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If you can't judge a book by its cover, how do you judge it?

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

I know it's a little cliché to say you can't judge a book by its cover but surely the cover and blurb should persuade us a little when it comes to picking a book title but when it comes to judging Joyce and his epic masterpiece Ulysses, how exactly do you judge its contents?

Half way through Ulysses, there are parts I love and parts I don't and then there are parts that are bold and controversial for the time and I wouldn't say that it is the best thing since sliced bread especially considering that it predates sliced bread which wasn't created until 1928 but it is worth picking up and exploring the world that Joyce created.

Well maybe I should say the world that he recreated from memory rather than created.


Whatever the ingredients for a good book are, I am curious what will be the next best thing since Ulysses and I will have to pick up another loaf to put on my bread shelf when I eventually finish Ulysses.

I have given myself until the centenary celebrations on Groundhog Day but sometimes I wonder if I have bitten of more than I can chew.

I have enjoyed bitesize books that have explored Ulysses and Joyce's life such as At It Again's Romping Through Ulysses and Senator Norris´ Joyce A Graphic Guide but digesting Joyce is taking rather longer than I thought it would.


I have set time aside to read the book but it is not easy to read in noisy environments or places with any distractions at all and I have probably read half the book twice as I have found myself repeating pages and getting lost in passages only to reread them again and again, and sometimes I really wish there were clear chapters to follow.

I am reading a Wordsworth version which was definitely worth the money for the word count in Ulysses alone but I think I should suggest a page break between chapters so you know when you are reading the chapters Telemachus, Nestor, Proteus, Calypso, Lotus Eaters etc.

My advice for anyone diving into the book is, use a post-it to mark the paragraph instead of just a bookmaker to mark the page. It might save you from reading parts of the book twice or trice.

SHELFIE: Euge Delin's shelfie of her copies of Ulisses. Gracias Euge.


Senator Norris with his copy of Ulysses.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover but I love seeing all the different versions of Ulysses and some people have shared shelfies full of different versions of Ulysses and one girl in Uruguay shared her shelves with us that showed numerous versions of Ulisses.

In fact she thinks she might have every edition of Ulisses that was ever published in Spanish.

However you judge a book, let's take a look at that judge who declared that Joyce's epic wasn't obscene which led to the legal importation of Ulysses in America and also a book I will have to pick up when I finally finish Ulysses that is called Aloysius The Great.

Author John Maxwell O'Brien with his copy of Ulysses.

I will post future blogs on Judge John M Woolsey and one on Aloysius The Great.

I believe the Join Maxwell O'Brien's book pays homage to James Augustine Aloysius Joyce in many different ways and also the characters in the book are all named after Joycean characters, both real and imagined.

Friends of Joyce, critics and even that judge I mentioned earlier are referenced within the book and I know it is a must read when I finally finish Ulysses by the centenary celebrations on Groundhog Day and I look forward to reading Aloysius The Great in 2022.

This shelfie is far from the full collection of Jamie Saloman's books in the Bloomsday Montreal Ulysses reading group

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UNESCO City of Literature

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