Sunday, 16 August 2009

Ulysses Reading Challenge Update II


It's that time again: time to update you on my progress with Ulysses by James Joyce.

I have to say that I am surprised that two months and close to two hundred pages have already elapsed. Reading a chunk a day via email is perhaps not so conducive to understanding and becoming engrossed in the text but it is certainly the best and easiest way, I think, to discipline oneself to read it, by incorporating it into my daily routine and treating it like any other email.

Ulysses lends itself to quick reading with its short spurts of prose and dialogue and its innovate form. In Search of Lost Time v. 1: Swann's Way by Marcel Proust was far more of a challenge to read every day and I have postponed that for the time being but increased the length of the Ulysses excerpt.

Do people who climb Mount Everest enjoy it or are they doing it simply for the challenge? I'm not disliking Ulysses, nor am I finding it a chore, but I am glad that I am finally reading it.

What about you? how are you getting on with reading Ulysses or other similar challenges to read long, intimidating texts?

11 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

I've been a naughty girl - I haven't read any more Ulysses this month. The emails aren't really working for me - I think I need to buy a copy.

Lezlie said...

I've read Swann's Way and Ulysses, and I thought Ulysses was the more difficult for me to get into. I liked Swann's Way a lot, but I find myself seriously procrastinating when it comes to moving on to the next books of In Search of Lost Time. I need to do that . . . :-)

Lezlie

Paperback Reader said...

Jackie, you've made such progress with the Booker though! I think a copy would be easier for me to see exactly where I am and to look at the chapters because the emails don't provide that. I'm annoyed that my copy is at home in Glasgow.

Lezlie, I found Swann's Way accessible but it was just too much at once; Ulysses is quicker to read because of its dialogue.
Good luck with the other books from In Search of Lost Time!

JoAnn said...

I love that Mt. Everest and Ulysses appear in consecutive sentences...good luck on your journey!

Paperback Reader said...

JoAnn, Ulysses is definitely my own personal Everest! Thank you for the good luck wishes.

claire said...

Proust is certainly not accessible in short spurts. You have to make time for him.

I would love to read Ulysses one day. Maybe when I'm done with all volumes of In Search of Lost Time. I'm about to start (next month) the third volume.

Paperback Reader said...

Yes, it wasn't the right time for or method of reading Proust but I will make time in the future following Joyce (I need to take a crack at Finnegan's Wake too).

Good luck with The Guermantes Way!

Rachel said...

Good for you for tackling Ulysses. My English teacher at secondary school promised me when I left to go to university that I wouldn't get through my degree without reading Ulysses and so I took it out of the library to read before I started my course. I have made three attempts since that first one, and all of them ended at the first chapter. For me life is too short to force myself to wade through a book that makes no sense to me, but good for you for tackling it!

Rachel said...

Oh forgot to finish that story - my English teacher clearly lied, as I managed to graduate without having read it! Mwahaha!

Tony said...

I read it earlier this year (took me a few weeks as I recall, with flu and uni assignments in the middle!). It's something that you begin to appreciate as you reach the end - and when you read the literary criticism to catch up with what you were never going to get by yourself!

Paperback Reader said...

Rachel, me too! It was a set text in my second year at Uni and yet still I passed without reading it.

Tony, well done! I wonder when I will reach the end... I'm happy going with the flow at the moment and appreciating its erudite complexity!