Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Infinite Summer Week 1 (and a half)

I decided that I'm going to do these updates every week. This one is a little late because I got engrossed in another Wallace novel, The Broom in the System, which I've now completed.

Page 66 (slightly behind the pace)

Most interesting thing I read this week:
the scene where Erdedy is waiting for his drug dealer to show up (chapter 2- pages 17-27). DFW really captures the frantic essence of the character and situation.

To be explored in more detail: Scene with Wardine. I'm told it comes together later.

Laugh Out Loud Moment: Filmography of James Incandenza:
"Various Small Flames. Latrodectus Mactans Productions. Cosgrove, Watt, Pam Heath, Ken N. Johnson; 16 mm.; 25 minutes w/ recursive loop for automatic replay; color; silent w/ sounds of human coitus appropriated from and credited to Caballero Control Corp. adult videos. Parody of neconceptual structuralist films of Godbout and Vodriard, n-frame images of myriad varieties of small household flames, from lighters and birthday candles to stovetop gas rings and grass clippings ingnited by sunlight through a magnifying glass, alternated with anti-narritive sequences of a man (Watt) sitting in a dark bedroom drinking bourbon while his wife (Heath) and an Amway representative (Johnson) have acrobatic coitus in the background's lit hallway. UNRELEASED DUE TO LITIGATION BY 1960S US CONCEPTUAL DIRECTOR OF VARIOUS SMALL FIRES ED RUSCHA - INTERLACE TELENT CARTRIDGE RELEASE #330-54-94 (Y.T.-S.D.B)"

So, how did I get here? Count me in among those that had barely ever heard of David Foster Wallace until his passing. I don't roll in those literary circles usually (though I have several friends that do). I'm mostly a non-fiction reader these days, I read a lot of business books and biographies. I've (somewhat ridiculously) limited my fiction reading to brain candy type stuff, like Vince Flynn and John Grisham - mass market stuff that's entertaining, but lacking any kind of interesting depth and meaning. Things that I can plow through in a few days without really thinking much. The reading equivalent of reality television (versus watching something of more substance, if it exisits these days, which one could argue).

Up till now, my experience with DFW has been a random essay in a magazine - I also read some of the Harper's stuff that they neatly collected after his death. He's right up my alley though, and I found Broom utterly enjoyable with many poignant and funny moments, yet mixed with a serious tone at points. He really does a fabulous job at character creation and conveyance of the character's thoughts and emotions.

I first heard about Infinite Summer nearly simultaneously on my Twitter account from my hombres Lauren Jumi and Jenni. Lauren's co-running the Infinite Summer Community on livejournal, and between that, the discussion boards on goodreads, and infinite summer site's discussion board, there's plenty of online outlets to discuss the book. I've picked up some clues from these areas. I also purchased a copy of Elegant Complexity to supplement, and it's already come in handy a few times to examine the overall narrative structure and some of the particular scenes of interest.

I'd been meaning to pick up more books of substance and read, and this gets me well on my way.

More to come...