Infinite Book

20 Jan

I am about to begin reading David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest. Now, I pride myself on being a quick reader and a prolific one, but this book… well. Consider the evidence: the book is 1078 pages long and looks to be printed in something like size ten font. This website was created by a group of people who tried to read the book over a whole summer – to complete this task they had to read around 75 pages a week and finish the book before the time limit of 92 days. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Infinite Jest is an incredibly complex book – from the Wikipedia entry: “The novel touches on the topics of tennis, substance addiction and recovery programs, depression, child abuse, family relationships, advertising and popular entertainment, film theory, and Quebec seperatism”. To put this in perspective, the last novel I read touched on the topics of zombies, people being eaten by zombies, zombies being killed by people, and people eventually driving back the forces of zombies. This might be a little more complex a bedtime story than I’m used to.

But hell, I’ve read House of Leaves, and it’s hellishly long, too. In fact, House of Leaves is the reason I bought Infinite Jest in the first place. I refuse to be intimidated merely by a blockish papery object. I am the doyen of depressingly massive fiction. I am the lord of long literature. I, sir, am The Fastest Eye In The East. (Of The North Of England. Probably).

So, on this day, I make you all this one assurance. I will read Infinite Jest in less than 92 days. I think one of the Infinite Summer people finished with two weeks to spare, and you know what? I’ll beat her record, too. What’s more, I’ll be incredibly smug about it.

…aw, no I won’t. I bet I’ll never even mention it again. I’m looking forward to the challenge of reading a thousand-page book in one season, though. Maybe I’ll even get it done in time for my birthday (March 20th, for the stalkers). Afterwards, if I’m still sane, maybe I’ll (sigh) blog about it.

Now, this would all be difficult enough for my sanity without one recent stumbling block.

I have recently begun listening to ‘Atlas’ by Battles, on infinite repeat.

I may be gone for some time.

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6 Responses to “Infinite Book”

  1. laubrau January 25, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    Sir, I would like to challenge your standing as The Fastest Eye In The East Of The North Of England (probably).
    It’s on. How do we test this?

  2. Jack January 25, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    Whu-ju-bah-whaaa? You dare to pretend to my crown! I have killed men for less. Well, glared at them harshly, anyway. Um… I actually don’t have a clue how to test this. I kind of have my hands full with Infinite Jest, but I’m sure we could sort something out. What if we both went and bought a book that neither of us have read, of around 200 pages, read it in one sitting and videotape it? That’d be pretty definitive, I think.

  3. Jack February 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    Thought any more about challenging my self-proclaimed title? I just got through You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers, and the novel monkey’s on my back yet again. Or are you too scaaaared? *makes chicken noises, scratches in dirt, disturbingly lays a single egg*

  4. Laura March 1, 2010 at 12:07 am #

    Ah yes, your challenge sounds more than acceptable, but how will we know who has retained the information? There should be a test! Are tests fun? Is that what you kids like?

  5. Jack March 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Man, we need an impartial third party who’s read the book already… or we could just ask each other questions about it over IM or something. Also, we need to pick a book neither of us have read before. Any ideas?

  6. Laura March 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I’m liking the sound of the online interrogation. It’d be like a book club, but with an element of competition. And that is my favourite kind of book club.
    No ideas yet, but I will definitely be on the look out. I think it needs to have a consistent narrative though, because I have read a book of about 200 pages containing various Mr T and Chuck Norris facts, and my brain can only absorb so many.
    Mr T’s brain however is a different story.

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