Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Can you just read this novel?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:42 am
Posts: 75
Can you just read this novel or does it have to kind of permeate and poke at your thinking?

I think there are some readers who just kind of get through the book and think "ugh, thank God it's over". Beyond and aside from this type of reader, is there a middle ground reader? Or must this book permeate your or poke into how you think? I am not saying the book rules how you think, but it does tweak your perspective unlike any book I know of. This has been my experience, but is what other DFW "fans" have found?


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 Post subject: Re: Can you just read this novel?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:01 pm
Posts: 10
I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I finished the book over a month ago and still can't stop thinking about it. Whether trying to peek more carefully into the unanswered questions and other elements of the construction of the book, or trying to think through how the ideas in the book should affect my life...

Obviously that's how DFW wrote the book. Something like a Shakespearian play, you can get a lot out of, but you can also just put it down, because on the surface it has all the elements of hack writing: characters, tensions, a plot, a resolution. "Infinite Jest" doesn't have a traditional plot, much less a traditional resolution, so whether you want to try to piece together the plot or try to find the resolution in all the beautiful little cul-de-sacs in IJ, the reader is forced to be involved in a way that most great fiction allows but doesn't demand.

My newfound obsession with this book makes me want to carefully re-read the M*A*S*H section... even at the time I realized that that was DFW's final word to the book's most ardent fans, but I don't know whether he's trying to discourage the obsession or merely differentiate between an obsession with commercial crud like M*A*S*H and carefully crafted and planned novels.


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 Post subject: Re: Can you just read this novel?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:26 pm
Posts: 2
I finished about 3 weeks ago, and have been unable to shake the book. Not that i've tried, nor that i mind.
I told a couple friends that it sticks with you like a good song, a really good song: the way you cant get Norwegian Wood out of your head, or when you walk around humming what ever it is you hum.
I like it this way, its coming together nicely for me now.


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 Post subject: Re: Can you just read this novel?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:07 pm
Posts: 13
It's a big undertaking, reading IJ. Can't imagine many stick with it unless they are really fascinated and influenced by it. I guess there are a few who gut it out just to say they read it, but most of us are in love.


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 Post subject: Re: Can you just read this novel?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:52 am
Posts: 24
I think all great literature (and IJ certainly qualifies, IMO) should make one ponder deeper questions/issues it raises outside of the actual time spent sitting down reading it.


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