1. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    My New Addiction

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by stevesh, Apr 10, 2014.

    I'm convinced that the ratio of the number of people who claim to have read James Joyce's Ulysses to the number of people who have actually read it approaches a maximum. We won't discuss here how many of the latter understood it. I found this the other day and I'm hooked. Five-minute (oddly, the exact duration of my short little span of attention) podcasts of James Delaney reading and explaining the work.

    http://blog.frankdelaney.com/2010/06/re-joyce-episode-0-introduction-to-james-joyces-ulysses.html
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i read enough of it decades ago to know that i didn't care to read all of it...
     
  3. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    There's quite a few books like that. All the Russian classics, the work of Mark Twain, boring books that get assigned in high school. For some reason many people believe the literati will punish them if they don't claim to have read and loved those books. Perhaps one day more people will be brave and honest enough to admit they thought Silver Surfer was the pinnacle of literature, but we aren't there yet.

    In fairness, you don't have to read much of Mark Twain to recognize that he's a great writer, but there are far more who claim to love his work than have loved it.
     
  4. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    I want to read it, but I'm waiting for amazon to fix the problems with the PD version.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Are you saying you're that brave and honest? Are you willing to admit that you think the Silver Surfer is the pinnacle of literature? Do you believe Marvel Comics should receive the Nobel Prize? :p
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The best conversations about Ulysses I've had are with people who've never read the book. Funny, ain't it?
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @MLM : Russian classics have needlessly bad rep in the English speaking world due to tragically bad translations. Try to read "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoyevsky translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, you will be pleasantly surprised. It's a page-turner.

    As far as Joyce is concerned, I never cared for his work. I know it's excellent, but I guess I'm a bit shallow with my books, I like to be intrigued and to sink into the story, I do not like wrestling with the writer and tearing down barriers. I'm too lazy for that.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I second Pevear and Volokhonsky. Anytime you want to read a Russian work of fiction, look for their translations first because they're hands down the best Russian to English translators.
     
  9. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    No, I think Plastic Man is the pinnacle of literature and Kyle Baker should receive a Nobel Prize. :p

    You folks see my point, tho. Whether or not those Russian novels are good or not, a lot more people claim to love them than actually love them.
     
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  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Maybe it's the company I keep, but I've never noticed anyone lying about what they've read. What's the point? There's not much to be gained by lying*.

    * The only exception is if a hot girl tells me she loves anyone who has read something difficult like Finnegan's Wake. In that case, yes, I'm definitely lying.
     
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  11. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    There's coolness points to be gained.
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I actually have read Ulysses. On the other hand, I've never read any Dostoevsky or Tolstoy. Or Proust, for that matter. I admit that I haven't read very much of anything that wasn't originally written in English, because I seem to have a deep distrust for translators. It's what has kept me from reading things like One Hundred Years of Solitude.

    Yes, I should correct this attitude, because I know I'm missing out on tons of great literature.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    MLM...
    for the record, i have enjoyed mark twain's writings and can't see what would put anyone off reading them... his sense of humor was as wry and quirky as my own, so that may be one reason i love his work...
     
  14. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Not if one gets quizzed in detail, there's not. ;)
     
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  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Hahaha, you old dog. :p

    Ulysses is a funny one for me. I've read it, and I alternate between hating it and loving it; between wanting to read it again and glad I read it just the once. The bit where Stephen Dedalus is giving that class on Ancient History is always in the back of my mind for some reason. And yes, I read it in large part to find out how it reflected The Odyssey. And I'm also torn on how I feel about that connection too.

    It's a book I'm glad I read, and I'm not sure how I can improve on that without spilling into nonsense.
     
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  16. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    I have not read Ulysses, but it doesn't sound like something I would read. I tried to listen to the podcast, but I don't like podcasts that I actually need to pay attention to to understand.

    I tend to like mid-grade books that aren't really trashy but not really stuffy either. I like HHGGTG but couldn't stand Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. Neuromancer and Harry Potter are both books that I enjoyed reading once but probably won't read again.

    And I absolutely loathe books about stories that could actually happen today or in the past. There needs to be something magical or technologically weird or else I'm going to assume it ended before it got to the good part.

    American Gods is the pinnacle of literature and it's a shame that the television series got cancelled.
     
  17. b3av3r
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    b3av3r Member

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    I haven't read Ulysses, and I know enough about it to dread reading it. There are some classic pieces of writing I enjoy reading and analyzing, Paradise Lost is one example, but I have to really enjoy the content. A book that tells a story I am not paritcularly interested in will be boring and dreadful regardless of the complexity of the writing. I have a list of classics I feel I should read at least once and I am surprised at which ones I like and which ones I read just to get finished.
     
  18. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    When I was younger I heard Ulysses had been banned for obscenity and so I flipped through it looking for something saucy. I was disappointed and I haven't tried to read it since.
     
  19. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    My advice is to judge for yourself and actually read it. You may end up liking it.
     
  20. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    This ... literally makes no sense.
     
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  21. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    It makes sense to me. An example from gradeschool, we had books that you could take a quiz about and get a free pizza. One of those books was about a girl who wanted a canopy bed, and it might have been less dull if she was also hiding a magical cricket in her room.

    Okay, so I haven't tried to read anything realistic lately. At least Lord of the Flies had hallucinations.
     
  22. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Reality isn't *that* lame, is it? No, it can't be. Reality is full of war and mayhem. That's... interesting?
     
  23. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    I enjoy science magazines and news articles.

    I just remembered the last realistic book that I tried to read. It was about an English housemaid, one of the details about the time period is that they had movie theaters. I learned some interesting stuff but I don't regret leaving it halfway in. (That's about past the point where it would have been cool to discover that someone was secretly a space alien.)

    I know someone that could lend me a Tom Clancey Novel, but I imagine that grabbing his Abraham Lincoln biography would be just as stimulating and more worth my time.
     
  24. b3av3r
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    b3av3r Member

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    I've read parts of it and read articles discussing it but I always keep my mind open that I could end up liking it. I have no doubt I will probably like some parts of it but as a whole I don't think I will.
     
  25. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hm, what's the point of reading it, if you start with negative expectations already rooted in your head?
    I mean, you don't read a book to be dissapointed, right?
    On the other hand, I get you. :D I think I too will start reading Ulysses with a slight tinge of fear and curiosity... I've read a short extract in school and it seemed very different to me. There's a chapter without punctuations if I remember correctly?
     

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