RSVP Thread for Infinite Jest, Opening the First Page on 01.01.2013

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RSVP Thread for Infinite Jest, Opening the First Page on 01.01.2013

Este tópico está presentemente marcado como "inativo" —a última mensagem tem mais de 90 dias. Reative o tópico publicando uma resposta.

Editado: Nov 11, 2012, 3:01am


Nov 11, 2012, 7:28am

I am in here.

Nov 11, 2012, 9:12am


Nov 11, 2012, 12:01pm


Nov 11, 2012, 3:20pm

And but so am I.

Nov 17, 2012, 11:56am

I have not read it. Should it be fun? someone tell me I'm gonnal like it.

Nov 17, 2012, 12:13pm

Bas, you'll love it.

Nov 17, 2012, 12:17pm

And but so you will, bas.

Nov 17, 2012, 1:01pm

Oh, bas. So good to see you.

Nov 18, 2012, 3:03pm

I'm in. And oddly excited despite avoiding him so far.

Editado: Nov 19, 2012, 10:33am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Nov 19, 2012, 12:57pm

10> It's an oddly exciting book, imho. Glad you're in.

Nov 22, 2012, 8:26pm

count me in. first read.

Editado: Nov 23, 2012, 2:19am

welcome to Jesters, justice$$ !!

Nov 23, 2012, 10:52am

Sounds good. I've been meaning to re-read.

Nov 24, 2012, 12:05am

My previous DFW experience is limited to non-fiction, but I am currently reading The Broom of the System (softcover). For IJ, I'm going with the kindle version (I have the softcover if I need it).

Editado: Nov 24, 2012, 3:19am

15> Welcome aboard, Elvis! It'll be my third re-read. This time around I'm looking to mine more of its metaphysics.

16> The Broom is rollicking fun. If Pynchon is so freaking awesome (as the mysterious Mister D. asserted in another thread) then how come he didn't think up the name, Candy Mandible, first?

It's interesting seeing how some of the ideas DFW further evolved in IJ had their genesis in The Broom. I'm thinking of The Great Ohio Desert as an example, and what he ultimately transformed that concept into, in IJ.

Justice$$, are you able to do word searches on your kindle? I'm still in the dark ages, solely reliant upon pulp and cloth (I was way late to those newfangled cell phones too), so I don't know for sure, though I've heard maybe you can? If you can you're going to have a distinct advantage in more easily keeping track of themes, timelines, and characters and such.

Nov 24, 2012, 3:20am

Barny Noble will ship me the book on Monday. I will try to join you.


Nov 24, 2012, 9:36am

{...sidling in...}

Nov 25, 2012, 2:44am

Thanks for the invite! I'm not ready for a re-read yet as I'm still recovering from the first read, which took me the better part of this year. And considering I tend to forget what I read as soon as I turn the page (which is quite often when reading on an iPhone!), I will probably not be a very useful participant, but I will happily lurk here.

Editado: Nov 25, 2012, 3:35am

Votar: Mister Ds. repeated referencing of Barnes & Noble Booksellers as "Barny Noble" is far more egregious an offense than Enrique's and others' insistence in abbreviating the name of David Foster Wallace to "DFW"?

Resultado atual: Sim 9, Não 2, Indeciso 4

Editado: Nov 25, 2012, 3:22am

19> Excellent. But just so we're on the same page, you are aware, Crypto, that we're reading Infinite Jest by DFW and not The Cream of the Jest by JBC, right?

20> Happy you're here, Florence. Lurkers are welcome.

Nov 25, 2012, 12:42pm

I also broke down and got the kindle version. Yes, you can do word searches. Plus, navigation between the text and endnotes is fairly quick. But I haven't figured out how to take notes on it yet, which I really want to do this time, my first re-read.

Nov 25, 2012, 1:37pm

Cream of the Infinite Jest by David Branch Wallace, right?

Nov 25, 2012, 1:51pm

Editado: Nov 25, 2012, 8:44pm

I'm willing to give this a try. Reserve the right to bail if something shiny comes along.

Nov 25, 2012, 9:04pm

I'm not ready for a reread yet, but I will be lurking and chipping in where appropriate. I'm excited that another group read of this book is going ahead, and really looking forward to learning more about it from the discussion.

I humbly submit my review of IJ here, in the hope that it might usefully provide some directions:

Editado: Nov 26, 2012, 1:33am

23> thx for that info, Bubba (& for that great ice cream too).

