Overcoming the howling fantods to finish Infinite Jest- and a little about pseudonyms

Infinite Jest

I finally, finally, finished it. Towards the end I found myself slowing down a little because I was enjoying it so much and had an attack of the howling fantods at the thought of it ending and also because I found myself reflecting on just where I’d place it on my list of favourite books. Now, I don’t really have a set list in my head, more just a few books that when anyone asks me what my favourite book is I say. Typically these books include Homicide: Life on The Streets, Generation Kill, East of Eden, as well two books that I read over and over as a kid and just loved – Misery and the first book in the Eye of The World saga.

Anyway, over the last 12-18 months or so I’ve upped my reading game and have been reading far more in that time since back when I was younger – some of the books in this time period being: Life of Pi, Blood Meridian, Lolita.

Now, with Infinite Jest being so damn big, and so damn enjoyable, my mind must have decided now was a good time to reflect on these things, and principally because the closer I got to finishing, the more the feeling grew that Infinite Jest could quite possibly be the best book I’ve ever read. As in, if anyone ever asks me what my favourite book is, IJ could well be the first thing I say, followed by a group of books that I also enjoyed and loved.

If I’m honest, I’m going to go out and say that I probably don’t even have that much of a grasp on what was actually going on (well, I mean, the storyline and premise itself are simple enough but, you know what, if you’ve read it you’ll understand), and there were parts that infuriated me but, it was so engrossing, so utterly complete in the world it created – a world that completely enveloped you as you read it – that I have to say that it was a supreme journey that leaves you sort of deflated at the end as you think, ‘what now?’ after spending so much time as part of its world.

As a sidenote (the footnotes were what sometimes infuriated me by the by) just a brief search on-line threw up a whole other world of observations and theories on IJ that go some way to showing how many different ways the book has been interpreted.

And to answer the question of ‘what now?’ I actually didn’t want to dwell too long on it, seeing as like I said I’d already slowed down towards the end and so have started In Cold Blood, which is book 3 on my list of 12 for the year. I’m only just a few pages into it but I’m enjoying it.


I got to thinking about pseudonyms and aliases in regards to writers using them. I’ve been toying with the idea of using one for a few short stories outside of the work I submit in my real name. Sometimes I look at my twitter followers, see the amount of writers I follow and who follow me and I wonder how many of them use Aliases themselves for maybe experimental work or just different genres. Like I said, I was just thinking about it and weighing it up in my mind.

A Song

Listened to this for the first time in years today for some reason.



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