Steve's Reviews > Ulysses

Ulysses by James Joyce
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May 10, 12

bookshelves: may-try-again-later, to-read
Read from March 07 to May 10, 2012

(Now with an addendum)

If you’re one of those technologically hobbled types who doesn’t yet have a time machine, I highly recommend one. I also suggest spending the extra to get the “place” setting. Then you could do like I did and put yourself in a pub in Dublin in 1904. Last night, after transporting myself in space and time, I sidled up to a loquacious young fellow who seemed, at times, either drunk or crazy, but even as he rambled he was preternaturally well-spoken. He was at his coherent best engaged in dialog, but he was easily sidetracked and would essentially start thinking out loud. I often couldn’t make sense of it, but there was a poetry in the way he spoke, and flashes of color and brilliance to purloin my attention. My plan is to go back tonight. I don’t know if I’ll tire of his verbiage or not; I’m told he can go on at length. Maybe if I invite a friend who knows the culture and language of the times to help interpret, together we’ll figure this blathering new bar mate. I may have found a candidate who can provide that kind of context. Anyone else care to join me in this time trip to Dublin? My machine’s a four-seater. And as we all know, ‘tis the season for Guinness and green.

-------------------


I don’t know if it was my mood, or what, but when I went back to the pub, I was less intrigued by the rambling young man there holding court. It seemed like he’d been going non-stop. And he was even more digressive and random than before. I also noticed that he never looked my way when he was speaking. Others that he engaged apparently connected well with him. In fact, some were calling him a genius. I sure wanted to appreciate what they were seeing, but that’s not the sort of thing you can force. My finger wavered over the “Abort” button for a good long while before I finally decided to push.

The great thing about the TAP (Time and Place) machine is that I can always go back. Maybe I’ll like it better once I
- learn Latin,
- take the on-line Joyce course, and
- put myself in a more Zen-like mindset where art simply flows, not just in streams of consciousness, but in friggin' torrents.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 80) (80 new)


Jenn(ifer) It's on deck for me, right after 'Threats'!


message 2: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Cool


message 3: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Uh, thanks?


message 4: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve You're right, Scott. I'd never used this shelf before. As it turns out, though, I may have to put it in another more specialized shelf soon -- the one for those that I stop reading so that I may live to read another day. This behemoth has me beaten, at least for now. I'm a day into The Art of Fielding and am finding it a lot more accessible. I know you liked it, too.


Jenn(ifer) Steve wrote: "You're right, Scott. I'd never used this shelf before. As it turns out, though, I may have to put it in another more specialized shelf soon -- the one for those that I stop reading so that I may ..."

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Please, say it ain't so. Don't let that drunken Irishman beat you!


message 6: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Good advice, Scott. I may need to create a shelf like that, too.

The Harbach book has been getting good notice for the crisp, less showy writing a la the authors you mentioned. People are also impressed that it's a first-time effort. Now with the hot stove league giving way to spring training, it seems timely as well. But then I might have said the same of Joyce with SPDay coming up. Oh well. I'm intellectually thwarted, but happy.


message 7: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Jennifer wrote: "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"

Oh Lord, now I feel like I've let the team down. Maybe once Jennifer takes one arm and Penky takes another I can muster the courage to get back in there. One word of warning, though: that shillelagh of his does pack a wallop. I'm 100 pages in and am black, blue and bloody.


Jenn(ifer) oh he's using weapons, is he? what a brute!


Jenn(ifer) Scott wrote: "Steve wrote: "Now with the hot stove league giving way to spring training, it seems timely as well.

I've been ready to watch some Pirates baseball ever since the Eagles failed to make the playof..."


a fellow pennsylvanian?


message 10: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Scott wrote: "I've been ready to watch some Pirates baseball ever since the Eagles failed to make the playoffs."

I'm sure this fact is not lost on you, Scott, but you'd have had a lot more to cheer about in recent years had you split the state the other way. But then Cubs fans have very little room to talk.


Jenn(ifer) ^^ very true. and don't even get me started on Michael Vick!


message 12: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Jennifer wrote: "oh he's using weapons, is he? what a brute!"

With apologies to Monty Python, I can report that amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as nonsense syllables, incoherent sentence fragments, obscure references, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope (or am I getting that confused with the Spanish). Anyway, nobody expects the Bloomsday Inquisition!


Jenn(ifer) Steve wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "oh he's using weapons, is he? what a brute!"

With apologies to Monty Python, I can report that amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as nonsense syllables, incoherent s..."


Ha! Oh man. You're scaring me. Sounds almost as enticing as reading the phone book. Almost, I say.


Stephen M Respect on being a Pirates fan. I'm a Rookies fan and I can't take how bad they play sometimes.


message 15: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Haha, so we've all felt the pain. We should start a pool for the first of our teams to post a winning record: Cubs, Rockies, or Pirates.


s.penkevich Awesome, I'm starting this book on next with with Jennifer. We should have a support group.


message 17: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve You've got that fighting spirit, too, Penky. I'll be pulling for you both, though if you decide to stop short, I'll certainly understand.


s.penkevich Ha, I hope to make it through. Something got me through Finnegan's Wake years ago, so I'm determined. Flipping through, I saw there is nearly 200pgs of play form. What? I'm looking forward to seeing what that is all about. How far are you?


