I read it on audiobook without the endnotes, so I guess I pissed everyone off. Truth is, I'm too lazy to get my entertainment in any form that isn't force-fed to me. What, you say mimicking the broken pattern of human thought is one of the points? Please. Make me. (or make me, please?) DFW makes a case against it, but he still acknowledges that we do CHOOSE between pressing the brain-stimulating lever and not. ig.
I read a lot of his short works before Infinite Jest, and I'm glad I did. Many of the short ones show an idea related to someone else, or to the real world (in his nonfiction) and rendered in even more intelligible English. Infinite Jest touches on basically everything he'd ever written about, but filtered through Himself, like, at least three times.
Sometimes when I read novels from the 50s or so, they seem really short and self-contained. A prime example of the novel format. Laser-focused, trimmed of all the fat. This book is like that in the sense that it's self-contained (self-absorbed, too). But of course it's extremely long. Everything DFW ever chose to talk about and nothing more. But everything done at A level without fail. Not A+, not A-. It's odd to read a 1000+ page book and feel like it's been wrapped up nicely.
4 stars because DFW never got to write about the (mature) internet age, and I don't know of any artist who can treat the internet as well as DFW did to television. And because I don't have the emotional firepower to believe what he says at the deepest level.