Summer is supposed to be a time of long sunny days and carefree fun. Why in the world would anyone want to bog themselves down with a thousand-plus page novel? A valid question for sure, but I don't think I'm alone in taking on an epic novel this summer.
My poison of choice, David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, a polarizing brick of a book full of nonsequential chapters, more characters than you can count, and 100 pages of fictional footnotes.
Some of you are probably shaking your heads by now either based on my selection or the sheer idea of the endeavor. I realize that summer reading for a lot of folks means beach reads and light fiction. Many people don't want to lug a big book on planes or try to hold it up poolside. But some of you probably realize that summer is a great time to dust off that tome you've always wanted to read but never seem to find the time. Be it vacation time or just a lighter schedule, a long book doesn't seem as daunting when you pace yourself over three months. If possible, don't do it alone. Find other adventurous friends. Meet regularly to discuss the book. Think of the sense of accomplishment when September rolls around and that book is sitting dog-eared on top of you dresser. Not only will you be able to add that literary merit badge to your vest, but you might actually enjoy it!
Who's in? What behemoth will you attempt?
I read this behemoth two summers ago and it took me months to finish. When you get to the end, you may have the same realization as I, that the enjoyment you receive from this novel has nothing to do with the plot, but from the act of reading the book itself. DFW is a master of manipulating the english language and creates an abundance of entertainment(you'll see) from his flawless writing. I can't even say whether I would recommend this beast or not, because, unless you have no form of ADD whatsoever or happen to be a speed reader, making it through this will take up a large amount of your time and you may end up locking yourself indoors for the summer. At least you may end up saving your skin.
How about Dune by Frank Herbert? Huge, yes, good summer read, definitely!
I'm just finishing Robert Bolano's 2666 right now and then I am also going to try to tackle Infinite Jest.