Reach and Pull

Musings on Infinite Jest

A tip for people who don’t like big books

with 2 comments

My rule of thumb for years had been, if the book is longer than 300 pages then it can wait until I’m either hospitalized for some surgery or incarcerated for some crime.  I hated (and still do, IJ excepted) big books.  Maybe it’s a byproduct of television and magazines…or maybe I just constitutionally prefer short-form communication, a la Nietzsche.  Anyway, when I first decided I would read the book, I devised a plan to divide the book up into smaller sections, pretending at first that the book was a trilogy written in three volumes, and then when I noticed the main body was 981 pages, I figured why not also divide each volume into three.  I pre-earmarked the book every 109 pages.  This was before reading a single word, and way way way before encountering the dial setting for WYYY.  In addition to being a neat way for megabibliophobes to tackle the book, there also seems to be some underlying structural pattern to the whole 1/9th and 109 thing.  Perhaps it has something to do with that pyramid/fractal thing Silverblatt mentioned to him on NPR (one of the few items of secondary literature I happened upon before/during/after my reading) (oh, and if anyone was wondering — no, I’ve never read the reader’s guide, and I’ve only perused a handful of thesises on Fantods, none of which really spoke to my understanding of the book…so far I’ve only felt an affinity toward the analysis of Jesse Simms).  To be frank, all the Wittgenstein/math layers in Infinite Jest elude me.  I’d need a meta-tutor to even begin to grasp it.  If there’s one thing above else all that distinguishes me from Will Hunting, it’s that I don’t understand jack shit about math.  There are other Will Huntings I’ve known who are math savants.  Not me, though.


Written by reachandpull

October 1, 2008 at 8:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. You’re an idiot, aren’t you?


    March 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    • Yes, I have always suspected that I’m somewhat retarded. But, who isn’t? Certainly not you, lol.


      March 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm

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