Book ’em and Throw Away the Cliff Notes

Yes, I am still reading Infinite Jest … slowly but with sufficient interest that I assuredly will finish it in the near future (well, in the future, at least). As always, though, I am reading more than one book at a time: Infinite Jest sits on my kitchen table where I can read a few pages while waiting for the water to boil or when slurping down a hot bowl of ramen. For the record, I have Dos Passos on my desk in my office, Vollmann next to my bed at night, and short story collections in each of the bathrooms. I was going to say I had Ford in my van but I have to be truthful and admit to a volume of Rilke’s poetry (the van is a Toyota anyway).

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Infinite Jest

Dave Eggers wrote the Forward to the most recent publication of David Foster Wallace’s best known tome, Infinite Jest. My copy of this book is late enough that the critical acclaim showered on the novel is acknowledged, but too early for such a forward as Eggers was commissioned to write.

And it is a good Forward: not too long but long enough to engage the reader with Egger’s personal experience reading Infinite Jest and also to suggest some of the strengths of the novel and its author. The Forward works well as a boost to anyone who has not read the novel: I recommend you read it in its entirety but, to the whet the appetite, I’ll include the beginning of the Forward. Those readers who have the older edition are invited to read the remainder of the piece while leaning against the shelves at your local Big Box Bookstore.

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