Brian's Reviews > Ulysses

Ulysses by James Joyce
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Mar 05, 2008

bookshelves: tried-to-read-but-failed
Recommended for: Someone more ambitious than me.
Read in May, 2008

Ten pages a day. Wish me luck. . . .

UPDATE!!! I'm now forty-five pages in and find myself asking if this is something I really, really want to do. Because let me tell you, I aint digging it. Maybe I'm not intelligent, but reading this book seems like traveling cross-country - at night - solely through the tops of trees. It's damn hard and ridiculous work, with nothing to gain from it other than the satisfaction of having done it.

I'm going to try and hang in there, but honestly, people, I'm not feeling very confident.

2nd UPDATE! I'm now 120 pages in. Surprised myself, fo' sho! For those of you that have been tracking my progress (I think there are maybe, like, two of you), the math will indicate that I haven't maintained my goal of ten pages a day. Probably averages out to maybe nine. Or eight. Or maybe it's seven. But I'm reading the thing still and, well, I've figured out the secret to reading it. Here it is: just read it. Don't try to figure anything out or understand anything anymore than you try to understand the million random thoughts that occur to you every day. The book is just like that, so accept it as I have had to do and then roll with it. Now that I've engaged the book a bit, I can say this - though I'm still not enjoying it like, say, I enjoy seven p.m. on a summer Saturday, I can see Joyce's genius. Don't understand that genius (for it takes one to understand one), but I recognize it all the same.

One thing I have found interesting in my reading is that the previous owner (I bought a used copy) has made notes throughout. Quite fun - and funny - to see them trying to grasp it all. Tellingly, the notes stop abruptly on page 169, with a red mark under the line "Hungry man is an angry man."

By the way, I read in a Goodreads review that someone had read Ulysses 20 times. I hope they are okay.

Think I'll have some chocolate milk now.

3rd UPDATE!!! I quit not long after the 2nd update. I tried. I really tried. But it just isn't for me just yet. Maybe in, oh, another 10 or 20 years I'll give it another shot. For all of you who have been so eagerly following my progress and awaiting good news (all, like, zero of you), I am sorry if I have disappointed you. :)
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Carrah Good luck.


message 2: by mandy (new)

mandy once you've started it, you've gotta finish it! do what i do when i'm not really into a book but know that i want to get all the way through--start reading another book, but one that's easy and much more enjoyable to read. for every few pages you read of the 'heavy' book, read a few in the 'light' book. that's what's helping me get through these long-ass books about the third reich. and i don't ever again want to see you write "maybe i'm not intelligent..." cause, dude, that just ain't true! but i loved the analogy with the trees. totally could relate to that!


message 3: by mandy (new)

mandy way to hang in there!! i'm proud of you. you're my hero! the book's on my to-read list, so i'll be in your shoes at some point in the (not-so-near) future. or, you could just keep leaving really good, detailed reviews, and i won't have to! :)


Kristen Heh... I'm wading through this book right now... I can see how easy it would be to "forget where you've put it" or to "accidentally donate it to the library" before finishing. It's simply not an enjoyable read to me so far. and I'm not even to the half way mark


Michael here's an idea -- when i was in college and reading it for the first time, i smoked an excellent joint and then read chap. 3..."ineluctable..." and suddenly the book...opened...and i started reading it with new eyes. joyce is writing for the moment. just try and dig what words he put on the paper. he was writing in the moment and for all time. guy is the greatest genius who ever lived.


message 6: by Bonnie (new) - added it

Bonnie I loved the chronicle of your attempt. At least you've tried, which is more than I've done.


Steve Hah!

Kristen wrote: "Heh... I'm wading through this book right now... I can see how easy it would be to "forget where you've put it" or to "accidentally donate it to the library" before finishing. It's simply not an e..."




Steve I read this book with some friends last year, and I have to say... It's pretty amazing in its depth. Reading it just to read it without understanding the complexity is sort of like taking a helicopter ride to the top of Everest just to say you've been there.

I would suggest to try and read it with friends, because you get so much more out of it and can understand so much more if you're sharing your thoughts and experiences while reading it.

I hated much of the book while I was reading it, but it has become a sounding board for other books and something that I'm really glad I finished.


message 9: by Mark (new)

Mark have just taken my copy down from its shelf and blown off the dust and cobwebs accrued over God only knows how many years. Bought it thinking I would give it a go about 15 years ago, it has been the elephant in the room of my reading ever since. Looking at reviews here and saw your noble attempt. Maybe I need to try the 10 pages a day just to exorcize the demon


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