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Publisher's Summary

In this exuberantly praised book - a collection of seven pieces on subjects ranging from television to tennis, from the Illinois State Fair to the films of David Lynch, from postmodern literary theory to the supposed fun of traveling aboard a Caribbean luxury cruiseliner - David Foster Wallace brings to nonfiction the same curiosity, hilarity, and exhilarating verbal facility that has delighted readers of his fiction.

©1997 David Foster Wallace (P)2012 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Wallace's style is highly personal - some might say eccentric - but his writing is always intelligent, witty, and engaging." ( Library Journal)
"Mr. Wallace's distinctive and infectious style, an acrobatic cart-wheeling between high intellectual discourse and vernacular insouciance, makes him tremendously entertaining to read, whatever his subject." ( The New York Times Book Review)
“these intelligent, funny essays are outstanding.” ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • Maple Ridge, BC
  • 08-20-13

Wonderful book, terrible narration!

I had read this book but wanted to listen to it as well. The writing is still wonderful, but clearly the narrator doesn't understand the material. He uses sarcasm when the author is not being sarcastic, makes huge reading mistakes (he calls Louise Erdrich "Louis," for example), and changes meanings by emphasizing parts of sentences that don't make sense.

Fortunately, the writing makes the awful reader less damaging.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Overdramatic narrator for my taste

Would you be willing to try another one of Paul Garcia’s performances?

I'm sure peoples' tastes on this vary a lot, but... I listened to "Consider the Lobster" a while ago, which is a similar book of essays by DFW, but that book is narrated by DFW. This book is narrated by Paul Garcia. The reading style is vastly different between the two books. DFW's reading style is pretty restrained, like a lot of authors. By comparison - Paul Garcia brings a lot of expression to the reading - his reading of the book sounds sort of like a dramatic monologue, at least compared to the comparatively straightforward approach taken by the author, which sounds like, well, like someone reading from a book. I prefer DFW's reading immensely. I find Paul Garcia's reading here really distracting, and it interferes a lot with my enjoyment of the book. Again - I'm sure this is a matter of taste, and some people will prefer it. But if you are the sort of person who prefers a more affectless reading style, this may bug you as it bugs me.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great writing, middling reading.

Where does A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The essay genre is well suited for audio format, where thoughts can dance without wandering too far, and there's no strong need to write down anything for reference later, apart from well turned phrases we might want to look back on for inspiration.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

David Foster Wallace was a master of the essay form.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Paul Garcia?

I don't know whom I would have chosen over Paul Garcia, but it was clear from the reading the way things ought to have been read, but weren't. I recall a chiasmus or two read in a way that seemed oblivious to the relation of the two sentences, and it hurt to hear.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could listen to each entry in one go, but it's refreshing enough and light enough, yet coherent enough to only hear as much as fits in a walk, jog or commute, to be picked up later. Again, kudos to the author.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim
  • Spokane, WA, United States
  • 03-27-13

Clever.....but just blah

David Foster Wallace is a genius and an excellent writer - I have respect for his talent, his articulate mastery of the English language and his ability to paint a picture. That said, this book was just way too much of him at once. I can see how his articles would be big hits on an individual basis but as a collection they just fall flat and I had a hard time soldiering through each anecdote and exhausting train of thought trying to get to the next subject. I was amused at times - just nothing here to LOL about (at least the 3/4 that I listened to before setting it aside). Those of you who long for seriously intelligent commentary and sophistication will probably love this - it's got class - maybe just too much for my lowbrow sense of humor and common tastes.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Life Through David Foster Wallace's Eyes

I waited a little too long to write this review, but here we go: I'm from Indiana and grew up playing basketball, and I enjoyed Wallace describing his years travelling the Midwest and the dodgy style of gritty tennis he played. He relished the heat, the bugs, and the surprise gusts of wind while others complained of their foul luck. Memorable pieces on the IL state fair and a trip on a luxury cruise liner. Listened to this as I read Michael Martone's The Flatness and Other Landscapes. A good pair.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Even funnier aloud

Where does A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's great.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A

Which scene was your favorite?

I enjoyed the state-fair piece and the opening tennis essay the most.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh. A lot.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • United States
  • 09-08-12

A Collection of Clever Observations

Would you listen to A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again again? Why?

Yes. I would like to experience a few of the essay's topics then listen to these essays again.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The author's attention to details. He has a way of writing a mundane occurrence in a way that makes you feel like you too should be getting more out of how you view life.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I really appreciated a theme mentioned in at two of the essays of how millions of people are being sold the concept of individualism.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Collection of Articles from DFW

Would you listen to A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again again? Why?

I would. Maybe in a few years. I would listen to some of the articles I liked better than others but they were dense enough and entertaining that they could require multiple listening if you liked them the first time around.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I would have to say the combination of his razor sharp observations combined with his critical sense of self awareness. Also, the variety of the articles.

Which character – as performed by Paul Garcia – was your favorite?

That doesn't really apply here. There are a few characters throughout but no stand-out favorites.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Hard to say. There's a lot of information here as each piece is quite long.

Any additional comments?

An overall strong collection of David Foster Wallace's articles from the early to mid 90s, including a great piece on David Lynch’s set of ‘Lost Highway’, a Canadian tennis tourney, the Illinois State Fair, and aboard a luxury cruise ship. Wallace’s style of razor sharp, surgical precision, that can oft times come off as harsh, combined with his critical sense of self awareness is on full display here. Paul Garcia does a great job of capturing DFW's voice and spirit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant writer/pitch perfect narration

This is a excellent book of essays, narrated beautifully, bringing out all of David Foster Wallace's remarkable humor and irony. I am looking forward to more books narrated by Paul Garcia.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent writing, poor choice of narrator

I'm a huge DFW fan, and it's nice to have an audiobook version of this collection. I really don't care for Paul Garcia's rendering of Wallace's text. I realize that Garcia is a renowned narrator, and I would probably like him in a different context. His pompous manner of speaking makes these essays sound incredibly pretentious. When you hear DFW speak, his unassuming voice allows him to communicate is ideas in a way that is invitingly casual. Garcia's narration makes the essays sound elitist and somewhat arrogant. The tone just isn't right.