Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:04 am 
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Posts: 61
Though it's been ages since being sub-14 membership in The Tunel Club would certainly appeal to me. :ugeek:


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:03 am 
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I've benefited from a few of IS's member's informal and ad hoc primers on post-modern philosophical theories like deconstruction, lacanian psychology, structuralism, etc. Perhaps we ought to consider interlarding our 'regular' reading with books like Tolstoy's "What is Art?" and any good Critical Lit Theory books that the smarter and better educated of our members might recommend.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:48 am
Posts: 59
Location: Orlando, FL
Copy of my comments from the main page - having learned that not everybody reads and posts in both the forums and the main post comment sections!

Absolutely in! My preference would be the big, intimidating, hard to finish, etc., and not necessarily PoMo. There are several that I’ve either tried and couldn’t finish (Gravity’s Rainbow), or just never attempted (Ulysses) that I would really love to do in this format. I’m game for 2666, Pale Fire, Brothers Karamazov and certainly think we have to do The Pale King when it’s published. I like the idea of somehow tying the choices into DFW, but don’t need to read just his works. IS has convinced me to read everything he’s written (been reading some essays and This is Water as we’ve moved through IJ).

I’m in the camp of not including the smaller books in between, I have a sense that a lot of us here are pretty voracious readers and will tend to be picking up smaller ones along the way anyway. Of course, if it does end up going that way we can always pick and choose which ones we get involved with.

And but so, having given my 2 cents, I have to agree with others (on the main page comments) – no democracy! Art by committee just won’t work. I think you can take all of the suggestions here and in the couple of other forum threads that have discussed this and look at what it’s possible for you to do, Matthew et al. You’ve done a fantastic job with this so far!

I’m also all for pitching in a few bucks to buy the guides a beer for playing along. I’ve truly appreciated their comments and really like that they have also struggled. That might be one of the reasons they encourage us so much – we can Identify!

Joan


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:10 am
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Here's my two cents:

Many, many people have quit reading IJ during the allotted time frame—and likely won't return. In my group, there are only two of us still reading (both of us have MAs in English lit).

That said, be wary about the books picked. If IJ turned people off because it's difficult, it's almost laughable that others will finish Gravity's Rainbow or Ulysses. I can already see people slamming the latter shut as they read "Ineluctable modalities of the visible."

I guess what I'm saying is: who is IS for? For the layman? For the ubereducated? That should help with your book choice(s).

Rather than supply a list of books to read here, I vote for a nice balance in size. Perhaps follow IJ with something under 300 pages. Perhaps only do one large book (1,000+ pages or there roundabout) a year.

Anyway, the process through IJ has been terrific. You've done an amazing job of organizing this adventure. Much luck in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:08 pm
Posts: 24
Being a public educator my reading is usually pretty light from Sept. through the middle of June. Some nagging guilt about spending an extended amount of time reading for leisure when there are stacks of ungraded essays staring at me. So I would vote for holding off on the mammoth tomes until the summer. I will say I have enjoyed this experience and have found it to be rewarding and motivating and would look to continue participating even if it were only a seasonal occurence.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:42 am
Posts: 75
darrenbuford wrote:
Here's my two cents:

Many, many people have quit reading IJ during the allotted time frame—and likely won't return. In my group, there are only two of us still reading (both of us have MAs in English lit).

That said, be wary about the books picked. If IJ turned people off because it's difficult, it's almost laughable that others will finish Gravity's Rainbow or Ulysses. I can already see people slamming the latter shut as they read "Ineluctable modalities of the visible."

I guess what I'm saying is: who is IS for? For the layman? For the ubereducated? That should help with your book choice(s).

Rather than supply a list of books to read here, I vote for a nice balance in size. Perhaps follow IJ with something under 300 pages. Perhaps only do one large book (1,000+ pages or there roundabout) a year.

Anyway, the process through IJ has been terrific. You've done an amazing job of organizing this adventure. Much luck in the future.


I think this group is for those who want to read or to choose reading, as Remy may say. I am sure we all know people with and without degrees who choose to read good books. More likely, we know many with degrees who choose not to read or to read easy books that can be finished on a plane. Too many book groups cater to the readers that prefer short, quick, hits because the group is afraid to lose audience. To me this is catering to the Lowest Common Denominator and it's something this group should not do.

Those remaining in InfiniteSummer are willing to put in the work good art requires. From what I have read about DFW, this was his intention. He purposely made the book difficult because good art sometimes requires work. When I finished IJ for the first time, I understood what DFW meant by this and was thankful that he made the book as he did (endnotes and all).

In the spirit of DFW and IJ, I vote that we keep it as a group of readers willing to work for the rewards. You don't need a degree or ubereducation certification to participate. Just show up, read, discuss. If you can't hang on, take some time off and come back next season or join one of the many quick hit reading groups.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:48 am
Posts: 59
Location: Orlando, FL
testforecho wrote:
I think this group is for those who want to read or to choose reading, as Remy may say.
I think that's perfect - doesn't matter what your level of education and I for one am glad that all of us are welcome here. It's about the book (or books going forward) and hearing all sorts of ideas and thoughts on it. I fully agree that there are plenty of ways to get the quick hit of a short and relatively easy read, literary or otherwise. I love some great genre writers and read everything in a series just because they're fun, entertaining and well written. What we've received from IJ and the IS community has been an amazing brain workout. These different types of entertainment are not, and shouldn't be, mutually exclusive, but each has it's place and I think the project should continue to focus on the more intense workouts!

Joan


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:15 am 
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Sure, but can we pick books that are at least, in the spirit of David Foster Wallace, *sincere*? I know this is somewhat subjective, but Wallace had valid bones to pick with quite a few of his postmodern peers, because their writing was dead, so to speak. (That's the problem I have with Pynchon: what's behind it?)

I don't know how to go about Identifying those books that are more than the sum of their parts (or their "moments," if you will), but I'm fairly sure we can use the collective wisdom of all those who have stuck it out here and kept coming to find books that aren't just notorious, but are actually worthwhile, on a more than intellectual level.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:58 am 
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I would love to be part of this if it keeps going. If it stays DFW-centric, so much the better. (I loved A Supposedly Fun Thing... but this is my second try at IJ and I would have failed without Infinite Summer.)

I'd prefer that long, difficult works stick to the summer. I have more time to read then and stuff like IJ is not conducive to public transport. Though I'd love to read House of Leaves again (he had me at the last line of the introduction).


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of Infinite Summer (or: Join the Tunnel Club)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:11 am
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darrenbuford wrote:
That said, be wary about the books picked. If IJ turned people off because it's difficult, it's almost laughable that others will finish Gravity's Rainbow or Ulysses. I can already see people slamming the latter shut as they read "Ineluctable modalities of the visible."


I have to agree. I can't say that IJ is a difficult read, non-linear and long sure, but not difficult. The average person shouldn't have any trouble with it if they put in just a little bit of effort. Gravity's Rainbow and Ulysses, however, ARE difficult reads. You need to put a lot into it and anyone approaching them for the first time without secondary literature is basically already sunk. As a result, I don't think they lend themselves particularly well to this sort of exercise.

There are plenty of books out there people aren't reading on their own(big and small) that would get much better results in my opinion. For completely selfish reasons I would suggest Don Quixote, largely because it's sitting on my shelf and I haven't read it yet and this would be a great excuse.


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