Your favorite cat video might have 11 million views on YouTube, but the chances that the person you meet at a party has also seen it-let alone has anything interesting to say about it-are slim.
A Better Book Club
Your favorite cat video might have 11 million views on YouTube, but the chances that the person you meet at a party has also seen it-let alone has anything interesting to say about it-are slim. Still, the internet need not represent the death of a common cultural literacy. Take Infinite Summer: This very analog online project invited aspiring literati to read 75 pages of the late David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest each week, from June through September. Cities across the country have tried summer book clubs for years, but despite good press, participation remained low. The Infinite Summer site, meanwhile, featured essays and discussions on the parts of the novel scheduled for that week, helping drive and shape a conversation about the notoriously difficult tome. By inspiring the reading and discussing of literature, Infinite Summer is an intriguing model for bringing back a sense of communal intellectualism. And for participants, there is now the chance that a party conversation can consist of a mutually informed discussion of the precarious position of a certain P.G.O.A.T., not just a request to send the link to that cat video.Summer ReadingInfinite Summer has plans to repeat next year with a new book. May we make some suggestions:Me, Ulysses, and Everyone You Know Reading James Joyce's UlyssesThe American TrimesterReading John Dos Passos's U.S.A. Trilogy over nine monthsThe Crying of Lot 49 Days of Summer Thomas Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 in only four pages a day