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If You Haven't Read Infinite Jest, You're No Hipster

By Maggie Hellwig in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 30, 2012 4:00PM

If you haven't walked into Wormhole Coffee to see a skinny individual — disheveled hair, thick rimmed glasses, hovering over an empty shot of espresso and an obscure book — then you've never beheld the illustrious creature known to Chicagoans as the hipster. This mysterious being looks quite a bit like all other hipsters, but always makes sure to always remain original. In this scenario, it's the book — what the hipster is feeding its brain — that must be far more unique than the used combat boots or worn tweed blazer.

In Chicago we have our own hipster lit, not limited to the bizarre stories of Adam Levin, the charming books of Joe Meno, or the eerie settings in Audrey Niffengger's novels. But, as has the generosity to remind us, all literate hipsters share some common roots.

According to the handy flowchart, if said hipster sipping espresso hasn't read Infinite Jest then he or she is indeed a poseur. We applaud the pretension besetting several of the picks, like Proust's Remembrance of Things Past or Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station. We were also pleased (but not very surprised) that Meno made the cut with his book The Boy Detective Fails. While the blueprint is fairly accurate, we dare say that it wouldn't do any harm to add some more Chicago authors to this trendy diagram.