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The Joyce of Choice

January 14, 2012

James JoyceOnce again I’ve decided to splurge on a trip to the annual BookCrossing convention. This year it’s in Dublin, and in anticipation I’d like to read at least one book by James Joyce. I haven’t read any of his works before, so I’m at a loss over where to start.

That got me thinking that I should consult you, dear readers. Please vote in the poll below and leave a comment about what you like most about your choicest Joyce. No spoilers, please 😉

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2012 22:30

    I’ve only read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but I think that’s supposed to be the easiest one to digest. I’ve heard horror stories of Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses that have kept me away so far.

    • January 15, 2012 23:06

      Hmm. That does make it seem daunting. I’ve heard Ulysses is intimidating, but I didn’t know that about Finnegan’s Wake. Thanks for sharing your insights. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. January 15, 2012 06:47

    Well, I never read James Joyce, don’t know that is so I cannot vote. But I certainly know what BookCrossing is! I´m also a member, and I love it! I wrote one post so far about it at my blog, but more will come. I think the best thing with it is the stories it brings into my life, stories I would never had chosen myself. I never been on any convention, but maybe some day I will. I really hope so! When you are there and/or come back, can you please write about it then? I would be very happy to get some more info.
    Thanks for sharing thing great info.

    • January 15, 2012 23:09

      Welcome! It’s always great when my fellow BookCrossers stop by. I’ve been a member for nearly 10 years now and had so many amazing experiences as a result that I can’t even relate them all. On top of that I have met hundreds of terrific people through BookCrossing some of whom I count among my closest friends. The conventions are such great fun. You should definitely consider going to one someday.

  3. Anabelle permalink
    January 16, 2012 18:59

    Okay, now I’ve read Portrait and Ulysses (and Dubliners, his collection of short stories).

    Ulysses is a masterpiece–don’t get me wrong. It’s just… hefty. And difficult. And requires a lot of courage and discipline to get through. I had to take a Joyce class to go through it.

    And Finnegan’s Wake is even worse–the first sentence is the last sentence (or so people who have read it told me) It’s even more experimental than Ulysses, and only the most courageous of Joyceans can actually stomach it. It’s really only good for theoretical and philosophical modernists.

    Honestly, I’d say do his short stories (Dubliners) and Portrait. Both are fairly realistic and easy to understand and yet a pretty good example of his art and philosophy.

    • January 17, 2012 23:11

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective. I’m thinking I should have started my foray into Joyce a year ago. Now that the convention is less than 4 months away, I’m becoming quite intimidated. Sounds like Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man might be the best place to start. Somewhere in this warren of books I even have a copy.

  4. January 19, 2012 12:05

    I really do recommend Finnegans Wake – it isn’t so awful if you read it out loud. Key thing to remember is that you’re not SUPPOSED to understand all of it, so it really is such a buzz when you understand some of the parts. If you appreciate the point of it, as I’m sure you do, then that is your way in.

    I wrote about reading it a month ago, if you’re interested in reading a little more –

    • January 23, 2012 20:35

      Thanks for the encouragement. It’s good to know that I don’t have to feel like a doofus if it’s not completely making sense. The way you describe it reminds me of reading Naked Lunch by Burroughs.

  5. January 29, 2012 18:08

    I’ve reached only p. 120 of “Finnegans Wake” so I’cant recommend it… It’s a real challenge anyway. Start with “Ulysses”. Before I read it for the first time i also had heard horrible things about this novel. Unreadable! I still don’t know what is unreadable about it…

  6. June 29, 2013 23:47

    Hi, I enjoy your blog and so I nominated you for a Liebster award which includes a link from my blog to yours. check out my recent post to find out more. Enjoy the traffic!

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