Infinite Jest.  I nearly always have a sewing project that I work on only periodically and therefore takes months or years to be finished.  I’m reading a book that way now.  The book is Infinite Jest, written by David Foster Wallace and published in 1996.  I love reading it, but I keep getting distracted by other books.  Usually the other books are shorter and more contemporary fiction.  Once I finish the “distraction,” I return for more of Infinite Jest.

Infinite Jest is a 1000+ page saga that requires concentration to absorb every detail.  It is on the Time 100 best novels written since 1923 (aka the beginning of Time). 

The book is set in North America in the then-not-too-distant future.  Some of the future projections made by the author have eerily become true since the book was written.  Example:  “Entertainment cartridges” that are inserted and played through the TV, are delivered to households, watched, and then returned via the mail service; i.e., a 1996 vision of what now looks remarkably like Netflix.  Other projections are not far out of the realm of possibility, especially to a cynical thinker.  Example:  Calendar years come with corporate naming rights as opposed to chronological numbers.  “YDAU” is the Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment.   Memorable scenarios that play out in the early part of the book include an awkward college entrance interview; and a dad who sends his son to a conversation consultant (ostensibly to help him develop his conversational skills).  The son realizes on the first visit with the conversation consultant that the consultant is actually his dad in disguise; it is a plan the dad conceived in order to trick his son into having a conversation with him.

There will be future updates as I continue to make my way through the book.

In the meantime, I’m reminded of the book every time I go for a run.  Last year Infinite Jest was gifted with its own awesome tribute song and video–by The Decemberists.  I have added the song to my running mix on my mp3 player.  It’s an excellent, fun running song, so it will probably stay in my running mix for a long time; possibly through the Year of the Chewable Ambien Tab.

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