AND SO it Begins…

HELLO Monsters and anyone ELSE WHO IS already confused!

I’D LIKE to start off AND THANK the 768 of YOU WHO voted on what books which she OPEN this bash up WITH (to those WHO DIDN’T vote, well WE DIDN’T WANT to dance with YOU ANYWAYS). I READ UP on a lot of THE BOOKS, and THEY ALL sounded great. However, I am SUPER EXCITED for the 6 books WE HAVE coming up. I think ITS A PRETTY solid variety, and THEY SHOULD generate some GREAT conversations. So what HAPPENS now? Now Y’ALL go get your HANDS on the books, READ THEM, and WE’LL talk about them! I’m going TO BE EMAILING four people FOR writing a Mon-Thurs entry FOR THIS first book. If you want to be CONSIDERED, EMAIL me at, but know that if you DO NOT get picked it’s NOTHING personal. There can ONLY BE four! Besides, I’m going to TRY AND have them rotating so THAT each month IT’S a different group. BASICALLY, if you email ME WANTING TO do it, at some POINT YOU’RE (MS Office wants me to write “YOU IS” there, which is CONFUSING) going to do it! Anyways, AFTER THE break you’ll find the TOP 6 books, the dates WE’RE reading them, A BLURB ABOUT them, and THEN A graphic of HOW THE voting BROKE down. Post YOUR thoughts and feelings BELOW too!

October’s Pick:
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
When We’ll Be Talking About It:
October 25-29
I’M FUCKIN blown away THAT THIS book is the first pick. It’s my FAVORITE novel by MY FAVORITE author. Seriously THIS BOOK IS the fucking best. Everything about it, FROM IT’S deconstruction of the WESTERN genre TO IT’S neo-Biblical syntax, is BEAUTIFUL and breathtaking. IT’S a fantastic, AMBIGIOUS American novel, AND I could not BE ANY more excited to READ IT with y’all. Also, it seems really APT TO be reading this RIGHT before Halloween. It can BE A DIFFICULT book with some MEANDERING prose, but I promise y’all that if y’all STICK WITH it, it’ll be MORE THAN worth it.

November’s Pick:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
When We’ll Be Talking About It:
November 29-December3

Woof, y’all. I dunno HOW WE’RE gonna cram THIS SHIT in, but I hope WE CAN do it. I cheated a BIT and gave everyone AN EXTRA WEEK but it is still gonna BE A DOOZY. This book was ALMOST THE inaugural read, LOSING BY only 3 votes (funny, THAT three people VOTED FOR it on Sunday, but SORRY THOSE votes DON’T count!). I don’t have A WHOLE lot to say about THIS OTHER than that we best PREPARE TO read like WE’RE earning points for PIZZA OR something.

December’s Pick:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
When We’ll Be Talking About It:
Negotiable due to Holidays
I have this BOOK, BUT never finished IT. I’M REALLY glad that now I’LL HAVE A reason to pick IT BACK up. I really ENJOYED WHAT I had read, but some other stuff that DEMANDED more attention came up. We’ll have TO DECIDE how we want to DO THIS one due to Christmas and shit (leave suggestions below on WHAT WEEK y’all wanna do IT), but it should FEEL like a refreshing skinny dip after THE EXHUASTING sprint Infinite Jest is GONNA be (we might HAVE TO MAKE t-shirts for finishing IJ is such A SHORT time).

January’s Pick:
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers
When We’ll Be Talking About It:
January 24-28
What better WAY TO RING IN THE new year than with BOOKGUM’S MOST contested NOMINATION? I’ve never read THIS book but some of the THINGS PEOPLE said about IT WERE DOWNRIGHT awful. I dunno. We’ll see I guess! I’m looking forward (except maybe not?) to FINDING out for MYSELF (?).

February’s Pick:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
When We’ll Be Talking About It:
February 21-25
“WHAT? TWO books BY the same author? THIS IS fixed!!!!!11!1!” – you, PROBABLY. BUT it’s NOT MY fault y’all PICKED IT! Who cares, THOUGH CAUSE it’s great! A much MORE STRAIGHTFORWARD read than Blood Meridian, it’ll be interesting TO SEE HOW the conversation ebbs and flows based ON ITS own merits and ITS comparison TO Cormac’s opus. The Road is an entirely different book, but a lot OF THE THEMES are extensions and reactions AGAINST THOSE established IN Blood Meridian and its (WELL, TO me anyways) companion PIECE, No Country For Old Men. It’s a short MONTH, BUT I read the book IN ABOUT TWO days. I’m sure Y’ALL can manage. (Also, NO CHEATING and just WATCHING the movie!)

March’s Pick:
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
When We’ll Be Talking About It:
March 28-April 1
And WHAT BETTER way to prep for SPRING THAN reading about THE SEDUCTIVE allure of 13 YEAR olds? Jokes! But not really, BECAUSE APPARENTLY that’s what this book IS ABOUT. I HAVEN’T read it. I have always heard GREAT THINGS, though, despite IT SEEMING SUPER scandalous. I guess WE’LL find out!

