Getting down to business with David Foster Wallace

So it turns out that when you say publicly (on a blog, for example) that you’re going to do something, people often read your statement, remember it, and then actually ask you if you’ve done the thing you said you were going to do.

And so it was that over a lovely dinner late last week, a friend asked me about my progress with Infinite Jest, reminding me, “…you said on your blog that you were going to read it during your sabbatical”. Yes, yes I did. And now I have…started it, at least.  Again. Luckily I have good company and lots of resources from the incredible folks over at Infinite Summer, who undertook the task of reading, discussing and dissecting Infinite Jest back in 2010.

For people like me who love to read, the question of what to read is a constant challenge. There are few things that excite me more than walking out of a library or bookstore with an armful of books. The only thing that tempers that excitement is the realization, walking around said library or bookstore, that I will never be able to read everything.

As a result, I tend to cast a wide net, attempting to sample a little of this or that. One might say that I’m a bit promiscuous in my reading.

For example, in addition to Infinite Jest, the following books are currently sitting on my dining room table, courtesy of a recent trip to my local library: a small book about the Battle of Waterloo (“June 18, 1815: The Battle for Modern Europe”, in case you’re interested); the 800-page novel “Paris” by Edward Rutherfurd; and Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short”, about the stock market crash. And that doesn’t even begin to address the pile of books on or near my nightstand. Or the e-books queued up on my Nook.

But for now, for the foreseeable future, it’s me and David Foster Wallace. I’m putting those other tempting books aside and giving my full attention to the sprawling genius of this 981-page (not including end notes) creation. Time for some literary monogamy.

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2 thoughts on “Getting down to business with David Foster Wallace

  1. The German translation is about 1545 Pages including 134 Pages of footnotes. It tooks the translater six years to the Job. So i think you got the “light” version – at least concerning the pages. Following your Blog reminds me of the ideas which where reminded and thought in June. Thank you!
    Liebe Grüße Wolf

    • Did you read Infinite Jest in German or are you still working on Der Mensch und der Raum?
      Also, it makes me so happy to know you’re following along and continuing to read the blog – thank you! We had great ideas in June and I’m still hoping we can make them a reality…next summer? I miss you and send my best to you and your family!

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