Jenn(ifer) I'm just going to push through it and hope it will be worth it in the end!


message 20: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve s.penkevich wrote: "Ha, I hope to make it through. Something got me through Finnegan's Wake years ago, so I'm determined. Flipping through, I saw there is nearly 200pgs of play form. What? I'm looking forward to seein..."

I'm past the 100 page mark, but am in a holding pattern. I've gone on to another book for now, but haven't necessarily given up for good. You've proved your mettle making it through Finnegan's Wake, which must be close to the same. Long ago I read Portrait of an Artist, but that was for a class and I remember almost nothing about it. I also read a short story by Joyce in an anthology, My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead, which I thought was great, but that story was told in a much more traditional way.

Sounds like you and Jennifer have a lot of resolve going into this. Good luck to you both.


message 21: by Will (new)

Will Byrnes You are not alone, Steve. I also have allowed my trepidations to keep me from undertaking this adventure. You at least have had a go at it, something I am not ready to do.


Jenn(ifer) Steve wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Ha, I hope to make it through. Something got me through Finnegan's Wake years ago, so I'm determined. Flipping through, I saw there is nearly 200pgs of play form. What? I'm look..."

howsabout you just take a little break, give steve p. & I a chance to catch up to you, then you can start again. we'll be here for moral support.. or immoral support, whatever


message 23: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Will, I thought I might be ready. Maybe it was just a bad stretch where my mind (or the narrative) went off the rail.

Jennifer, let's regroup later. I read your Biblioklept link, and it's trying to encourage even the trepidatious among us that it could be done.

Maybe Will could even be convinced. And Scott. I'd put Stephen M on the list, too, but it's not recommended to do IJ and Ulysses back-to-back.


message 24: by Stephen M (last edited Mar 13, 2012 12:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen M Steve wrote: "Will, I thought I might be ready. Maybe it was just a bad stretch where my mind (or the narrative) went off the rail.

Jennifer, let's regroup later. I read your Biblioklept link, and it's tryi..."


Ha, well, I will be taking a break from arduous reads after IJ. I'm trying to get an independent study for Ulysses going at my school. I may have to wait to read the book until next semester. In the mean time, I'll be admiring your progress.

Scott, I'm going to be reading Gravity's Rainbow over the summer, if you'd like to share notes when that comes around.


message 25: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve OK, Scott and Stephen, you've proved yourselves ambitious enough with other works. You're excused.


Stephen M Oh, wow! I usually don't go for companion books, but it might be necessary for Gravity's Rainbow. I usually surf the web for some kind of resource like this: http://www.themodernword.com/pynchon/...

What kinds of things does the companion book have? Just notes or essays?


Stephen M Sounds good. I may have to buy it then. We'll see how my reading goes when I get around to it.


s.penkevich Did someone say Gravity's Rainbow? I am so in.


s.penkevich Excellent. I read it waaaaay back in high school when it was waaaaaay over my head so I always wanted to return to it.


message 30: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve I have to confess, Scott, I've always been curious about it. From what your hear, it's a bit like IJ in its knowingness (or some such thing).


message 31: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Scott wrote: "Oh and Steve... I apologize for derailing another of your threads."

Very much not a problem, Scott. This looks like a good rail to follow (though, from Pynchon's reputation, the tracks may convolute).


Stephen M Well, it could start as soon as summer beings—second week of May. But don't let me hold you back from reading it if you're ready to dive in!


s.penkevich May works for me as well! I think I'm doing Absalom in April after Ulysses so thats perfect for my subject-to-change reading order ha.


message 34: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Sounds good to me. Thanks for spear-heading, Scott.


message 35: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve I don't think any of us will be getting through that one very quickly, Scott. Besides, I'm slow myself. The Evelyn Wood course didn't work for me.


message 36: by Stephen M (last edited Mar 15, 2012 12:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen M Scott wrote: "I am a slow reader. I may need a head start."

Well, I think you're in good company.

We're not Karen or anything.


message 37: by karen (new)

karen um?? i saw my name?? is someone accusing me of being a fast reader?


message 38: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Oh come now, karen. I have it on good authority that you were the teachers' pet at Evelyn Wood.

Re: the beloved Evelyn, I know, the younger crowd has to google the reference, but it did get spoofed once on SNL so that's sorta cool.


message 39: by karen (new)

karen i'm not young!! and i had to google!

soon i will have elderly-cataracts and then i will have the slowest eyes.


message 40: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve karen said: "soon i will have elderly-cataracts and then i will have the slowest eyes."

Something tells me you'd still find a way -- maybe audio books at thrice-normal speed, or if necessary, speed-fingering in Braille.


message 41: by karen (new)

karen oh god, if i ever have to rely on audiobooks, i am going to shoot myself in the face


Stephen M Ha! speed-fingering.


message 43: by karen (new)

karen LGM!!


message 45: by karen (new)

karen shoot, i can't see that here.


Stephen M I didn't know what LGM meant, so I looked it up on google and found that link. It's pretty funny and completely unrelated.


message 47: by karen (new)

karen ahhh. well here on goodreads.com, it means "like greg's mom."

now many of my reviews might make sense to you!


Stephen M The world is suddenly clearer. Haha, I feel so much cooler knowing all the GR inside jokes.


Stephen M Laudable Grease Monkey.


message 50: by Steve (new) - added it

Steve Ah, I'm glad you guys followed up with karen. I checked out the Urban Dictionary and their entry, "let's get maggot," didn't make sense. The Mormon Dictionary wasn't helpful either: "Let's get milk!"


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