The Best of David Foster Wallace

shelved under Books by... and Rest In Peace

David Foster Wallace was an incredible (and volatile) talent that died long before he ran out of things to say. Entertainment Weekly (which actually has good taste in books) cites the books below as his most rewarding work... work that's a mix of "intellectual rigor, hilarity, and — crucially — empathy."


Infinite Jest

by Jacob Weisberg

Amanda says:

This book hops around so much, I had to read it all the way through because I was so excited to see where it was going.

Plus, half the fun of reading this book was to read the endnotes and discover the sponsors of the various years ("Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad" and "Year of the Whopper" being some of my favorites).

This book also appears on What New Yorkers Read on the Subway


A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

by Jacob Weisberg

Mike McQuillian says:

David Foster Wallace’s mind had so much going on that everything I’ve read of his was fascinating, partially because I never know what will come next. These essays, about the Illinois State Fair, tennis, and cruise ships (among other topics) are a great example.


Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

by Jacob Weisberg

April from Montgomery, AL says:

I hope my next few statements do not dissuade anyone from reading this book: I would be lying if I said I enjoyed reading it. It took me quite some time to finish this book, really. Not just because I have a busy schedule, but because it basically puts a complete beating on your brain, emotions, and, yes, even body. David Foster Wallace should be granted his own language. However... I think this is one of the best books I've ever read. I won't ever read it again, I'm sure, but I'll never get rid of it either.


Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays

by Jacob Weisberg

Jonathan Fitzgerald from Jersey City, NJ says:

At a very definite moment in the middle of the title essay, you realize you're not just reading a report on a lobster festival in're knee deep in a moral essay questioning whether or not it's wrong to boil to death a sentient being.

This, after taking Updike to task, a sprawling essay on English usage in popular culture and more footnotes than you will ever have thought humanly possible.

For me, "Consider the Lobster" signaled a major shift in literary life; and a welcome one at that.


The Best American Essays: 2007

by Robert Atwan, edited by Jacob Weisberg

(Note that Wallace only wrote the Introduction to this collection.)