TwangyPearl inspired (challenged? suckered?) me to start reading Ulysses by James Joyce. So far, I've had the book for 9 weeks...oops - make that 10. There was that one week that the book was overdue before I remembered to renew it at the library. I'm approximately halfway through. There are some pretty hilarious things in this book, but it's hard work to read it. Generally, I can read 4-7 books in three weeks. 10 weeks means that normally, I would have given up by now, but I'm determined to finish it.
Coincidentally, today I got an email from Border's Books notifying me that there was an eReader that I could download for my phone. In the email, the magic words "many free books" caught my eye. So, of course I downloaded the eReader. Due to the renewal situation vs my increasingly leaky memory, the first thing I searched for was Ulysses. And, Lo and Behold! It was a free book! Hurray!
Unfortunately, there is apparently no way to search through the book. You have to scroll through page by page. So I got a little refresher on the first half of the book as I scrolled through to the correct place. From this, I arrived at two conclusions...well, let's make that three.
1. It would probably have been useful to have read the Odyssey before reading Ulysses. What I remember from Edith Hamilton's Mythology from 25 years ago is close to nothing.
2. Ulysses might be more enjoyable and engaging as a book on tape. Some of the names and descriptions just beg to be read aloud. Also, a differentiation between the characters who are speaking would frequently be helpful.
3. Joyce was clearly drinking while he wrote this. You could probably pick out the progression of his days from each segment. There is a definite pattern: Clear story with gorgeous descriptions and random characters (sober), followed by main characters performing something vaguely plot-like (couple of drinks), followed by side characters gathering to drink (a little tipsy), followed by mild political rant (a decent buzz), followed by long list of nonsensical names or random words (full-on inebriation). Then there's hangover day where main characters again do something vaguely plot-like, and then either they cycle repeats or the chapter ends.
So, thanks, there, Twangy. Even as I struggle to read this book, I am amused not only by the book itself but also by the style, and even by my lack of knowledge (because I am totally getting the online Cliffs Notes when I finally finish, so I can figure out what the hell I read). I think an international pseudo book club is an excellent idea!