#OccupyGaddis discussion

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message 1: by Lee (new)

Lee | 39 comments Mod
Welcome to the #OccupyGaddis Goodreads group. I'll mostly be posting about my reading experience on the LARoB Blog and on Twitter, but I'll keep tabs on this group and try to contribute to as many discussions as I can. Mostly, I thought it would be useful to have a Goodreads presence for those who prefer to comment here rather than other social sites.


message 2: by Lee (new)

Lee | 39 comments Mod
P.S. maybe, to begin with, you can introduce yourself here to the other members of the group, let others know what you've read--if anything, by Gaddis--and describe what questions are on your mind as you get started.


message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed (edraso) | 5 comments This will be my first Gaddis. I've had a hardcover of JR. for some time now and an invite to this group was the perfect push to go ahead and begin.

I've modded a Pale King group read here on Goodreads.

I dove into postmodernism with Infinite Jest during Infinite Summer in '09 with an NYC group that continues to meet weekly. We've just finished Ulysses.

Hello.


message 4: by Josh (new)

Josh (CaptainHyperbole) | 2 comments This is also my first Gaddis. I found this group from the Wallace-l LISTSERV and decided to finally join goodreads. I just picked up JR a month or so ago and haven't cracked it open yet. 10pp/day is a nice comfortable schedule, and having others with whom to discuss a big, difficult book will be a welcome change from my usual reading experiences.

I wish I would have known about Infinite Summer back when I was reading IJ for the first time. I finished the book and started doing research on it and lo, there was a massive online community of readers all working on it at the same time... I'd rather not make that mistake again with a book like JR.

So yes. Hi to everyone.


message 5: by Garrett (new)

Garrett Peace (garrettpeace) | 1 comments This is my first Gaddis as well! I also found out about this group through the Wallace-l LISTSERV, which I found after looking around on the internet while reading Infinite Jest last summer. I've never done a group read like this, but I followed along with the Infinite Summer blogs during my reading, which really enriched the experience so much. I'm a junior in college (English major), and I had been looking for a project like this to do with the free time I have on my hands this summer. I'm very excited!

Hello!


message 6: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 1 comments Greetings and Salutations! I'm also an inveterate English major who missed Gaddis altogether. I learned about this group -- as well as Infinite Summer 3 years ago -- via the terrific Wallace-l, too.

Looking forward!


message 7: by Brian (new)

Brian | 34 comments This is the first book by Gaddis that I will have read. My impressions, from the few paragraphs I've read about JR, are that it will resemble Being There. I'll be interested to see how it differs from that book -- my first impressions about a book are usually wrong in amusing ways.


message 8: by James (last edited Jun 15, 2012 11:17AM) (new)

James Edmund Porter (jamesedmundporter) | 3 comments Hey all,

I too found out about this group read via Wallace-l. I finished The Recognitions in the Fall of last year and loved it to death. I knew after reading it that it would not by the last Gaddis stop on the road for me, and that the next one I read would be JR, though I didn't anticipate reading it this soon, (currently I'm 1/4 into Finnegans Wake, and beginning a summer group read of Infinite Jest with my friends who have yet to experience its joy and frustration), I feel like there's probably no better way to do it than with a bunch of other people, who are sorting through it for the first time as well. My anticipation getting the better of me, I decided to read the first 10 pages last night, and didn't find it as difficult as I'd imagined/heard it would be, but who knows, considering The Recognitions was (before FW) the most difficult book I ever read, moreso than Ulysses, even, I wouldn't put it past him to send us spiralling into the realm of unintelligibility sooner or later. Anyhow, really excited to be reading this, especially with all of you!


message 9: by keatssycamore (new)

keatssycamore | 3 comments Hello, I've been listening to JR on audiobook since the first part of April and it's great. I think I might be having a bit easier go of it because of voice characterizations, but it's still a swirl of information that challenges you to keep up (I don't always even try to keep up, just listen and enjoy).

Here is a website that annotates the book (I especially like the page with all the music as listenable/downloadable mp3s) and I've found it to be helpful for meet to meet his challenge: JR annotated and here's a nice Times piece about Gaddis with some JR info- Recognizing Gaddis #OccupyGaddis


message 10: by Sonia (new)

Sonia | 12 comments Hi all, I got into Gaddis when my Masters adviser suggested Carpenter's Gothic for my project back in 2006. I'm currently writing a dissertation on Gaddis along with Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace at the University of Iowa, something that's turned my admiration into full-blown fandom. I've now read all of his books except for Agape Agape (just too sad).

I'm really looking forward to revisiting J R with such excellent company.


message 11: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 5 comments Hi everyone! I'm Stephanie, a writer/editor in Brooklyn. I loved participating in Infinite Summer (IJ is by far my favorite book) and have been wanting to read Gaddis for some time, so this is a great way to start.

