Consider the Lobster
By David Foster Wallace
Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? What is John Updike's deal, anyway? And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person?
David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures. Whether covering the three-ring circus of John McCain's 2000 presidential race, plunging into the wars between dictionary writers, or confronting the World's Largest Lobster Cooker at the annual Maine Lobster Festival, Wallace projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his and a voice as powerful and distinct as any in American letters.
Serious format issues2By JomangorLet me be clear that the essays themselves, which are basically reprints of articles DFW wrote for various magazines in the early 2000's, are superb. The main issue is that the footnotes are not well placed, in the sense that when you tap on a footnote to read it, tapping "back to text" at the end of the note often brings you a page or two away from the original text. Furthermore, footnotes of footnotes (this is DFW after all) are uniformly denoted with a " * ", so that when you tap a footnote's footnote, you're taken to a page with a number of short paragraphs or sentences all denoted with an asterisk, and no way of knowing which one is the one you want until you've read a few of them, and even then sometimes you're not really sure. To make things worse, sometimes the footnote navigation texts aren't hyperlinked at all, forcing you to click "back to text" on an adjacent footnote and hope for the best. Worst of all is the exclusion of the essay "Host" because of a claimed inability to reproduce the formatting. It was originally written for the Atlantic Monthly and they have it on their website as of this writing, with the atypical formatting (arrows and boxes of text and such) restyled as footnotes. In sum, Consider the Lobster on iBooks is readable, if unnecessarily mangled.
Consider the Lobster5By KjvisserPerhaps there's a a better collection of short stories that's ever been written. But I seriously doubt it.