One of the items on my bucket list is to read Infinite Jest by David FosterWallace in its entirety, including the footnotes.
I have tried and failed this feat twice, both times in high school, and I’ve
kept this gargantuan novel of 1000+ pages on a prominent bookshelf. Every time I see the cover, I sense it’s
I am now on attempt #3 to read this novel. I am an adult, and not just
any adult, but one who teaches writing to adults at a collegiate level. Because of that, I believe myself to be
smarter and more capable of reading a dense, difficult novel than I was at 16. I may prove myself wrong.
Also, I downloaded it as a Kindle e-book to, yes, make it easier to hold in
my hands, but mostly to make it easier to read the footnotes. In previous attempts, flipping back and forth
between the main text and end notes interrupted my reading flow. But with the e-book, all I have to do is tap
the end note link to read the footnotes, and then tap again to go back to the
main text exactly where I left off. Also with an e-book, all I have to do is tap a word I don't know and get a dictionary definition. I have come across at least 8 words I don't know - two of which weren't listed in a dictionary.
My goal is to read at least 10 pages per day, which means it will take me
about two and a half months to complete.
I am now on page 75 and am remembering all of the reasons why I stopped
reading it the first two times. The
dense language, the unnecessary information that does not move the story
forward (nor is it, for me, interesting to read, like the dictionary
definitions of dozens of different kinds of drugs I have never heard of).
I am also remembering all of the reasons why I’ve kept it on my shelf for a
different day, rather than getting rid of it like I have so many other books
that I started and failed to read in their entirety. The large cast of quirky characters, the
mysterious video, and, for whatever reason, the existence of the Enfield Tennis
Academy, are luring me in despite the difficulty level of the prose.
If any of you plan to read this epic adventure, take a look at some advice on how to read it.
Have you ever read
Infinite Jest? Is it worth plugging along to the end? Or have there been other novels that you
tried and failed to read multiple times, but you’re not ready to give up on