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08/11/2009

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I'm both excited and delighted by this. DFW's commencement speech is one of those things that you read and realize it's what you should have read a long time ago, maybe before you even went to get groceries in the first place.

Thanks, Billy. Glad to be here.

Hey Chris: Thanks for being the inaugural commenteer. I'm hoping that the book catches on with pre-grads... high schoolers... how about graduating sixth graders?

Thanks for starting this site, and for recognizing the benefits of discussing this great DFW piece. I finished IJ two weeks ago, but was inspired to read it after hearing about Infinite Summer. I knew I had to read DFW after stumbling upon his commencement speech (I've dabbled in Buddhism and the resemblance of ideas is striking). It was the first thing I read of his (I've now read "Consider the Lobster", and just picked up "Oblivion"), and I have forwarded it to many friends. Maybe for Xmas I will buy the book as a gift to everybody. You hit the nail on the head -- DFW's humanity is what connects to at least this reader, and I assume to all his fans. For me his "genius" is something I could do without, if I didn't connect to that humanity. His work connects and hits hard, felt in a way he would call "spinal".

I stumbled upon an audio excerpt from the speech.

http://thisislobster.tumblr.com/post/167727651/an-audio-excerpt-of-david-foster-wallaces-kenyon

It's weird, the speech seems like a catch-22 where you can't really understand it until you've lived all those typical ways he's describing. I can't imagine being a sixth grader and grasping the picture he's going for. Like... well, like water, I guess. There's just so much richness in the idea of being "present" in the world and understanding others and the way we live with each other.

i'm sure you have plans for this site, but just as a suggestion - in order to get more people talking, you might want to post more about the book, throw out some ideas and ask for feedback.

Chris, I had that same impulse - buy a bunch of these books and send them to... everyone I love? Everyone I know? Better yet, everyone I DON'T know but egotistically assume will benefit from reading it?
It's a spinal experience, that's for sure.

Thank you so much for the audio excerpt. I want to post about this section, but in truth, I'd already started to draft a post about the beginning of the book, so now I'm thinking I may approach this more linearly. Or not?... Because -

Inspired by Stephanie's comment, I've realized I actually have to... go somewhere with this... (New post imminent)

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