“Infinite Jest” is perhaps the polar opposite of beach reading. It’s a heavy tome to begin with and you are going to want a comprehensive dictionary at hand while you read. It’s a disturbing book with DFW’s unique style of grotesque humor. I’m glad I read it but the thought of reading it again is daunting. The story and the way DFW tells it really messed with my head. Beware!
I read this book over about 3 months this past winter. I did not find it at all hard to read and actually wish that it was longer. It was that good. It was by far the best book I have ever read. I wish that I could un-read it and start again. Enjoy.
Coincidentally, I started reading “Infinite Jest” about a month ago and I’m halfway through. It had been sitting on my shelf for several years, intimidating me. When Wallace died last year I made up my mind to dive in. I had approached it as a commitment and now it’s a true pleasure. It’s unbelievably funny and easily one of the best books I’ve read in the last five years or more. I don’t want it to end and when I’m done I’m probably going to cry.
Strangely I was just thinking I wanted to get that book from the library. I don’t know what compelled me. I had a tentative plan to read as many of Saul Bellow’s novels as I could get my hands on this summer. But I’m in for Wallace. Possibly as well.
i commend you all… i started this book several years ago, and got so bored that i never got past half-way. i confess that i was not a fan of his writing style at all, so picking it up again would be a challenge, but i will have to consider it…
“I’m interested, but can someone tell me why I should devote so much time to this big book? If I’m going to tackle one so fat and perplexing, wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to read Ulysses by Joyce?”
It’s not a vegetable, or a bowl of total. You don’t have to examine the spine to see which one has more niacin. Just pick the one you’ll think you’ll enjoy more. Sample both before deciding, if you like. One life is too short to read all the great books in the world.
I’m reading IJ on my Kindle 2, which I thought was kind of cheesy at first, but you have the dictionary built in and you can jump right to the end notes, and you can make your own notes. I think DFW and Kindle are a good match.