What to Read Before “The End of the Tour”

From our friends at Feed Your Need to Read

No one is just one thing anymore. Yesterday’s writer is today’s author/speaker/professor/icon.

Welcome to the slash generation, and though he may not be here to write all about it, the multihyphenate David Foster Wallace continues to impact it. A bit of a recluse and entirely an enigma, the tortured artist is the subject of The End of the Tour, a film that is now in theaters.


Directed by Sundance favorite James Ponsoldt, the narrative feature covers Rolling Stone editor Dave Lipsky’s five-day interview with Wallace, who at the time was on a book tour “celebrating” his comical thinker, Infinite Jest.


More stream of consciousness than buddy road trip flick, it is a must-see for Wallace fans, aspiring writers, and really anyone who appreciates unearthing thoughtful insights and new paradigms on life’s minutiae.

Prefer to do a little philosophical meandering from the comfort of your couch? Us, too. Which is why curated a list of books inspired by the film. Meander through them, and who knows, one just might inspire another hyphenate of your own.

The Art Fair, by David Lipsky

A novel that toys with the capriciousness of NYC’s art scene, Lipsky’s bildungsroman follows the pendulum of Joan Freeley’s luck as it swings from abstract genius to art-world outcast—and the son who will do anything to help get her back on top. A colorful tale of maternal attachment, the book cameos in the film as a stowaway in Lipsky’s luggage.

Alanis Morissette: a Biography, by Paul Cantin

In the film, Wallace’s affections for the alternative rocker are evident in the poster plastered on his wall. And further when he admits to fantasizing about her eating a bologna sandwich. So break out the deli meat for Cantin’s crafty biography that has everything “you, you, you outta know,” documenting Morrissette’s path from teen pop failure to Grammy superstar. And look out for her self-help book/memoir out later this year.

The Rabbit Books, by John Updike

Look/listen closely, and you’ll get the film’s reference to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Hint: He lives on the fridge. So grab a late-night snack before hunkering down with Rabbit, Run, the first in a four-book-plus-one-novella series featuring Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a former high school basketball star trying to outrun his now-humdrum life.

The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, by St. Ignatius of Loyola

Wanna get all spiritual? Apparently, Wallace does, as he forgoes wallpaper in favor of scripture, courtesy of Saint Ignatius. Written in 1535, Ignatius’s four-week written reflection remains an influential masterpiece in the Christian library. By no means a light read, it is a quick one—at just 208 pages—and should be considered a road map to living a deeper spiritual life.

Falcon Crest, by Patrick Mann

We all have our vices. According to the film, the brilliant mind behind Infinite Jest can’t say no to binging on junk food and reruns of Falcon Crest. Admittedly addicted to television, Wallace pulls an all-nighter with his fancy soap-opera friends. So why not pull one yourself with this little gem, which keeps its loyalties to the show’s taut romance, intrigue, and mystery.

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace

Well, it is the centerpiece of the film after all. Playing Captain Obvious here, we couldn’t leave it off our list. Clocking in at 1,079 pages, Wallace’s monster of a comedy is a mash-up of domestic dysfunction, metaphysical ideologies, and the pursuit of happiness. Good luck with that.

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