April’s Pick:
Who knows! WE’LL have to FIGURE THAT shit out SOON, BUT first let’s just STOP AND CELEBRATE that we’ve made it this far. Are you EXCITED? I’M excited! Let’s call YOUR MOM and let her know HOW EXCITED we are! Hi mom! ANYWAYS, below you’ll SEE A CHART GAVE ME about how the VOTES ended up. You’ll notice Infinite Jest and Blood Meridian are tied. That’s NOT how it ended UP. FOR WHATEVER reason, surveymonkey didn’t CLOSE THE poll when I scheduled IT TOO, and I didn’t REALIZE it. The link has BEEN pulled now, but A FEW people managed TO VOTE and three of THEM pick DFW, causing it to tie. Oh well! Silver isn’t bad. I STILL don’t know HOW WE’RE gonna manage that BOOK, Y’ALL. Oh well. Back to calling your MOMS AND talking about BOOKS!

UPDATE: I’m considering MOVING INFINITE Jest to THE 6TH book on THE LIST and adding an EXTRA MONTH or TWO (we can SEE AT the end of THE FIRST month how EVERYONE’S doing). Let ME KNOW how y’all FEEL ABOUT this below.

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42 Responses to AND SO it Begins…

  1. shoogyboom says:

    Lots of white dudes! But hey, I guess that’s what the people want. I will attempt to participate, but seeing as I’m an incredibly slow reader, I’m thinking my chances of finishing each book by the deadline are 50/50 (100/0 for Infinite Jest).

  2. jmii says:

    Out of all of these, I’ve only read Lolita, which I loved, so I’m glad I get to read books that I should have read a long time ago, and I get to revisit a favorite. Win win.

  3. Briadru4 says:

    Wow! I’m really impressed/excited with these selections. WE ARE GREAT GUYS!

    Also, I’m really quite glad that I’ve already read Blood Meridian once. Just, FYI folks, be ready to eat an apple and take a shower after that one… because it makes you hate the human race even more than Glenn Beck rally supporters. (Just kidding–no but really…)

  4. Alex Pavitt says:

    This is fine with me. Huge Coramc McCarthy fan (just finished The Sunset Limited), and thank you for reminding me I want to read Infinite Jest!
    Slightly disappointed that Gravity’s Rainbow didn’t make it but hoping to see it in the April line-up

  5. Mans says:

    There is no way that Infinite Jest can be read in the amount of time allotted to it. There is no way to read and take in everything and have something to say about it that is thoughtful in the amount of time. I think at the very least it should maybe be moved to last so people are interested in it the most can read it throughout and maybe pass over other books.

    I don’t think we have to do them in the order of their vote totals. Seriously, if we are going to read this book and talk about it, we need to give it the time that it deserves. A month is great for a 300 page novel like Lolita or Blood Meridian, but IJ is 4 times longer than the average novel and four times denser, which makes it 16 times more something.

    • Marfa says:

      I cosign what Mans says about IJ.
      It’s pretty much my favourite book, and I love what we’re doing here, but the Infinite Summer blog/online reading club did the same thing last year over an entire summer, and even then it was a struggle for some to keep up.

    • Ginger Ball Z says:

      There is no way Infinite Jest can be read in any set amount of time (at least for me, and this club is all about me, right?). I have tried to get through that book many a time, and still can’t wrap my head around it. I am going to give a yeoman’s effort Bookgum, but any extra time would be swell.

      On another personal note, I own 50% of the books on the list. So Bookgum is at least 50% all about me.

  6. Katie says:

    I’m definitely going to read Blood Meridian with you guys, but GOOD LUCK reading Infinite Jest. It took me four whole months to finish it last summer, and I’m not going to read it again (yet), but at least I guess I can participate in the discussion. It’s a very good book, though, so don’t give up on it!

  7. JohnHam says:

    Damn, girl. I read all these books already, except for Infinite Jest, which sounds like it’s going to be a really fun, breezy read.

  8. thedrizzle says:

    So psyched for this! I really only read non-fiction books (and not even that often), so I’m glad I have a reason to get into some fiction that doesn’t involve the reading-by-force that is high school and college.

  9. Chris Trash says:

    INFINITE JEST!!!!!!!! I can read all the other books by myself, but it takes a special kind of nerdclub to do IJ. Reading that with a group of people is like surviving a plane crash together-but in a good way.

  10. meave says:

    Oh my dudes, you guys! I have also read all of these except Infinite Jest, because DFdubs and his footnotes and indices and I are sworn enemies.

    All the books are quality writing, sure, but none of them are really to my taste, so I guess I’ll see how the next six shake out. I am a disappointed panda.

  11. Opiepee says:

    I’m in. I’ve already read a couple of them, but I’m excited to be part of the team.

  12. T-Bag says:

    This is my FIRST post as a so-called Monster. And it’s NOT EVEN ON THE VIDEOGUM.COM WEBSITE. This is how much I love books. Neerrrrrrrrd.

