Joyce vs Marilyn vs Bono

For my introductory picture this week I swiped a rare stamp from eBay and the front cover to a Wordsworth Classics edition of the novel. Frankly I can’t imagine a book cover more expertly designed to keep readers away. Call it a classic and slap a boring oil on the front and hope for the best. Thankfully this website is trying to do the opposite. Read on for the good stuff about Joyce and the great novel Ulysses from all about the interweb. It’s random, it’s chaotic, but who knows? Some it may strike a chord. If you don’t read it – you won’t find out!

For people (people like me), who want to know the novel but haven’t got the time or the patience (or some sly dog may suggest the intelligence), a solution is at hand. We can now sleep through the audio book version reviewed here – and at just under 30 hours in length that’s about a week’s worth of shut eye. I like to think it might go in better through the unconscious mind, but I might well be wrong about that.

The Independent on Sunday alerts us to a forthcoming book based around the letters of the original dumb blonde Marilyn Monroe which reveal her to be anything but. So powerful is Marilyn’s cultural icon I doubt anything will ever turn that image around fully, but it may be worth trying. One day it might stick, though judging by the ongoing dumbing down process in Hollywood there’s no reason for hope. Nothing to do with Ulysses, but a recent rant in Empire Online magazine shows us the way backwards.

Every week I have little choice but to feature another reader grappling with the modern masterpiece and feeling the need to report back to world via a blog. Bibliosue does that again this week and she’s doing better than me that’s for sure though she does write “I’ve made progress!  I’m halfway done!  I still don’t understand most of what I’m reading!” which I can appreciate only too well.

I don’t think this is for me, but you lot reading this might have the chops to contribute something. So here’s a link to The IV James Joyce Birthday Conference in Rome entitled “Why Read Joyce in the 21st Century?” There are eight subjects available – you’re bound to know something about one of them surely? Just don’t ask me for any help!

Far be it for me to sit in judgement on Molly Bloom’s character but the Irish Independent asks “How many lovers in a lifetime is too many?” and it seems the Irish do have an advantage if you consider more to be more and not less if you get my drift.

James Joyce less important than Bono to Irish culture? Well, you can agree or disagree but the Irish Times reports that “Historians unimpressed by RTÉ ‘greatest’ shortlist”. Out of the five finally I can tell you that I’ve never heard of two of them – but coming from an Englishman that might not surprise you. I won’t tell you which two either.

This, somewhat smaller affair, the Book & Paper Fair Best-Author Debate seems even less of a contest, but at least King didn’t win! On that we can agree.

The James Joyce Bistro closed and I didn’t notice. I have to wonder why anyone would name a bistro after James Joyce as I don’t really find the mental association to be that pleasing. I don’t want to think about the end result when stuffing my face and washing it down with plonk. Still, I wish the pool hall well.

That’s it for another week in Ulysses Land! See you next week. Same Ulyssean time – Same Ulyssean Channel.

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