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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 Post subject: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:59 pm
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How was your first sip of the novel?


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:26 pm
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Location: Shippensburg, Pa
That my dictionary will be well used

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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:47 pm 
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“I am in here” Hal relates. DFW, known for his Joycian sentences, leaves this simple sentence alone as a paragraph. It sticks to me as I water the pumpkin patch this afternoon and I hear reverberations of Whitman. “Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;/Missing me one place, search another;/I stop somewhere, waiting for you.” Perhaps this is why so many of us join this crazy escapade. We hope Wallace too has stopped—here—and is waiting for us.


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:58 pm 
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This is going to be a project that will take three months!

But it is going to be well worth the time and effort.

I like challenges, and I've got one.


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 4:15 pm 
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I'm still getting used to the way he sets the scenes. I found myself not understanding what was going on the first time reading a sentence or paragraph, but if I just go back and re-read it, it begins to pop. I think someone said it's like reading poetry. Instead of feeling like the difficulty was a nuisance, I felt like I had cracked a code or accomplished something. Kind of reminds me of when video game makers have to make sure a game is just hard enough, but not too difficult that people stop playing.

Also I identified with Hal sitting there trying to make his face look like it was being neutral. I find myself doing that a lot and not really being sure if it was really looking that way.


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 4:41 pm 
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Location: UTAH. Yes I'm from Utah. No I'm not a Mormon.
I'm liking it quite a bit the second time around. IJ was my first exposure to DFW, so I had nothing to go by as far as familiarity with his writing style. I was so intimidated by the book the first time through, there are a lot of little details I missed out on the first time I read it because I was spending so much time keeping my head above water, so to speak. Now that I am familiar with the book and DFW's penchant for making people work to appreciate his brilliance, I have to say I am even more enamored with this massive tome than I was the first time through. Great stuff!


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:31 pm 
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I'm on my 4th reread. I love this book so much.

I've found that my readings each time went as follows: the first go-round was to read the book and enjoy it like you would pretty scenery- let the words flow over you and enjoy the crazy characters. There was no need for me to focus on the little details- the words I did not understand (that's what context is for!) or how the timeline all meshed together.

On my 2nd go-round I focused more on the timeline and how things fit together within the frame of the story. My 3rd read last summer was again simply for the pure enjoyment of the wonderful story and the wacky characters.

And now I am excited to be reading this again. To see what everyone else thinks and feels about this great book. I am so excited.


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am
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Location: Brooklyn
ConsiderTheBlogger wrote:
“I am in here” Hal relates.


Also - I am in here seems to relate both to the fact that he's physically in the room and also emotionally/mentally present. That inside the physical body, his "self" is in there somewhere, even if it's not externally visible.


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:59 pm 
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Just thought I'd add to my previous, vague impressions.

When I first started reading, I was a little bit disappointed that it begins in an academic setting. It's not my favorite type of setting for a book that has a reputation for being difficult, while at the same time being recommended as something that will appeal to a wide audience, ivory tower or not.

In terms of plot, here is what I think (ten pages in). Initially it seems like Hal is some kind of jock, a whiz at tennis, but does poorly in school, or at least had a bad year. Goofed off maybe. A privileged kind of guy. It seems like he was coached not to say anything or do anything to screw things up, while the two people sitting next to him would do all the work of explaining away what went on. Maybe someone has a connection in the University that will get him through, "wink, wink." But at the end of that segment, he says "I'm not just jock," something about what he ate, and then it cuts off right around there, leaving me to rethink my initial assumptions a little.


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 Post subject: Re: First Impressions?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:33 am 
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Like most of the others in this thread, I've already broken out the dictionary several times in the first few pages. ("What's a wen? What's lapidary mean?")

In spite of that I was pleased with how readable it was. I was expecting something more more obtuse with all the warnings being posted on the main page about how difficult it is to get through the early part of the novel. I think that might have scared some people off.

I was also happy to note that so far the book is as funny as people say it is. I feared the humor might be a little too high-brow for someone like me to really click with, but I had my first out-loud laugh after only a page or two. "Most institutions do not even have grades of A with multiple pluses after it." Ha! Well done.

Looking forward to the rest of it.


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