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Mr. Fun
Sep 22, 2006

ABSOLUTE KINOGRAPHY


EtaBetaPi posted:

Uh, yes you can, you're just getting an abbreviated version of the book. Some people read for pleasure, and as such ignore parts they find boring, no matter how important they may be to the larger narrative. Don't be an elitist like "my way is the only way to read it".

What a loving elitist to say that if I want to read a book I should actually read the book.

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EtaBetaPi
Aug 11, 2008


Mr. Fun posted:

What a loving elitist to say that if I want to read a book I should actually read the book.

He is reading the book. He just isn't reading it YOUR way. Even attempting to read DFW is a step up from not reading it at all, which is what you'd suggest because he isn't reading it the right way.



Crap like this is why people don't like literature. People think you have to have an english degree, annotations, and five years preparation to read Ulysses. Just jump in and let it take you for a spin.

EtaBetaPi fucked around with this message at Oct 4, 2009 around 21:51

ArgaWarga
Apr 8, 2005

dare to fail gloriously



EtaBetaPi posted:

He is reading the book. He just isn't reading it YOUR way. Even attempting to read DFW is a step up from not reading it at all, which is what you'd suggest because he isn't reading it the right way.



Crap like this is why people don't like literature. People think you have to have an english degree, annotations, and five years preparation to read Ulysses. Just jump in and let it take you for a spin.

I couldn't agree more with your last statement, but that's why you have to read the book the way it's presented to you. If you try and impose your will on the book you're not really experiencing it, you're just picking and choosing what you like. If you have a little faith in the author/book, you'll have the experience that has earned that author/book so much praise.

And for the record I took one English course for a gen ed in college.

Mr. Fun
Sep 22, 2006

ABSOLUTE KINOGRAPHY


EtaBetaPi posted:

He is reading the book. He just isn't reading it YOUR way. Even attempting to read DFW is a step up from not reading it at all, which is what you'd suggest because he isn't reading it the right way.

No, that would be reading parts of the book. If you attempt to read Infinite Jest and think it's boring then maybe you should read something else that you don't think is boring instead of skipping huge parts of a book because that's dumb.

However, since the person in question is only 80 pages in, it's way too early to decide that the book's boring anyway.

WoG
Jul 13, 2004


EtaBetaPi posted:

He is reading the book. He just isn't reading it YOUR way. Even attempting to read DFW is a step up from not reading it at all, which is what you'd suggest because he isn't reading it the right way.

Apparently, I'm much more well-read than I thought -- I've skimmed the titles on the spines of easily tens of thousands of books along library/bookstore shelves. I never realized I was reading them in my own way.

I don't know how in the name of gently caress you got "People think you have to have an english degree, annotations, and five years preparation to read Ulysses" from "no, you probably shouldn't skip huge, plot-imperative portions of the book".

inferis
Dec 30, 2003



i sort of skimmed finnegan's wake, I think i got the basic gist

aricoarena
Aug 7, 2006
citizenh8 bought me this account because he is a total qt.


I read every drat word of it ... from right to left.

The beginning of the book references, events and characters that don’t occur until much later. It almost assumes that you have already read the book or that you will come back once you have. So those are the kind of games it’s going to be playing. Also the many different characters and story lines can make it seem like you aren’t making much headway in the beginning. But, if you are 100 pages in and, not that into it, I’ll tell you now these storylines do not merge together on the way to a final resolution. What you read in the first 10 or so pages about Hal is chronologically the last thing in the book. The separate story lines do start to intertwine and cross over, and things definitely get more interesting story and plot wise, especially when the Les Assassins des Fauteuils Roulants start to show up. But, the book never changes how it does things. I’d say flip to some in the 500’s and just read a little bit. If what you see there doesn’t make you want to put in the work to get there, it may be best if you give up.

POOR MANS HROLF
Apr 9, 2009

by Tiny Fistpump


He's lying everything comes together in a very intertwined and completely satisfying ending.

