Consider the Lobster and Other Essays 

Let's get this out of the way first: If you don't love David Foster Wallace with all of your heart, I will punch you in your face.

Good? Good. Wallace's latest is Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, a collection of essays covering everything from 9/11 to Dostoevsky-related academia; with his usual hyper-literate and frenetically footnote-punctuated prose*, Wallace also deals with events like the porn world's equivalent of the Oscars and boiling lobsters alive.

I've always preferred Wallace's fiction to his non-fiction, if only because his imagination can really cut loose in stuff like Infinite Jest—more so than in the sometimes trying essays in his other collection, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, or in his book on math that I couldn't get through, Everything and More. But Lobster is a great collection of Wallace's best non-fiction writing, thanks to his chosen subject matter. "Big Red Son"—the one about the XXX Academy Awards—is particularly fascinating, with Wallace happily diving into the massive (and verboten) world of adult entertainment, followed closely by "Up, Simba," Wallace's insightful Rolling Stone piece about reporting on John McCain's campaign convoy—unable to talk to McCain, Wallace instead gloms onto the other media lackeys following the campaign. Politics also show up in "Host," a simultaneously scathing and humane portrait of talk radio caricature John Ziegler, and the book's titular essay, which examines, in astonishing detail, the question of whether or not we should be boiling lobsters alive for our eating pleasure. The best, however, is the densely smart "Authority and American Usage," which—in its shrewd (and hilarious) dissection of American English's frailties and dialects, enables Wallace to examine issues covering everything from socioeconomic inequality to ideological battles over welfare. It's absurd, and inspired, and—like every other Wallace book—it's like nothing else out there. And picking it up is easier than me punching you in the face, so get to it.

* I should note here that I was originally going to write this whole review in footnotes, maybe even a Wallace-appropriate volume of footnotes—so maybe like 15 or 20 for this review. But then I figured it'd be a huge pain in the ass for our production guys, plus it's murder on the eyes, and I'm already feeling the lurking threat of an oncoming migraine, so fuck it.

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