I finally did it. On October 12, 2011 I finished Infinite Jest. All 981 pages of main text and 96 pages of end notes.
The first time I purchased the book was in 1999 at the Borders in State Street in Santa Barbara. I don’t even remember what made me purchase the book — Did I already hear of David Foster Wallace or was this just a random selection that I was and still am prone to do? And I started it. Then stopped. Put it down. Restarted it. Put it down again. Got to page 610. Put it down. On and on and on.
Several months ago I finished Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon and was looking for a new challenge. I actually finished Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality Vol. 1, another book I had abortingly read over the years. But it wasn’t that satisfying really.
Just on a whim I decided to pick up IJ again, and today I finished it.
I really enjoyed the book. I really really loved it. (I know, this is great analysis and all, but I am writing this less than an hour after reading the sentence, “And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out.”)
But I’m not going to lie. It is a tough book to read. There are some sections that require a lot of dedication and concentration. I found the best soundtrack to read the book to is Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew or anything by Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Maybe that’s why I feel so invigorated by finishing the book. Hence the bad webcam pic of me fucking that copy of IJ I bought in Santa Barbara in 1999.
So I’m going to read something less challenging now. The new Chuck Palahniuk novel Damned is next.