June 21, 2009

Infinite Summer

Today, thousands of people all over the world began reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest -- 75 pages per week.

Infinite Summer will last, appropriately enough, until September 22. (Check out that link for various testimonals, a central message board, a "How To Read IJ" guide, links to dozens of groups/blogs who are going to be reporting their progress, even special bookmarks.)

Matthew Baldwin is the man behind IS:
Tackling Infinite Jest has been on my to-do list for more than a decade. I'm challenging everyone -- myself included -- to finally make time for this celebrated novel, and do so in the company of readers around the world.
IS has got me in a mood to re-read IJ -- while I have returned to various sections of the book dozens of times, I've read it straight through only once -- but I'm going to wait until November, when baseball season is over. By chance, November 2009 is when a lot of the action in the novel, published in 1996, takes place.

(I posted about my love/obsession with IJ last September after Wallace committed suicide.)

A winter read will also lead me right into the Spring 2010 publication of Wallace's unfinished novel, The Pale King, about which I am tremendously excited.


Other Stuff:

Demolition of Yankee Stadium

The Break Of The Curveball

Cleveland Tourism


laura k said...

It's so horrible that he's gone.

Gambrinus said...

I've started this book like 3 times and never finished. Not giving up early, either...giving up after 500-600 pages. Maybe I should try again?

laura k said...

If you've tried a book three times, and you still can't or don't want to read it, I think that book is not for you. You have given it more than a fair try.

Just my opinion, of course, but as someone who can't read 5 pages of DFW fiction (although I LOVE!!! his nonfiction), I think it's safe to say IJ is not for you.

(To be honest, I can barely read 5 paragraphs. I don't think I've made it through 5 pages of IJ.)

Gambrinus said...

That's a fair point, but I'm struck by how each time, I haven't so much disliked it as never quite saw the point. I feel like maybe if I just suddenly got it I'd really love it. So, for that sake, I think maybe I'll give it a shot. Especially since I have a friend in the office who's doing it and it might be entertaining to see who cracks first!

allan said...

Many, many people crap out just shy of 200. I did, my first time.

But by 500, jeez, you got all the AA stuff/Crocodiles, Ennet House, Gately, Joelle, Poor Tony, about 1000 other things and all that tennis ....

I'd say it ain't for you. You should have had that *click* well before 500.


L loves the stuff in Supposedly Fun Thing, which DFW wrote around the same times he was writing IJ. There are many connecting thoughts and themes.

Joe Grav said...

I am ridiculously excited for this 9 a.m. announcement now. Don't let me down ;)

laura k said...

"I am ridiculously excited for this 9 a.m. announcement now. Don't let me down ;)"

I guarantee disappointment. :)

nick said...

Looks like I read my feeds in the wrong order this morning (computer geekery then baseball). I forwarded a link about this to Allan. Of course he'd be on top of it.

I confess to not having read IJ. I'll see if I can give it a go this time.

allan said...

Thanks, for the forward, Nick. But even with a ton of work this weekend*, I still went to IS three or four times to poke around!

*: yeah, great, see the completely shitty beginning-to-end loss on fri, but miss about 2/3 of the fun and exciting wins on sat/sun

allan said...

I confess to not having read IJ. I'll see if I can give it a go this time.

Taped in the front of my first (and heavily marked-up) copy of the novel, I have group reading schedules from the wallace list-serve for 2000 and 2002-03 -- and I see I hosted various sections during both. There was also an ongoing discussion (and maybe a reading schedule) at Salon in 1998.

In a perfect world, a few of us could read and discuss it here, but even with a far larger community than JoS, the two wallace-l reads did not get all the way through. (I think they finished a slow read a few months ago. I still subscribe, but almost never comment.)

So, anyway, if you wanna wait until November ...

nick said...

I went the Hudson River Revival with my mom and emma this weekend. We camped in a lake (practically) and had a lot of fun, though very little interaction with the outside world. It was wet and musical.

Unknown said...

I'm putting off rereading Infinite Jest (I've read it twice before, but I was 18 the first time through and missed a lot of it), even though a couple friends of mine are reading it, maybe even as I type these very words. It's a formative book for me, really tremendously important, and I can't recommend it (or his two books of non fiction, as well as the later two short story books) enough.

I'd also like to take this time to say that, if you're looking for other great big, great books, Nabakov's "Ada Or Ardor, A Family Chronicle" is as good as Infinite Jest, and is sorely overlooked (probably due to the brilliance of books like Pale Fire and Lolita, which are also masterpieces). I think there's an affinity between Wallace and Nabokov, notwithstanding Wallace's gripes about the "Post-Nabokovians."