Infinite Jest: The Beginning


Background for those who don’t know: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is a huge ass book. It is a book that people read so they can say they have read it. Some read it because they actually like the book, some have it just to say they have the book. So status symbol or actual love , it is a thing.

I probably got it to just have it, at first. In my head I had the intent to read it but it is a bit daunting. It has extensive footnotes that you need to read along with the novel. And it is, like I said before, a huge-ass book.

Three years after I got this book, I have picked it up and started reading. On the Kindle, not the physical copy.

First Impression

I am enjoying the book (about 40 pages done) and I am curious about what will happen next. I ascertain it is in a futuristic time line with these weird cartridges used to watch movies. He loves Canada, Toblerone (or doesn’t love it and needs to make a point. If so, then GOY). He loves talking pot and masturbation.

As my boo said:  It isn’t pretentious, it is dense. This is obviously from the mind of a guy who knows a lot and isn’t afraid to use it. Re-watching West Wing brings up the idea that people want us to be ashamed of our intelligence. To not seem pretentious or condescending. Knowing things isn’t wrong. It just is. As long as we are factual and don’t use it to make people feel bad, be proud of yourself.

I guess this is a humblebrag or straight-out brag but I am curious how someone who doesn’t have the variety of collective knowledge that I own, handle this book.  I know about 85% or more of the references and words in the book which makes trying to navigate the rest of the language and the story easier. I do look up words and references which is why using the Kindle is easier than the book– I only need the iPad to easily get to the footnotes and there is a built in dictionary which is able to define most things and a link to Google for the rest.

I find that I do have to carefully read each word and sometimes read passages multiple times.  As a skimmer who uses that to read fast, it is a bit frustrating that this book will take me longer because I have to read everything. Stomps foot.

I was tipsy when I started reading and I feared for a moment that I could only be tipsy when reading this book. Which made me think of  months as an alcoholic trying to absorb this book. Mamma loves Gin but I don’t loooooove Gin. I found this morning when reading the book, sober, I was able to enjoy and absorb its meaty goodness. Crisis adverted. But it was fun reading it tipsy. A light recommendation unless you are on a plan then ignore me.

My simple summary so far is that I will keep with it and hope that I will be a person that truly loves the book or discards it. I am trying not to be a person that owns something just to say that I own it. A book is made to be read not as an indicator of potential intelligence.

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