Every year I try to read an intimidating book.
By which I mean one it would be really nice to have read, on the grounds that I keep running into discussion of it, and also that people keep telling me it is good, but that I have no particular personal inclination towards given what I've heard, and that has some kind of aura of Stuffy Old or Hot New Classic. I almost always enjoy them when I've read them, even though I tend to have to shut myself on airplanes with them, or remove all other reading material from the immediate vicinity, or things like that. Previous New Year's resolution books include things like Moby-Dick
, One Hundred Years of Solitude
(which has turned out to be ridiculously useful), and The Sound and the Fury
(In actuality, this is a years-long effort concentrated towards the eventual goal of making myself pick up A la recherche du temps perdu
, which was one of my grandfather's favorite books and which he often expressed hope that I would read. It did not happen during his lifetime, but I have not given up hope.)
Anyway this year I decided to read Ulysses
. And it has become obvious that I am not going to manage it without some kind of not only accountability, but ability to discuss it with people.
So this is the I-am-about-to-start-reading-Ulysses
-if-anyone-else-wants-to post. I have: a copy of Ulysses
, in my grandfather's very nice second American edition (if you think I'm trying to read all the books my grandfather loved and wanted to talk to me about, you're absolutely right); and Ulysses Annotated
, by Don Gifford and Robert J. Seidman, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition (which should help with knowing nothing whatever
about Irish politics at the time). I do not have as yet: a map of Dublin, although it is obvious from the one skim I took through the book that they ought to put one in the endpapers. I do not think I need: any help with the Odyssey
, classical references, or literary references in general.
At this time next week, I'll put up a post discussing the first chunk, about twenty-five pages, and I'll do that weekly thereafter. I know I won't finish this year, but hey, I will finish. Read along, if you like, or not. I don't want this to be incredibly formal or anything.
Right now: tell me anything you want about Ulysses
, or James Joyce
, or secondary sources you think I might like, or why this is a stupid idea and I should go read Frantz Fanon or something, bearing in mind that I haven't read this book yet and so telling me about things that happen in several hundred pages is probably counter-productive.