I'm a little concerned about spoilers since this community is pretty decentralized - Twitter, individual blogs, etc. Has anyone given that any thought? Is that just par for the course?


message 12: by Ed (new)

Ed (edraso) | 5 comments I'm not so concerned with that as I am only participating here on Goodreads.


message 13: by Lee (new)

Lee | 39 comments Mod
The spoiler question is a good one. Not sure if we want to set up a policy about that. I tend not to mind spoilers, but others might have other preferences/views.


message 14: by Brian (new)

Brian | 34 comments I would say spoilers are nothing to worry about IF they're in the "past" according to LK's reading schedule. Thus, after the 29th it's OK to spoil pages 1-150, etc. Maybe we could even try to "prorate" that. For example, I wouldn't mind anyone giving anything away up to page 30 today.


message 15: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 5 comments I like Brian's idea, and I would be more comfortable reading/discussing that way... but if everyone else disagrees, I won't push it!


message 16: by Ed (new)

Ed (edraso) | 5 comments If we're reading 10 pages a day, the spoiler line is pretty easy to find. Today, for instance, we shouldn't be discussing anything after page 30.

I'm quite enjoying this read. So far we've been to an estate, outside a bank, and inside a school.

I like also the bits in-between dialogue, especially when they bring us to a new location in a very cinematic, linear way.

And I can definitely see how Gaddis may have influenced Wallace, like in the dialogue and the hyper-descriptive description (however infrequent the description happens). I'm also catching a bit of Ulysses here.


message 17: by Sonia (new)

Sonia | 12 comments Joyce was a touchy subject for Gaddis because a lot of the negative reviews of The Recognitions called it "Joycean" - i.e. trying to be Ulysses but failing. You can read some of that touchiness here: http://www.nyx.org/~awestrop/gaddis/q...


message 18: by Ed (new)

Ed (edraso) | 5 comments Thanks, Sonia. That was enjoyable. Boy he was a bit touchy in interviews, huh? Ha.


message 19: by Sonia (new)

Sonia | 12 comments That stuff's mostly from private letters. His interviews were infrequent and very controlled - mostly done through writing rather than in person. The annotation website has them collected here: http://www.williamgaddis.org/nonficti...

The Bradbury link is dead on that page but it's on Youtube.


message 20: by Brian (new)

Brian | 34 comments I didn't like Joyce enough to have read a lot of him, so those similarities will sail past me.

What I'm noticing this weekend: in his descriptions and inter-scene text, Gaddis enjoys using garden-path sentences full of miscues, forcing the reader to track back and truly grapple with what he's trying to say. It's not SO obscure you can't get the gist -- just enough to show that syntactic hostility is going to be his attitude toward the reader. You've got to be on your toes.

In the dialog scenes, this book is reminding me of an Altman film. Everyone's talking together and over and through one another, but so far it seems to be working.

I was in elementary school during the (presumed) time in which the novel is set, and I recognize the scholastic attitudes of the teachers and admin here. Particularly in regards to the television station, which my district toyed with as well.


message 21: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinsemicolon) | 1 comments Hello Occupiers,

I found the group through my twitter/tumblr/goodreads friend Jack Waters (so thanks, Jack). This is my second Gaddis; I read The Recognitions this winter in preparation for my review of Fire the Bastards! for The Rumpus.

The williamgaddis.org website was of immeasurable help at first, but, like anything else, you learn the language as you go and rely less on the glosses (or at least that's what you tell yourself).

So far I've only read Rick Moody's introduction, which is hilarious in its acknowledgment of the limitations of any introduction—not to mention the #humblebrag of having spent the weekend with Gaddis without knowing what to say the whole time.

Agree with prorating spoilers, but I'm probably going to be behind everyone else and so will read comments in an accordingly ginger fashion. (Also, I don't think this is going to be a spoiler-prone book, but maybe I'm wrong.)


message 22: by James (new)

James Edmund Porter (jamesedmundporter) | 3 comments Why doesn't the moderator just create new discussions per day (or maybe every 30 pages or so), like a new thread that would be "pp. 1-30" or something. That way, those who are caught up can discuss specific lines or scenes, and it won't be spoiled for those behind in the reading. (?)


message 23: by Lee (new)

Lee | 39 comments Mod
Good idea. I'll create a forum for each 30-page chunk. That'll leave us with 24 topics.


message 24: by Cameron (new)

Cameron | 5 comments hi folks. Late entry, don't hold it against me. I wasn't sure I'd have the time to read this, but when I sat down and started it today I decided I would have to make time.

I'm a playwright, so I'm really interested in the ways gaddis uses dialogue to communicate things to the reader: backstory, for example, or a character's emotional state. These are all challenges a playwright faces, and it's interesting to see a novelist tackle them.

Hi, hello.

Re: Spoilers, I associate myself with the remarks of the above occupiers.


message 25: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 13 comments Hello all,

I'm looking forward to the discussion. I've never read Gaddis, even though several friends have told me it's something I'd enjoy. I've done my first thirty pages and I'm allowing the writing style to flow over me.

