Sunday, June 21, 2009

Infinity and beyond

So there’s this book, and it’s l-o-n-g. Like, uh, almost 1000 pages. Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, and I guess, I mean I know, people are getting little groups together and planning to read all of it this summer. The whole thing, all 981 pages. Weirdos.

My son, Edge (yes, that’s his real name, what of it?) asked me if I’d heard anything about it and if I’d want to read it with him. I had heard, and figured those people making all those big plans must be unemployed college students, ‘cause really, who else has time to even think about reading a book like that on a schedule? I know I don’t. No siree. I’m busy.

But then, just like that, my brain turned to mush (which is not exactly a positive development when you're about to read a 20 lb. book). You see, it’s super important to me to seem hip and cool to my newly adult son----ummm, what I mean is, it’s ultra important to me to find common interests that I can use to strengthen our relationship, no matter the already precarious state of my sanity, which is why I know you will understand when I tell you that I have decided to throw caution to the wind and take the Infinite Jest Summer Challenge.

The other books I’ve been reading aren’t really working out anyway. The Real Benjamin Franklin is boring me to death; it’s our book group selection this month. You know, few years ago I read the Franklin biography by Walter Issacson and I liked it a lot, but this one feels like it’s written at a 6th grade level and it’s killing me. Killing me!! (Have I ever mentioned that I’m kind of a book snob? I am. Big deal. Everyone should have standards and book group or no, summer is too short to spend it reading boring books. I learned that from Oprah.)

I’ve also been reading A Brain Wider than the Sky; a Migraine Diary, by Andrew Levy. I like it quite a bit, but I seem to get more migraines in the summer than I do in the other seasons and reading about auras while seeing them is not as much fun as one might think, so I’m going to save this one for fall.

I’ve never read anything by David Foster Wallace so this afternoon I downloaded a short story “Shipping Out”. It’s not bad. Somewhere I read compared him to Vonnegut, but so far, I don’t think so. Whew. Nothing personal, maybe I just had a bad experience with Vonnegut, I’ve only read Breakfast of Champions, but it made me feel like the butt of a joke. Like maybe someone was sitting around the corner laughing their head off that I was reading it. For all I know Mr. Vonnegut was a perfectly nice man with a great (by great I mean “normal”) sense of humor, I just don’t want to spend the next 3 months reading a book that makes me feel like the main character in an elaborate prank.

Thank goodness I don’t go off on tangents.

Anyhow, the point is we’re doing it. 75 pages a week, plus footnotes. 75 pages a week is pretty doable, unless it gets really weird or boring, then I might have to rent the movie or something (just kidding! Sheesh, you people will fall for anything.). Here’s a link to the schedule if you’d like to join us (you know you want to). I’m going to post updates/summaries on Sundays, mostly to keep myself on schedule. It would be so embarrassing to have to tell you I’ve gotten behind, especially now that I’ve told you that I’m a giant book snob who doesn’t like Vonnegut. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not that any of that matters anyway, what matters here is that I am the best mom ever, right? Right?

1 comment:

Karen said...

I'm going to go read my Better Homes and Gardens magazine ... cover to cover. YOU WIN!