I’ve been telling myself for a while that I need to read some David Foster Wallace, but after reading this essay, I feel like I really, really need to read some David Foster Wallace. Seriously.

I just started my Philosophy major this semester, so sentences like this one:

Let Φ (a physical possibility structure) be a set of distinct but intersecting paths ji–jn, each of which is a set of functions, L’s, on ordered pairs (), such that for any Ln, Lm in some ji, Ln R Lm, where R is a primitive accessibility relation corresponding to physical possibility understood in terms of diachronic physical compatibility.

are still a little beyond my pay grade. But any fiction writer who can also come up with something like that should probably be at the top of my reading list.

(Which reminds me that I still need to read Anathem. I’ve been putting that one off because it’s fucking huge, and I’m having a hard time finding a library copy.)

But back to DFW. What’s a good book to start on? I was thinking Infinite Jest, but anyone else have a different recommendation?


2 Responses

  1. I’ve heard Infinite Jest is good but long as hell. My Dad read his book about lobsters or something and said it made him stop eating lobsters so if you like crabs or whatever they are you might want to stay away from that one.

  2. I recently read his first novel, Broom of the System. Its 500 pages, but is pretty light and easy to read. Also great for the Philosophy major in your family – its basically a literary explication of Wittgenstein’s ideas. I’d say his best work – besides Infinite Jest, which I haven’t read – are his journalistic pieces. Consider the Lobster, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, the Michael Joyce piece and the Roger Federer one.

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