Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:03 pm 
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Location: UTAH. Yes I'm from Utah. No I'm not a Mormon.
I'm reading IJ for the second time, and I sure am glad that I am! I finished the first reading less than a month ago and I had to read it again.

The first time I read it I was so intimidated by IJ's size and reputation it took me about 50 pages before I got to where I could read it comfortably. It took me a little while to learn what DFW wanted me to pick out from all of the details he provided. Some are necessary; some aren't. I had no idea that the book was so wildly popular. I knew it was one of TIME's Top 100, but not much beyond that. It didn't even cross my mind to google it until I had finished it!

The first time I read it I COMPLETELY missed the part where Hal and Don Gately are digging up Himself's head. I felt TERRIBLY inadequate when I heard it mentioned in the forums I immediately consulted to try and clear up some of the confusion.

I also had a hard time with the part about Erdedy waiting for the pot delivery. Having just picked IJ up on a whim, I didn't have anybody to tell me it was worth sticking with. The first time through I was wondering if I REALLY wanted to commit to a book that spent 10 pages talking about a guy waiting for pot. This time I am finding it both captivating and hilarious!

This is an amazing book. I can't think of one that even comes close.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:55 am 
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@Cody.
I agree with you 100% that this big, messy book merits rereading. I'm on my 4th read of the book spanning the course of 10 years. I seem to pick it up in the summer, sometimes just to reread sections and other times to reread the entire book.

I even caught something that after 3 other reads I had never noticed before last night! I thought that was the most amazing thing in the world- that I am learning new things from a well read book that is 10 years old!

In the "professional conversationalist" section I noticed that toward the end of it (I do not have the book nearby to quote you a page number) Himself states that he has a copy of the Entertainment buried inside his head! That blew my mind that I had never quite clicked with that statement before. Does he mean literally buried inside his head (and that long ago; the chronology tells us that that was somewhere around the beginning of subsidized time?) or is this just the start of Himself's downward spiral and the loss of his mind perhaps exacerbated by the fact that he simply cannot communicate with his own child?

So long story short; count me in for a total reread this summer! So much to see and learn from this old friend.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:40 am 
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The professional conversationalist section is the one that, upon reading it the first time, I realized the book was going to be magnificent. I think Himself is already insane by that scene, so I don't think his paranoia is to be taken literally. Anyway, that's my take on it.

One thing I've noticed in rereading this thing: I don't spend as much time decoding the paragraph-by-paragraph narrative. The result is that it's an easier read and I can pay closer attention to all the fantastic minutia.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:41 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:12 am
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Location: London
CodyVanDer wrote:
The first time I read it I COMPLETELY missed the part where Hal and Don Gately are digging up Himself's head. I felt TERRIBLY inadequate when I heard it mentioned in the forums I immediately consulted to try and clear up some of the confusion.

Oh boy, I saw that on the other thread and did a double take! - I'm so excited to be starting again when I'm done. Things I filed away as less consequential, or forgot, or just didn't read or understand, I imagine it'll be a lot different the second time round.
In this sense, things I have already read are becoming spoilers.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:00 pm 
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I'm also re-reading for my second time through. It is amazing how much more you pick up on a 2nd reading. I also had unsurprisingly missed the reference to J.W. and Bim in the first chapter as well as the reference to entertainment cartridge implanted in Himself's head in the conversationalist scene.

I'm excited to see what else jumps out on a 2nd run through!


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:27 pm 
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Some good discussion on the Facebrook group today: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/topic ... topic=9840 The Quebecois woman Hal sees in the ER (the one with the big "titty") is very suspicious now, on rereading.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:06 pm 
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Fourth time's a charm. When I met the man and told him that (at that point) I'd read it twice already and was on my third reading, he said, "I don't think I've even read it twice!"


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:14 pm 
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I'm going to try and nail down the timeline on this go. Do you guys think it will be helpful to set up an excel spreadsheet or some similar way to capture timeline info. Toward the end it gets very narrow and making sense of the whole Gately and Hal digging up Himself's grave is going to require some timeframe finessing.

What format do you all think will work best? Do you think something like this will be helpful at all to us? We could set it up in some fileshare that we all could access.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:29 pm 
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Location: UTAH. Yes I'm from Utah. No I'm not a Mormon.
garbothecat wrote:
I'm going to try and nail down the timeline on this go. Do you guys think it will be helpful to set up an excel spreadsheet or some similar way to capture timeline info. Toward the end it gets very narrow and making sense of the whole Gately and Hal digging up Himself's grave is going to require some timeframe finessing.

What format do you all think will work best? Do you think something like this will be helpful at all to us? We could set it up in some fileshare that we all could access.



I was actually thinking about doing something similar. Maybe we can just do it in a post and edit it as more information comes out in the book. I'll take a stab at it if you would like. My friend is reading it on Kindle, and as I am too lazy to figure out where the Kindle markers are in relation to the page numbers, I am taking rather detailed notes.

There is a very good time line as an appendix in Stephen Burn's reader's guide.

I guess we could also try and track down a time line somewhere on the internet.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-reading is the way to go!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:42 am
Posts: 75
garbothecat wrote:
I'm going to try and nail down the timeline on this go. Do you guys think it will be helpful to set up an excel spreadsheet or some similar way to capture timeline info. Toward the end it gets very narrow and making sense of the whole Gately and Hal digging up Himself's grave is going to require some timeframe finessing.

What format do you all think will work best? Do you think something like this will be helpful at all to us? We could set it up in some fileshare that we all could access.



The book Elegant Complexities has done this already. It tells the Subsidized Year (i.e. YTMP), the real Year (ie. 2002), the date (i.e. October) and the Subchapter. It puts it all in chrono order so you can read it in chronological order if you bounced like a madman from one subchapter to the next.


Last edited by testforecho on Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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