Reading Infinite Jest
One more try. My third attempt, not to try and finish but to get started.
To read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
As I’m typing this, I’m feeling that I’ve accomplished something; I’ve just crossed page number 100. Still 950 pages more.
But how? What has changed from the previous attempts?
I tried to introduce myself to David Foster Wallace (DFW) through Infinite Jest (IJ). Turned out to be a bad idea. So I read a couple of his other works; got myself used to his style, humor, rhythms, and his genius.
To scale the book: discipline, dedicated time and undivided attention is a must.
I created a goal of reading 10 pages of the book every day on Beeminder. It’s been two weeks and I’ve crossed 100 pages.
“10 pages a day” isn’t that less? Be my guest! Everything about the book is different and new.
The entire plot is a non-linear narrative, happening at multiple timelines, across different characters, across various sub-plots all built on a hidden theme(which according to the author is subjective). The book has 200-page footnotes at the end — on one occasion a footnote is 30 odd pages long — which is so crucial to the plot, so one cannot skip them as we normally do. In short, it is like the movie Inception on steroids.
As recommended by fellow DFW fans on the internet, I also carry around a companion/study guide(520 pages) written by Greg Carlisle on my phone to refer and to make sure I’m on the right track.
And did I tell you that the literary style is unlike you’ve ever read. The vocabulary, sentence structure, complex phrases, strange punctuations would warrant you to have linguistic conversations with your friends.
At the current page run rate, it would take another 3 months to finish the book. Hoping to finish it before the Indian summer. Will keep this entry updated.
Update: 10th Feb, Sunday.
Total Pages read = 160
The book is too heavy in its physical size, hands are getting stressed holding it for longer hours. Trying to listen to the book in its audio book version from Audible. One mustn’t read this book in the audio version; you would miss out on most of the amazing things like: Wordplay, brilliant sentences which you must read multiple times to understand and to enjoy, mysterious punctuations and not to mention footnotes.