24> errrr-righteeO!

26> & that's really all we can ask for; may your willingness become contagious; and welcome. I do hope IJ will stretch you in the best ways possible.

27> a classic in the rarified air of literary errata! Am greatly anticipating the release of Master Abraham’s Magic Lense: The Infinite Prescience of Hoffmann.

Dez 2, 2012, 11:36pm

...can't decide...

Editado: Dez 3, 2012, 2:05am

I know it's a difficult decision, Dan. As a fellow alumnus of the novel, you're obviously cognizant of the many and inherent dangers in opening the book again. I didn't intend to reread it so soon myself, but the power of D.T. Max's insightful biography, in which he interwove so well the details in Wallace's fiction that were directly influenced by the particulars of his life, compelled me....

Dez 3, 2012, 3:50am

strike while the iron is hot, freeeky. it will be well worth it.

Dez 3, 2012, 8:40am

Oh, power to you, go for it. I was thinking of your review and of reading that biography first. I could also read it along with IJ. That would thoroughly overwhelm any other reading I had in mind...

Dez 4, 2012, 6:59am

Thanks for the invitation. I hope I can squeeze out the time to read this behemoth which has sat too long unread on my shelf.

Dez 4, 2012, 8:28pm

33> So glad you accepted. Took me three months the first time. I've heard it's been read in less than a month (though I'm sure there's speed-reading records asserting a time of less than 100 hours out there) and up to as much as a year, with readers taking many breaks along the way.

Dez 5, 2012, 6:57am

Well, my beat up water-damaged copy of IJ has arrived from Alibris, so I don't have to mar my nice hardback. I've read most of the first page. Now if someone asks if I've read IJ I can say, "Well, part of it"...

Dez 5, 2012, 11:13am

So has anybody thought about timescales, how long a period for the average reader to get to grips with IJ I wonder.

I have ordered my copy and I am just waiting to see the postlady struggling up the drive........

Dez 5, 2012, 2:20pm

I'm in! Second attempt. Loved the ~200 pages of my first attempt.

Dez 5, 2012, 6:19pm

36> I've been thinking about the novel off an on for about eleven years now. It makes a hell of a lot more sense to me today than it did in 2001 but I'm still connecting the dots and seeing things for the first time.

37> Cool!

Dez 11, 2012, 2:40pm

I'm on the bubble. It's been a book I've been meaning to re-read. I'll have to check in with my current reading and reviewing schedule. If anything, I'll be a regular lurker and observer.

Dez 11, 2012, 3:40pm

following along

Dez 12, 2012, 3:11pm


Editado: Dez 12, 2012, 6:52pm

39> Tell yer current reading it's a gonna have to wait! Very nice link, btw, in the group profile pic. I want to join a pulp fiction reading group like that.

40,41> Excellent

Dez 12, 2012, 7:52pm

With a reading group like that, it would be difficult to get much reading done. And what would you read? Infinite Chest?

Dez 12, 2012, 10:49pm

Thanks for the invite, Enrique. I'm in. First time read. Only have read his non-fiction Consider the Lobster and Everything and More.

Dez 13, 2012, 6:21pm

You stole my thought, Bubba.

Glad you're here, semckibbin. Wasn't sure if you were still around. How was Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity? Haven't attempted it myself.

Dez 14, 2012, 2:30am

Enrique, I wish my calculus teachers had covered the material the way Wallace did. Science and math textbooks authoritatively present the material as if it's descended from heaven and so obvious that no one wants to argue about it anymore. But that's just bluff. As recently as 200 years ago the real number system was an ungrounded mess, and today mathematics is still reeling from Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. Worse, math textbooks leave out the mathematicians, the humans.

Wallace gives you a sense of the mindbending toil and real genius necessary to dream up mathematical theories and proofs in order to solve real problems. His story starts with the Greeks (they dont believe infinity and irrational numbers exist), moves through the wild success of the Calculus to calculus's masochistic foundational crisis (how can we simultaneously have n = 0 and n ≠ 0?) and culminates in Cantor's invention of set theory. It's a story of great scope and allows Wallace to indulge in his metaphysical interests and explore different expository techniques.

