Infinite Summer 2018 discussion

Infinite Jest
This topic is about Infinite Jest

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message 1: by Alex (new) - added it

Alex (aezell) | 7 comments This Paste article makes some points that resonated with me even though I'm only 120 pages into the book.

I appreciate that the article points out that any sufficiently large fandom is going to have some amount of insufferable fans. I find that to be true of any sufficiently large group of humans. :)

message 2: by Cale (new) - added it

Cale Mooth | 2 comments I'm coming around to some of the points in that article. I spent some time this weekend reading about IJ and the more I read the closer I got to the idea that reading IJ is more about saying "I read and suffered through this huge book. Look at me!"

I took a break from the ultra-meta monotony of IJ, spent an hour reading a "normal" book and not only plowed through 20%, but came away with more entertainment and "value" than I would from 200 pages of IJ.

IJ is the equivalent of eating the 6 pound burger not to enjoy the meal, but to get the t-shirt at the end.

Sometimes we find ourselves on a trail and realize early on that it's not our mountain to conquer. IJ is not my mountain.

Josh Mock (joshmock) | 17 comments Mod
I think this is all about how each individual approaches the book, either as a motivation stemming from the self or the ego. I've talked with Alex and Matt B. privately about this exact subject, and it seems to me that, yes, a lot of readers (especially what we'll call litboys) do approach Infinite Jest with a lot of ego.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, so I will just say: I am reading this book for myself, not for my ego or any sense of what others might think of me. If anything, the fact that this reputation with IJ readers exists makes me more self-conscious about it and wishing I were talking about it even less.

I found the first reading so fascinating and complex that it was like putting together a massive jigsaw puzzle in my head to make sense of it all. This is fun to me. It's a challenge. It's equal parts humbling and zen. A literary Mt. Everest. Reading it "because it's there," because it's a larger challenge than most everyday reading.

Because of this, a second read was important to me. To read it again, but knowing how to read it from page 1.

I also felt that seeing the perspectives of other readers was going to help. And I wanted to be here for those who themselves are on their first read. Just like someone climbing Mt. Everest would be silly to brave it alone. Hence this group.

Anyway, that's me. If you're only reading IJ for how others will see you, or so that you can mark it off your bucket list rather than enjoy the journey, it might be worth questioning if it's worth it. I appreciate your honesty, Cale, because you've clearly questioned and found your own answer to be a resounding "no."

Matthew Buchbinder | 11 comments Alex wrote: "This Paste article makes some points that resonated with me even though I'm only 120 pages into the book."

As a 30-year-old white man that loves this book significantly more than anything I've ever read, I feel very self-conscious because of this insufferable fan discourse!

I will say that the t-shirt is flashier and the burger is much less tasty for Gravity's Rainbow.

Daniel Brown | 12 comments I didn't know anything about the cult/fandom/whathaveyou around the book when I read it the first time.

I really didn't know anything about the book at all one or the other. I just saw it on a list of "Good Books" (which is how I find most of what I read that isn't a personal recommendation) and read it and loved it.

I got so excited about what I was reading I did end up doing some Google research once I was a little way in and found out about some of the annoying side shows but fortunately I was already having a good time so it didn't ruin it for me.

I guess my point is, not everything is for everybody and that's totally fine. It 100% is possible to enjoy the book in a vacuum though, no ego or anything, just digging the story.

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