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If you've read anythng by David Foster Wallace

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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 03:53 PM
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If you've read anythng by David Foster Wallace
I'd like to know what you think of his books. I attempted Infinite Jest recently. I stopped at page 33 and browsed around in the book looking for guidance. There didn't seem to be any. A Gooogle search turned up this headline: Girlfriend Stops Reading David Foster Wallace Breakup Letter At Page 20. It's from from the Onion, but it definitely frames what I was feeling. I'm old, so maybe I just can't relate to modern literary conventions. I couldn't read Franzen either. Maybe I just don't see the humor.
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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 03:58 PM
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1. i don't remember how far I got
i just remember thinking, i'm not enjoying this at all.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 03:58 PM
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2. I tried getting through 'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men' and didn't get far.
I can't remember how far I got, but I remember asking, "Why am I punishing myself?" before I put it down.
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FSogol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 04:06 PM
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3. If you want to read young influential writers, try:
Sherman Alexie
Joshua Ferris
Brock Clarke
Jonathan Safran Foer
Paul Murray
Colson Whitehead

I never found much in Wallace or Franzen.
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 04:07 PM
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4. I gave up one-third of the way through "Infinite Jest"
when a plot still had not presented itself.
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Arctic Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 04:07 PM
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5. Read all of, Infinite Jest. One of the best books I have read.
Yes it starts of strange but you will find that is part of the beauty of it. I've read several of his books and the only one I found most tedious was the one he had the most praise for, Broom of the System.
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bbrady42 Donating Member (19 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 04:18 PM
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6. I'm a big DFW fan
But his fiction can be an acquired taste.

Try some of his non-fiction collections like "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," or "Consider the Lobster." His essays are funny and charming and lots more accessible than his fiction.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 05:01 PM
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7. I enjoyed Infinite Jest.
Edited on Fri Oct-28-11 05:01 PM by Jim__
It takes some effort to read it - to my mind well worth the effort. I'm sure there are people who disagree.
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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:26 PM
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8. Thanks, all
for responding. I guess my tastes run to naturalism. I've never been able to read Garcia-Marquez either.
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InternalDialogue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 07:07 PM
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9. I find Wallace difficult but rewarding.
For instant gratification, though, Chapter 6 of Broom of the System is probably the funniest chapter I've ever read. It deals with a conversation held in a restaurant next to a glutton that the characters cannot ignore, despite their efforts to concentrate on their own issue.

Get it from the library and give just that chapter a shot. Maybe it will give you enough encouragement to read the whole thing straight through. There aren't that many other hilarious entire chapters from Wallace, but once you feel like you're sharing a humor gene with him, it might work.

Also, getting into his essays might make you feel more in tune with him.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 08:58 PM
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12. yeah that's a great scene
i also like when the cockatiel is going thru that whole "flowers for algernon" thing and starts spouting off that girl's break-up speech at inopportune moments

broom of the system IS a funny book, really brings back those days...
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MrCoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 06:43 PM
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10. His essays are utterly brilliant...his fiction, not so much.
The first story in Oblivion, about the focus groups? Never again.

If you haven't read his essays, try these:

Consider the Lobster: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/consider_...

E Unibus Pluram: http://jsomers.net/DFW_TV.pdf

The String Theory: http://www.esquire.com/features/sports/the-string-theor...
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 08:54 PM
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11. "infinite jest" is a wonderful book
however if you stopped reading at page 33 and starting looking around for guidance, i think this book cannot be for you -- every book isn't for every body, you know

"infinite jest" is about addiction and part of the whole gag or trick or gimmick if you will is that you get caught up addicted to this great 1000 page intricate maze of a book with all sorts of tiny loopholes and footnotes that keeps you going for weeks -- the key is it latches onto you very greedily and won't let go of you for weeks...

if you are not caught in its addictive web then i think you are not getting the true experience of the book

don't worry about "maybe i just don't see the humor," it ain't about humor, it's just as much sadness as it is "humor"

i'm plenty old, i don't know what one's age or what "modern" has to do with it, wallace is supposedly "slipstream" but any reasonably sophisticated science fiction reader should be able to read him with ease, and franzen is just plain a direct, uncomplicated traditional writer...what franzen did you try to read that you "couldn't" read, you have me mystified?

maybe you started the book when you were too tired or something

sometime when you're well-rested but not too well-fed, have a glass of your favorite wine and try again, if that doesn't work, i vote give up, it must not be right for you at this time of your life

but if you get addicted/obsessed not just with substances or activities but with ideas this book at some point may catch onto your mind and not let you go!

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