It’s not your fault I can’t get through you. I’ve been busy, okay, and I know you’ve heard all the excuses before, but mine are all true all the same. I enjoyed the 316 pages I did read, so much, and I fully intend to read the following 763.

But life, you know, it gets in the way. Interruptions are everywhere, and when I need a mid-sentence break for a glass of water or a jumping jack of exercise, that hurts. Either way, your people still received the $14.99 less distribution costs at some point, but you never became a novel for the sweet cash, and I know that. You were a story that needed to be told, and I in turn wanted one to absorb. We were practically meant for each other.

But partying, you know, it gets in the way. When I turn your last page and put you aside forever, I will be on my couch, alone. I know that. When a night filled with fun ends, I could be down a kidney, or up a felony, or crying in an alley yelling at the homeless woman I refused to give money to last week. You see, it is not known what will happen outside those pages. And unless the crevice between pages 318 and 319 contains a pygmy unicorn drizzling smack into her diamond-latticed nose, your words do not produce a surprise on the scale I require. Still, your end is imminent, and I know this.

But inspiration, you know, it gets in the way. I see you rolling your eyes, but it’s true. Your brilliance and knowledge remind me I haven’t done enough, but that I am capable, if I am. The intermingling worlds trigger my own creativity and force me to do my own work. Others read you. I learned of your existence from a reference on an internet thread that has since mysteriously vanished. I only decided to pursue you because one of my friends assumed I already did. I’m writing this letter now, with you open in front of me, coaxing me to continue.

But excuses, you know, they get in the way:

  • I admit it – I don’t understand all of you, or even much of you. You contain too many invented words, and often context gives nothing away.
  • Those cursed footnotes. You are the first book that has required me to get a second bookmark for the back pages, you elitist tome. Sure, I want to hear more about the Dads, but if you describe another one of his languid films in that 14-page single footnote, I’ll need yet another extended break from you. And this is 14 pages with your font size.
  • Which brings me to your tiny type. It’s, just, too small. Kerning too small. Leading too small. Font too small. The number of words per page is too high. And the paragraphs are too dense. And a bunch of other related things.
  • I don’t really get the Québécois spy part.
  • You describe the act of playing tennis a bit too much. I know you wanted to be as big as possible, but come on, I get tennis.
  • The bookmark, made by my mother years ago and containing school pictures for me and my two siblings, makes me homesick.
  • I need to be completely alone, in my house and the world, to properly focus.
  • I secretly like having you on my coffee table. Once you are over it would be pretentious of me to keep you displayed in plain view, and hell, maybe it’s pretentious this way too, but at least I am reading you.
  • I get easily distracted. I tried Adderall, but reading isn’t productive enough of an activity while under that kind of influence. There’s still a house to clean, after all.
  • That part about Eschaton. I love games and war games and game theory and war game theory, I really do so much. And don’t get me started on acronyms and initialisms, oh man. But, and you know this, this play-by-play was totally out of hand.
  • About Interdependence Day, I thought I came up with that, for a poker tournament years ago, the championship of the Newfoundland Institute of Premium Poker-Loving Enthusiasts. Turns out you had it first.
  • You make me feel stupid. Maybe I am stupid. You make me realize I’m stupid. That’s a bit mean of you.

You are my favourite book, and I’m not just saying that. Even with having so much of you to go. I feel like once I successfully process all your words, I can die too. And I don’t want to die yet. I need to finish you first.

[Editor’s note: In the years since this was written, the author managed to complete the addressed book, possibly primarily because of the last paragraph there. All the same, I asked him for a review, and all he did was babble wildly while stringing together that somehow none of the stories were clued up. What the heck?]

[Editor’s note II: He did finally get the Québécois spy thing. The section about jumping in front of the trains hooked him.]

October 10 – Dan Stevens gets an open letter to Infinite Jest
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