Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ulysses: A reading choice I regret

Last weekend, I finished a book that I have been reading since January.  Ulysses, by James Joyce.  The paperback copy I have is the one depicted in the photo below, it's a reprint of the complete unabridged 1934 American edition of the book which was originally published in 1922.

I chose to read the book because I had always seen it on lists of "books every man should read" and I have also been trying to digest more lengthy material ... "longreads" I've heard them called.  I finished it.  And I mean every word, cover-to-cover.  It wasn't worth it.  Where was my "I can't believe I didn't read this years ago!" moment?

Reading should never be that tedious.  And no one should ever read anything just to check it of their bucket list.


I read a lot of commentaries on the book to help me understand it better, and kept an outline handy, but I really wish I'd bought an annotated copy.  Actually, I wish I'd never started it to begin with.

Here's my review of Ulysses by James Joyce: don't bother.

Joyce's daughter was a diagnosed schizophrenic.  It has often been wondered if Joyce suffered from schizophrenia himself.  I don't know what the official verdict is, but here's mine: yes, he was either mentally ill or a substance abuser.  Or both.  It is truly astonishing that a mind could create that work ... but one thing I'm sure of:  I'm damned glad that mind isn't my own.  :-)