The Classics Club Monthly Meme: September 2012

The Classics Club

Hello! Wow, it seems like a long time since I said hello to my blog readers. There must be a handful, right?Anyway, it’s been quite a long Sunday, one of those Sundays where you wake up really late and get up to eat your lunch, do some housekeeping, and then do nothing.

And suddenly, you remember your reading and blogging tasks. I am not in the mood to do neither, which is outrageous because I just posted my reading plan yesterday. Good thing that The Classics Club‘s September meme is already up. I thought of putting this back until the next week, but I guess I should deal with this already, no?

So here’s the topic for this month:

Pick a classic someone else in the club has read from our big review list. Link to their review and offer a quote from their post describing their reaction to the book. What about their post makes you excited to read that classic in particular?

Looking at my Goodreads currently-reading shelf, there’s this one book that’s been stuck there since April. It’s James Joyce’s Ulysses. I’m on the verge of completely abandoning it, but I keep reminding myself that it’s not like me to do that. So I looked for good but non-professional reviews (read: not from a published writer or from a book review column in the papers). The ones that I found were either plain lazy and short (I doubt that they even tried to read it) or pretentious. I want an honest and sincere review.

I haven’t checked for it in the big review list, and I’m glad that this meme came up. It gave me an opportunity to look it up, and whoah! There’s one review of it.

It’s impossible to think of waysUlysses would have been improved, because every little detail that I didn’t like makes the book the book it is. For example, I didn’t like some of the styles Joyce used because I found them confusing, but if you take the experimental parts away then it just wouldn’t be the same.

This is taken from Charlotte’s review at her blog, Charlotte Reads Classics (hello there!). This quote, I think, addresses my problem with the book. There are lots of details in the novel that test my patience (and I’d like to think that I am a very patient reader). I do not approve of Joyce’s style (but I do like Woolf’s). I even go as far as saying that Joyce could have come up with a better version had he written this with a sober head.

But yes, Charlotte is right. We would have a different Ulysses then, or maybe even none. And to convince me further:

And I’ll just mention again how great Molly’s soliloquy is… just so you know I really mean it. IT’S WORTH IT.

So I’ve heard a lot about this soliloquy, which is unfortunately the last chapter. It’s that notorious chapter about Molly saying what’s inside her head in four (?) sentences. What’s amazing is that this chapter runs for 50+ pages! Just imagine how long the sentences are.

I resolve to pick Ulysses up again maybe on December. I won’t promise to reread it though, except for my notes. And thanks to Charlotte. You did me a wonderful favor in sharing a balanced review. :)

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15 thoughts on “The Classics Club Monthly Meme: September 2012

  1. I read Ulysses 40 years ago. I am trying to work up the will to start it again. Also the Greta Garbo version of Anna Karenina was on Sky Cable star channel recently.

  2. HI, I don’t think you would have found my thoughts about Ulysses because they don’t show up in a Google search. I hope you wouldn’t find them pretentious – I wrote them for a group read when we made our way through it chapter by chapter. I love Ulysses, I’ve read it four times and I find new stuff in it every time I do. Anyway, have a look, there mayt be something there that will help you over the hump? See http://anzlitlovers.com/tag/ulysses-disordered-thoughts-of-an-amateur/

  3. I’ve tried (and failed) Ulysses twice…. I really need to give it a good effort one of these days. I think I would need a week or two of undistracted reading time, though. I can’t really focus on it when there’s anything else at all happening in life (work, school, whatever).

    • I even had a blogger friend to read it with me. We both failed. I hope that I can find a very good timing so that I can finally focus on it. And I hope that for you, too. :)

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