Ulysses by James Joce


I finally finished Ulysses. I know that many people absolutely love this book and consider it to be a work of genius. On the contrary there are those who simply don’t get it or don’t want to put forth the effort to try to get it. Regardless of which side of the fence you happen to sit on when it comes to loving or hating this behemoth of literature few could argue that Ulysses does not come with a considerable amount of baggage. It is hardly a laid back and relaxing read.

Most people can’t just sit and read and understand it without at least some outside help or resource. Reading Ulysses is an investment in a way that most books are not. It is an investment of time, not only because of its length but mainly because most people can’t just breeze through it. I had originally hoped to read Ulysses without any outside help, but a couple chapters in I found myself searching the internet for some insight. This book has a lot of baggage. I can’t imagine that too many people out there can read and understand it based on what we might accept as the “common knowledge” that most of us might have.

While on my quest for further understanding I came across many other reviews written about Ulysses. Some were incredibly insightful and objective, some were completely derogatory and without praise, and others were proclamations of undying love and devotion. One review simply said, “Life is too short to read Ulysses.” In reading what other people had to say about the book I learned two things:

1- I was not alone in my opinion of Ulysses
2- The opinion one has of this book is a rather controversial subject to those of differing opinion

This being my first review of any book that I will put on my blog and in light of the fact that this is quite a touchy subject for so many people out there I will keep this simple in an effort to not offend those of either persuasion I will simply say this, I can see the significance of this book and I can appreciate it as an important work of literature and I can also see why it seems like a little more effort than it may be worth.

I would also like to add that that I read somewhere that Ulysses was considered a difficult read when it was first published, and that was 1922. Could the argument be made that as time marches on written words can become obsolete like so many of our technological advances? As we change culturally will the classic works of literature, especially those that are considered more difficult, go the way of the floppy dish or the Beta player and be passed over for newer, more relatable and relevant reading?

Next on the list is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most of us have read this book in high school but I am interested to read it now and see if these past 15 years or so will make a difference in the experience of reading it.


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The Idea

I have always wanted to a writer. I have always loved reading, and the idea of spending my adult life writing wonderful and compelling works of literature that would challenge, inspire, and inform people all over the world for countless years to come was simply magical to me. I spent my childhood reading just about anything I could get my hands on and writing almost constantly but as I got older and busier I found myself reading a little bit less, and then a little bit less, and practicing my writing almost never. Fast forward to today, a husband, and three kids later and I have yet to publish my masterpiece. To be more precise I have failed to publish anything as of yet.

I have always been told that the key to becoming a better writer is to read more. That is how I came up for the idea for this little project of mine. I was trying to think of something that would help to motivate me to read more and help me to become a better writer. Here’s the plan. I am going to go through the Modern Library’s list of 100 Best Novels of All Time one at a time and write something about each one of them here on this blog. I hope to do at least one a week but I might have to change that to one a month, depending on how much time I find I can realistically dedicate to all of this. Now keep in mind that I am not a literary scholar by any stretch of the imagination. I am simply someone who loves the art of language and story telling who wishes improve my ability to write and build my appreciation and understanding for some of the most skillfully crafted works of modern literature. I am hoping that creating this blog will not only help to keep me on track but I am also hoping that by posting this I might bring a few of you along with me and together we can explore and discuss these great accomplishments of the written language, and maybe even create some of our own some day. Please feel free to comment here or you can email me at ryanfarley.pub@gmail.com and tell me what you think and always keep in mind that this blog come from a place of personal interest and betterment. It is in no way a scholarly look at modern literature. The posts that follow are simply my most humble interpretations and opinions and should always be read with a grain of salt. Thanks for reading!

Now there are 2 lists, the board’s list and the reader’s list. I will start with the board’s list and if all goes well follow up with the reader’s list. Quite a few books are on both lists but they do vary considerably not only in the books that are on each list, but in the order in which they rank. The first book from the board’s list is Ulysses by James Joyce. Anyone who is interested, if you haven’t already, please read Ulysses and check back in to join the discussion, or in the true spirit of internet commentary to simply tell me how wrong you think I am.

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