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David Foster Wallace’s greatest hits

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 12, 2014

The David Foster Wallace Reader is a collection of Wallace’s best, funniest, and most celebrated writing.

Where do you begin with a writer as original and brilliant as David Foster Wallace? Here — with a carefully considered selection of his extraordinary body of work, chosen by a range of great writers, critics, and those who worked with him most closely. This volume presents his most dazzling, funniest, and most heartbreaking work — essays like his famous cruise-ship piece, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” excerpts from his novels The Broom of the System, Infinite Jest, and The Pale King, and legendary stories like “The Depressed Person.”

Wallace’s explorations of morality, self-consciousness, addiction, sports, love, and the many other subjects that occupied him are represented here in both fiction and nonfiction. Collected for the first time are Wallace’s first published story, “The View from Planet Trillaphon as Seen In Relation to the Bad Thing” and a selection of his work as a writing instructor, including reading lists, grammar guides, and general guidelines for his students.

If you’ve somehow been waiting to dig into Wallace’s writing but didn’t know where to start, this is where you start.