Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace discussion

Infinite Jest
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Main Discussion Threads > Infinite Jest Discussion: pgs. 3-85

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message 1: by Kris, Group Jester (last edited Dec 09, 2012 01:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 172 comments This thread is for discussion of pgs. 3-85 in Infinite Jest. Page 85 → Kindle location 2029 (8%)


message 2: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Yay for discussion threads! So I finished the first two 'chapters' (are they really chapters??) and I'm floored by how breezily this is written. For some reason I assumed this would be a difficult book. Granted, I'm only at 3%, but I don't find anything particularly unreadable or off-putting so far. In fact, the first two stories are excellent: the tennis player's outburst is fascinating to read about because from his perspective, (view spoiler). And in the second, the pot smoker's description of his addiction is so compelling I honestly thought I could smell pot in the room while I was reading it. Mmm...I love the smell of pot.

That is all for today.


message 3: by Traveller (last edited Nov 30, 2012 09:14AM) (new) - added it

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 31 comments Ah, the smell of pot--how i am reminded of that sweet cloying smell late at night in the stalls of the public toilets of nightclubs that i used to visit some Friday or Saturday nights in another life...

Always made me think it smells of burnt tea. :P


message 4: by Traveller (last edited Nov 30, 2012 09:15AM) (new) - added it

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 31 comments Now, what a way to start off a thread on the reading of IJ, eh? ;)


message 5: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Traveller wrote: "Now, what a way to start off a thread on the reading of IJ, eh? ;)"

Word.


Jerry Wolfram | 81 comments In many ways I could totally "identify with" the pot smoker chapter from experience.


Jerry Wolfram | 81 comments Jason wrote: "Yay for discussion threads! So I finished the first two 'chapters' (are they really chapters??) and I'm floored by how breezily this is written. For some reason I assumed this would be a difficult ..."

Keep reading Jason, don't read any spoilers, that's the key, the rewards for not doing so are amazing.


message 8: by Kris, Group Jester (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 172 comments I am loving this so much! I didn't have lots of time to read today, or I would have gotten farther. I did finish this first section, though.

First, what a great opening scene. I loved the pacing and the characters. And, speaking as an academic, I can verify that the characters are only somewhat exaggerated versions of some stock administrators found on many campuses. And what a great introduction to Hal.

More later....


message 9: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments I agree with you. Unfortunately I read absolutely nothing today. I spent the whole day dealing with more broken pipes and other plumbing issues.


Garima | 45 comments Kris wrote: "I am loving this so much! I didn't have lots of time to read today, or I would have gotten farther. I did finish this first section, though.

First, what a great opening scene. I loved the pacing a..."


Weren't you supposed to read around 75 pages in a week :P..but I know! It turned out to be pretty readable as opposed to my perception. Also I'm unabashedly using Wallace wiki, which is a great help else I wouldn't have known that (view spoiler)


Jerry Wolfram | 81 comments A couple of things in my next few postings that stuck out for me in my first reading...

1) Hal is so exceptional that there is concern over his grades having slipped from exceptional plus plus plus to only exceptional.

2) Hal is making sounds that can't be heard?

3)the moms is obsessive compulsive(?)

4)a "marijuana vacation" ... How many times did I go through these exact or similar thought processes in my stoner days?

5) the happy face on the cartridge the medical attaché watches

6) holy crap! Ebonics!

7) the moms got happier after Himself passed away, and what exactly is her relationship with C.T.???

8) Hals thrill of getting isn't hiding it... It's hiding the hiding... The first time I have noticed Wallace setting up deliberate ironies.

9) kate's depression... "I wasn't trying to hurt myself, I was trying to kill myself, there is a difference."

10) Schtitts analysis of the tennis game... You are really playing against yourself.

These are all thoughts from my first reading, and things I was wondering about.... Any others? Or comments?


message 12: by Kai (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kai (uchinaguchi) Does anyone else find them selves focusing on certain characters or story archs more than others?