That Charlie Rose interview is very interesting. Thanks.

POOR MANS HROLF fucked around with this message at Oct 7, 2009 around 03:39

Fortuitous Bumble
Jan 5, 2007



At about 300 pages into Infinite Jest, I've developed this compulsion to flip ahead to end notes in every other book I read. It's almost like the way my right foot will sometimes jerk towards the place the brake pedal should be even when I'm riding in the passenger seat of a car. When I see the little number over a word I can't stop myself from flipping to the back of the book. I've discovered some fascinating things in the footnotes of non-fiction books that I would have skipped had I not started reading Infinite Jest!

Fortuitous Bumble fucked around with this message at Oct 9, 2009 around 06:46

Pedro De Heredia
May 30, 2006


I restarted Infinite Jest and am enjoying it more now.

For better or worse, it really does feel like he threw everything he knew, everything he could come up with, everything that might qualify as a 'concern' for him, and made a brick out of it.

Edged Hymn
Feb 4, 2009

by Y Kant Ozma Post


I put Infinite Jest on the backburner for a few months and just picked it up again recently. There's something about Wallace's long, rambling, convoluted spiels on whatever topic happens to pop up in his head that I liken to the actual Infinite Jest film in its hypnotic quality. I get so engrossed 10 - 20 pages just pass in the blink of an eye.

Fast Luck
Feb 2, 2003




flyinsaucier posted:

I just came across this on The Onion; it's from February 2003, so some of you may have already read it.
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27769

Zombies' Downfall posted:

long book is long
Heh, I thought it was kind of funny, especially this: "One thing I found annoying was that you had to read all the way to the middle to figure out what things on the first page of the letter were talking about," Thompson said. "For instance, he kept referring to somebody named The Cackler without explanation until page 11, at which point I finally found out that The Cackler is my friend Renée—essentially forcing me to read the whole first 11 pages over again. And then there are all the footnotes. I always felt he overused those in his valentines, too." Plus, the image they have with the footnote is pretty on-the-nose.

Anyway, I read Consider the Lobster first and recently finished Infinite Jest. Really good book, although I have to say, I didn't read anything about it beforehand, so it was pretty funny speculating all along on how Hal in the first chapter would eventually get like that, and how slow the realization was as I got to page like 800 or so that hmm... he's not going to exactly tell me, is he?

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

Critical opinion was divided:
"monstrous pourings"
"abnormal vigor"
"conservative eclecticism that has so far governed modern balloon design"

I'm a huge fan of DFW- I'd gone through a massive phase where I read pretty much all the fiction he'd written a couple of years before his death, and am returning to it again now with a recent rereading of Infinite Jest (even better the second time around).

One thing I don't really get is all the talk about him being a difficult writer. It's true that he uses a lot of post modern devices and gimmicks in his writing, but the core is comprised of riveting storytelling and relatable characters. Sure IJ is long, sure it has footnotes, but it's so readable and wears it's heart on its sleeve- This approach is so radically different from Pynchon it's hard to understand why there're so many comparisons made between the two.

This tension between the stylistic devices that he uses and his longing for genuine human emotion comes up constantly in his work, and is probably one of the things I find most fascinating about him. It's interesting to see the instant effect this has had on other writers, notably Jonathon Safran Foer and Dave Eggers.

gregarious Ted
Jun 6, 2005


newtestleper posted:

I'm a huge fan of DFW- I'd gone through a massive phase where I read pretty much all the fiction he'd written a couple of years before his death, and am returning to it again now with a recent rereading of Infinite Jest (even better the second time around).

One thing I don't really get is all the talk about him being a difficult writer. It's true that he uses a lot of post modern devices and gimmicks in his writing, but the core is comprised of riveting storytelling and relatable characters. Sure IJ is long, sure it has footnotes, but it's so readable and wears it's heart on its sleeve- This approach is so radically different from Pynchon it's hard to understand why there're so many comparisons made between the two.

