Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:27 pm
Posts: 20
Melissa, also from CT, Tom! (ny burbs).
BA English Lit, 1994; MA English Lit. (aborted PhD, had a baby),1999; sad to say while I have exhausted myself with Pynchon and Delillo and Joyce and Nabokov and all those big beautiful boys, I have NEVER read DFW! I can't believe it myself, now that I have finished IJ (english grad students can haul ass through dense tomes!). I'm diving in for the second go around, because it's just that good.
I'm 36, mom of 2, music teacher to many.


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:42 pm
Posts: 14
Karl(e) Mattson. Resident of Saint Paul, MN, product of Minneapolis, MN. Studying electrical engineering. I enjoy après-garde lit like Kobo Abe. I've been meaning to tackle one of these over-the-top modernist or post-modern works for some time, but always thought I'd start out with Gaddis or Pynchon or Joyce or one of those other names that I now can't think of without visualizing them swirling about the name Wallace on some webpage or other. My wife read 'The Recognitions' a couple summers ago, at the urging of a friend, and through her exasperated emissions of "What the hell is wrong with you, Gaddis!" and her descriptions of the goings on and my own infrequent dips into arbitrarily selected pages from the thing I developed a desire to participate, too. So, I forgot all about that but then when I read in Newsweek about this here project the call of the paper-stack once again rang in my ear, and I cursed myself for being so ignorant as to have never even known a thing about the book or its author until now, which I learn from Newsweek, of all things. And also, I didn't even read that Newsweek article until one week ago today and then went out and bought the book the very next day because the store closest to me was out of copies and it was already almost 10 PM and too late to go looking anywhere else and so I'm very behind but catching up nicely so far (I'm up to p. 165 and slamming my poor head against grampa Incandenza's slobbering monologue).

I have read Barth's 'The Sot-Weed Factor', which is great fun of course, and the other closest points of reference from my list of finished books are 'A Winter's Tale' by Helprin (which I hated, but kind of secretly sickly loved), and 'At Swim-Two-Birds' (which I actually honestly haven't finished yet but was loving a great deal at the point that it disappeared into the recesses of my apartment). And also have finished 21.429 % of 'A La Recherche du Temps Perdu' and hope to knock that thing off before I die.

Also, as you can see, my ability to compose prose has been dramatically compromised by reading Wallace. Dammit.


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:43 pm
Posts: 14
My name is Peter and I am addicted to reading.

I thought about writing a spoof introduction but you'll have to settle for reality. And so but I'm 42, English, unfortunately single, and self-exiled in "hated-by-you" Ottawa, Canada. I'm a research scientist in acoustics (hence my username), specialising in metrology - measurement science - and so feeling the same anguish expressed above by jfs.

I don't think I ever heard of DFW until this spring, when a friend gave me a copy of "Consider the lobster", after which all my obsessional collecting instincts kicked in and I began reading all the DFW material I could find. I must be Amazon's best friend right now. Naturally, I ended up here.


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:30 pm
Posts: 2
I'm Greg. 45, work in a corporate environment, live in Brooklyn. I came to Infinite Summer via some mentions on Twitter ,and inspired by a work colleague who had joined the effort. Started a couple of weeks late, but I'm now maybe 150 pages ahead of schedule ... too much spare time, and I can't seem to put it down.

I actually bought IJ last year some time after reading a lot about DFW's death ... got maybe through the first Erdedy section and put it down. I realized I was in for the kind of hard slog that Gravity's Rainbow or The Recognitions had involved many years ago, and wasn't sure I was up to it.

Key difference this time around: I decided to buy it on the Kindle. I'm loving that choice, as it makes footnote reading much easier, along with bookmarking key sections, etc, in a highly portable format. Definitely makes a big difference on an NYC subway commute.

At 600+ pages in, I'm loving all ETA sections, finding the AA stuff really engrossing, and finally over my resentment of the long footnotes (the putative Moment interview of Orin Incandenza by the putative Helen Steeply having tipped the balance for me). I refused to read the filmography foonote (24, I think) when I first hit upon it, but eventually did my remedial read of it. Kind of glad I delayed it, as many parts of the story that came up subsequently are referred to in various ways.

Anyway, one observation. I mentioned reading Pynchon and Gaddis in the past. I believe I came to those books out of a kind of aspiration to intellectual snobbery. An English teacher in college had referred to those authors as writers who would never be accessible to all readers, so I figured I could prove my intellectual worth by tackling them. Never really enjoyed the work with Pynchon. Gaddis I absolutely loved, even if I felt queasy about his attitude and outlook in some ways. Anyway, I had thought that reading DFW would be similar ... a worthy but very difficult venture that I would probably end up feeling ambivalent about. At this point, I can say I was wrong. IJ is difficult to get into at first, I think, mainly because of its structure. You need to surrender to the rhythm of his sentences and the non-linear flow that delays narrative gratification for a long time. But page by page the book is not hard to get into and understand, and I've come to really love the journey. It is a much more accessible book than those others, and that seems consistent with the picture of DFW that comes through in all the articles I've read about him. This was not a pretentious man.