I find myself absorbing most from Katherine Gompert, and Schtitt's analysis of the tennis game. Oh my gosh, as a former competitive tennis player, I love everything he says because it is exactly how I felt when I still play, and I how still feel as the bitterness toward the game has firmly rooted in me over the years.


message 13: by Jason, Himself (last edited Dec 04, 2012 11:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Kris, which edition are you basing these page numbers on? Is it the one that goes to page 1079? I just want to know because I'm reading on Kindle, and it will help me figure out which corresponding page number I'm on (and thus, which thread to post in).

I have to say, I have heard so much about this book and its implied difficulty—or perhaps this is me making incorrect assumptions of people's comments—with some readers even suggesting multiple copies and a separate notebook and a bunch of different bookmarks to keep track, etc. I thought for sure I was fucked reading this on a Kindle.

Look, I realize I'm still early on, but I've already encountered a few examples of footnotes within endnotes (ha!) and I'm telling you, reading this on the Kindle couldn't be easier. It is super simple to maneuver between text and footnotes and I'm not finding that I need a separate copy of the text or a spiral-bound notebook to keep track of anything. I pretty much take notes regardless of the book I'm reading anyway, just so that I can get ideas for review-wrriting, but I'm not finding this to be book to be very difficult to read at all. Even those pages-long-sentences are written so well and flow so easily that I almost don't even realize they are long sentences. This book is that good.

Anyway, I might still get a copy from the library just so I can leave it on my coffee table. It would make a good conversation starter when company comes and I think it would just look really cool there.


message 14: by Kris, Group Jester (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 172 comments Jason wrote: "Kris, which edition are you basing these page numbers on? Is it the one that goes to page 1079? I just want to know because I'm reading on Kindle, and it will help me figure out which corresponding..."

Hi Jason --

My paperback version is at home. I'll go in tonight and provide some quotes to make it easier for people reading other versions to figure out where each discussion section ends.


message 15: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments I'm guessing it's 1079 which is the most popular edition (in both hardcover and paperback). So it shouldn't be too hard to find the right thread; I just wanted to confirm.


message 16: by Kris, Group Jester (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 172 comments Jason wrote: "I'm guessing it's 1079 which is the most popular edition (in both hardcover and paperback). So it shouldn't be too hard to find the right thread; I just wanted to confirm."

No worries -- I've been thinking I needed to confirm, especially since there aren't conventional chapters. I've been sick with sinus/migraine the last few days, but -- knock wood -- am feeling better today.


message 17: by Kai (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kai (uchinaguchi) Jason wrote: "Kris, which edition are you basing these page numbers on? Is it the one that goes to page 1079? I just want to know because I'm reading on Kindle, and it will help me figure out which corresponding..."

My version is the 1079 pages, but it looks like the threads only go to the main novel to 981, not including the notes and errata.
However, I noticed early on that there weren't many notes, but they've picked up poast page 100. Also, if you choose to read the endnotes in tandem with the novel, some of them are traditional endnotes that offer clarification or definition, and some of them expand on the novel themselves (with their own footnotes).
Personally, I recommend reading the novel without the endnotes if this is your first time. While the endnotes do add to the novel, it does add more to keep track of the first time. And if you're like me, you might as well have something to come back to your second time around.


message 18: by Kris, Group Jester (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 172 comments Kai wrote: "Jason wrote: "Kris, which edition are you basing these page numbers on? Is it the one that goes to page 1079? I just want to know because I'm reading on Kindle, and it will help me figure out which...

My version is the 1079 pages, but it looks like the threads only go to the main novel to 981, not including the notes and errata. "


That's right -- I was too lazy to add relevant page ranges for notes and errata. I'm assuming people will discuss notes in the sections for the relevant pages. If there's a better way to do it, please let me know!


Garima | 45 comments Kai wrote: "Personally, I recommend reading the novel without the endnotes if this is your first time. While the endnotes do add to the novel, it does add more to keep track of the first time. And if you're like me, you might as well have something to come back to your second time around..."

I don't think so there is any fun without those endnotes, especially like that 9 page long footnote and many others and one never know if there will be a second-time ;) :)

Kris wrote: "That's right -- I was too lazy to add relevant page ranges for notes and errata. I'm assuming people will discuss notes in the sections for the relevant pages. If there's a better way to do it, please let me know! .."

