Infinite Zombies is a group blog that spun off of the Infinite Summer project. We started out by reading and blogging about Infinite Jest, but then we kept on going with a few more books, mostly big bricks that are considered either classic or difficult.
The general idea is that we get a few people writing about their experience of reading these books (which can include interpretation, criticism, frustration, meditation, random observations, you name it), and then others who are following along chat back and forth in the comments. The more people who jump in, the more rewarding the experience.
Here’s the list of main reads (we’ve posted about a few other one-offs not listed here):
just stumbled on your site; I’m almost done with Infinite Jest. One thing I’ve been curious about, thought you all might have an opinion on – in 3 November Y.D.A.U., around page 138 in my copy (paperback, novel is 981 pages not counting footnotes) he references the story about an insurance claim – an accident reported as being due to “trying to do the job alone” – a pail of bricks lands on the person’s head and inflicts other damage based on them holding or letting go of a rope over a pulley. I’ve read this story before many times with the author always “unknown” or “anonymous”. Was Wallace the original author of this story/urban legend? Do you all happen to know?
Wallace definitely didn’t originate the story. Kevin Guilfoile over at Infinite Summer wrote a thought- and comment-provoking post about this very story here, complete with some detective work on the origins of the story.
thank you so much for the fast reply and the pointer to the Infinite Summer discussion. I’m on the side of those who think this didn’t really add anything to the book and could have been left out. But it doesn’t take very long to read so guess it doesn’t matter that he included it.
Glad to help. I think this and other urban-legend-type things that come up in the book may be part of Wallace’s broader project of providing a mediated reading experience as a way of keeping you from reading passively (what’s more mediated than one permutation of an urban legend that has been passed around for decades?), so I like it, but I agree that if this one had been left out, the book probably wouldn’t be noticeably worse or anything. 🙂
Please send me info on Infinite Zombies and Ulysses. Will a new group begin at the end of September? I’m ready.
Mary, the Ulysses read finished up a few weeks ago, and there are no plans for any future reads. I’m sort of on hiatus for the time being, though I imagine I’ll be back at some point.