If there are any other Brooklynites looking to do an Infinite Summer meetup, I would love to hear about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:08 am
Posts: 48
Greg, check the Meet Up section of this site; there's a weekly one in Manhattan that I'm finally able to attend this week. That said, if someone organizes one for Brooklyn (where I currently live, at least for another month), I'd love to continue meeting all the people who read this book. I have a feeling the range of disparate professions, people, and ages will very much end up resembling a NYC jury. Not that we're passing judgment on this book or anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:15 pm
Posts: 16
i am so late!! aah!!

i found about this project in May and white knuckled through life waiting for June 21st... at which point i began reading. certain forces in the universe, however, conspired against me and i got way behind almost right away. BUT last week was THE week: i read 50-75 pages a day and finally caught up. i have been avoiding the forums before now because of that. now i'm resisting the temptation to just spend all day today reading everything that i missed. i don't think i can, though. SO OH WELL. here we go now.

i'm katrina, 23, live in madison, wi (the best city on earth in the summertime BTW). this is my first real experience of DFW and i am in love. real live absolute love.

i have been a reader since i could breathe. i come from a family of readers. we read and read and read. this, so far, is like the granddaddy of reading experiences. the thanksgiving dinner of all other books. THE sort of thing i've been waiting for without knowing i was waiting for it.

i'm so glad that i finally have earned permission in my own mind to be here and experiencing it all, from here on out, WITH others.

oh, and this:

Zandelion wrote:
I often combine DFW with alcohol, making certain aspects of IJ especially poignant.


yes. gin and tonic, a good bar, me and DFW. i love that this is my summer.


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:52 am
Posts: 24
Hi, my name is Jon and I'm a DFW-a-holic.

I've stared at IJ sitting on my bookshelf for 8 years (my girlfriend's copy) and finally read it this spring when I bought it for Kindle (the thing that kept me from reading it up until now was the fact that I do much of my reading on the NYC subway and the book itself is literally bigger than my bag). So I guess I finished the book just as this project was starting up, but months after finishing the story is still preying on my mind and amazing me in so many ways, so this seemed like a good place to come for discussion! Oh, I live in Brooklyn, was an Art Ed. major, work in intellectual property law and dabble in writing fiction. Cheers.


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:16 am
Posts: 21
Hi. Josh L. here, 38. I'm in the L.A. metro area, an infrequently-employed visual effects "artist". :)

I'm one of the clueless folks who only discovered DFW upon the tragic news of his passing. I started reading IJ in the fall of last year and finished around the time Infinite Summer began.

I'm enjoying reading the forums and blog. The intelligence and wisdom of the contributors and quality of the posts are astounding.

Cheers to all!


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 Post subject: Re: Introductions
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:35 pm
Posts: 25
Boy am I late! I should have checked this out much earlier. I'm Susan, 43 (42 when this started), married, mother to a brilliant 10 month old, and dog-wrangler for a hyper Australian Shephard mix and lethargic yellow lab. Go figure. I was born and raised in San Jose, CA (the REALLY big city in Northern California), and have lived here most of my life. I guess I'm an "accountant", but I kind of just lucked into my current job, which I've been at for, woah, 9 years. I've also been a school office clerk, administrative assistant, library clerk, and chicken slinger.

I have a B.A. in History from A Well-Known Public University in the Los Angeles area. That was also kind of by default, as I started my college career at B.U. (yep, recognizing a lot of the landmarks in IJ, esp. Comm Ave, Citgo sign, Green Line) majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. That sucked. I switched to Business Administration, but private school financing (or lack therof) made me return to CA to attend the W.P.U.i.t.L.A.a. That institution did not offer an undergrad business degree at the time, so I enrolled as an econ major. big. mistake. I realized that I already had half the requirements for a history major covered by my preference of electives, and made the switch.

I have always been an avid reader, and about 10 years ago, when I got my first computer (a Gateway!), I spent a lot of time on Amazon, and one of their recommendations based on my purchases was A Supposedly Fun Thing... I read it, and absolutely loved it, esp. the David Lynch essay (huge, HUGE fan, esp. Twin Peaks). I mentioned it to my similarly-minded cousins, and they recommended IJ. I bought it and.....it gathered dust along with all my other "I'll get to that one next" books (Underworld being prominent in that collection, maybe that's next) (although considering how much I hated reading White Noise in college, maybe not). I read about DFW's death in the last trimester of my pregnancy, and definitely felt a sense of loss. The mother's group I joined has a book club, and one of the members sent a link to Infinite Summer earlier this spring. I knew it was time for me to tackle IJ.

Because of my pregnancy (only reading baby books) and early parenthood (no time for reading!), IJ is the first book of fiction I've picked up since I managed to squeeze both Chabon's Summerland and Eugenides' Middlesex in between all the baby reading. I was warned to use multiple bookmarks (check!) and be prepared to re-visit passages when references to them show up later in the book (check!) I have not regretted one page, one sentence, one word of this book. In fact, I think I will miss it once I'm done. Maybe my next book will be this one! (Or, maybe I'll start reading Don Quixote to my son on his 1st birthday!)

Thanks for all the funny, insightful posts. I am thoroughly enjoying my Infinite Summer.

_________________
Forget your troubles, c'mon, get happy...
-Leland Palmer


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