Infinite Jest: Why spending a boatload of time on this difficult, frustrating book is worth it

The sixth time’s the charm!: Bookmobile manager, Seth Moses, finally made it all the way through Infinite Jest. It was worth the effort, he says.

A long standing favorite book of mine is David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I often hesitate to recommend it to people because it is long (1,079 pages!) and difficult (I started and stopped reading it five times before I built up enough momentum to finish it). But I’ve decided that it’s too good a book to not share it with all of you faithful library blog readers out there.

The novel’s action is split, some scenes taking place at a halfway house for recovering addicts and others revolving around activity at the nearby Enfield Tennis Academy. Canadian terrorists are also a prominent feature of the book. Numeric calendar years have been subsidized, with companies buying naming rights (The Year of the Whopper, The Year of the Trial-Sized Dove Bar, and on and on). If it sounds frenetic and weird, I can assure you that’s because it is.

Infinite Jest cover imageSo why read it? Why spend a boatload of your free time on something that is unarguably difficult, at times even frustrating (for me at least), where the author is still introducing new characters halfway through the book? I stuck it out in part because I was a fan of Wallace’s other work and in part because difficult work is often rewarding for me. The main reason why I plowed through the book on the sixth try though is because it is really good. It’s funny, entertaining, and deals with issues we can all identify with on some level. I love this book and hope you do too.

– Seth Moses, Bookmobile Manager

Top photo by Morgan Tippie Moses, MtM Photography

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