25 Great Articles and Essays by David Foster WallaceA complete collection of DFW's nonfiction articles and essays
Words and Writing
Tense PresentPerhaps the finest review of an English usage dictionary - this classic essay touches on everything from race bias in academia and the evolution of language to the pros and cons on non-standard English.
Deciderization 2007Why just about every important word on The Best American Essays 2007's front cover turns out to be vague, debatable, slippery, disingenuous, or else 'true' only in certain contexts.
Laughing With Kafka"For me, a signal frustration in trying to read Kafka with students is that it is next to impossible to get them to see that Kafka is funny."
The Nature of the Fun"A book-in-progress is a kind of hideously damaged infant that follows the writer around wanting love, wanting the very thing its hideousness guarantees it'll get: the writer's complete attention."
Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young"The honeymoon's end between the literary Establishment and the contemporary young writer was an inevitable and foreseeable consequence of the same shameless hype that led to many journeyman writers' premature elevation in the first place."
E unibus pluram: television and U.S. fiction"Fiction writers as a species tend to be oglers. They tend to lurk and to stare. The minute fiction writers stop moving, they start lurking, and stare. They are born watchers."
Grammar LessonsThe late great DFW on Grammar
What Words Really MeanAn excerpt from Twenty Four Word Notes
Films, Music and The Media
FX PornA fascintating reflection on the inverse relationship between the amount of special effects used in a film and the quality of the story.
David Lynch Keeps His HeadDFW hangs around on the set of Lost Highway and dissects the greatness of America's most distinctive director.
HostRiding shotgun with a political talk radio shock jock.
Signifying Rappers"Rap, whether fecund or sterile, is today's pop music's lone cutting edge, the new, the unfamiliar, the brain- resisted-while-body-boogies. And that alien, exhilarating cutting edge has always been black."
Big Red SonEach year, between one and two dozen adult US males are admitted to ERs after having castrated themselves...
15 Great Essays by Joan DidionEssential essays from the master of the form
15 Great Articles by Tom WolfeClassic reads from a journalistic pioneer
12 Great Essays by John Jeremiah SullivanEssays by one of the best in the business
7 Great Essays by Zadie SmithAmazing reads by a great essayist/novelist
Shipping Out"On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise"
Ticket to the FairGorge yourself on corn dogs, gape at terrifying rides, savor the odor of pigs, trade unpleasantries with tattooed carnies, and admire the loveliness of cows.
Consider the LobsterA trip to the Maine Lobster Festival raises some unnerving questions about the relationship between people and animals.
The Capital T TruthWallace's 2005 Kenyon College commencement address: a stark but hopeful perspective on life's fundamental questions.
Hail the Returning Dragon, Clothed in New FireOn sex, AIDS, love, danger and romance.
Why Didn't Video Phones Take Off?Technically this extract from Infinite Jest is fiction, but it still says a lot about the real world.
The String Theory"An obsessive inquiry into the physics and metaphysics of tennis."
Federer as Religious ExperienceWallace's hypnotic prose opens up the world of top-flight tennis, and arguably its greatest exponent.
Tennis, Trigonometry, TornadoesI grew up inside vectors, lines and lines athwart lines, grids - and, on the scale of horizons, broad curving lines of geographic force.
The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and The ShrubSlumming it with the press corps as they follow John McCain during his failed bid for the republican presidential nomination.
9/11: The View From the Midwest"Suddenly everbody has flags out; big flags, small flags, regular flag-size flags."
Just AskingAre some things still worth dying for?
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
Consider the Lobster and Other EssaysBetween them, these collections cover all of DFW's best nonfiction, including a lots of classic essays that are unavailable online.
How do series work?
To create a series or add a work to it, go to a "work" page. The "Common Knowledge" section now includes a "Series" field. Enter the name of the series to add the book to it.
Works can belong to more than one series. In some cases, as with Chronicles of Narnia, disagreements about order necessitate the creation of more than one series.
Tip: If the series has an order, add a number or other descriptor in parenthesis after the series title (eg., "Chronicles of Prydain (book 1)"). By default, it sorts by the number, or alphabetically if there is no number. If you want to force a particular order, use the | character to divide the number and the descriptor. So, "(0|prequel)" sorts by 0 under the label "prequel."
What isn't a series?
Series was designed to cover groups of books generally understood as such (see Wikipedia: Book series). Like many concepts in the book world, "series" is a somewhat fluid and contested notion. A good rule of thumb is that series have a conventional name and are intentional creations, on the part of the author or publisher. For now, avoid forcing the issue with mere "lists" of works possessing an arbitrary shared characteristic, such as relating to a particular place. Avoid series that cross authors, unless the authors were or became aware of the series identification (eg., avoid lumping Jane Austen with her continuators).
Also avoid publisher series, unless the publisher has a true monopoly over the "works" in question. So, the Dummies guides are a series of works. But the Loeb Classical Library is a series of editions, not of works.