Archives For David Foster Wallace

 

“Forming, and Being Formed By, Culture

A Review of

Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself:
A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace
.

By David Lipsky
and
The Broom of the System: A Novel by Dav id Foster Wallace.
CD Audiobook Read by Robert Petkoff.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself:
A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace
.

David Lipsky

Paperback: Broadway Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

The Broom of the System: A Novel
Dav id Foster Wallace.
CD Audiobook Read by Robert Petkoff.
Hachette Audio, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

[ Read an excerpt from ALTHOUGH OF COURSE…  ]

Although Of Course You End Up...I have been familiar with the name of the late American writer David Foster Wallace for several years now and have read several shorter pieces by or about him, but had never tackled any of his books.  Thus, when I saw earlier this year that two books with his name on them were being released – one a biography of sorts and the other an audiobook of his first novel The Broom of the System – I figured that they would provide me with a great opportunity to immerse myself in his work.  Having found myself intrigued by The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani eulogistic description of Wallace as one who “used his prodigious gifts as a writer — his manic, exuberant prose, his ferocious powers of observation, his ability to fuse avant-garde techniques with old-fashioned moral seriousness — to create a series of strobe-lit portraits of a millennial America overdosing on the drugs of entertainment and self-gratification” (14 Sept. 2008), I was eager to learn more about Wallace and to engage his work.

BROOM OF THE SYSTEMIn March 1996, Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky joined Wallace for the final leg of his Infinite Jest book tour, and recorded much of their conversation over a five day period.  That conversation has now been published as Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, and is the closest thing we presently have to a biography (or autobiography) of Wallace.  Not surprisingly the book reads like an extended Rolling Stone interview, and given the context of the conversation – unfolding over several days and interrupted by various events related to the book tour – the book tends to wander from one topic to the next, often circling back to topics discussed earlier in the conversation.  Along the way, we get a good chunk of Wallace’s life story, growing up with parents who were academics, and learning to love reading but at the same time very much loving television and popular culture.

Continue Reading…

 

An excerpt from

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself:
A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace.

David Lipsky.
Paperback: Broadway Books, 2010.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

[ Read our review of this book…]

 

The NY Review of Books Reviews
Although Of Course  You End Up Becoming Yourself:
A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jul/15/smarter-you-think/

“What I would love to do is a profile of one of you guys who’s doin’ a profile of me,” David Foster Wallace told the journalist David Lipsky in 1996 during a series of conversations now collected as Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. “It would be a way,” Wallace continued, “for me to get some of the control back”:

You can’t tell outright lies that I’ll then deny to the fact checker. But…you’re gonna be able to shape this essentially how you want. And that to me is extremely disturbing…. I want to be able to try and shape and manage the impression of me that’s coming across.

As Lipsky tells us in his introduction, he loved Wallace’s idea of profiling the profilers:

It would have been one of the deluxe internal surveys he specialized in—the unedited camera, the feed before the director in the van starts making cuts and choices…. That’s what this book would like to be. It’s the one way of writing about him I don’t think David would have hated.

Read the full review:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jul/15/smarter-you-think/

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself:
A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace.
Paperback: Broadway Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


A Review of Taming the Beloved Beast:
How Medical Technology Costs Are
Destroying Our Health Care System

http://www.issues.org/26.3/br_demello.html

Daniel Callahan’s Taming the Beloved Beast: How Medical Technology Costs are Destroying Our Health Care System is both more and less than the title implies. More, in that it is a blunt, thought-provoking view of medical culture that raises difficult but essential questions about our values and public policy. Less, in that it lacks depth and nuance in its treatment of technology, limiting its utility in evaluating short-term policy issues. It is a particularly interesting read in this time of acrimonious health reform debate.

Callahan’s main focus is not technology per se but rather the evolution and prospects of the U.S. health care system as a whole. The challenge is formidable because the starting point is “a messy system, one ill-designed for reform because of the accretion of assorted interest groups with different agendas and vested interests, an ideologically divided public, and a steady stream of new and expensive technologies added to those already in place.”


Read the full review:
http://www.issues.org/26.3/br_demello.html

Taming the Beloved Beast:
How Medical Technology Costs Are Destroying
Our Health Care System
.
Daniel Callahan.
Hardcover: Princeton University Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


Lauren Winner reviews
Allegra Goodman’s new novel THE COOKBOOK COLLECTOR
for BOOKS AND CULTURE.

http://booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2010/june/winner063010.html

Having tackled the ethics and mores of the lab in Intuition, Allegra Goodman turns to the ethics and mores of the late-90s dot.com bubble in what I think is her best novel yet, The Cookbook Collector. I say her best novel yet in part because, often, it takes me a while to start caring about Goodman characters; here they had me from the first chapter.

Read the full review:
http://booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2010/june/winner063010.html

The Cookbook Collector: A Novel.
Allegra Goodman.
Hardback: The Dial Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]