This tension between the stylistic devices that he uses and his longing for genuine human emotion comes up constantly in his work, and is probably one of the things I find most fascinating about him. It's interesting to see the instant effect this has had on other writers, notably Jonathon Safran Foer and Dave Eggers.

I agree with everything here. IJ isn't really that dense, it's just told in a different (postmodern) way. Like a series of vignettes or something. Although I find some of his shorts, where he plays with the format etc. much more difficult, particularly some of the stuff in Brief Interviews. And the content is so loving heavy, it just makes it even more difficult, particularly knowing that he would eventually hang himself while his wife went to the shops...

I read Gravity's Rainbow and hated it, it seemed to serve no purpose. I spent ages on the net trying to work it out, all these theories about the number of chapters and poo poo, and still hated it. There were some great sections of prose, but it just didn't click, whereas every second of IJ I loved reading, even if I wasn't really sure of the point of how it related to everything else.

I've been meaning to check out Jonathon Safran Foer, but I've read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (which is my favourite book title of all time), and the influence was obvious, if a little strained. At times I thought Dave Eggers went over the top, particularly considering it was a memoir, but I haven't read any of his fiction stuff, so I can't really judge on that side of his writing.

ArgaWarga
Apr 8, 2005

dare to fail gloriously



I've been mentally comparing Infinite Jest and Gravity's Rainbow the last couple of days, and while when I first finished IJ I claimed it was my favorite book of all time, since finishing it I think I'd rather reread GR if I was to pick either up again. The texture of the language and the overall goofiness make GR a winner in my book, plus it has the greatest ending I have ever read while IJ just kinda trails off in a way. They're both great books, and both of them stick with me and various scenes will pop into my head from time to time, but I almost feel like IJ was just treading water after the appearance of the wraith, which was my favorite scene in the book. Oh well, to each their own.

aricoarena
Aug 7, 2006
citizenh8 bought me this account because he is a total qt.


^^^ Part of the fun on IJ is that the end of the book isn't the end of the story. It loops back to the beginning (circle/infinite), which is more the end of the story than the end of the physical book is.

sicDaniel
May 10, 2009


I am so looking forward to reading Infinite Jest. I picked it up some months ago at a local bookstore for a mere 12,95 Euros. I didn´t really know what it was, but the text on the back caught me and such a huge book for that price? I did not have to think twice. The German translation has been published recently, that´s propably why the bookstore got the English one on display. The translation is 39,95. So glad that I can understand the English language! But the German one has 400 pages more I think.

Madame Psychosis
Jul 23, 2009


quote:

B.I. #51 11-97
Fort Dodge IA

'I always think, "What if I can't?" Then I always think, "Oh poo poo, don't think that." Because thinking about it can make it happen. Not like it's happened often. But I get scared about it. We all do. Anybody tells you they don't they're full of it. They're always scared it might happen. Then I always think, "I wouldn't even be worried about it if she wasn't here." Then I get pissed off. It's like I think she's expecting something. That if she wasn't lying there expecting it and wondering and, like, evaluating, it wouldn't have even occurred to me. Then I get almost kind of pissed off. I'll get so pissed off, I'll stop even giving a poo poo about can I or not. It's like I want to show her up. It's like "OK, bitch, you asked for it." Then everything goes fine.'


I just finished Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

Some of the stories were downright arduous, but writing like ^that kept me going.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003

Critical opinion was divided:
"monstrous pourings"
"abnormal vigor"
"conservative eclecticism that has so far governed modern balloon design"

I think that his last collection of short stories, Oblivion, is his best one- the long opening story 'Mr Squishy' is probably my favourite of his stories, and among my favourite short stories of all time.

