Once I was in a very bad place, and also in the hospital, and I asked my mom to walk to B&N to buy me David Foster Wallace’s massive masterpiece Infinite Jest.
It kept me sane through three days in the hospital, and kept me awake at night for another month – which, at my faster-than-light speed of reading, is quite the feat. Try as I might, I could not devour it in a few sittings like I can with any other book. It was a novel that required digestion.
This summer has been declared Infinite Summer, which gives you an entire solstice-to-equinox season to read the book at a snailish increment of 75-pages a week.
As I understand it, your reading will be accompanied by encouraging blog pep-talks like this one from Kottke:
So sure, it’s a lengthy book that’s heavy to carry and impossible to read in bed, but Christ, how many hours of American Idol have you sat through on your uncomfortable POS couch? The entire run of The West Wing was 111 hours and 56 minutes; ER was twice as long, and in the later seasons, twice as painful. I guarantee you that getting through Infinite Jest with a good understanding of what happened will take you a lot less time and energy than you expended getting your Mage to level 60 in World of Warcraft.
Is that more or less haranguing than my Beatles screamo diatribe from last week? I think the Big K was meaner than me.
In any event, it’s a wonderful, maddening read, there are nifty bookmarks bearing the schedule, it makes a wonderful pillow and/or doorstop, and I might re-read it too if I can find a spare moment or two to read the second half of Outliers.