Nate D's Reviews > Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace
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's review
Jun 11, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, read-in-2008

Opening essay "Big Red Son", an account of the Adult Video News Awards -- yes, the "porn Oscars" -- is one of the funniest pieces of writing I have read in ages. And informative! DFW's style seems well suited to the subject here, with footnotes serving as expansions into long verbatim anecdotes delivered to the author by the article's colorful supporting cast, and his prose is well up to the challenge of rendering the circus as lucidly as seems possible.

This was a good purchase so far.


It turns out that the collection was bookended by its best moments. The final "Host" was a fairly fascinating portrait of conservative talk radio and its meteoric rise in the last decade and a half or so, and reprises DFW's notable skills in rendering breathless, funny, and richly detailed eyewitness accounts. Actually, those same skills were also on display in the the nearly-as-good McCain 2000 campaign saga "Up Simba", which has recently been republished in its own book in light of the current campaign (as it should be, perhaps, though the essay seems more broadly to set its sights on politics and political journalism in general than to actual focus on McCain himself). The rest of the book was largely devoted to book reviews, which, though erudite and interesting, and often turned to larger questions than those concerning any single book, were still somewhat less gripping reading. But then, I rarely read essays at all, so it's sort of surprising that I enjoyed this even as much as I did.
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Reading Progress

June 11, 2008 – Shelved
June 12, 2008 – Shelved as: non-fiction
Started Reading
August 19, 2008 – Finished Reading
February 2, 2017 – Shelved as: read-in-2008

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Jesse so i've been re-reading this book and, it is much better the second time around. the usage wars essay should be required reading and the 9/11 essay is the best thing i've read about that natonal tragedy. or even just the kafka essay. the book is just so much meaningful when read for the 2nd or 3rd time

Nate D Good to know. I actually somehow still haven't read A Supposedly Fun Thing, so that first, then perhaps some revisiting of this one.

Jesse wha?! i'm sure you know that cruise ship essay is like one of, if not the, best 1P travologues ever written. also the anti-irony essay that basically wrote the rule book for fiction in the aughts. and the state fair thing, and david lynch (which was good, but was actually one of the weaker pieces, which is weird when you think about it.) anyway, needless to say, i'd read that first - and like now.

Nate D I know, right? I'll go poke around for a good used copy immediately.

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