“That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That it is possible to fall asleep during an anxiety attack. That concentrating on anything is very hard work.”
Winter is coming. How would you like to spend it reading the masterpiece, Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. I’d like to invite you to join a community of like-minded people in reading the most intimidating book of the last twenty years.
Sounds pretty inviting, doesn’t it?
In case you know nothing about the novel, this is from the back cover:
Set in an addicts’ halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring one of the most endearingly screwed-up families in contemporary fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to dominate our lives, about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people, and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.
Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human–and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
What I want you to know is that David Foster Wallace wrote it in the late 90s and tapped into the zeitgeist of American consumer culture in a way that will make you uncomfortable. How do I know? Because it made me uncomfortable.
One of his most well-known moments in the book illuminates exactly that sentiment: “The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
It’s not too late to join us, and you don’t have to do anything except get your hands on a copy of the novel and ENROLL HERE.
If you follow the reading schedule, you’ll read fewer than 30 pages a day, which you know is my personal challenge for you, but with this kind of beast, it’s absolutely necessary to take it slow.
There are reader guides to lead the way, a Facebook page, and an online forum.
It’s rare that you are able to read this kind of challenging text in a community as engaged as this one.
Intellectual isolation is something we all face. Please don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Winter is coming.