A lot of reviewers think the book is a failure and find fault with Wallace's grasp of the subject and with his baroque style, its curlicues and flourishes. But I dig his style (and I know you do too); and I think he does a super job explaining how the different concepts work, as well as the historical and metaphysical background. Still,you have had some college math courses it would help you appreciate the book without eliding great chunks of the text.

What's more, any book that has Aristotle as a villain is aight

Hell, I think I'll just post this as a review.

Dez 15, 2012, 12:28pm

46> semckibbin, I was going to comment further yesterday on how great I thought what you had to say about Everything and More was, but yet another horror, this time in Connecticut, swallowed whatever enthusiasm I had to share in response to your terrific piece.

I find your comments doubly terrific because I did once attempt this book and made it exactly one page, immediately aware that my limited knowledge of advanced mathematics essentially made the book a foreign language to me. I've read some of that criticism of the book you mention, much of it smug and condescending, and am glad to see that as one informed in the discipline you really appreciated what Wallace brought to the table on the subject.

Dez 18, 2012, 2:28pm

Well this is a bit of a step change for me. Most of my non fiction reading is European and pre 1950.

However, it is my intention to purchase both IJ and The Man in the High Castle and read them (or at least start them) concurrently.

Dez 18, 2012, 11:51pm

47> great review! I am numerically dyslexic, so DFW's (sorry, Robert Durrick and all those other American parochialists, get over it: how much exactly is Dallas Fort worth anyhow?) book will make no sense to me at all.

Dez 19, 2012, 4:28am

50> What, you mean it was supposed to make sense? O_O

Dez 20, 2012, 5:36pm

49> That's great to hear, Z. I've noticed over the years that there's been a significant amount written regarding the similarities between PKD & DFW. I read some of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick earlier this year and was transfixed.

Dez 20, 2012, 7:00pm

Thanks for the kind words, Enrique & tomcat.

And Friday was a dark day.

Dez 24, 2012, 12:52am

I'm out, not ready to re-read this. I need to read other things from and related to DFW first. I may start that new biography on Jan 1 instead.

Editado: Dez 24, 2012, 1:39pm

Rats! First, it was Ganeshaka's grim news, and now you, Dan? Nah, it's all good. Some "other things related" to DFW that you mention makes me think of ... all I want for Christmas is ...

Conversations with David Foster Wallace,
Consider David Foster Wallace: Critical Essays,
The Eschatological Imagination: Mediating David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest by John Timothy Jacobs,
Flexion of Upraised Fingers to Signify Tone Quotes: Cultural Self-consciousness and Self-referential Methodologies in the Short Fiction of David Foster Wallace by David Andrews,
Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present -- to be reissued in 2013

Dez 24, 2012, 1:59pm

I went to my local bookstore, took one look at the wee print inside the paperback copy of IJ on the shelf, and decided to read this one on my kindle. Ready to go.

Dez 24, 2012, 6:57pm

Seven days and counting! As resistant as I've been so far to kindles and nooks and whatever other newfangled technological gizmo's are called out there, IJ is perfect for such a device. Word search capability alone makes me tempted to abandon spines and leaves and ink.

Dez 24, 2012, 9:09pm

Oh, I still steadfastly prefer my books to be of the paper and ink variety, but for certain books, ereaders are ideal. I read Moby Dick last January on my then-new kindle and it was a delight. I was indoctrinated by librarians at an impressionable age and am unable to mark up a physical copy, but a digital copy is fair game.

Dez 25, 2012, 11:33pm

Every Word I Learned from Infinite Jest

For me it depends on what kind of condition the copy is in whether or not I'll mark it up. I foolishly marked up the original pb ed. of IJ (the one w/the orange spine that's selling for high double-digits used these days, assuming it isn't ravaged w/water stains or foolish markings) but now I've got notebooks galore w/IJ jottings like the one in the link.

Editado: Dez 26, 2012, 11:48am

RE: 55 -I happened to find a copy of Conversations with David Foster Wallace at my local library. I would recommend it to anyone contemplating reading IF. It's a series of interviews of him by different journalists at various times throughout his career as well as a biographical sketch with the sad story of his final year. It was for me an excellent introduction to DFW. However, I couldn't help but compare him to Ross Lockridge, Jr a promising young genius who similarly wrote a huge, ambitious, thoughtful first novel, Raintree County, which was simultaneously attacked and praised. His life, and suicide, are the focus of one half of the book Ross and Tom, which is also a good read.

