Dividing and Conquering Gravity’s Rainbow

Date Part.Section
Feb. 27 1.12
March 5 1.18
March 12 2.3
March 19 2.8
March 26 3.5
April 2 3.10
April 9 3.15
April 16 3.24
April 23 3.32
April 30 4.6
May 7 4.12

I’ve added to the sidebar the schedule for the Gravity’s Rainbow read, which I’ll post here for posterity too.

The novel is divided up into four large parts or books, and each book is composed of several sections, which in my edition (and I suspect most editions) are separated by a series of seven squares in a row, somewhat reminiscent of the edge of a reel of film (which for the whippersnappers among us is what they used to put the moving pictures on). The schedule notation lists the large part and the smaller section, separated by a dot. This keeps us from having to wrangle page numbers. In my edition, at this pace, I’ll be reading 80 – 90 pages a week, which seems entirely doable, though I can tell you from past experience that getting through the nightly slate of on average 12 pages at a time is occasionally a real chore.

When working out when to have a batch of pages read, look at the date and make sure you’ve read through the listed section by that date, as spoilers may ensue. Look for the first post about the text itself sometime during the week of the 27th.

Update: Any who have managed to get a copy of Gravity’s Rainbow on the Kindle may find this useful.

30 thoughts on “Dividing and Conquering Gravity’s Rainbow

  1. Paul Debraski January 25, 2012 / 11:50 pm

    I’m in! I’ll be posting alongside of you on I Just Read About That. I have virtually no Pynchon knowledge, so I will not be of much use to anyone, but I’ll plug away!

    • Daryl L. L. Houston January 26, 2012 / 9:05 am

      Will be glad to have you along for the ride (I had feared you might not make it, given job and other commitments)!

  2. Marco Carbone (@crazymonk) January 26, 2012 / 2:58 pm

    I think I need to do this — I’ve read it only once, about ten years ago. Now I have a hard deadline in which to finish The Power Broker, which is a behemoth.

  3. AbqCho January 27, 2012 / 1:10 am

    I’m in! Haven’t read it in a while – this should be fun.

  4. lorenzo January 28, 2012 / 7:50 pm

    I’m in too! or at least I’ll try…
    I started Gravity’s Rainbow a few weeks ago but stopped soon
    (I’m in that particular moment where you just finished a book and start reading pages from pretty much everything, waiting to settle down to one book eventually…)

  5. Chase Edmond January 30, 2012 / 1:15 pm

    I’m also in. Any chance you could put the last couple of words of the section we are supposed to have reached? It would help if we are alternating between book and Kindle, etc. Just a thought. For example, is “snow begin to fall” the last words in the section? (Hope that’s not a spoiler…)

    • Daryl L. L. Houston January 30, 2012 / 1:22 pm

      Glad you’re in. Getting last words added to the list seems reasonable. Once I do that, if you wanted to provide Kindle locations, I’d add those too (but no worries if you’re not up for it).

      • Chase Edmond January 30, 2012 / 1:26 pm

        Sure thing; happy to do it.

    • Daryl L. L. Houston January 31, 2012 / 10:56 pm

      Ok, I’ve updated the Kindle locations page with major section breaks and breaks for our milestones (including the prior section as well, so we’d have end-of-prior plus beginning-of-current coordinates. I used Chase’s locations for 1.12 and 1.18 and will update the rest with the coordinates whoever updates first with the remaining sections. 🙂 Looks like there’s some discrepancy, but it’s pretty minor and beats eyeballing it without any guide at all. Thanks for the suggestion and the coordinates.

  6. Chase Edmond January 30, 2012 / 1:38 pm

    It occurs to me that my Kindle/Mobi file of GR might be a samizdat copy… I didn’t see that there even exists an “official” Kindle edition. Oops!

    As with rereads of books like Ulysses and Infinite Jest, I just find it really helpful to have an electronic version, for search purposes, and this was one that was emailed to me. (This will be my first stab of front-to-back GR, though.)

    • Jeff Anderson January 30, 2012 / 2:37 pm

      Ooh, “samizdat.” I was wondering how to best describe my Kindle edition as well; thanks. And thanks in advance for the system y’all are working out to help identify the spoiler line. It’s better than the plan I was going to operate on: Try to keep track, and hope for the best.

    • Daryl L. L. Houston January 30, 2012 / 11:17 pm

      Let’s try a couple of tests before I go and pick through the whole book only to discover that something’s wacky about the samizdat. The end of my 1.1 section is “corkscrew ladder.” My 2.3 ends with “with a war on . . . .”

      Chase, if you and Jeff can report back Kindle locations for these and they match up pretty closely, then it might be worth going ahead and posting the whole big batch up front. If the editions aren’t consistent, I can still post the final words of the next few sections in advance as we move forward through the book (remind me if I forget) but probably won’t do it all up front for minimal gain.

