Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let's Book Club!: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (prt. 2) by David Foster Wallace

Part 1, the first three essays.

David Lynch Keeps His Head
Not really sure what to say, since, you know, I've never seen anything that David Lynch -- a filmmaker -- has ever produced/directed/acted in/been involved with, I think. Having said that, DFW's descriptions of everything outside of detailed comparisons of his (Lynch's) different films is insanely entertaining.

Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional... (cont'd)
If you don't have any idea of what goes on behind the scenes at a professional tennis tournament, or don't know what tennis' minor leagues are like (but you care), this is a really interesting read. The essay, for me at least, is significantly more interesting because it's set in MTL during the (now named) Roger's Cup (somewhere I've been!).

The part of the essay that leads me to believe that DFW may have been the modern incarnation of Nostradamus:
he describes Agassi's groundstrokes as "like Borg if he were on both steroids and methamphetamines".

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
... is the best essay of the bunch, but is also the most tragic (though the writing itself is hilarious), which, as I mentioned when discussing "Suicide as a Sort of Present" in Brief Interviews, is how down on life he sounds (in ASFTINDA), or how a vividly he talks about wanting to die (SAASOP). Sad.

Sad, yes, but at least he's given us something to smile about -- I mean, his whole interpretation of what a Cruise is, a Cruiseline's attempt to aggressively ensure that you relax and pamper yourself. The way he describes people moving in/on/around the Cruise Ship, "bovine", his interaction with his tablemates and his intense dislike for one of the women at his table as well as his feud with the ship's captain is indescribably funny.

Mostly, the essay works so well because going on a Cruise is generally something that people think they want to do; it is, supposedly, fun -- much like, say, going to a concert or sometype of sporting event. But DFW, as is his way, finds and uncovers all that is truly strange, when you really think about it, or, when you spend 50-60 pages analyzing it.

1. The Inner Game of Tennis | Timothy Gallwey (134 pages) | A
2. The Last Shot | Darcy Frey (240 pages) | A+
3. The Road | Cormac McCarthy (287 pages) | A+
4. Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell (299 pages) | C+
5. The Last Season | Phil Jackson (304 pages) | B-
The Sunset Limited | Cormac McCarthy (160 pages)| B-
7. The Education of a Coach | David Halberstam (288 pages)| B+
8. Downtown Owl | Chuck Klosterman | (288 pages)| B

9. Can I Keep My Jersey?| Paul Shirley| (336 pages)|C-
10. Then We Came to The End| Joshua Ferris| (416 pages)|B+
11. Friday Night Lights| H.G. Bissinger|(400 pages)|A++
12. Strokes of Genius| L. Jon Wertheim|(208 pages)|B
Who's Your City| Richard Florida|( 345 pages)|C
14. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men| (336 pages)|A
15. The Book of Basketball| Bill Simmons|(736 pages)|C-
16. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again|(368 pages)|A-

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