Dez 26, 2012, 1:03pm

Thanks for the DFW recommendation and Raintree County & Ross and Tom too, G., I'll look for one or the other today w/my X-mas gift card. I'm not familiar with Ross Lockridge at all.

Btw, if you ever decide to give Wallace another try (and I sure hope you will at some point) I'm pretty positive you'd enjoy his first novel, The Broom of the System, all the way through. It has absolutely none of the grimness that can weigh IJ down -- and that despite it's knowing nod to Wittgenstein. It's pure playfulness, nerdiness, and smarts.

Dez 29, 2012, 3:26am

I've read IJ up to page 500 three times already. I'm determined to finish it this time. I'm in! (and new on LibraryThing)

Dez 29, 2012, 4:35am

Welcome Maria.

IJ and TMITHC arrived together in the post today! Read first chapter of TMITHC already. Bring it on.

Dez 29, 2012, 3:59pm

With those two books combined, Z, you've got 1,300 pages of WEIRDNESS looming over you. I bet your reading life has never looked so good.

62> Yes, welcome to the group & to LT, Maria. You made it farther than most people do who don't make it the whole way. We'll see if we can't help you get past the halfway mark this time.

Dez 29, 2012, 8:15pm

Hey yo man so what's your story?

Dez 29, 2012, 8:17pm

Have had a hold placed on a copy at the library for a few weeks. Might be quite some time before it arrives.

Dez 29, 2012, 8:34pm

65> Ha! Another IJ alumnus. Welcome.

66> To the library, Jesse, and step on it! Hey we'll still be here. I plan on taking it slow all year, in order to read other things and focus maybe on some of IJs minutia more in depth here or there....

Dez 29, 2012, 10:37pm

I'm in!

Dez 30, 2012, 7:46pm

New to Library Thing, but read IJ twice. Looking forward to lurking.

Dez 30, 2012, 8:23pm

You're in a good place with this group read, sacpop. Welcome to LT.

Dez 30, 2012, 9:40pm

I'm entirely new to group reads and Infinite Jest alike, so I'm not certain what I'll be able to contribute to the group but I'm flattered by the invite and a copy is on its way to me. I know almost nothing about the book and will be walking into it blind. I'll see what happens.

Dez 30, 2012, 9:47pm

'An IJ virgin; present, accounted for, and in the blocks.

Dez 30, 2012, 10:38pm

Welcome grabloid and nymith. We are close to launching into the great blue yonder interspersed with clouds.

Editado: Dez 31, 2012, 7:12pm

So, do we have to read the first page of the novel proper on Wednesday Tuesday or can we like read the cover? Do we all need to have our individual thread, or can we just comment from our reading in response to what we read in other threads?


Dez 31, 2012, 4:03pm

These questions are hard for me to answer, Mister D. I think, though I may live to regret it, I'm just going to have to trust you to your own best judgment regarding them. Here's hoping you find the right answers for you this New Year's Eve.

And happy New Year,


Dez 31, 2012, 6:19pm

I'm lurking as I'm already halfway through a library copy which I have to return at the end of January. I've read only those footnotes that took my fancy i.e.short.

Dez 31, 2012, 8:58pm

Glad you're lurking, Alan. Will be interested in hearing what you think of IJ.

Jan 1, 2013, 12:38am

Ok, it's Jan 1 now, and I've finished the last page of Infinite Jest, bit I don't want to talk about it...

Jan 1, 2013, 6:54am

Crypto, you need to read the other 1050 pages now.

Jan 1, 2013, 9:52am

oops, been sussed out...

Jan 1, 2013, 10:18am

Unlike the proverbial hyperthermic frog, I managed to crawl out of this cauldron of cleverly crafted hellishness at page 500. A pink frog. A suffering frog. But living to croak another day. For anyone else, who in the course of this Infinite Jest, similarly feels compelled to exercise their amphibiosity, and pop out of the boil, I offer up these two links as lily pads

the short

and the long

which express my sentiments be they ever so ...mumble...mumble...humble

Which is to say, with so many other works of literature out there:

HAD we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.

Jan 1, 2013, 11:51am

My tenth anniversary copy, having been sitting conspicuously unread on top of a bookshelf trying to seduce me since I acquired it in a library book sale a few years back, migrated to my desk this morning. Since then I have been perusing IJ and DFW posts, not for the first time, to decide whether to actually open it.

