Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Bloomsday!

Yes yes, it's June 16th, which means, it's Bloomsday! James Joyce's monumental novel (in more ways than one, cough), Ulysses, is entirely set on June 16, 1904, and for the past 15 years or so, I always had this image of me sitting down and reading the entire book, beginning to end, on one Bloomsday. Yeah, right. Fat chance that.

And then Damon Lindelof had to go and mention it would be in an upcoming episode of Lost. And then Ben Linus is reading it in "316." And so I started reading it, too. (And despite what people might have thought when I recently said my captivity had ended, that was just the 10-day, 15-hour-a-day marathon I took in the middle of the writing process; I'm still working on it every night and weekend with a hand-in date of July 6....) And here it is, Bloomsday, and I'm STILL reading it. And writing about it. And thinking my chapter on it is getting CRAZY long and my editor is going to have to slash it to bits. And I'm wondering what Joyce was smoking. And marvelling at his genius. And wondering what the hell is going on in several passages. And actually figuring other passages out and chuckling at a couple of jokes. (Throwaway? HAHA!)

But as for whether I'm truly enjoying it... er... oh hey, look, something shiny! Gotta run!

8 comments:

ashlie said...

Maybe it would be better if you were listening to Franz Ferdinand's song "Ulysses" while reading it?

Also, I just went out and picked up Season 1 and 2 of LOST on Blu-Ray in preparation for the rewatch! I can't wait!

Beej said...

You're a better person than I am, Nikki. I would never subject myself to that. My first semester of graduate school had the first 10 chapters of Ulysses assigned, and I swore to never go back to it after that. I've tried other Joyce stuff, but aside from Finnegan's Wake, Ulysses is likely one of the worst books I've ever opened.

Any book that professors tell me "Oh, you won't really understand it or start to like it until around the 4th time through" doesn't really seem worthwhile to me.

Jennifer said...

I got compared to Molly Bloom today. I'm kind of baffled...

Nikki Stafford said...

ashlie: LOL! Seriously, every time I pick it up I think, "Laaa, la la la la... Ulysses, I found a new way, I found a new way, baby..." Hahahaha!! And... it doesn't help. Sigh.

Beej: About a third of the way in I decided that's it. This will officially be the first book in my life I'm giving up on and switching to the Cliff's Notes. But I just can't bring myself to do it. Five hundred pages later, I'm still slogging through. UGH.

Benny said...

Hang on tight, the end is near.

Keep that chapter handy. If it gets slashed, perhaps you'll be able to post the full version online for those interested!

A.G.Wooding said...

No doubt your analysis of it will make me go out and buy it myself, I slaughtered The Third Policeman and VALIS after I found out how awesome they were from your previous books.

Blam said...



Ashlie: I can't even guess how many times that song would play if Nikki listened to it "while reading" Ulysses.

Nikki: So I'm sure that ideally the first read-through would normally be pure, but since you're unlikely to get to read the novel twice before finishing its write-up I'm curious whether you're reading an annotated version or consulting any criticism.

Blam said...

PS: I got an actual word for verification just now. Isn't that not supposed to happen?