Shirley, You Jest…

And stop calling me Shirley!

Read from October 13, 2012 to May 28, 2014 (Holy Cow, that’s like almost 2 years to read this).

I finished this Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace as the 32nd book of the year. My goal was to read 32 books, and since I was so far ahead of the curve, I chose this as the last book. I am going to read more books this year, but last year I tried to finish this book and almost missed my goal. Also, I had to keep renewing it at the library and then I had to pay a lot of fines. Now, I am going to exceed my goal of 32 books for the year, obviously, but anything from here on to December 31st, 2014, is icing on the cake.

I feel a sense of accomplishment and validation. It is like finishing Moby Dick. Or Ulysses by James Joyce. Or the entire Bible, in King James Version. I have read all of these books and also now I have finished Infinite Jest. I guess Proust is next, but at least that counts for 9 books instead of just one. Infinite Jest was a lot of fun for me. I enjoyed it, and it wasn’t just because I could say I have read a really long and difficult book. I enjoyed every step of the journey, long though it was. May 28th is now a very auspicious date in my calendar: the day I finished Infinite Jest. I am going to write a review of it, but there is a lot to mull over. If I were Siskel and Ebert I would give it two thumbs up. The bottom line is that this was a great book and it deserves its place on the shelf of classic modern literature.

10/27/12     page 126
11.0%     “I am using two bookmarks because there are so many footnotes.”
11/07/12     page 200
18.0%     “This book was overdue and I owe $3. I need to finish it.”
12/15/12     page 200
18.0%     “There is no way I am going to finish this book before 2013. I am trying to make my goal. I will finish this book in 2013, but instead of 36 books, maybe just 31?”
12/19/12     page 200
18.0%     “This book is on hold because it is over a thousand pages and I need to read 3 more books this year. Next year my goal will be 31 books plus this one. 32 books. I am counting it as 5 books.”
01/03/13     page 275
25.0%     “My goal is 55 words a day. Finish in 15 days. Then I will set my goal for the year at 32 books.”
01/12     page 299
27.0%     “I had to return this book to the library but I will check it out again. I took some notes on a chapter that was really good. It started to come together in a scene between Hal Incandenza and his brother Orin where Hal is clipping his toenails, in the zone, when his brother calls him to ask about the death of their father. So much is going on here and it really all starts to come together in this chapter.”
04/06     page 489
45.0%     “I had to return this book to the library but I will check it out again. I took some notes on a chapter that was really good. It started to come together in a scene between Hal Incandenza and his brother Orin where Hal is clipping his toenails, in the zone, when his brother calls him to ask about the death of their father. So much is going on here and it really all starts to come together in this chapter.”
04/12     page 555
51.0%     “I like reading this book. One character is Don Gately who is a drug addict in rehab. It started off following him but he drove by a different location and the action switched to that location. I think all of the different characters will connect at some point, it is becoming obvious, but this is an unexpected twist. The AA stuff is kind of interesting, and I am starting to like this Don Gately character.”
01/13     page 555
51.0%     “I think I am actually a little further than that. I wrote page numbers on a bookmark. Got a paperback edition, brand new, from Nancy for Christmas. Russo’s Books is closing but therefore it was on sale. Silver Lining.”
01/23     page 644
59.0%     “Reading it after a long hiatus. Character who is a federal agent in disguise as a woman tells other agent in wheelchair about his father who became obsessed with MASH.”
05/21/14    page 699
64.0%     “I was thinking of writing a mission statement and lo and behold I find that Hal Incandenza pretty much summed it up here, or at least the narrator did. Thanks, Dave Wallace.”

Apr 06, 2013 05:09AM

Chris Craddock:

I am enjoying this book at the halfway mark. There were some really great passages where you could start to see the method to DFW’s madness. I think that there was a scene where Hal was clipping his toenails and talking to his brother Orin on the phone. It was like the guy who spun the plates on The Ed Sullivan Show. There were a lot of stories going on, and it takes skill to keep all the plates spinning at once.

 

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