Friday, February 06, 2009

Reading The Book

Reading Infinite Jest. A bit meta- at first but a good appreciation. (The Rumpus)

To begin, you need a dictionary, preferably the OED. Since countless characters hijack the narrative without warning, I’d recommend keeping a list of monikers to separate the Canadian wheelchair assassins from the recovering/persisting head-cases from the tennis prodigies. Wrist braces aren’t a bad idea. A working knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, grammar, physical education, video production, waste management, puppetry, media dissemination, the Twelve Steps, and Canada will go a long way. Finally, a Faulkner-Gaddis-Pynchon-like-patience is necessary, as in butt-in-the-seat-time to power through even what you don’t understand, what doesn’t seem like English, and what gives you a physical headache; just read the words, and they’ll invade some part of you that can absorb and translate and assimilate. Have faith. Persevere. DFW will slap you a couple of times to make you pay attention harder, because you’re saying, “I’m laughing too much; I’m crying too much”; you’re now facing the challenge of being too emotional to continue reading the book as you’re distracted and wiping tears away and recovering.

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