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Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekly Top Five

David Foster Wallace Edition!

This week’s Weekly Top Five is humbly dedicated to the genius of David Foster Wallace, his remarkable, dense, incredibly difficult book “Infinite Jest”, and the awesome peeps at Infinite Summer who have made this summer one to remember*. In the course of reading “Infinite Jest” and scanning the blogs on Infinite Summer there has been a lot of talk about books that we’ve always meant to read, books that we feel sort of guilty for having not read, books that as authors and literary people we should actually feel embarrassed for having not read. So, in honor of that amorphous guilt/embarrassment all less-well-read-than-they-should-be writers feel this Weekly Top Five is the Top Five books I’ve never read but really need to.

5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
     By: Junot Diaz
     Published in 2007

This is the first novel by Dominican-born author Junot Diaz, a creative-writing professor at MIT. The novel was an instant smash when it was released in 2007 and by 2008 it had won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It deals primarily with the eponymous character Oscar Wao, a chubby Dominican boy who is obsessed with fantasy, sci-fi, and role-playing games, as he attempts to understand the curse of the fuku, which has supposedly been placed on his family since slavery. Focusing on immigration and integration as central themes, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” has been described as “an immigrant-family saga for those who don’t read immigrant-family sagas” by Lev Grossman of Time and has received almost universally positive critical acclaim from the moment of its release. 

*This week is unofficially Infinite Jest week so I will be writing a blog either today or tomorrow about my experience reading this book along with all the other wonderful people at Infinite Summer.  So stay tuned.