Summer Infinite Jest Fest


We just joined the group of people at Infinite Summer, devoting ourselves to reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest over the summer — about 75 pages a week. That meant a purchase at the Amazon store, downloads to the Kindles, and we were ready.

This book is giving us the opportunity to run the Kindle through its paces. The first thing I have LOVED is the built-in dictionary. DFW likes to use a lot of archaic and unusual words (concupiscence, festschrift, and deliquesce, to name three), so the Kindle dictionary has been a boon. Although, there have been a few words that we’ve had to look up online:

Kekulean Knot: which is how he described a tie, and is a reference to the scientist who discovered the structure of benzene and how he came upon his inspiration.

Incunabular: which means “extant copies of books produced in the earliest stages (before 1501) of printing from movable type.”

Infinite Jest also features a really long set of endnotes that you must read along with the book. Happily, the Kindle makes this easy; we can bip back and forth between the two seamlessly. It is pretty cool how it takes you exactly to the endnote specified and exactly back to where you were in the text. There is one problem though — last night, I wanted to go to bed, but was stuck in a 14-page endnote, and the Kindle wouldn’t let me go back to my spot in the book until I came to the termination point of the endnote. I grudgingly finished it so I could bookmark my page in the main book and get some rest!

And lastly, since we are doing this with each other, and as a part of the larger community, we have been taking notes on the Kindle as we’re reading so we can discuss items of interest together at a later date. After you are through gagging, you will be happy to know the thumb typing on the Qwerty keyboard is fine as long as you don’t want to write a thesis.

What do we think of the book so far? It’s complicated and intriguing…but we’ve only just begun. It is fair to say that we are enjoying it so far.

One Response to “Summer Infinite Jest Fest”

  1. Darryl

    Sorry, this advice is coming a year late, but I’m reading Infinite Jest on my Kindle a year late, apparently:

    If you’re in the middle of a long endnote, hitting the “BACK” button will take you back to the main text.

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