Book in Progress: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Title: Infinite Jestinfinite

Author: David Foster Wallace

Genre: Fiction

Published: 1995

Pages: 1088

I honestly cannot remember what possessed me to pick up this massive piece of literature and after reading the foreword by Dave Eggers, I am even more apprehensive to take on this dense work. After seeing on the Subway Book Review Blog last month that a subway rider was reading it as a committed summer novel, I gave in and put a copy on reserve at the library and lo and behold, it’s gigantic and takes up my entire work handbag! Lookout summer, you’re going to be ‘booked’ solid 🙂

I’ve constantly heard jokes about people starting this novel and never finishing it, maybe that’s where I feel the draw to read through it – a challenge of sorts. From the reviews of readers who have read the novel cover to cover, they were not disappointed. I have been surfing around the internet looking for some advice on how to read Infinite Jest – as to fully appreciate the content and method Wallace puts forward. Some of my favorites so far have been the following:

  1. Do NOT skip the footnotes – the 90+ pages are critical to the understanding of the story.
  2. Keep a dictionary nearby – On a Goodreads review, a reader compiled a list of all the words she did not know – the list was quite lengthy. A helpful resource to keep open in my tabs is the Infinite Jest Vocabulary Glossary. At least my vernacular will be quite improved.
  3. Multiple bookmarks – one for the main text, one for the footnotes, and one for where the story is chronologically.
  4. Keep others updated on progress made – expect this blog to have milestone blog posts! I will use this example as a way to get started – genius.
  5. CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORY – this will hopefully be me by the end of this summer, if not the year.

victoryNow enough of me stalling by writing this post, time to dive right in. Wish me luck!

Any words of advice for this masterpiece?

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