Wandering Rocks

  • Do you want to read James Joyce’s Ulysses, but have shied away for its reputed formidability?
  • Have you seen its title top numerous “Best Books” lists and felt a deep and irreconcilable shame that you consider yourself a literate person and have yet to take on Western Culture’s highest literary achievement? 
  • Do you like people sometimes? Especially the aging English major types comically frustrated by contemporary culture’ vapidity and who vainly long for interesting engagement of challenging texts.
  • Do you really think Atlas Shrugged was best book *ever* written?(!!!)

Wandering Rocks could be for you.

Wandering Rocks could be an online reading collective that will take on James Joyce’s Ulysses on June 16th, to commemorate the single day Ulysses depicts, June 16th 1904. Participation is open to all. Participation may involve posting an entry based on a week’s reading or it just may involve making snarky comments from the sidelines. Hasn’t been determined yet. And I’m not sure how much we’ll read per week. Ulysses‘ density varies throughout. We’ll probably fly through “Nausicaa” and “Circe”, but then get slammed by “Oxen in the Sun.” We’ll take it as it goes and make the decisions in the field. 

However, the goal is clear. We will read Ulysses. And we will do it awesomely, by sharing our own insights and befuddlements on the text. We will help each other understand or we will share in confusion. Either way, it will be a blast. As high-minded and esoteric as Ulysses is, it’s all the more profane and hilarious fun.

I strongly suggest familiarizing yourself with Homer’s Odyssey before the 16th, but that’s not necessary.

This is your chance to read, enjoy, and marginally understand what is often considered THE GREATEST BOOK OF ALL TIME. This will be quite a feather in your cap, in a time when cap feathers are so very hard to come by.

Join the team and we’ll figure out the details.

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4 Comments

  1. This is a fantastic idea. I think Ulysses is one of those books which not only lends itself to discussion and group reading, but almost requires it – other people’s ideas and contributions really make a difference on a text like this one. Count me in! 🙂

  2. Excellent to have you aboard. We’re going to run it mainly from another WordPress blog that I set up exclusively for this. Check it out here… http://wanderingrox.wordpress.com/

  3. Jerry, Jerry, Jerry, are you not going to name your next car Roark? You’re missing out on an exceptional joy in life: naming cars after Ayn Rand characters.

    Seriously, Atlas Shrugged was not the best book ever written. I always skip the John Galt speech at the end. But hey, that Dagny Taggart was a goer, eh?

    It’s a decent work of fiction, but hardly a nirvana of philosophy and life. As I mentioned before, Ayn Rand herself was a hypocritical creep and can’t be taken seriously, but fictionally, not a bad ride for fun.

    My comment on Joyce: He was a great writer of sentences and paragraphs that hit your soul like a ray of sun on a cold day, but could not handle a plot. Does he belong in the Canon of Western Literature? Nope, but as a curiosity in the history of the modern novel, he’s worth slogging through I think. It’s always interesting to know how we got here.

    I’m still on page 300. I really must move on, but Stephen Dedalus is one of the worst characters I have ever encountered. What a whiner! He’s even worse than Tinky Holloway.

  4. I think we are reading Ulysses awesomely, though ‘Circe’ will be difficult to fly through. I wonder if you’d like to link to http://joycebooks.wordpress.com, which links to my recording of the novel. It’s imperfect, being the first time I read it, but still helpful. Anyway, thanks again for promoting Ulysses. I hope you make it through Circe alive!


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