That opening scene was pure delight.


message 26: by Steph (new)

Steph | 9 comments Hi guys,

Lee was my TA for a class on Contemporary American Lit back in the day. I found #OccupyGaddis through him. I'm a writer/reader in Los Angeles, and I read Carpenter's Gothic in college. I thought it was strange and delightful, and I look forward to JR.

I hope I don't fall behind too badly. I planned to start reading this weekend, but I got engaged on Saturday.


message 27: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 13 comments Mazeltov, Steph!


message 28: by Jon (new)

Jon Boulier | 2 comments Anybody reading on a kindle or other digital book device? I'd like to join in, but I've fallen behind and probably would prefer to just download it and start reading immediately instead of waiting for it to arrive. Anyone?


message 29: by Brian (new)

Brian | 34 comments I'm reading the Dalkey Archives' Kindle Edition. Looks great.


message 30: by Jon (new)

Jon Boulier | 2 comments Lee, about the whole twitter thing. Wasn't part of the fun of Infinite Summer its archival qualities? Or the sort of editorial essay type things? What will become of OccupyGaddis once it's over, if it only takes place in the "twittersphere" (or whatever it's called these days)?


message 31: by Lee (new)

Lee | 39 comments Mod
Good question. I'm going to be blogging at the LARBlog, and trying to incorporate links to other posts into what I write. That said, LARBlog won't have a complete archive of everything people write online.

The advantage of the Twitter hashtag is that it's a great way to organize lots of people who might be writing in different forms/on different platforms. I'm open to ideas as to how to find the right balance...


message 32: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 2 comments Hi Everyone:

This is my introduction to Gaddis. I have The Recognitions, but haven't cracked it. I thought we were going to be reading that, so it took a few days for it to sink in that we were reading J.R.

I'm reading J.R. on my Kindle and it's kinda perfect for it. My biggest issue is figuring out what page I'm on. Not knowing which page I'm on is kind of a feature for me too, so I haven't been too invested in figuring it out. But with a page deadline coming up, it may be time.

I found out about the group through the Wallace-l list serv and did the Infinite Summer read.

I don't care about spoilers. The only one I didn't want to know about was the last Harry Potter and amazingly I was able to remain ignorant of it for 3 years.


message 33: by Ed (new)

Ed (edraso) | 5 comments Hi Elizibeth. I decided to leave the hardcover in the bookcase and read JR on Kidle as well. If you have a newer model (the last two incarnations I believe) and hit menu once, the page number should appear on the bottom.

I actually bought my first Kindle during the #infsummer read because the hardcover I purchased was a pain to lug around every day. Apparently, I never learn.

Enjoy the story!

Ed


message 34: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 12 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I'm reading J.R. on my Kindle and it's kinda perfect for it. My biggest issue is figuring out what page I'm on. ..."

Hi, Elizabeth. I'm using an e-reader as well. I've found the easiest way to figure out corresponding page numbers is to go to the J.R. annotations site and correlate with the scene outline. It's been posted before, but here it is again: scene outline.


message 35: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 2 comments Whitney wrote:

Hi, Elizabeth. I'm using an e-reader as well. I've found the ..."


Thank you for posting the link, Whitney. I accidentally found the page numbers tonight while trying to figure out how to annotate. Amazingly, I was exactly where I thought I was. Hmm.

I need to pick up my pace to make it to 150.


message 36: by Bo (new)

Bo | 2 comments This is my first Gaddis. I'd been kept away from him until now by Jonathan Franzen's reference to The Recognitions as "a penance," but I felt soothed by Rick Moody's intro to the Dalkey Archives edition of JR. I love it so far, and am only about 40 pages behind.

I know there's a ton of material out there about the book--annotations and such--but I'm trying to resist reading anything outside the text (and of course this group's postings) for as long as possible. Maybe this is a mistake. Is anyone else reading it this way?


message 37: by Brian (new)

Brian | 34 comments I'm also trying to stay with the text alone as much as possible. But damn, Gaddis makes it hard. I'm grateful for the annotations and Cast of Characters; there are portions of the book that would be utterly meaningless (to me) without their help.


message 38: by Cameron (new)

Cameron | 5 comments I'm trying to do it pretty much without any other texts. It's amazing where spoilers are hidden --- even the Cast of Characters can give things away simply by revealing basic relationships between characters.


message 39: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (victoriaharding) | 1 comments Hello. The Gaddis Annotations info on JR is very definitely not designed for first-time readers, so I, who maintain that site! would heartily recommend you focus on "what happens between the reader and the page" as Gaddis expressed it. WARNING: you will not have a second chance to come fresh to this material! go with it -- see what happens; all will eventually become clear(er)! This is what makes reading exciting, not "understanding" immediately as you go. [I'm reading along, for the second time, but still am loath to leave the aura, as it were, of the text to look up stuff.] Victoria Harding


message 40: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 13 comments Hi Victoria,

You've built a great site. I agree about not spoiling my reading with the annotations. I've been doing the guessing game, challenging myself to figure out who is talking based on my knowledge of the characters. I'm often wrong, but sometimes I'm right and that's a treat.


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