Dave Eggers has definitely dialed back the postmodern tricks in his later novels, but his short story collections 'How We are Hungry' and 'Short Short Stories' still use a lot of these. His best writing is the short story 'Up the Mountain, coming down slowly', which definitely showcases his more mature side.

gregarious Ted
Jun 6, 2005


newtestleper posted:

I think that his last collection of short stories, Oblivion, is his best one- the long opening story 'Mr Squishy' is probably my favourite of his stories, and among my favourite short stories of all time.

Dave Eggers has definitely dialed back the postmodern tricks in his later novels, but his short story collections 'How We are Hungry' and 'Short Short Stories' still use a lot of these. His best writing is the short story 'Up the Mountain, coming down slowly', which definitely showcases his more mature side.

I loved Mr Squishy for most of it, but kind of thought he lost it a bit towards the end. I definitely agree about Oblivion though, it was amazing, and heaps better than Brief Interviews.

I also really liked Short Short Stories, and I'll check out his other collection. I always used to steer clear of shorts but DFW gave me a love for them.

Edit: anyone know what the story is with Brief Interviews the movie? Is it out? I live in Australia, will it ever see the light of day here? (Another edit: Holy poo poo, it's directed by that guy from the office)

gregarious Ted fucked around with this message at Nov 12, 2009 around 07:45

Mario Incandenza
Aug 24, 2000

Tell me, small fry, have you ever heard of the golden Triumph Forks?

we're supposed to be getting it next year, sometime

CombineThresher
Apr 10, 2006

GIT R DONNE


newtestleper posted:

Dave Eggers has definitely dialed back the postmodern tricks in his later novels, but his short story collections 'How We are Hungry' and 'Short Short Stories' still use a lot of these. His best writing is the short story 'Up the Mountain, coming down slowly', which definitely showcases his more mature side.

Thank god, because Eggers sucks whenever he ventures beyond a very basic style.

My favorite DFW book is Brief Interviews, because I like how well he could manipulate readers through the characters - I'd reach points in that book where I could almost identify with the horrible men (the three-person dialogue about post-feminism, especially), and then they'd say something to completely shatter it, and so on. They were very human that way, which may be a trite observation after some of the insightful comments in this thread, but that's what I came away with.

syscall girl
Nov 6, 2009

I'm not in the business. I am the business.

aricoarena posted:

^^^ Part of the fun on IJ is that the end of the book isn't the end of the story. It loops back to the beginning (circle/infinite), which is more the end of the story than the end of the physical book is.

I think the circular nature of IJ is why it is compared to Gravity's Rainbow. There is some philosophical speculation that GR was trying to say that that the arc of the story (rainbow) like our lives is only the visible part and that it is in fact a circle. Kind of like viewing a rainbow from an airplane (where you can see a circular shape) and what comes after death is the completion of the geometric shape. Or something. Either way IJ was very meta and I suppose metaphysical is the flipside of that.

I've read that DFW who was raised atheist became a theist (of some variety) during the writing of IJ. Not that I'm advocating that.

And as far as the wraith experience (fever dreams?) Don Gately has in the hospital, all I can say is that J.O. Incandenza must have learnt a lot of patience in the afterlife to sit there and try to explain all of that to Gately (who many consider the true protagonist of the book.)

gregarious Ted
Jun 6, 2005


JustFrakkingDoIt posted:


I've read that DFW who was raised atheist became a theist (of some variety) during the writing of IJ. Not that I'm advocating that.


I always found this an interesting quote of his that I read somewhere: 'Personally, yeah, I'm a Platonist. I think that God has particular languages, and one of them is music and one of them is mathematics.'

On an unrelated note, I'm reading Jonathon Safran Foer - Everything is Illuminated, and there's a story running through that that is almost identical to one of DFW's in Brief Interviews, namely the first story in the first Brief Interview story, about the guy who calls his twisted arm 'the Asset' and uses it for sexual conquests. It's so close it borders on plagiarism. I was reading it and thinking, drat, this seems so familiar, and I've heard comparisons (I guess there's quite a few that fit into the whole 'postmodern' literature vein), but it's pretty close.

lamb SAUCE
Nov 1, 2005

Ooh, racist.

