I read Infinite Jest a few months ago, my first written by David Foster Wallace, and came to really enjoy his writing, as well as the story itself. After I read this book, I came to really enjoy the man himself.
This book is a collection of essays ranging over a variety of topics, including tennis (sheds some light on Infinite Jest), television (also sheds light on IJ), the movie/tv director David Lynch, literary theory, and DFW's experiences (of which he was getting paid for a written account of by a magazine) at the Illinois State Fair, and also on a luxury cruise in the Caribbean. The stories were sometimes hilarious, even self-deprecatingly so (state fair and cruise essays, especially), sometimes informative (television and David Lynch), at times intellectual (literary theory…for me intellectual but not informative as my brain does not have what it takes to understand complex, high-brow literary theory….mercifully, this essay was short. - In contrast, however, the essay on television was intellectual AND informative), at other times personal (DFW shows us glimpses of his despair, which knowing how it ended with him, makes it seem much more deeply personal than just personal) but always, always entertaining. I couldn't help but wanting, after reading this book, to have been one of DFW's close friends.
Also, I was extremely happy to see DFW's prolific use of endnotes, which I came to be very attached to while reading Infinite Jest.
One fiction, and one non-fiction down, and I’m completely sold on DFW. I’ll be adding all the rest of his work to my “to-read” list as soon as possible.
(I was tempted to put all my parenthetical remarks above as foot/endnotes, but I have way too much respect for DFW to have done such an overtly homagey and plagiaristic thing like that.)