Yes Kris! notes can be discussed as they appear along those page ranges, that would be most convenient.


message 20: by Kris, Group Jester (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 172 comments Thanks Garima! The last two weeks have been crazy -- I'm not sure which end is up anymore. :)


Garima | 45 comments Kris wrote: "Thanks Garima! The last two weeks have been crazy -- I'm not sure which end is up anymore. :)"

Hope you'll soon get great deal of time to relax and read more Kris. And also take care of yourself to gear up for the Christmas :)


message 22: by Kai (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kai (uchinaguchi) Garima wrote: "one never know if there will be a second-time ;) :)"

What do you mean one never knows? Are you telling me that there are people in this world who don't read the same book multiple times? Because I don't believe it!


message 23: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Oh, I'm definitely reading the endnotes. I think they are part of the text. Kris, I agree it makes sense to only make the threads go up to the end of the novel proper; endnotes should be considered part of the preceding text. I hope you feel better!


message 24: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Kai wrote: "What do you mean one never knows? Are you telling me that there are people in this world who don't read the same book multiple times? Because I don't believe it!"

I hardly ever re-read. There are exceptions (for example, books I've read in high school that I suspect I did not appreciate fully), but any book I've read as an adult I have not re-read.


Jerry Wolfram | 81 comments With footnote 304, you have an option, and was confused early on.. Its referred to in another foot note or 3, and i chose to read it when its happens in the regular text much later in the book, it makes more semse there although its story is a good one... You really dont need the info in it till much later.


Garima | 45 comments Kai wrote: "Garima wrote: "one never know if there will be a second-time ;) :)"

What do you mean one never knows? Are you telling me that there are people in this world who don't read the same book multiple t..."


I don't believe it either. I wish you multiple re-readings of this book with and without end notes.


message 27: by Mala (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mala | 82 comments Jerry wrote: "A couple of things in my next few postings that stuck out for me in my first reading...

1) Hal is so exceptional that there is concern over his grades having slipped from exceptional plus plus pl..."


Yes all these plus what's with all those tunnels under the tennis academy- are they symbolic of something cos the people using those have to hunch like a simian or crawl on all fours? Also why the frequent reference to the heights of Hal's parents?


message 28: by Mala (last edited Dec 09, 2012 12:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mala | 82 comments Jerry wrote: "With footnote 304, you have an option, and was confused early on.. Its referred to in another foot note or 3, and i chose to read it when its happens in the regular text much later in the book, it..."

I'm also reading the book as one organic whole without the need to refer to endnotes or external sources- the narrative is flowing so well that I don't want to break that spell!


Melody (runningtune) | 5 comments I'm reading it with this open on my computer while I read my 1079 page book. Very comforting.


Garima | 45 comments Melody wrote: "I'm reading it with this open on my computer while I read my 1079 page book. Very comforting."

Same here Melody. Till now I've experienced less panic attacks (or none actually) with the help of that wiki.


Gary  the Bookworm (Garmct) | 20 comments Thank you. This is a very useful link.


Travelling Sunny (Sunny_In_Wonderland) Awesome link! Although, even THIS one didn't tell me what the heck a Nuck was! LOL!


Gary  the Bookworm (Garmct) | 20 comments I think it's a variation of Huck...or a distant cousin to Puck...


message 34: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 31 comments Eek! Wasn't this read scheduled for January?? Noooo..-why am i always behind?


message 35: by Kai (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kai (uchinaguchi) Traveller wrote: "Eek! Wasn't this read scheduled for January?? Noooo..-why am i always behind?"

Don't worry! It is scheduled for January.
But a few folks started in December since they are also participating with The Year of Proust group read.


message 36: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 31 comments Oh, thanks, Kai. "Phew! Well, i am also hoping to be doing at least the first and second Proust volumes, as well as Gibbon, but the pace isn't too fast with the Proust, so that should be manageable.

..but falling behind with this on top of that might give me some problems. :P


message 37: by Jim (last edited Dec 08, 2012 07:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Jason wrote: "Anyway, I might still get a copy from the library just so I can leave it on my coffee table. It would make a good conversation starter when company comes and I think it would just look really cool there..."