If I were ever to get a tattoo, I'd want it to be this:

Mr. Grumpybones
Apr 18, 2002
"We're falling out of the sky! We're going down! We're a silver gleaming death machine!"

The latest New Yorker has a new DFW story called "All That". It's a nice short story that made me smile a lot. I recommend reading it.

http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/fe...fiction_wallace

Royal Challenge
Jun 24, 2005


Mr. Grumpybones posted:

The latest New Yorker has a new DFW story called "All That". It's a nice short story that made me smile a lot. I recommend reading it.

http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/fe...fiction_wallace

This is an excerpt from 'The Pale King' which has been confirmed for publication in April 2011. This seems really too far but at least I/we know when to expect it.

mdemone
Mar 14, 2001

Virginia Tech loves Nirvana, we'd love to have her in our video

Royal Challenge posted:

This is an excerpt from 'The Pale King' which has been confirmed for publication in April 2011. This seems really too far but at least I/we know when to expect it.

Have any other details been made public about the publication? Will there be any excised material included, or just what DFW considered "final" around the time of his death (if that's even determinable)?

I'd like to see them publish the whole loving pile of his Pale King papers. Do it in a multi-volume set if you have to, and take a few years to edit your presentation of it. Maybe someday it'll happen.

Modern Life Is War
Aug 17, 2006

I'm not just eye candy

I just finished IJ and only got a few of the common assumptions about the ending:

Got:
1. Gately continued to get better
2. Hal continued to get worse, tied back to the first few pages
3. JOI was visiting characters throughout the book

Missed:
1. Orin had the Master copy
2. That Hal, Gately, Joelle, and Wayne would meet and dig up JOI; I thought that this was just a dream
3. AFR was successful and took down the Gentle administration

Also, lack of knowledge about drugs hurt too.

It did feel a lot like Gravity's Rainbow: teams competing against time for an object, the main character disintegrating as the story went along, messed up timelines, the occasional loss of exactly who is speaking, switching from first and third person at will, great prose, lots of humor, and the overarching rainbow/parabola-shaped storyline.

Koholint
Jan 1, 2010


Regarding Infinite Jest (ending/beginning spoilers): Didn't James's head explode when he killed himself? If so, how are Hal and Gately supposed to dig it up?

Red Pyramid
Apr 29, 2008


Koholint posted:

Regarding Infinite Jest (ending/beginning spoilers): Didn't James's head explode when he killed himself? If so, how are Hal and Gately supposed to dig it up?

I believe it was stated the likely effect of sticking your head in a microwave would be that your brain explodes out of your eyeballs - hence, the skull itself remains intact.

mdemone
Mar 14, 2001

Virginia Tech loves Nirvana, we'd love to have her in our video

Red Pyramid posted:

I believe it was stated the likely effect of sticking your head in a microwave would be that your brain explodes out of your eyeballs - hence, the skull itself remains intact.

Yeah, I don't remember if that was explicitly in the text, but it is physically what would happen, so it's reasonable. I had wondered about that myself after the ending, and then I asked a guy who could make an educated guess about it and he agreed with your interpretation.

lamb SAUCE
Nov 1, 2005

Ooh, racist.

A book containing an interview/road trip with Wallace that was done during the Infinite Jest tour was recently released. It was intended to be a piece for Rolling Stone, but never got published.

http://www.amazon.com/Although-Cour...72733170&sr=8-5

mdemone
Mar 14, 2001

Virginia Tech loves Nirvana, we'd love to have her in our video

Zimadori Zinger posted:

A book containing an interview/road trip with Wallace that was done during the Infinite Jest tour was recently released. It was intended to be a piece for Rolling Stone, but never got published.

