Monthly Archives: June 2010

Wondering What This List Tells Me

Inspired by Bibliographing’s “Bizarre Ranks of the Most-Read,” I’ve been turning over in my own mind which authors I have most read. Excluded are writers I read in my teens and poets, with a cut-off below 5 books. There are … Continue reading

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Tackling Tough Books

Is it me or am I seeing a lot about difficult books? Life is too short and abandoning Finnegans Wake being recurrent themes. I’ve yet to even attempt the Wake and may come to sympathise with those who leap overboard. I do … Continue reading

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Portals of Discovery

-What is a ghost? Stephen said with tingling energy. One who has faded into impalpability through death, through absence, through change of manners. Part 2, chapter 6 of Ulysses: Nabokov instructs his students thus: The discussion in this chapter is … Continue reading

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Ulysses and the Odyssey

Unlike Finnegans Wake, to which he was indifferent, Nabokov thought Ulysses one of the greatest  novels of the twentieth century. In his dissection of the novel, when teaching at Cornell, he disdained the Homeric parallels, supplying only a map of Dublin. … Continue reading

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Ulysses In Progress

With limited reading time I am slowly savouring Ulysses. I paused before Leopold Bloom’s entrance in Episode 4: Calypso. Without gushing at such an early stage, I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying Ulysses, but if you have … Continue reading

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Chefs Pick Food Books

Asked to name their favourite non-cookbook food books, leading chefs nominated: Blue Trout and Black Truffles: The Peregrinations of an Epicure – Joseph Wechsberg The Art of Eating – M. F. K. Fisher Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris – … Continue reading

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Always so strange to return to a book that we revered in earlier days. In my twenties Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Kafka’s Amerika and Sartre’s Nausea were my literary touchstones. The latter I reread … Continue reading

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Love of Words

He drew forth a phrase from his treasure and spoke it softly to himself: – A day of dappled seaborne clouds. The phrase and the day and the scene harmonised in a chord. Words. Was it their colours? He allowed … Continue reading

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Dreyfus in Our Times

“What is collective passion?” begins an incisive article in the London Review of Books. Jacqueline Rose examines the Dreyfus affair, the argument that, “What happened [to Dreyfus] in France at the turn of the century was in many ways a … Continue reading

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On Reading Ulysses for the First Time

Don’t panic. Don’t panic if after the first episode you haven’t understood much. Don’t panic if you don’t know if you’ve come to the end of the first episode. Everything comes to those that wait. Everything will be revealed by … Continue reading

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