This past holiday week, with the three days of travel (totaling over 26 hours of driving) and the onslaught of quality family time (Christ, we saw The Force Awakens twice), conspired to keep me from sticking to our IJ reading schedule. But I fought through anyway, and Sunday night I hit page 138. I’m currently sitting solid at page 150, just over 15% finished.
It feels good to stay on track like this. A lot of people, during their first read, have usually quit by now. My second time through these first 150, I actually find that kind of shocking. Sure, the Wardine section is out of left f-ing field, and the Poor Tony section (pages 128-137) is kind of tough and leaves you wondering how many more goddamn times we’re going to have to read this white boy* simulacrum of “life on the streets.” Oh, and the sections on pages 138 through 150 are just a tad bit too po-mo cute. But all-in-all, it’s actually not so bad. I mean, it’s not so bad when you know how everything’s supposed to connect.
And when you have a schedule, oh man, that changes everything! Last time it took me five months to read it, and when I wasn’t reading it, it hung over my head like a guillotine. But now, it just feels like doing my daily chores or going out for a daily jog: it’s just a regular thing I do. I don’t feel intimidated by the 800+ pages I have left. I don’t even think about those 800+ pages. I just think about the next 30+/40+ pages I need to hit. Super easy.
What also feels good is to read IJ a little more critically. Not being intimidated by what’s left and knowing what’s going to happen next has allowed me to focus more on the story and how the story is told. I’ve been able to shed the rose-colored glasses (“It’s Infinite Jest! The GOAT of the late 20th Century!”) and wonder, truly, WTF is the point of pages 138 to 140? Or the title on page 144 that runs to page 145. Yeah, especially that title. WTF? This is some straight-up McSweeney’s bullshit is what that is.
So, all in all, I’m very pleased in the schedule and excited that I’m having an easier time with the book. In fact, I’m thinking of picking up a second book to read concurrently. We got so many for christmas…
* DFW being the “white boy” here.