Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ulysses Wednesday #16

Welcome to Ulysses Wednesday, where I track my progress reading James Joyce's tale of a day in the life of Leopold Bloom.

Status:  I AM FINISHED!  (Sound the chorus)

  Yep I am done!  I finished Molly's chapter/episode in one (long) sitting and though it was challenging I have to say that this part was the most interesting to me.  Molly is a saucy one, and in talking about her various conquests it was difficult to determine who it was she was talking about -- Bloom, Boylan, or someone else.  I would have liked to read more about Molly, as she was definitely a character

  Overall I can't say that I loved Ulysses, or even liked it very much.  It is not a novel that one can simply pick up and read whenever there are a few spare minutes (though apparently it was a popular read for train commuters);  it requires concentration, not to keep up with the plot (which I don't think exists), but rather to keep up with Joyce's style changes and his use of language.  If anyone is stupid  brave enough to try this novel, I'd recommend that you find an annotated edition -- my copy was not and I know I could have benefited from some background information.

  So I'm going to take a break from the weightier classics for now, but in November I will probably begin reading War & Peace which my classics reading group will be discussing in January.  Have any of you read this one?  Am I giving myself enough time to read it?  I haven't decided if I will blog about my progress through this one -- if I do, will anyone join me?

  And by the way, thank you to everyone who have left encouraging comments throughout my slog through Ulysses.  I was doing this for my own satisfaction (ultimately, though, not enjoyment) but it was nice to see that there were people paying attention along the way.


  1. WOW - what an accomplishment! Congratulations!

    W&P is on my shelf. I've even read the first 50 pages (3 times, actually), but then a shorter book sidetracks me. I will get to it eventually, but am less than halfway through Bleak House now. It's going to be awhile...

  2. Wow from Ulysses to War & Peace - let me just say that I commend you for your ability to pick up massive classics! I hope you like W&P better!

  3. woohoo! I'm glad you made it. And YES, I hope you do read War and Peace! I'll be reading it for sure of course, but I'm not sure if I would do many blog posts. I think it would be fun though to make it a two-month "readalong" just to know there are others out there also attempting it.

    And I am pretty sure it has a plot, so we don't have to worry THAT much...

  4. I think the only problem with War & Peace will be keeping track of the characters.

    Thank you all for the good wishes!

  5. congratulations!

    i would love to join you for War and Peace, but it's probably not realistic for me during this semster. i tried to read Anna Karenina before and failed miserably...

    i'm sure you'll do great, though. you have inspired me with your dedication to trudge through even when it isn't particularly enjoyable.

  6. "War and Peace" is eminently readable (unlike Joyce), and has a terrifically interesting plot. Don't worry about the characters; believe it or not, but after a while you're easily keeping track of them all. W&P is a novel that I re-read every few years, as it is simply marvelous. Happy Monday!

  7. Hope you enjoy W&P.

    Do get an edition that has a list of all the characters in the front (the version I read did, I am not sure if all do). I found that it was vast but really swept you up, so that everything going on in the outside world fell away and I was really there with Natasha an Pierre and all those folks. Can't really say that I remember that much, it seems like a past life (in some sense it was).

    And you can rent and watch "Love and Death" along side it--it's a lot funnier if you read War and Peace!


What do you think? Good or bad, I'd love to hear from you (but be nice - I'm sensitive!)