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The Sunday Salon: Infinite Jest is DONE!

The Sunday Salon.comI finished Infinite Jest this morning, all 981 pages plus all 98 pages of footnotes.

I’m not sure how I feel. Excited. Tired. Accomplished. Confused.

As soon as I got to the last page, I turned to the beginning and read the entire first section (17 pages) over again because those scenes are actually set after the end of the book. I’m still not sure how the plot gets from the end of the book (page 981) to the end of the story (the first 17 pages), but I’ll figure it out.

But I’m not going to figure it out today. I’ll save reading forums and essays and critical analysis of Infinite Jest for another today. For now, I’m taking a break from giant, hard-to-read books and settling into something a little less draining. Her Fearful Symmetry or The Geography of Bliss or In Defense of Food, perhaps.

Oh yeah, and I’m going to order my victory t-shirt. Yay!

How do you feel after you finish an especially challenging book? What sort of book do you go for next, or do you take a break from reading altogether?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • charley August 30, 2009, 7:16 pm

    981 pages?? Plus footnotes?? Bravo! I would have given up long ago. Then you RE-READ the first 17 pages? Yikes.

    I feel good when I’ve finished a challenging book. I usually think it will make me want to read something lighter, but often times it makes me feel like I can conquer the world, and I go for yet another challenge.

  • Frances August 30, 2009, 8:29 pm

    Yay for you! I am floundering through at about the halfway mark, and wondering if I have the rest in me right now. Love many aspects of it but can’t help feeling certain sections are, well, bloated. And an infinite summer was perhaps no the best choice for me as all I desired in hot weather is easy escapism. Happy reading!

  • Teresa August 30, 2009, 8:49 pm

    Congrats for finishing! I’m close to page 700, a little behind schedule. Unlike a lot of people, I loved the beginning and the process of discovering DFW’s world, but my interest faded at around the halfway point, when the plot threads started to really come together. Like Frances, I’m finding it rather bloated at times. But then some parts are wonderful. I’m far enough along that I might as well finish, but I’ve lost some of the initial enthusiasm.

  • Suey August 30, 2009, 11:05 pm

    Way to go! Congrats!

    Now if I could just finish War and Peace, I’d know how to answer your question. It would help if I’d just pick it up and actually read it!

  • Eva August 31, 2009, 12:09 am


    I felt numb once I finished War and Peace. And that anything else I read would be anti-climactic. But reading an Ishiguro (one of my fave authors) did the trick.

  • bermudaonion August 31, 2009, 7:29 am

    I think you should feel accomplished!

  • Steph August 31, 2009, 8:08 am

    I committed myself to reading another hulking behemoth this summer (Roberto Bolaño’s 2666), so I didn’t participate in this read-along, but congrats on making it through! I’m not sure this is a book that I will ever be able to read (I always seem to stall on long books), so I’m duly impressed with anyone who has!

  • rebeccareid August 31, 2009, 9:06 am

    I was going to say go read something fluffly, but like Eva says in her comment, maybe that would be a bit anti-climactic and thus disappointing.

  • bibliomom August 31, 2009, 12:07 pm

    WOW! I’m so impressed. I’ve been following the progression of you reading this all summer and I’m so inspired.

  • Jeanne August 31, 2009, 12:39 pm

    I don’t know what’s wrong with reading something “fluffy” after reading something that gives your brain a lot to work on. That’s what I do. A tidy little mystery where everything gets wrapped up can be particularly satisfying.

  • Kim L August 31, 2009, 9:04 pm

    When I finally finished “The Lucifer Effect” (a good read, just REALLY REALLY REALLY LONG), I read nothing but graphic novels for a long time. I like the idea of a victory tshirt! Nice idea.

  • justicejenniferreads September 1, 2009, 6:30 pm

    I usually don’t read anything too challenging unless it’s for school. When I finish something challenging for school I take a break from reading and turn to some feel good tv (usually). When I’m ready for reading again, I turn to something fun and easy.

    Congrats on finishing your 981 page book – that’s quite an accomplishment and good luck figuring out what you just read.