I read Infinite Jest one summer. I think it took me the entire three months. It has never taken me that long to read a book. Three weeks is a rarity.
It was my last summer up at college. Nearly all the other seniors had graduated. I had to stick around to take classes because I was missing a few credits that I needed to graduate. I was living with some frat boy-types. One time, I gave one of them a ride to pick up a girl who he was going to have sex with. He bribed me with a bunch of money so I wouldn't tell our other housemates how fat and ugly she was. He was really worried about that. He was a classy guy.
I didn't really do anything that summer besides go to class and read Infinite Jest.
I loved that book, but it wrecked me. It was mentally exerting and physically exerting (it is very heavy). After finishing, I never wanted to read David Foster Wallace again.
After finishing, I considered it one of my favorite books.
It is very odd to have a favorite book whose author you never want to read again.
And I haven't really, except an essay about Survival Research Labs in a cyberpunk anthology.
I'm not sure if I'd still consider it one of my favorite books. As the years progress, former favorite books are replaced by new favorite books. Sometimes I reread favorite books and I don't really like them anymore. I grow out of them.
Infinite Jest is the one (possibly former) favorite book of mine that I'm afraid of reading.
Part of that is because my taste in fiction has become less and less challenging since college.
I'm not sure why I still classify certain books as my favorites. It seems sort of juvenile.
I still cannot get David Foster Wallace's name right. I always call him David Wallace Foster. It sounds like it should go in that order for some reason.
He was a literary giant like Ernest Hemingway and Richard Brautigan. But those two authors took their lives year and years and years before I had ever heard of them.
David Foster Wallace feels like the lit community's Kurt Cobain to me.
This is huge.
This is fucked.
His suicide hits closer to home than any other suicide in existence besides the few people who I have known personally who did themselves in. I feel like he was one of us.
I guess I'll read some of his essays now. I think I'm too much of a pussy to handle his fiction at the moment.
I wish we could take away feelings of depression from people like David Foster Wallace and give them to people who are a waste of space.
But maybe then these wastes of space would morph into writers and stand-up comedians.