      • Daryl L. L. Houston January 30, 2012 / 11:51 pm

        Ok, I actually went ahead and did the whole first part. Let’s check a few of these, and if the numbers match up, I’ll do the other parts as we approach them. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Chase Edmond January 31, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    This is great–thanks! I don’t think we need the closing statements of all sections, by any means, but just those that are in the schedule. For me at least it is just to know where to start and end each part/section for the discussions that take place on the scheduled dates.

    That said:

    1.12 ends at location 1535 (of 14508)
    1.18 ends at location 2905

    If these don’t match up with Jeff’s, no worries. I will probably default with the hard copy in case there are errors in the “Kindle” version. With Pynchon, an error can easily be passed off as author-intentional… And if they do match up, I will be happy to provide the rest of the locations if I can find my book, or when I grab one from the library, and send them to you.

    • Daryl L. L. Houston January 31, 2012 / 5:45 pm

      Crikey, I would go and make more work for myself. Of course I need note only the endings relevant to us. Doy.

      • Jeff Anderson January 31, 2012 / 6:06 pm

        Heh. Chase’s locations are close for me; I have to tap through another screen or two to get to the actual section ending with each of those, but I’m sure that’s at least partly related to the font size I’m using. They’re both within the last couple paragraphs of the section, at least.

        I spent some time yesterday tapping through screen after screen to keep count and add bookmarks, so I can give you the locations for each of those, if it’s a help. No guarantee I didn’t miss a section break, though…

        As for the last phrases, I checked the two that land on the schedule, and they match up with where I bookmarked.

    • Jeff Anderson January 31, 2012 / 6:14 pm

      Wow, now I’m blowing the timeline all up, but I don’t seem to be able to edit my other comment or reply to it, so please excuse.

      Probably would have been helpful if I’d given the locations I have bookmarked. I’ve got:

      1.12 ends at 1544 (of 14552, so perhaps that’s the misalignment);
      1.18 ends at 2921.

  8. Haley Smith (@haleyrosesmith) January 31, 2012 / 5:34 pm

    This sounds like fun! I’ve compiled an iCal/Google calendar if anyone wants to add the dates to their device. You can access it here and probably download it to iCal that way, once you’ve subscribed to it.

  9. brotherhutch January 31, 2012 / 8:49 pm

    I’m new to GR. I’m looking forward to following the discussion. I appreciate the efforts to include ebook reader milestones as I, too, am reading on a Kindle.

  10. jrlsberro February 1, 2012 / 3:39 pm

    Hi Daryl,

    Yep, after some thought I’m in. I was focused on catching up with this year’s Tournament of Books backet picks but what the heck, I can read those later. I picked up a copy of GR at the library and it’s really pulling me in so this must be the time to do it. And I’ll echo Jeff’s comment from the previous post – given my track record I don’t want to commit to blogging on the front page but I’d love to chime in. Here’s my first fun note – do you know about Zak Smith’s “Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow”? Love the synchronicity with the amazing “Moby Dick in Pictures” during our last read!

    Thanks so much for sticking with this and getting us going!

    • Daryl L. L. Houston February 1, 2012 / 3:49 pm

      Joan, I’m glad you’re in. If you feel moved to blog about the book, please feel free to do so, but no worries if you don’t. I do know about Zak Smith’s book and am looking at it alongside my reading. Matt Kish, who did the Moby-Dick pictures (now a book, by the way), cites Zak as something of an inspiration.

  11. Chase Edmond February 7, 2012 / 3:47 pm

    Is this where we will post upon completion of a section? If so: About 60 pages in and really enjoying it! I am reading it along with A Gravity’s Rainbow Companion, which makes the experience more interesting, if measurably longer.

    • Daryl L. L. Houston February 7, 2012 / 3:50 pm

      So the idea is that once the thing gets good and rolling, a few folks will write about their impressions via blog post. Those following along will then chime in in the comments of the posts. If you’d like to write about your impressions for IZ, I’d be glad to add you as a blogger. We try to follow a no-spoiler rule (ie, don’t write about things beyond the milestone for a given week).

      I’ve got the GR Companion handy too and hope to publish something this evening about that and other resources that may come in handy for those really wanting to do a deep dive.

      • Chase Edmond February 7, 2012 / 3:55 pm

        Not sure if I could add much insight as a blogger, being a first-time reader and all. I look forward to responding to others’ insights, though; I tend to generate ideas better when responding to someone else, anyway. Thanks for this.

  12. Paul Debraski February 19, 2012 / 4:49 pm

    Silly question. Do we read 1.12 the first week? Or is that the start of the second week? (Man, logistics are hard).

    • Daryl L. L. Houston February 19, 2012 / 5:13 pm

      Yep, dates include the section named, so 1.12 is fair game come Feb. 27.

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