Not having participated in a group read before (absent a list serve for Against the Day when it was published), and mostly a lurker here who cannot help but read multiple books at once, I'm hesitant to declare intent to begin something so potentially all-consuming. But I do love a nice, thick, juicy encyclopedic doorstop of a book....

Also, if memory serves, I can second Ganeshaka's recommendation of Ross and Tom.

Oh look! Two bookmarks and some sticky-note page markers have arranged themselves quite noticeably nearby.

Okay. I'm in.

Jan 1, 2013, 12:54pm

Awesome post, gravitysbook. Just dive in and see what happens.

Jan 1, 2013, 2:30pm

/me is diving in and see what happens, too

Jan 1, 2013, 3:29pm

>81 Ganeshaka:
' LOVED the short one.

'Got tired of reading the long one.

Uh oh, now that doesn't bode well, now does it?

I have started!

Jan 1, 2013, 6:08pm

How to read Infinite Jest. See Rule 1 :-)

Jan 1, 2013, 6:13pm

How does this work? Is everyone reading at different rates? I have a question about a very early section of the book but don't want to post in case of spoilers.

Jan 1, 2013, 7:10pm

81> Hey G., I'd already posted that long article of IJ hatred in the IJ Haters thread here. It's a doozy for sure, full of Vollmann Hatred too, and there's other links there you might like too that lambaste the book.

87> Yes, about five or six of us have started our own reading threads and will post as we please at our own pace. There's so much information in the book, so many different narrative threads, so much non-linearity, I think it's darn near impossible to say something that will spoil it for anybody else. I've already mentioned that the first 17 pages of the book are the end of the book in my own thread, but that won't really mean anything to anyone unless they first read the entire book first, so have at it, however you want: comment on others' threads or start your own thread or do both....

Jan 2, 2013, 7:10pm

>86 sacpop:

Thanks for providing the tips, sacpop!

Jan 2, 2013, 7:35pm

Last night I read the covers. It was simplified by half by the blank inside covers.

I read Dave Eggers's preface. It seemed insubstantial.

I read the first or last (riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay) 17 pages. Hal Incandenza interests me.


Jan 2, 2013, 8:46pm

66> To the library, Jesse, and step on it! Hey we'll still be here. I plan on taking it slow all year, in order to read other things and focus maybe on some of IJs minutia more in depth here or there....

Not to the library... I seem to be fifth in queue for the one copy in the LA county library system. As it is, I'm not sure how much I'm looking forward to this. Might be blasphemy to say, but I'm not so big on DFW's fiction as I am on the NF.

Editado: Jan 3, 2013, 6:57pm

'Nothing wrong with investigating lobster torture and weirdness in the porn industry - I guess.

Jan 6, 2013, 7:34pm

BTW, I'm up to page 100 (ie, page 109). The recommended links provided by Brent at the Group "home page" and the suggested reader's guides, are a significant help!

Not since Augustine of Hippo ripped off some pears in an orchard, has there been such a sin.

Whoopy-do. I glimpsed ahead at page 223. It is of no crucial help what-so-ever. I'm very structured, but the chronology so far, is fairly straightforward.

Jan 10, 2013, 1:32am

Sandy, how can a book w/such a multitude of meanings, have no meaning?

Editado: Jan 12, 2013, 11:40am

I was just jesting.

Jan 12, 2013, 5:48pm

In my individual thread I added my progress to the initial comment to help avoid spoilers. As a first time jester, I've been afraid to read some of the threads. I am hoping to make a little progress this weekend (only 115 pages to PAGE 223). I have a cruise planned for the end of the month, so I am hoping to be in a position to finish during my vacation. As I've mentioned, I am a very careful (and slow) reader.

Jan 13, 2013, 10:52am


The sound of meanings wafting over the noob's head...

Break-time today, time to watch the Patriots.

Jan 13, 2013, 12:17pm

96> A cruise, eh? Have you read Wallace's essay, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"? Hope you'll enjoy your time on the luxury liner being "pampered." I'm just jealous.

97> Oh hey, me too. What a great game yesterday, double-overtime, Ravens & Broncos. Feel bad for Peyton. Not his fault, even that last interception. Bronco defense had no business giving up a hail Mary TD w/30 seconds left in regulation. That was embarrassing -- and that was what cost them the game.

Jan 21, 2013, 9:52am

you must have several editions to whfft so freely...