What would be really cool is to hollow out a copy à la (view spoiler), to hide your Hope and/or Bing. This would make for a funny sharing later if you end up in Boston NA...


message 38: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Kai wrote: "Personally, I recommend reading the novel without the endnotes if this is your first time. While the endnotes do add to the novel, it does add more to keep track of the first time..."

I have to strongly disagree with this idea, Kai. The end notes have huge amounts of information that is integral to the narratives of the main text. Leaving out the notes would be the same as reading a severely abridged version of the book.


message 39: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments I agree. The endnotes really seem like they are meant to be part of the text. I wouldn't advise skipping them, either.


Gary  the Bookworm (Garmct) | 20 comments On the subject of endnotes: Beware of 24. I skimmed it briefly but decided I needed a walk to clear my head before tackling it. It also threw me off schedule.


Aubrey (Korrick) Regarding endnotes/IJ in general: No pain, no gain.


Jerry Wolfram | 81 comments Gary wrote: "On the subject of endnotes: Beware of 24. I skimmed it briefly but decided I needed a walk to clear my head before tackling it. It also threw me off schedule."
There are several long endnotes... 24 is one, and you will come back to it many times... 304 is one that you have to decide when to read, however i assume that DFW wants you to read it when it naturally occurs in the book, it makes the most sense there.


Gary  the Bookworm (Garmct) | 20 comments I'm so happy to hear this...


message 44: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Jerry wrote: "304 is one that you have to decide when to read, however i assume that DFW wants you to read it when it naturally occurs in the book, it makes the most sense there..."

When I reached 45 and saw the 304 redirect, my instinct said "read it when you get to 304 in the text." and I agree with your assessment Jerry. No need to read it twice.


message 45: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments I skimmed it when I reached 45 just in case, but I plan to read it for realz when I actually get there.


message 46: by Traveller (last edited Dec 09, 2012 11:10AM) (new) - added it

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 31 comments OK, i have a problem..-i'm reading this on the Kindle, and Kindle doesn't have pages, so how will i know when i hit P.85?

(Oh, and let's not mention that every page consists of a wall of text. :P)


message 47: by Jason, Himself (last edited Dec 09, 2012 11:21AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Traveller wrote: "OK, i have a problem..-i'm reading this on the Kindle, and Kindle doesn't have pages, so how will i know when i hit P.85?

85 pages ÷ 1079 total book pages = 8% of Kindle

(And since my Kindle version has 25,757 total Kindle locations, 8% will be at Kindle location #2029. So you can also go by that.)


message 48: by Traveller (last edited Dec 09, 2012 11:28AM) (new) - added it

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 31 comments Jason wrote: "Traveller wrote: "OK, i have a problem..-i'm reading this on the Kindle, and Kindle doesn't have pages, so how will i know when i hit P.85?

85 pages ÷ 1079 total book pages = 8% of Kindle

(And si..."


I see! So we have to make calculations on top of penetrating through walls of text, eh? Ah well, ok, i'm resilient, i am.. :)

Thanks Jason. :)


message 49: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Yes, but it is a simple calculation. If you want, I can contact Kris and she can add that info to her message 1's. Assuming she's willing to do that. Which I'm sure she would be. Because she's Kris.


message 50: by Jason, Himself (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jason (ancatdubh2) | 147 comments Page 85 → Kindle location 2029 (8%)
Page 156 → Kindle location 3724 (14%)
Page 226 → Kindle location 5395 (21%)
Page 306 → Kindle location 7281 (28%)
Page 375 → Kindle location 5952 (35%)
Page 450 → Kindle location 10,742 (42%)
Page 527 → Kindle location 12,580 (49%)
Page 601 → Kindle location 14,347 (56%)
Page 682 → Kindle location 16,280 (63%)
Page 755 → Kindle location 18,022 (70%)
Page 827 → Kindle location 19,741 (77%)
Page 902 → Kindle location 21,532 (84%)
Page 981 → Kindle location 23,418 (91%)


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