However I felt about him, though, pales in comparison to the way I feel about David Foster Wallace, a guy who I am pretty sure none of you will be familiar with.
The truth is, DFW nearly ruined me when it came to reading. I have never, in my short little life, ever read an author who had such a profound effect on me. For seven months I lugged around his masterwork, Infinite Jest, in my bag. At 1079 pages, I was constantly aware of its weight, both in the literal sense (as it was heavy as stink) and in a more metaphorical, literary sense. It was, and remains to be, the single most difficult book I have ever tried to take on. DFW pummeled his audience with an intelligence that was, for lack of a better term, intimidating - something that was entirely intentional based on his belief that a real understanding and appreciation of art could only be truly reached if the consumer had to wrestle with it, fight for it. I wrestled. And I fought. And when I came to the end, I was utterly devastated. There was a humanity and honesty in the words that I was unaccustomed to. Though I tried to read other authors after finishing it, I think its safe to say that I was flat out unable to enjoy them. I really didn't enjoy reading again until I picked up another one of his books. And so it has gone, ever since.
DFW - you were a titan walking amongst mere mortals. For Crowder and myself, I can safely say that you will be missed tremendously. The world of literature will never, ever be quite the same.
"And when he came to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out."