This year will be the year that I read Infinite Jest. I’ve been planning to do this on and off for ages, but now it finally feels like the right time. Normally I read a lot – I’ve always got a book on the go, but for the past 3-4 weeks I’ve been finding it very difficult to get anywhere with a book. I’ve started a few, got a few chapters in, and given up, lost interest. I’m not sure why, but I can’t seem to engage. So why turn to a book that is notoriously difficult to read? Am’t I just setting myself up for failure?
There may be a superficial similarity between revising a piece of fiction and revising your web page or your Facebook profile; bug a page of prose doesn’t have those slick graphics to help bolster your self-image. If you’re moved to try to return the gift that other people’s fiction represents for you, you eventually can’t ignore what’s fraudulent or secondhand in your own pages. These pages are a mirror, too, and if you really love fiction you’ll find that the only pages worth keeping are the ones that reflect you as you really are.