Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Or did I actually mean to say "Finite"...

now reading: El bosque de los pigmeos de Isabel Allende
now not reading: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

I have missed Nadia and Alexander! aka Aguila y Jaguar. El Bosque de los Pigmeos is the third in Allende's young adult series in which these two have adventures all around the world. I've read the series en espanol but I urge you to read them even if you do all your reading in English. They are clever and creative and fun and heartwarming and have good messages about environmentalism, respect for other people and lands, judgment, spirituality, and so on. GOOD stuff. Plus some of the characters are super sardonic. I've had this one sitting around for a while and was really excited to start reading it the other day. In the first book they were deep in the Amazon, in the second an isolated kingdom in the Himalaya, and now Africa. ("Bosque" means forest, "pigmeos" is pygmies.) I adore these books.

What about Infinite Jest? Well, it's not over but let's just say we're taking a break. Yes, I do mean that the way it sounds (as in, relationship code for "it really might be over.") There may still be a chance, but David Foster Wallace has disappointed me greatly and it might be better if we just go our separate ways. I have some friends who are encouraging me not to give up, but I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do.

Don't forget all the Con Law reading I have to do, though, too! What a thrill that is.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


now reading: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

I have just made a shocking discovery. Or at least what passes for one on MySpace. I have been using the illustrious social networking site to randomly peruse the profiles of people who list Infinite Jest in their "Books" category. Why? Just for fun and procrastination, mostly, and also to see what they have to say about it, if anything. OK, so when I did a search for "Infinite Jest" in books, I got 182 pages of results. Wow, right? Except it's pretty easy to skim through them, looking for people I might actually care to hear from, and ignoring the bands, the people who put fake ages (like 0, or 102), the people with pornographic profile pictures, the people who haven't logged in since 2004, etc. Still, 182 pages? Impressive.

Then I went and did some other things and then went back to peruse a bit more. Only this time I got only four pages of results. I looked to see if I had made sure to type "Infinite Jest" in the Books category search and not General Interest or something. I had - but then I saw that I'd typed it so quickly that I had left out the final 'i' and typed "Infinte Jest" and THAT had returned four pages of results. Can you imagine? I mean, I'm actually not all that surprised that a significant chunk of people leave/never notice typos in their profiles. But don't you think it's funny that there are that many people who made the same typo? FOUR PAGES of people who typed "Infinte." (By the way, I totally hear that in my head as a three-syllable word, like"infanty.") I think that's hilarious. And kind of less for what it says about careless profile-building then about the sheer number of people who like this book. Maybe I'll try leaving out other random letters, too, and see what happens. (No, I won't. But it was fun to ponder for a moment.)

Conquering Infinite-y

now reading: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

I am halfway through!

This news is definitely worthy of shouting that originates on a rooftop. It is a long book. And, I am a law student. This day might never have come...

Actually, on a total digression, sometimes I don't even feel like a law student. I feel like I am just doing my own thing and then sometimes I get really stressed out because I have to do a lot of the same things the law students have to do. Then, I think, 'Well, OK, maybe this is what a law student looks like!' Gloria Steinem would be proud.

Back to Jest. Recently I became annoyed with the fact that I had soooo much left to read in it. That to-read pile is growing larger. And I can't read for pleasure all the time these days anyway. And all that. It just seemed so cumbersome to have hundreds of pages left. Brian swore he was still relishing it. I missed the relish. But bringing it with me to read on my commute on Monday really made a difference, because I read sixty pages in one day. Usually I spend my commute to school reading for a class and my commute from school reading The New Yorker, but I really want to finish IJ* by March 10. WISH ME LUCK. (Alternatively, by March 17 is also allowed. I just want it to be by the 10th. But I am bound and determined to finish by the 17th. You hear me?)

*Did you know "IJ" also means "Immigration Judge" and I talk about those a lot this semester.

However, after tearing through 80 pages in the past 36 hours, I have now come to another annoying part, a random digression in first person about a recollection of a childhood mattress-moving incident and some psychotic parents.* It's Jim Incandenza, I surmise. As I plodded through it, wondering if its point/tangential relevance/amusement factor will soon be revealed, I got to a great part in which he recalls that as a boy he was terrified of the sound of vacuum cleaners. I love it! Me too! I still don't like them, but now that I am a rational adult I can deal with their sound, obviously. But I so too recall "hurrying to get some distance between myself and the vacuum cleaner, because the sound of vacuuming has always frightened me in the same irrational way..." (p. 501) (That's right, FIVE hundred. And halfway through. Yeah.)

*Then again, what parents in this book aren't pretty much psycho?

Don't get me wrong. This book isn't filled with annoying digressions. Most of it is wholly bad-ass. I was particularly delighted a few pages back to re-encounter Madame Psychosis. Only, she's gone. Basically, we re-encountered her absence. How sad for me.

Do any of you even, like, know anyone who has read it?