2 Dec 2003
December is at last upon us. And to mark the occasion (amongst all those other important, life-fulfilling duties I must force myself to perform) I have given myself a challenge — dare I say the mother of _all_ challenges: to read Ulysses by James Joyce, in its entirety, before the year’s end.
That’s right. What with the 100th Anniversary of Bloomsday coming up in a matter of months, my eagerness to be ‘one of the gang’ on the Mike Watt List (the Minutemen were big Joyce fans, dontcha know?), and since the book was sitting there on my shelf already, untouched for well over a year and gradually gathering dust, I decided that no time could be better than the present.
And so, by setting myself a target of approximately 25 pages per day (which is neither too little, nor too large to digest comfortably), and of course accounting for the holidays, I should finish this mammoth endeavour before New Year’s Eve, upon which I shall likely repose with a glass of the finest South African wine to reflect upon my experience.
David Norris would be proud, to be sure.
As it stands, I am currently two days into my personal challenge, my Amazon.co.uk bookmark residing between pages 58 and 59, as Leopold Bloom has repaired to the local butchers on Dorset Street to procure a pork kidney for his breakfast — not _my_ idea of a good breakfast, but how and ever.
(Just for the record, the copy of Ulysses employed for this challenge is the paperback Reader’s Edition, edited by one Danis Rose and published by Picador in 1998, which apparently has been repunctuated — in an _unjoycean_ manner — to make it more, well, readable. Anyone who wishes to point out that I am not only cheating, but cheating _myself_ by reading an edition that has been revised specifically to make it somewhat easier for the average reader to consume is hereby advised to sod off.)
I intend to make irregular updates here to update you, dear reader, on my progress. Will I make it to the end with a new understanding of my fair city? Will I tear out the last of my hair in frustration? Who knows?!? It’s all so exciting!
Footnote: The Dictionary.com Word of the Day for this very post is _arcane_, defined as ‘understood … by only a few.’ Sounds like the average description of James Joyce’s writing, don’t you agree? Once again, coincidence strikes the Textual Repository…