“The Scourge of Relatability.”

In the wake of Ira Glass’ “Shakespeare sucks” tweets, Rebecca Mead bemoans the phenomenon of “relatability” in art: To appreciate “King Lear”—or even “The Catcher in the Rye” or “The Fault in Our Stars”—only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience. But to reject any work […]

When Is It Time to Give Up a Book?

At the Guardian’s Books Blog, Peter Wild asks when we should give up on a book: Maybe there’s a part of you that knows within a paragraph (or, worse, a sentence); perhaps it takes 50 pages, or a 100, before you start to ask yourself the question: is this a book that I should abandon? […]

The Madness of The Corrections Coming Through.

Over at The Atlantic, author Benjamin Nugent shares a few insights from a re-reading of The Corrections, and how he thought reading Franzen again would be like revisiting a McCartney tune: I reread The Corrections this year and realized that while I once needed Franzen to be my Paul, an exemplar of old realist virtues like clarity […]

Year of David Foster Wallace.

Over at the Fiction Advocate, Michael Moats has posted both Parts I and II of his “Year of David Foster Wallace,” summing up the author’s legacy in 2012: In the last 12 months, Wallace was the subject of three books, and author of one posthumous collection of essays. This level of attention is significant in […]

DFW Week Roundup.

Over the last week, Page Turner,the book blog of The New Yorker, has been running a feature called “DFW Week,” featuring a number of posts from D.T. Max about David Foster Wallace, drumming up interest in Max’s biography. I previously posted about one post, a collection of Wallace’s childhood writings. But I thought it might be […]

1-800 Contacts and “Infinite Jest.”

Notice anything suspicious about this 1-800 Contacts Ad? A screen cap: The “Giant Book” here, besides being reminiscient of the 1-800 Contacts logo, also seems to be similar to a certain paperback edition of a “giant” novel: Part of me is thrilled that Infinite Jest has this kind of cultural weight—that it gets referenced in such […]