Thursday, January 27, 2011

She is too big, I hope, for me to compass.

I've been reading Infinite Jest for a little over two weeks now and my progress has been, well, a little slow.  Which I should expect really, this book is in one word, massive.  It clocks in at a hefty 1076 pages, and they're 1076 giant pages at that.

Infinite Reading

Since I started reading this omnibus, I've been trying to stick to a schedule of 20 pages per day.  At that pace, I would finish it on or about March 1st.  Yes, that means it will take me nearly two months to finish one book, but I figure the books I read after will fly by, reading more like comic books than novels compared to this behemoth.  See to the right for a good comparison between what so far has been the quickest and shortest book from The List, and my current read, by far the longest and biggest read from The List.  Compared to Infinite Jest, the quickest read on the list, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, seems like a mere pamphlet; not a book.  I guess it makes sense then, that while I was able to read that in four hours, Infinite Jest may take over seven weeks.

Of course having said that, I'm not keeping to my pace so far, and am actually 60 pages, or three days behind.  Not too much I guess, but I need to make sure I'm not losing that same amount every two weeks, or I won't be finishing this book until April.  It wouldn't be too good of a start to 2011 if I'd only read two book through the first three months, when I'd planned to read 2.5 per month.

So what are my reasons?  First off, I'm not really enjoying it so far.  Well, perhaps that's not quite right.  There are a few different storylines, a couple of which I'm enjoying and a couple of which I'm loathing.  I find it very hard to slug through I book when I'm not enjoying the story.  Next off, the size of the book is intimidating.  Just seeing it on the table, nevermind picking it up, fills me with a sense of failure and dread.  It really is that big.  After a good reading session, I slip the bookmark back in and realize that I'm not even close to halfway.  In fact, I just hit the halfway mark to the halfway mark.  I figure the size also presents another problem, as it is difficult to carry around.  This book doesn't fit into the average pocket, or even an over-sized pockets.  It really isn't ideal for reading on the train or while you're waiting in line.  I even have trouble reading it in bed, as my arms tire out after a few minutes.  A couple of times, I've felt my arms go to sleep from the sheer weight this book places on my blood vessels.  I haven't weighed it yet, but I doubt my bathroom scale can handle it.

Despite the roadblocks, I will continue to read of course.  I suppose the worst thing that could happen is it takes me a few months to finish.  I can make it up with other books.  It has altered my reading list however, as I had planned to read Gone with the Wind 30th, but it isn't really much smaller than Infinite Jest, so I may delay it until 34 or 35, giving me a little time to squeeze in a few shorter reads.

Despite not enjoying the read that much, there are a couple of things to note about Infinite Jest.  In one story, teenage drug dealers mention William Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, #3 on The List.  That marks the fourth time there is a reference in one book to another from The List.  Secondly, I've come across the first mention of Calgary in a book from The List.  Much the way the crowd gets excited at a concert when their hometown is mentioning by the band, I couldn't help but get excited by this.  Now it wasn't a setting or anything, only a mention.  In fact, it was mentioned on an RCMP list of Terrorist groups.  Among many Quebecois groups, was the 'Calgarian Pro-Canadian Phalanx,' whose only description states it is both environmental and violent.  Sure, it isn' much, but I'll take it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a little light reading to do.

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