I’ve been participating in the infinite summer read. It’s brought up a lot of memories since the first time I read Infinite Jest was on vacation ten years ago. I had just finished school and Jen and I were going to take a trip westward to visit my friend Nathan. We had little money and I needed a large book for the flight there and back. I found a British printing of IJ in the discount bin at Barnes and Noble. Something sounded familiar about the title, but I knew nothing further. It was large and looked interesting and became my vacation book on sight.
I was intrigued by the massive size but held out to start reading, I knew that I would need something to occupy hours in the terminals as well as the six hours of flights there and back again. I knocked out a good 50% of the book that week. I have a great memory of Jen and I laying together in a Seattle hostel and reading for a couple of hours.
I finally finished the book during the first week of working at Interlochen. I pretty much pushed aside any and all social opportunities (nothing unusual about that) and did nothing but work and read IJ. I remember finishing it on a Friday evening and being so stunned that it was over that I had to get out of my dorm room and be around people for awhile, so I joined the rest of my co-workers at the local bar. I had gone into a place in my brain that I couldn’t explain but I couldn’t be alone either.
IJ sent me down a spiral of collecting everything I could by DFW, but I haven’t been able to return to IJ for years. I read the rest of his books that summer and grabbed everything I could find online. It’s been a great trip getting here again, and I’m really enjoying the ride again.