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I don't think I was meant to read "Infinite Jest."

I have once again failed to read Infinite Jest.

It's one of those books I'm afraid to tag on Goodreads, since I don't want a little thing popping up every time I log in to remind me that I've technically been reading it for two years.  Listen... I know I'm failing at it.  I don't need you to remind me, buddy.


It's not that it's a long book.  I mean, it is long - notoriously, infamously, begrudgingly, ridiculously long.  Eleven hundred pages and something like 580,000 words.  It's longer than HP Lovecraft's entire bibliography, and I've been working on that thing since before Lulabelle was born.

But length isn't so much of a challenge for me, even though it does get tedious sometimes.  No, my problem is just that I don't get it.

I don't mean to speak ill of the dead - apologies in advance to any major David Foster Wallace fans who think it's in poor taste to criticize the man's work.  But I've gotta be honest: I haaaaaaaaate his writing so far.  Every paragraph is imbued with so much stuffy, overblown, overthought nonsense I just want to scream.  I get it, guy.  I get that you're Real Smart.  Can you just get to the goddamn point and tell your story already?

It's padded with more intelligentsia and haughty show-offy bullshit than a Wes Anderson convention - and I like Wes Anderson.

Reading this book makes me think of all those times I watched a Woody Allen movie as a kid and he'd have a scene where a bunch of snobby New York types would talk about Proust or some shit, and I'd just sit there with my mouth half-open thinking, "Is there something funny here?"  The difference is that when I grew up and revisited those movies, I realized that Allen wasn't trying to make us laugh with those characters - he wanted us to laugh at them.  I'm not getting that sense from Infinite Jest so far.

In my latest attempt, I made it seventy pages in before I just had to call it quits.  I thought it was mildly funny when the guy's dad pretended to be his psychologist, but so far that's the only moment of humor I've found buried in the endless drivel.

Don't misunderstand me: I'm not upset that people like it.  This isn't me trying to say that everybody's wrong and your opinions are stupid.  I just don't get it.  It's hard for me to put myself in a mindset where I see how reading this is somehow fun.

It's like when somebody says their favorite movies are La Dolce Vita, Alphaville, and The Passion of Joan of Arc.  I respect those movies, but if you gave me the choice of watching any of them versus doing laundry, I'd go dump spaghetti sauce on my bedsheets just to make sure I've got plenty to keep myself busy.

I always thought that people indulged in art because it either entertained them or expanded their horizons or at least made them feel something.

Some art just isn't for me, I suppose.

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