infinite summer

IMG_2267David Foster Wallace‘s 1079 page Infinite Jest has been in residence in my study for 13 years–since 1996. When I first heard about Infinite Summer, I glanced over at the large book on the bottom of my ToBeRead shelf, and I thought nooooo.

Then, after spending about an hour on the website, I got up and pulled the book out and dusted it off. I let it sit on my desk for a day. I was making friends with it.

The Challenge: Join endurance bibliophiles from around the world in reading Infinite Jest over the summer of 2009, June 21st to September 22nd. A thousand pages ÷ 92 days = 75 pages a week. No sweat.

The next day I came into my study and there was the book right next to my computer and I thought if I’m not going to read it now with all these other people, I’m never going to read it. Then I thought well, I can at least start it and see how I like it.IMG_2088

Infinite Summer, as if summer, the feeling of lazy reading days and the salty ocean breeze, were to go on forever.

I started late, and so far I’ve been behind everyday. But I’m on track to catch up today. And that’s exciting. It’s so true that social networking has given this project a  “we’re all in this together” feeling. You can find Infinite Summer on facebook and twitter, as well as the website.

I started reading a week ago today, so it’s not to late to join the party. C’mon, is this book on your TBR shelf?

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12 thoughts on “infinite summer

  1. I’m not doing Infinite Summer, but I have been reading Roberto Bolaño’s epic 2666 with a group of other book bloggers, and absolutely loving both the novel and the experience of writing about it with other people. I’m learning a lot, actually, about how certain of my reactions I’d thought of as “natural” are anything but. I already knew that my sense of humor & literary preferences tend to be a bit dark, and favor the absurd, but it’s fascinating to read other peoples’ takes on the same sections of book, and have them differ so widely.

    Anyway, have fun with David Foster Wallace, and all your fellow Wallace-ites!

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    • Yes, I imagine you have your hands full with the 900+ pages of 2666. No matter how good a book is, that number of pages is a huge commitment. I never would have considered reading Infinite Jest without the group aspect. I wanted to have read it, I guess, is why I’ve kept it on the shelf, but in all these 13 years, I never seriously considered starting it. I’ve enjoyed your reviews of 2666 on your blog. And I absolutely love the new perspectives of differing opinions as much as the uniting aspect of similar ones.

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  2. Hey Cindy,

    First, your blog is one of my very favorite. I always feel like we’re just sitting around a table or something, maybe on a porch just relaxing and you’re speaking eloquently but also casually – the ideal.

    I haven’t read IJ and probably – well, definitely – won’t this summer, but after using Facebook to get reading ideas from friends, I have been following up on those and really loving the process of thinking through who recommended each book as I read it. It’s a different kind of companionable experience, but also has the impact of making reading which is inherently so solitary feel more communal.

    Always look forward to your posts!

    robin

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    • Yay, Robin, so nice to “see” you here. Thanks for your wonderful description of the blog. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were relaxing on a porch?

      Recently I’ve been paying more attention to why I choose a particular book to read when there are so many out there. In fact, I’ve started noting that by the book I’m reading now on the Reading List page.

      A year ago, when I was going through all the stacks of books that had accumulated unread under the table in my study, so many I had no idea why I had bought. I should put a little sticky note in the front of each one saying why I bought it.

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  3. So glad you’re on board! I’m doing Infinite Summer and I’m really loving INFINITE JEST. I’d read a number of DFW essays before I started INFINITE JEST, but reading this novel and thinking about Wallace’s suicide in September has saddened me and really made me realize what we’ve lost.

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    • Hi Lisa-Infinite summer is a wonderful tribute to DFW, as if his book and his life will go on and on.

      Did you notice the link in the post to your recent post?

      Also happy to see you on She Writes. It looks like it’s going to be a wonderful place.

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  4. I joined She Writes the first day I say a link to it, but haven’t done anything but read IJ since I started it! Another blogging friend of mine, (Moonrat at Editorial Ass — great blog, if you don’t know it already), started a “fill in the gaps” project a while ago. A number of us listed out books we’ve always meant to read, but never have. INFINITE JEST was one of mine and she emailed recently to tell me that several people are thinking about reading Pynchon’s GRAVITY’S RAINBOW in late August (another of mine). I don’t know if you’ve already read it or would like to, but if you’re interested, let me know. I am completely consumed by INFINITE JEST right now. It’s the kind of book that makes me shake my head. I can’t imagine how anyone could have written this.

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    • I cannot believe you led me back to Editorial Ass. I have had a note sitting on my desk for six weeks: “what blog had “fill in the gaps” and put the books in red that she had read?” I wanted to do a post on it and/or start such a project for myself. So thanks!

      I will for sure let you know about Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, which I have not read.

      I also love Infinite Jest and am surprised that I’m enjoying it as much as I am. Not only is it hilarious, it’s mind-boggling how Wallace can take an idea and wring every drop out of it. I don’t know how he got it all out of his head and onto paper and managed to fit it together like pieces of a puzzle that I trust will ultimately give us a picture.

      I just finished reading the section on the videophones–amazing.

      And right before that, the letter from the guy who threw bricks in a barrel off a building–still laughing at that (although I don’t yet know how it fits into the puzzle).

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    • I’m on page 157 and so far it’s great. Read this sentence from page 5, the first thing I underlined:

      “My silent response to the expectant silence begins to affect the air of the room, the bits of dust and sportcoat-lint stirred around by the AC’s vents dancing jaggedly in the slanted plane of windowlight, the air over the table like the sparkling space just above a fresh-poured seltzer.”

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