Friday, April 06, 2007

Who really wants the house clean, anyway?

Well, we had our Maya Angelou marathon, followed closely by the David Sedaris read-in, and now we're on James Joyce. I've decided to take the plunge and try to read Ulysses. I also have the biography of Nora Joyce and of course, our book club selection, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It is largely as a result of reading the Nora Joyce biography that I am unable to refrain from at least trying to read Ulysses. Ostensibly about Nora Joyce, this biography keeps on referring to incidents in Joyce's life that he used in his writing. (Now that I think about it, in some ways this biography is more like Portrait of the Artist as Reflected in the Life of his (common-law) Wife.) Anyway, when I picked up Ulysses from the library today, and almost immediately stumbled across an event I had read about in the biography, I felt so validated! Yes, this is a good combination of reading materials! I may even add in Dubliners.

And a nice thing about Ulysses is that all the explanatory text (relegated to notes, bibliography, etc. at the end of the biography) is at the BEGINNING of the book, so that I can start reading the actual novel at its actual beginning, and still put the bookmark in with a hefty number of pages in front of it. Voila! Instant (unearned) sense of accomplishment!

I'm very happy to be embarking on this course of reading, because I've been reading so much children's fantasy lately it was starting to scare me. Am I still capable of reading anything really challenging? Yes I said yes I can yes.


Blogger Lesley said...

I'm still on page 1 of Portrait. I don't think I'll be able to tackle a huge amount of reading material this time around. I've placed a reading road block in my head that says, "DANGER OLD BOOK AHEAD!"

10:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Try powering through. Remember that, compared to Moby Dick, it's quite modern (as opposed to old). If you don't like it after 50 pages or so, then probably you're not going to. But it's all a learning experience, right?

7:01 PM  
Blogger Zelda said...

Stick with it. I was muddling through the first 20 pages wondering what I'd gotten myself into but I'm starting to get a feel for the rhythm and the writing. I now feel like I might actually be able to read it. If it picks up a little more I might even enjoy it. It has so many layers that its daunting. I don't see myself doing the supplemental reading this month.

I now remember trying to read Finnegan's Wake at one point and giving up almost immediately. I did, however, consider the name Anna Livia for Eleanor but decided that I couldn't without actually reading the book.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Actually, to be completely honest, I had kind of a bad reaction to the first few pages myself. Kind of an "oh, no!" feeling. I think it gets better as it goes on, or at least, I like it better.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Vivian said...

They don't have a CD version of Ulysses at the library, grrrr.

9:50 AM  

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