What We’re Reading with Erich O’Connor

“What We’re Reading” is a blog series giving the Brookens Library staff the opportunity to highlight a variety of books, audio books, or e-books you might find enjoyable. This series will post every Tuesday on the “What’s New at Brookens” Blog. The second installment features our student employee Erich O’Connor. He’s tackling quite a long text! We hope you enjoy what Erich has to say about what he’s reading!

1.)  What are you reading? I’m in the middle of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

2.) How did you make your selection? Infinite Jest was recommended to me by my cousin. David Foster Wallace is from the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois area which was one of the biggest drawing factors for me to read this novel. It’s a gargantuan sized work totaling 1079 pages—that’s counting the near 400 footnotes at the back—of dense text. This is another reason why I chose to read this book: it’s a challenge. I figured if I can push myself through this book, than I can read any book, no sweat.

3.) Describe the book in 20 words or less using your own words. It’s about everything: tennis, cinema, reading, addiction, entertainment, suicide, pollution, grammar, family, etc.

4.) What did you like?  It’s hilarious. Many times you will be reading a horrible, terrifyingly grotesque scene only for Wallace to throw in a joke that makes you really laugh–out loud. My entire life, I’ve never liked sports and now, because of this book, I cannot stop watching tennis. Infinite Jest, published in 1995, even has brief descriptions of Netflix. I could go on and on about all the things I like about this book, but there’s just too many to list.

What didn’t you like? Sometimes I wish the book was shorter, but I know if it was then I probably wouldn’t like it so much.
5.) Who would you recommend this book to? Everyone. Anyone looking for a good laugh and anyone looking for immensely screwed up characters–and there’s plenty to choose from. If you like postmodern literature and if you like metafiction (stories about stories) then you’re in for a rare treat. Be prepared to set aside a lot of time. David Foster Wallace says, “A good book teaches you how to read it,” this book is best consumed in small bites. Read ten pages a day so that way you can read other things on the side.

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