Books Why You Should Care About David Foster Wallace (If You Don’t Already)
posted by September 16 at 13:17 PMon
I’ve already written about why I was so sad about David Foster Wallace’s death. But if you don’t know much about DFW, or you’ve only read (or tried to read) his fiction, there are some things you really ought to read.
Harper’s has benevolently posted a number of Foster Walllace’s essays for free on their website. They’re PDFs, so if you work in an office-type environment, you might be able to pass them off as work. I wholeheartedly recommend “Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise,” which would eventually become the title essay in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. The others are very good, too. The whole page, if read in its entirety, practically serves as a free e-book primer for the Foster Wallace initiate who doesn’t want to do the morbid dance of going to a bookstore and asking for the work of a recently deceased author. You’ve gotta love the internet.
And this essay at Rolling Stone, about one week he spent with the John McCain presidential campaign of 2000, is the one I call “one particularly important essay about John McCain that every American should be required by law to read before November 4.” The essay was recently republished as a book called McCain’s Promise, and it has a foreword that’s very useful in contextualizing the 2000 McCain with the 2008 McCain. You should read this essay, in one of its forms, soon.