http://www.amazon.com/Although-Cour...72733170&sr=8-5

Thanks for this. I immediately ran out and picked this up at Borders and ten minutes later I was tearing up in the parking lot while reading the Afterword (which is after the Introduction and the Preface at the beginning of the book, before the transcript starts proper). The author relates something that Karen Green said about coming home to find her husband had hanged himself, "I can't get that image out of my head...David and his dogs, in the dark. I'm sure that he kissed them on the mouth and told them he was sorry."

ultrachrist
Sep 27, 2008


Oh hey, TBB has a Wallace thread. I read Brief Interviews with Hideous Men a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Octet was definitely my favorite story in there. I'm curious if the author insertion in Octet and the second half of the story about the woman worrying if she's not pleasing her husband were just stylistic trickery or the truth.

What's the deal with the movie? Did it ever come to theaters? Was it good?

There's movie screens on the back of my book and one of them is two guys sitting at a table and I know has to be the story of the crying girl at the airport. I think that would be pretty cool to see performed vocally.

I have Infinite Jest in my stack of poo poo to read, looking forward to it.

WoG
Jul 13, 2004


ultrachrist posted:

What's the deal with the movie? Did it ever come to theaters? Was it good?
It had a limited release, at least, and it's out on DVD as of a month or two ago. (I was interested enough to take time out of a weekend trip to NY to catch it.)

It was interesting. Most of the guest actors were amazing, but I dunno about Krasinski himself in such a central role. The story built to tie together the disjointed source material wasn't all that satisfying, but it's hard to imagine what would have been. For anyone who liked the stories, it's well worth watching, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.


I read 'Signifying Rappers' a few weeks ago, which was the last remaining DFW for me until Pale King comes out. Some of the larger questions raised were interesting, even if the specifics were understandably dated. Overall, it really didn't have much to say; it may have been entirely extracurricular, but it sort of reeked of academic obligation. I was impressed with Costello's writing, too -- they had clearly distinct voices, but he easily held his own.

inferis
Dec 30, 2003



ultrachrist posted:

I have Infinite Jest in my stack of poo poo to read, looking forward to it.

i wish i could read it for the first time again

bort
Mar 13, 2003



inferis posted:

i wish i could read it for the first time again
I've said this about several things lately (Deadwood, Party Down); introducing someone to IJ is like that every time: goddamn, I am so jealous of you. Holla at me when you need to talk about Hal or Gately.

I'm doing a footnote-less read most recently. It's exciting and freeing, somehow. IJ is my Samizdat. Now I need some Byzantine porn to read by

e: my overarching thought on Wallace: it must have been a difficult ride living with his intelligence. His craft at writing bespoke a cavernous intelligence that, to my way of thinking, must have left him no peace. I'm dreadfully sorry to have lost him, but I'm not stunned that we have. I credit absorbing his prose with some of my larger intellectual achievements, and every bit is worth it.

bort fucked around with this message at May 3, 2010 around 03:43

mdemone
Mar 14, 2001

Virginia Tech loves Nirvana, we'd love to have her in our video

bort posted:

e: my overarching thought on Wallace: it must have been a difficult ride living with his intelligence. His craft at writing bespoke a cavernous intelligence that, to my way of thinking, must have left him no peace. I'm dreadfully sorry to have lost him, but I'm not stunned that we have. I credit absorbing his prose with some of my larger intellectual achievements, and every bit is worth it.

Definitely pick up the Lipsky book mentioned above, then. Essentially five days or so of DFW's mind in action. Very interesting, also, how the author has gone back to annotate some parts of the 1996 (?) transcript with his 2009 thoughts on certain types of things. I haven't put it down in the <2 days I've had it.

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lamb SAUCE
Nov 1, 2005

Ooh, racist.

mdemone posted:

Definitely pick up the Lipsky book mentioned above, then. Essentially five days or so of DFW's mind in action. Very interesting, also, how the author has gone back to annotate some parts of the 1996 (?) transcript with his 2009 thoughts on certain types of things. I haven't put it down in the <2 days I've had it.

Same here, I'm already almost halfway through it. It's great.

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