Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Bloomsday!

I'm nowhere near a devoted Joycean; I like to read about him more than I like to read him.  The Most Dangerous Book, about the publication of Ulysses, by Kevin Birmingham is a true sox-knocker. Even if you've never read any James Joyce, and have zero interest in starting, this book is a terrific look at publishing.  Utterly readable, utterly captivating!



9 comments:

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I wrote my Master’s thesis on Joyce and Faulkner. Stately plump Buck Mulligan ... would have loved this book on oublishing Joyce to have been out a few decades ago :)

I can’t wait to have a look.

Kitty said...

Years ago I wrote a story about an elderly public librarian who rapped the knuckles of children who tried to borrow certain adult books. When she rapped 12-y-o Billy's knuckles, as he tried to borrow "Ulysses," Officer Rooney finally paid her a visit and told her, as gently as he could, that her job would be in jeopardy if she continued. I doubt that Billy could read enough of James Joyce to even find the juice ... er, the objectionable parts. I just don't think he's that determined. It's not the like old days any more.

Theresa said...

Oooh, I love books about books! Thanks for the recommendation. (I have also failed to develop an appreciation for Joyce.)

Claire Bobrow said...

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” I took the AP English exam. And the main essay question was perfectly suited to discussion of James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which we’d read in class. Glory Hallelujah! I’ll always be thankful for James Joyce. Maybe one day I’ll tackle Ulysses, but in the meantime, The Most Dangerous Book looks intriguing.

Adele said...

Kitty- there's a wonderful tale by Clarence Day, who wrote memories of his family in the 1880s ("Life With Father" being the most famous). Seems every month a brown-paper-wrapped book would arrive for Father. All his many sons knew that juicy things lay in brown-paper-wrapped books, but the books went into Father's study and disappeared. The next summer, they went away to the seaside for their holidays, and up in the attic of the family's seaside cottage they found all those brown-paper-wrapped books. They tore into them, looking for the juicy bits ... the result being that they spent all summer reading The Collected Works of Anthony Trollope.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

I’ve just bought this - I love it when you recommend books! (My wallet doesn’t, but tough.) I loved Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist, as well as eight gazillion books about Joyce, his associates, and his worlds. Now I get another one, goodie. Thanks, Janet.

I respected rather than enjoyed Ulysses, and never managed to finish it. Finnegans Wake, fergeddit. But The Dead is on my desert-islands-reads list.

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Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Wasn't familiar with this title, but oh, man... as Theresa said, I love books about books (and authors). Will absolutely order this. Janet, Thank you for sharing.

I'm a Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings devotee. Over the years, my husband has found all her first addition titles and bought them for me as gifts. They have their very own shelf next to my desk, and I freak if anyone touches them. There's a book that shares valuable real estate on my MKR shelf, and it's one I could not put down. Max and Marjorie: The correspondence between Maxwell E. Perkins and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings by Rodger L. Tarr. Fabulous! And also provides some extraordinary history of the Scribner publishing house.

MA Hudson said...

I heard somewhere that the trick to reading Ulysses is to start about a quarter of the way through, read to the end, and then read the beginning. I tried and it worked for me, though don’t ask me what it was about. More like beautiful poetry really. Relaxing, once you abandon all hope of a plot line.