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 Book: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

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NoCoPilot

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Age : 64
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PostSubject: Book: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again   Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:59 am

I keep reading praise for David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, Girl with Curious Hair). Thought I'd try his 1997 short story collection.

Got 2 pages into the first story before I became worried. As a columnist for The New Yorker (and Esquire, Harper's, and others) his style is that smarmy New Yorker conceit of writing about nothing, using the biggest words possible and dropping extravagant literary allusions everywhere. Style over substance, IOW. The opening story -- about playing tennis as a kid, of all things -- contains this doozy of a sentence on page 4 (the second page of the story):
Quote :
The wind blew autumn leaves into intercalated lines and arcs of force so regular you could photograph them for a textbook on Cramer's Rule and the cross-products of curves in 3-space.
WTF does that have to do with tennis? Intercalated? Cramer's Rule? 3-space?

Elsewhere in the story he sent me to the dictionary for "sobriquets," "declivities," "quadrics," and "jimson."

The second story started out the same. I started skipping ahead.

The title story, the last in the book -- about going on a cruise ship all expenses paid -- was just as bad. And snarky. Very snarky.

Pass.
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_Howard
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PostSubject: Re: Book: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again   Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:38 pm

You got me with "quadrics," but the others were known.

Assuming, of course, that by "jimson" he meant jimson weed. One of my favorite memories of the sixties.
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richard09

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PostSubject: Re: Book: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again   Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:36 pm

Always called "loco weed" in the westerns of my childhood. (I was a big Lone Ranger fan when I was 3 - 4).
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