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Infinite Ephs Unite

Hey Everyone,

My name is Chris Fox ’11 and I am helping with Williams’ Summer Read-a-thon of Infinite Jest. I will be posting here on Ephblog as well as some other places (check out infinite-eph.blogspot.com, thanks to Dave for the title). Thank you so much to everyone for their help and support, and your comments and suggestions are always welcome. To start us off, I had a question for everyone taking part in Infinite Summer.

On page 17 there’s a great line “So yo then man what’s your story?” The book is really about a lot of different stories so I wanted to ask everyone the same question. How did you decide to pick up Infinite Jest this summer? What draws you to the book? What’s your story?

And since it’s only fair, here’s my story: I actually came upon the book by accident. I was ordering books for myself over winter break and ordered “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace and Barnes and Noble said “Books you might like” and indicated “Infinite Jest.” I ignored it and ordered a few other books (that I still have to read) and Barnes and Noble kept telling me that I might like this book “Infinite Jest.” So I read the description and it said the book was funny, thought provoking, and about entertainment–what more could I ask for? So I ordered it.

A week later it came in the mail and I realized it was 1000+ pages long. I had no idea (obviously I was not paying attention when I was reading the description) and I immediately thought, I’ll wait till summer. When I got back to school I saw that it was on the syllabus for a class that I was taking (Epic and Mock Epic with the great Bob Bell) and I got really excited. But being a busy Williams student, I didn’t give Infinite Jest near as much attention as I would have liked and when I was contacted about Infinite Summer I was really excited to dive back into this book. It’s really a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it.

Now it’s your turn–what’s your story? Let us know and keep checking back. I’ll be posting page numbers and some questions to think about for this our first week of Williams Infinite Summer! Happy reading!

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#1 Comment By Ronit On July 6, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

I picked up the book about 5 years ago in a bookstore in DC – probably the one in Union Station – because it was priced at a discount – under $10 for the giant paperback. It was an impulse buy – the cover caught my eye while I was standing in the checkout line. I started reading it and got about halfway through the college interview at the beginning before I stopped. It has sat on my bookshelf for 5 years now, mocking me. I don’t think I’ve ever left a book I purchased unread for so long.

I find DFW’s shorter stuff very readable. I have two of his collections of essays. The Federer article is a classic, as is Consider the Lobster, and On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise (large PDF warning). I also remember reading A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again in a Williams Philosophy 101 class with Bridget Clarke.

#2 Comment By JeffZ On July 6, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

Does that means you’re in Ronit?

#3 Comment By JG On July 6, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

Hmmmm…I’ve read a few shorter things by DFW, and after some discussions on EB about him, this is tempting. I plowed through some fiction pretty quickly on my pretty recent vacation, so this might be worth tackling.

Just buying the book for this doesn’t seem to live up to the stories, but I may be able to live with that ;) I am likely to have some panic dreams related to my first tutorial though….

#4 Comment By Ronit On July 6, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

@JeffZ: Yup. Which should serve as a good incentive for others to join, because I suck at literary analysis. It’ll be just like English 201 all over again, when I showed up for the 8:30 AM class 15 minutes late, without doing the reading, trying to figure out what part of the text the “smart kids” were even talking about.

#5 Comment By Aidan On July 7, 2009 @ 11:54 am

I read it in high school. Haven’t had any desire to revisit.

#6 Comment By Austin On July 13, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

Yaaaaaa we got mentioned on Infinite Summer!!!!