m a Reed College student) catalog of ships from The Iliad.
I’m reading the book mostly on my phone, and it struck me how perfect e-reader technology is for Wallace’s fiction. The endnotes become much less annoying when they’re hyperlinked across the document. Wallace’s fairly catholic vocabulary can quickly be decoded with the built in dictionary and Wikipedia functions.

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