If only, right? Not actually. Infinite Summer, rather, is the summer-long project of reading David Foster Wallace’s epic Infinite Jest. I tried to read Infinite Jest earlier this year in just about the worst way possible – I checked it out of the library for 2 weeks. I even extended the rental another 2 weeks. By the end of that month I wasn’t even half way through. The book, including end notes, clocks in at 1079 pages. It’s easily the longest non-textbook written work I’ve ever held in my hands. Actually, I take that back. My complete collection of Sherlock Holmes novels and stories is 1112 pages. It does win in the respect that my Holmes collection isn’t all one single work.
It’s long and it’s tough. But in a way that is challenging, to me, not off-putting. But clearly I needed some strategy to approach this beast. A quick search brought up the original Infinite Summer and I knew I’d found the way to do this. So off I went to the bookstore to buy a copy. Because I’m probably going to be writing notes in the margins and highlighting and just making a mess of this thing. Every day from today until the last day of summer I’ll read 10-12 pages of the book. Expect a weekly update here wondering what on Earth I’ve gotten myself into.
The first week or two of Infinite Summer is retracing previous territory – I made it in about 100 pages on my first attempt. Sad, I know. But like I said, this book requires a strategy to actually accomplish.
The book store, by the way, has a recommendation for my next project – Gravity’s Rainbow. It could have been worse. It could have recommended The Pillars of Earth to me as well. Maybe they’ll be my projects in future summers.