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Group Reads > Infinite Jest group read

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message 1: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace

We are going to do a group read of Infinite Jest starting in August. we haven't yet determined any "rules" (or as i prefer -- guidelines.)


message 2: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments Hey, Naomi, that's so funny - I was just wondering if you would start a new thread for this "group read"! I'm thinking maybe we should move it into the "General" category, though (instead of F-J). I noticed another group is reading The Great Gatsby and they have their thread there. Not that it really matters. I don't yet have a copy of the book, so maybe you could look at the number of pages/chapters and decide what a comfortable amount might be to aim to read each week. That way, the comments can be organized as to different sections of the book. Look forward to starting this in a couple of weeks!


message 3: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments if you think we should re-file it, that's okay with me.

Infinite Jest is 1,079 pages. (one of the reasons that i haven't read it -- the sheer volume of it is intimidating.)


message 4: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (jlynnd1977) | 396 comments I just picked this book up yesterday. I'm in!


message 5: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments Welcome, Jamie!


message 6: by Naomi V (last edited Aug 01, 2011 09:48AM) (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments In his forward, Dave Eggers (Dave Eggers (Author)) says the following about Infinite Jest:

"The book is 1,079 pages long and there is not one lazy sentence. The book is drum-tight and relentlessly smart..." "And yet the time spend in this book, in this world of language, is absolutely rewarded. When you exit these pages after that month of reading, you are a better person. It's insane, but also hard to deny. Your brain is stronger because it's been given a monthlong workout, and more importantly, your heart is sturdier..." "It's long, but there are pleasures everywhere. There is humor everywhere."

i hope you find these words as encouraging as i did. i've long wanted to read this novel, but i've been put off by the length of it and i have heard it described as difficult. i hope that we can help enrich each other's experience with Infinite Jest as we read it.

good luck!


message 7: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments i'm on page 33 now and i'm really enjoying the language used by DFW. it requires concentration to get everything you can out of it. there's a lot of subtext.

i found this link:
http://infinitejest.wallacewiki.com/d...
which may be helpful to you. if you are reading Infinite Jest on Kindle for PC you only have to point to a word or phrase and select "Google" from the options and you can look up anything that you are interested in knowing more about. it's a very useful tool!


message 8: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments Thanks for the info, Naomi. My library copy should be here in a couple of days, then I'll get started. I think more people might see this thread if it was in the "General" category. I saw some instructions for moving a thread as follows (I can't do it because it was started by you):

click on "edit" button beside thread topic, choose correct folder in the "folder" drop-down list and click "Save".

It is YOUR thread, however, so you can leave it wherever you want!


message 9: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments Ann wrote: "Thanks for the info, Naomi. My library copy should be here in a couple of days, then I'll get started. I think more people might see this thread if it was in the "General" category. I saw some inst..."

i'll let the other folks in the group know and then i'll move it.
thanks!


message 10: by Naomi V (new)


message 11: by Faye (new)

Faye | 673 comments Mod
Wonderful! Sorry I can't join but I'm excited to see another group read in progress. The General Folder is the perfect place for this thread. If someday we have heaps and heaps of group reads, we can make a new folder for them specifically. Cheers.


message 12: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments Can this guy write or what?! I'm really enjoying it, even though I've had to look up 10 words in the first 20 pages. I like this quote from the introduction by Dave Eggers.
"Wallace, like many other writers who could be otherwise considered too smart for their own good, is always aware of the reader, of the idea that books are essentially meant to entertain, and so almost unerringly balances his prose to suit."
I absolutely agree with this - his writing is challenging, yet definitely entertaining.


message 13: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments yes, you're right. you have to really pay attention. this is not a book to read late at night before you go to bed. you'll have to re-read that part again in the morning if you do!


message 14: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments personally, i'm having a little trouble with this book. the first chapter wowed me. since then i've found the stories are too disparate. they haven't linked up yet (and maybe they won't.) i'm not usually impatient with this type of thing, but the stories themselves are not intersting enough to make me want to keep reading.

anybody who has read Infinite Jest: if you have any suggestions or comments, i'd love to hear them.


message 15: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments I know what you mean. I'm hoping they will "link up" soon. I am still enjoying the quality of the writing, though.


message 16: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (jlynnd1977) | 396 comments I'm have g trouble myself. I've made it al,ost half way and as of yet, they do not hook up. I'm trying to push through, but at this point I am only reading it for the challenge of it. I have not yet found the brilliance.


message 17: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy (plantwoman) | 160 comments I read the book earlier this year, so I won't really comment here except to say, good luck with your read! I'll be interested to see what other Goodreaders think.


message 18: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments I am ridiculous and read all the footnotes (although it's easy to do with the eBook, because I just click on the footnote number, then can go right back to the text). Try #24 - Bizarre stuff!!!


