Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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The Inficratic Oath: first, post no spoilers. Limit your I.J. discussion to only those events that take place on or before the page 981 (100%).



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 89
Location: Brooklyn
I think this is applicable to both the act of reading the book itself (although I'm not finding it a struggle, I know others are) and the underlying truths in the book:

"It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life."
Phil Ochs


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:50 pm
Posts: 71
I've taken more time with this reading than the past two, and the boards here have helped me get into it more deeply than ever. I can sometimes drift into the attitude that a book is something you take on with the goal of getting to the end, with attendant frustrations over whatever might get in the way (perhaps how some people feel about the footnotes), but it seems that comes mostly out of not reading so much as a kid and sometimes viewing it as an assignment. I've done more backtracking and rereading in this book than I've ever done before, and it has been such a pleasure. I'm looking forward to carrying that over into other novels. Right now got my eye on Mason & Dixon, which I sampled a bit before this group started; that one seems more challenging and dense--Google will likely accompany me all the way through--but it looks to be a fun read.


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 Post subject: Re: Quote
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am
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I still have another 150 or so pages to read, but I wholeheartedly agree. I'd heard over and over - including the introduction by Dave Eggers - that this book will change your life. I think I would have loved it if I read it on my own, but I don't know that it would have changed me the way it did. Paying such close attention, discussing it with friends in person, reading strangers' opinions online... the book became a community-oriented experience, and what book could have been better for that this one?


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 Post subject: Re: Quote
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:18 am 
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I ordered IJ from Amazon last December with the intention of reading it, but I was put off by the commitment it demanded: 1000 pgs, the footnotes, the lack of paragraphs, etc. I put the book on my shelf and figured that I had wasted my money.

Later in the year when I heard about Infinite Summer, I knew that if I was ever going to read it, this was my chance. The encouraging messages from veteran readers plus the revelation that I was not the only one who was struggling enabled me to keep at it, and become aquainted with the thinking of one of the most interesting, brilliant minds of our time.

Reading in this way, with a support group of a few thousand strangers, has been a fascinating, almost sureal experience. It seems to me that short of taking a university class, this internet group-read thing is a very rewarding way to tackle difficult books.


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 Post subject: Re: Quote
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:24 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:42 am
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jenco wrote:

Reading in this way, with a support group of a few thousand strangers, has been a fascinating, almost sureal experience. It seems to me that short of taking a university class, this internet group-read thing is a very rewarding way to tackle difficult books.


I agree. I also think this is better than reading in a university course for a few reasons:
- Every single person reading here has chosen to be here for this one book.
- We have many contributors who have read the book several times and have studied it as much as some professors would devote to a given book. One that I know of who has written a book about IJ (the author of Elegant Complexity).
- We have anonymous, continuous contribution to the forum. In a university course many ideas go unspoken because of shyness, uncertainty, time limits, etc. Here we can post whatever comes to mind at any hour of the day.
- We don't have tests so we can focus on reading and enjoying. We don't have to focus on whatever may appear on the test.
-We have a wide variety of backgrounds here. If you read the "who are you post?" I think you will agree it's unlikely that all of us readers would have ended up in the same university course. Having all Lit majors in a class has its advantages, but having a wide variety of backgrounds also has it's advantages.

And I am sure there are many more reasons, but I am out of time.


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