last year in books

Just for my dear classmate who doesn’t have a goodreads account, here is the list of books i’ve in 2019. The ones i recommend are marked with an asterisk.

1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman *

2. A Blink on the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction by Terry Pratchett

3. Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World by Neil Gaiman

4. Paper Towns by John Green

5. Queers by Mark Gatiss *

6. No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics by Naomi Klein

7. Help Me!: One Woman’s Quest to Find Out if Self-Help Really Can Change Her Life by Marianne Power

8. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes *

9. Becoming by Michelle Obama *

10. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison *

11. Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman **

12. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji *

13. Marvel Fearless and Fantastic!: Female Super Heroes Save the World by Sam Maggs

14. The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

15. Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life by Paul Dolan *

16. Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet

17. Mythos: the Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry

18. How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use by Randy J. Paterson *

19. Normal People by Sally Rooney *

20. What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randal Munroe

21. Very Good Lives: the Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imaginations by J. K. Rowling

22. Please Read This Leaflet Carefully by Karen Havelin *

23. Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino

24. Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rouge State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow *

25. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig *

26. Infinite jest by David Foster Wallace *

27. The City and the Mountains by Eca de Queiros

28. The Vagina Bible: the Vulva and the Vagina – Separating the Myth from the Medicine by Jennifer Gunter *

29. The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age by Claudia Hammond

30. Milkman by Anna Burns *

infinite jest by david foster wallace

This book belongs to the doorstopper Club, along with Ulysses and Don Quixote. In hard cover, its thousand plus pages can cause serious injuries if used as a weapon.

David Foster Wallace wasn’t on my radar until this summer. I stumbled upon yet another list of greatest books, and Infinite Jest was pretty up high. The title caught my attention. It evoked memories of Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, which I read back in high school.

Considering the length, I decided to stick to a reading plan – the goal was to read the book by the end of the year, which left me with 22 weeks starting in August. I did basic calculations of number of pages to read each week, and then kept track. Turns out, it took me only 14 weeks.

The plot is both simple and multi-faceted. Two governments are looking for the mysterious Entertainment, tennis academy students are busy surviving and being obnoxiously self-involved, a group of addicts recover from their various addictions. So, don’t expect a riveting page-turner. Instead, come for the joy of abundance of beautifully crafted sentences. Wallace bends and spins English language like a Valenciennes lacemaker.

It’s no doubt that Infinite Jest deserves its place in the lists of modern American classics. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a must-read, but it certainly adds colour to your inner world.

infinite jest

I have finished reading “Infinite Jest” on 3 November. It took me 14 weeks to read its 1079 pages, and it was totally worth it. My mental landscape feels richer now.

David Foster Wallace’s other works are now on my to-read list.