So a few years back my web sibling Cecil Vortex started hosting group reads of difficult tomes that we dubbed the Deathmarches. Working as a group, 50 pages or so at a time, we conquered such intimidating doorstops as Gravity’s Rainbow, Don Quixote, Against the Day, and most recently The Brothers Karamazov.
Well, Cecil is a busy man with lots of responsibilties. Not so yours truly. So for awhile we have been bandying about the idea of my guest-hosting the next Deathmarch, and the first thought that occurred to me was David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, precisely the sort of brain-taxing opus for which the Deathmarch was designed. I actually bought a copy in a moment of crazed optimism about a year ago, and it has been sitting atop my bookshelf ever since, quietly mocking me.
The only way it will ever get read, I think, is with the support and companionship of a brave band of fellow (and lady) readers. So after much discussion with various parties, we have tentatively scheduled the beginning of the Infinite Jest Deathmarch for Friday, October 1. Basically the way this deal works is:
1. We set a target every week of ~50 pages.
2. You read.
3. At the end of the week you post a comment to let us know how you’re doing and share whatever pithy insights you may have.
4. Eventually we finish the book and you get some sort of prize. Cecil, a generous soul, usually springs for mugs or magnets; you can expect no such generosity here. Your prize is the satisfaction of having mastered a Major work of modern Literature, and the respect, acclaim, and increased sex appeal that accompanies same. This could change if things go well between now and then; we’ll see.
If you are interested in joining, please leave a comment below to that effect. This is not a legally binding commitment in any state except maybe Arizona. I look forward to your company on the road ahead.