Book #1-Ulysses by James Joyce

The first word that comes to mind after reading Ulysses is blowhard.  I was warned when I shared the title for Book #1 with others and found not a soul that had read it or even wanted to read it (was Marilyn Monroe really reading Ulysses?).  This was one of Modern Library’s book titles that my mother had listed as “not interested” and I now know why.

I am of Irish ancestry so I’d hoped to find some biting sarcasm and Irish humor, but instead  found inane dialog, humorless limericks, and run on sentences that ran on for pages (yes pages).  I get the whole stream of consciousness concept, but that was not a consistent  tool used throughout the book and where it was, was ineffective.

I read the Odyssey and enjoyed it and had great difficulty seeing how it could be compared to Ulysses.  I’m sure there are several college courses that discuss this ad nauseum and no, I am not interested in their course objectives.

If it were possible for me to meet James Joyce, I am sure I would not like him.  I imagine he was pompous, rude and exuded an overbearing air of superiority.  I would have kicked him out of Ireland too;  not for his writing, but rather for what I imagine was his ostentatious manner.

I believe this book made it to the numero uno spot based on the controversy of its publication rather than its substance.

This book was torture for me, but since it is only the first of 100 I’ve committed to reading in 100 weeks, I must persevere even knowing that book number 3 is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by…James Joyce (God help me!).

My rating on a scale of 1-10 is a generous 2 and a big PU!!!

Next up, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

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9 Comments

Filed under Ulysses by James Joyce

9 responses to “Book #1-Ulysses by James Joyce

  1. Skyeler

    Hope the next one will be great!

  2. Pam

    James. Joyce. Sucks. I hated “Finnegans Wake” so much I quit before getting to page 100. It was the only book out of the 29 I have read so far that I could not finish, and your assessment of Ulysses as “inane dialog, humorless limericks, and run on sentences that ran on for pages” is so spot-on that I couldn’t have said it better myself. You should check out my “10 Things I Hate About Finnegans Wake” post. I bet our Joyce experiences would be eerily similar.
    http://100booksin100weeks.blogspot.com/2010/05/10-things-i-hate-about-finnegans-wake.htmland

  3. I just stumbled onto your site, commented on the DeLillo book, and started looking around. I saw your rating for Ulysses and had to read this review. I’m sorry this is the first book you picked to read for your challenge. I love it. I love Joyce’s brilliance which shines through in it. It’s place in the Modern Library’s list has little to do with controversy (Lolita would still be more controversial). It’s place is based upon the immensity of the work and its importance to modern literature. To even scratch the surface of this book’s value a knowledge about the history of literature and its evolution is required.
    Sorry you hated it, I know it isn’t for everyone.

  4. Amen. I hate this novel so much.

  5. To be honest, I actually think both “Portrait” and “Dubliners” are excellent and I have reviews of these two on my blog if interested. Ulysses seems to be my kryptonite though. It’s one of those impenetrable literary works that has the power to give me a brain aneurysm so I tent to stay away from it.

    I’m really digging your blog and have gotten plenty of recommendations. Keep up the good work dude.

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