    Anyway, I’m totally taking part in this shit, because of books. And also: I’ve already read four of these books, including Infinite Jest! So does that make me the winner? But yes, Infinite Jest took me about five months to read. No way anyone can finish it in less than three months, bare minimum.

  13. Dan Johnson says:

    So sad Bolaño and Ishiguro both got creamed 😥
    NEXT YEAR, right guys??

  14. Infinite Jest really has to be moved to the end of the list, if it is even to stay on the list at all. It’s very, very ambitious to even try to tackle that thing in the space of three months, let alone one. I feel like people would either: 1) want to participate in it, but get discouraged and quit, so the book club would have nothing to talk about, or 2) gloss over so many important segments and pure poetry of DFWs words, so we will still, ultimately, have nil to say.

    I might suggest a collection of DFW, instead?

  15. Reeven says:

    This is also my first post on any “gum” website, but I also vote for moving Infinite Jest elsewhere on the list. It’s a very large book!

  16. Aadam Aziz Ansari says:

    No way that more than a handful of people will get through IJ in the allotted amount of time, especially if they read Blood Meridian first. I’d suggest moving it to the end, pushing everything else back and giving it at least an additional month, or replacing it with a DFW short story or essay collection.

    Of course, I’ve (un)fortunately read all six of these before, so it doesn’t really matter what I think, does it?

  17. dr. girlfriend says:

    i’ve read IJ twice (come on, guys, it’s really not THAT difficult, psshh) so i’m excited about that and making fun of dave eggers.
    kavalier & clay was torture for me to read, but i’m going to try again if only to be confident in my total apathy for this book.
    kindle wish list updated! (subtext: i own a kindle.)

  18. wowee zowee says:

    The tribe has spoken: move IJ to the end or replace it with a different DFW. Would a poll on this be excessive?

    and I am excited to finally read LOLITA!!!

  19. the wurst says:

    We’re smart people, I think we can do Infinite Jest, but I do think moving it to the end and expanding the time frame would be a good idea. By then we’ll have established this book club as “something we do,” and I think everyone will be more likely to give it their best go. It’s far more doable than say Gravity’s Rainbow (which came in 7th–imagine if it had also been in the top six.) I would recommend that we still have monthly discussions of it even if we expand the time frame to say 3 months to keep us all motivated and engaged.

    It’ll also prepare us well for the next round when in a surprise upset the people demand Finnegans Wake.

  20. thenchrissysaid says:

    I’ve never read any of these (I’m a terrible book monster), but I’m pretty psyched. Just picked up Blood Meridian at the library. I’ve also wanted to read IJ for a while, but never got around to it.

    I’ve read other Eggers, but not Heartbreaking Work. I interned for his 826 organization, and the other interns and staff always raved about it. I’m excited to check it out for myself (and to see how the discussion turns out!).

    Great choices! I hope Gravity’s Rainbow never makes the cut, though.

  21. hotspur says:

    This is exciting. I am so busy right now but will definitely make read Blood Meridian in time, even if I have to get up an hour early every day. I read it once before, close to 1,000 years ago, and I have wanted to reread it ever since the hour I finished it.

    Also, you guys, this whole list is mondo sweet. Nothing I voted for made it, and yet I couldn’t be more pleased.

  22. Duncan says:

    Are we seriously going to do IJ? I think we should put a 500 word cap on this thing. I’m sure I could get through it in a month but not everyone here is an unemployed student bum.

  23. Duncan says:

    A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Narcissism

  24. thequeenofdoorbells says:

    I have to support the idea that we move Infinite Jest to last place, I really want to read it and I think it will be great to do as a club but I seriously don’t think I could read that in a month.

  25. Gracchus says:

    I have read three of these and have been meaning to read the others (except Eggers, I am ambivalent about him), so I am excited!

    Gonna have to add my vote to the “move Infinite Jest to the end” pile though.

  26. amanda says:

    i’m reading infinite jest RIGHT NOW, and i probably still will be when you get to it, what with college and writing papers and the like. however, i am excited for Blood Meridian. the rest I have read, more like devoured. they are ALL good, whatever your opinions of eggers.

  27. caringiscool says:

    Really impressed you made this happen, AnAmPat. So impressed, even, that I will break my No More McCarthy rule in order to read Blood Meridien. Absolutely not reading The Road again. My handle is CARING Is Cool, not Slitting Your Wrists In The Bathtub Is Cool. My tender little heart can’t handle that book twice. Sort of bummed we have two books by Cormac “People are awful and everything is fucked forever” McCarthy, but WHATEVER.

  28. zzyzx says:

    I add my vote for Infinite Jest being be the last book us monsters(That is our saying Lady Gaga, stop using it.) read and get an extension on reading time. I can read a 200-300 page book in a week if it is an easy or very interesting read, but from what I hear about it there is no way I could finish it in a month without adding considerable time to my usual late weeknight reading schedule.

  29. Grinth says:

    Was a final decision made about Infinite Jest?

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