Infinite Wisdom.

June 26, 2009

I can’t access the Infinite Summer webpage here at the library, which is just ridonkulous. Perhaps it’s some sort of public-health measure “This website has been deemed too nerdy for safe library consumption.” In any case, I am using their internet capabilities (which are lacking in my home at this point in time) to share my reading strategies for this, my second go through of Infinite Jest

For first time readers, totally ignore this. Just enjoy the madness. 

I have heard of some individuals tackling the beast with three different colors of highlighter. Me, I’ve got my IJ specific turquoise fountain pen, a regular ballpoint, and Post-It flags. The latter was bought specifically for this endeavor after four pieces of paper sticking up got a bit confusing as to what was a bookmark and what was a reference. Yes, not only does this endeavor require investment in the book itself, like a mountain climb, you need good supplies.  

The method I’ve got that’s working out for well me goes as such: I sit down and get all nice and cozy with IJ with my pens. Any thing I need to look up later gets circled in the blue pen, and then referenced in my journal. Things I simply want to remember/comment on get underlined with the regular black ballpoint. 

The intermediary between the book and the journal, so I don’t have to go back through the book to find all of the circled terms, is the bookmark. Items are crossed off as soon as they’ve been looked up. I’ve got a bit of a backlog at the moment due to aforementioned lack of internet access in the home. I also lack an actual physical dictionary, having been depending on Merriam Webster (like Hal, I am primarily an OED man, but that shit requires paid subscription. Curses!) online for years now. I do prefer M-W to Dictionary dot com, which I find to be inferior. 

Open pages, where you can see the IJ pages in the journal next to the regular blatherings from my fool mind there in black. I’m usually a black-ink only lady, so it’s wicked easy to open up the journal and find my IJ references. 

Typical page. Like everybody else in the known universe, despite having a large vocabulary and what my partner would refer to as a fairly encyclopedic knowledge of “everything” (I can kick your ass in Trivial Pursuit, oh yes I can), this book makes me feel almost retarded at times with references that I don’t know. For first reading, this are very easily passed over without being detrimental to the greater understanding of the book, but on this my second go-through, I’m definitely picking at the details. 

Use of the Post-It flags for infamous Endnote 24. The other flag I’ve got in there right now is the endnote discussing Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents. At this point, I’ve far surpassed the 75 pages for the week. I’m not so much a reader as an eater of books. I’ve also finished another novel concurrent to my IJ endeavors. I’m not double-fisting right now, having a bit of free time and most importantly – mental energy – but I’m heading out to Portugal next week, and while I imagine that the flight will include some cozying up with Mr. Wallace, I also imagine that at some point my poor brain will need a break and reading will be supplemented with something lighter (both literally and metaphorically – this shit is heavy in every possible way). 

I hope you fellow nerds have appreciated my pro-tips. I would read yours, but the library is cramping my style over here. Go figure that I’ll have to go to Starbucks later on to catch up. The world, as DFW would be sure to agree, makes no sense.

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One Response to “Infinite Wisdom.”


  1. […] describes her reading methodology. William boasts that his weblog Human Complex is “Now Infinitely Summerier”. Christine […]


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