message 19: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments hi, Ann. i've been reading the footnotes, too (which is, as you say, very easy with an eBook.) they seem integral to the rest of the text, so i didn't consider skipping them.

how is everybody else doing? any other comments on the story lines? the characters? i'm still finding it very slow going.


message 20: by Naomi V (last edited Aug 18, 2011 10:58AM) (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments i found an old podcast of Slate's audio book club and listened to their review of Infinite Jest. (i don't know if it's still available as a download -- it was from 2009 and, yes, i found it on my iTunes.) i won't give away any of the conclusions, but it did pique my interest again and i've been reading Infinite Jest again after a bit of a pause.

they all agreed that the language qne some of the passages are just amazing. they read excerpts that i haven't yet read, and that's what got me interested in continuing.


message 21: by Ann A (last edited Aug 20, 2011 07:27PM) (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments I'll try to find that review, Naomi.

Comments on the first 140 pgs:

I am REALLY enjoying this. I only read a little each day because I really have to focus, but I think DFW is BRILLIANT. I like the fact that the book has a bit of everything in it - I go from WTH? moments to laughing out loud to being incredibly disturbed (the suicidal girl in the psych ward - couldn't help but think those feelings were autobiographical). Just finished the first-person, bad spelling, drug-addict section - not sure what that was all about, but looking forward to finding out!

Glad you are hanging in there, Naomi! Hope some others will join us. Are you still pushing through it, Jamie?


message 22: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (jlynnd1977) | 396 comments Good Morning All,

I'm having a bit of a love hate relationship with the book. I had put it down but I am back at it. I am slightly past the halfway mark and will continue on.

I love the AA/ clinic plot line. I can stand the tennis plot line. And I hate the Canada/ entertainment plot line.

The writing is solid but overall the style gets in the way for me.

I'm still here though.


message 23: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments i'm glad that you're all sticking with it -- and it seems you're all a bit father along than i am. but i'm going to keep at it.


message 25: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments Dorothy wrote: "Did y'all see this?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/art..."


Interesting article and entertaining (if depressing) video. Love the song!

Thanks for posting, Dorothy.


message 26: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments i admit it! i give up! i admit defeat. i can't finish this book. i find myself skimming page after page and skipping whole chapters. i'm not getting anything out of it anymore and i am quitting. and i'm one of those people who doesn't like to abandon a book. i hope everybody else enjoys it!


message 27: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy (plantwoman) | 160 comments I do feel your pain, Naomi. Here's my review of this book from earlier this year.

http://birdwoman-thenatureofthings.bl...


message 28: by Ann A (new)

Ann A (readerann) | 775 comments Glad you gave it the "old college try", Naomi! I'm going to persevere (taking my time with it) because the mind of DFW fascinates me. Maybe we can do another "group read" when I finish this 4 months from now :)


message 29: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (jlynnd1977) | 396 comments The deal I have cut with myself is that I will allow myself to read something I enjoy and then come back to Infinite Jest. I have about 300 pages to go but I honestly am disappointed with the book.

Jlynn


message 30: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (jlynnd1977) | 396 comments Dorothy wrote: "I do feel your pain, Naomi. Here's my review of this book from earlier this year.

http://birdwoman-thenatureofthings.bl..."


I think your review pretty much sums up my take on the book.

Thanks!


message 31: by Amy (new)

Amy | 181 comments Naomi wrote: "i admit it! i give up! i admit defeat. i can't finish this book. i find myself skimming page after page and skipping whole chapters. i'm not getting anything out of it anymore and i am quittin..."

Naomi, I give you MAJOR kudos for at least trying! I was so intimidated that I never bothered to pick the book up! Between what my co-worker told me, and the comments I was seeing here, I was too much of a chicken to try! :o) Speaking of my co-worker, though, I have to share some of these comments with her. She was afraid that she was the only one who didn't quite 'get' DFW, although she actually knew the man! I have a collection of his short stories that she gave me. I really need to look at that, just to see his writing stlye for myself.


message 32: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments thanks so much, everybody, for letting me know that it's OKAY to quit reading this book. i have read some of DFW's essays, and i read his short book This is Water This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life I have heard from other people that his essays are most accessible of his writing, with short stories slightly less accessible. his novels are not as easy for people to get into. i may try short stories of his some time in the future, but right now i'm afraid that i'm just worn out. good for you for keeping on! i'll check in occasionally. i hope you all succeed! (whatever that means to you.)


message 33: by Naomi V (new)

Naomi V (naomi_v) | 559 comments Dorothy wrote: "I do feel your pain, Naomi. Here's my review of this book from earlier this year.

http://birdwoman-thenatureofthings.bl..."


thanks so much, Dorothy! great review and matches my sentiments exactly.


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