Enjoying Joyce, Your Way
Updated: Jan 10
With less than a month to go to Groundhog Day and the centenary celebrations of Ulysses and the 140th anniversary of the birth of James Joyce on the 2nd of February, there is still time to finish Ulysses yourself or time to start it on Groundhog Day and maybe aim to finish it for Bloomsday.
Firstly, Ulysses is a challenge and despite being a slow reader, I am slowly getting through it and I still hope to finish in time for the centenary celebration.
Two options are available for anyone wishing to finish by Groundhog Day without reading 700 pages of text and they are an audio version and a condensed version.
I have really enjoyed the audio version of Ulysses as I travel to and from work and have loved listening to Joyce's world while moving around a modern city like Madrid and an audio version will take you about 27 hours so technically you could start in February and finish by the 2nd but you wouldn't get much sleep if you tried that, would you?
An hour or two while commuting and you will finish Ulysses in time but if you only had an hour then there is a condensed version available which took me a little over an hour to read.
If you only have about 70 minutes to spare on the Groundhog Day Challenge then maybe you want to try the condensed abridged version http://thehundredbooks.com/ulysses.htm
The Hundred Books has created easy to read abridged versions of all the books we were meant, to have read at this stage in our life and if you have 100 hours to spare then maybe you can enjoy all their abridged versions.
I am reading a Wordsworth version of Ulysses with a picture of the Ha'Penny Bridge on it and for anyone interested in an unabridged version to start reading then I will hopefully be able to get hold of some actual books to giveaway.
You can start Ulysses at any time but it is important to remember that it is a difficult read and my interest in Joyce was founded with a Bloomsday Society where I followed their monthly readings and saw the passion and enthusiasm that people had for Joyce's work.
In the digital age, there are plenty of options that Joyce could never have dreamed about such as e-books, Kindle and websites like https://www.joyceproject.com which allows you to follow all the complicated references at a click.
Stately plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead for example includes a reference to Oliver Saint John Gogarty and "came from the staircase" shows a picture from the top of the Martello tower in Sandycove the we now know as Joyce's Tower and Museum.
Ulysses is not an easy read so make it easier on yourself if you can and find the best way to enjoy Joyce is my advice. Find your local Bloomsday Society or start one yourself. Follow a digital version or have it read to you by downloading an audio book for example.
A century later and you can enjoy Joyce in various ways and various formats and one of the most interesting and fun ways that I have come across to enjoy Joyce is with cocktails as two ladies in Dublin toast to Joyce while reading sections of Ulysses for their Podcast.
You can listen to Ulysses and Cocktails on https://www.buzzsprout.com/1772420
and follow Ulyssesshots on Instagram.
We can all raise a glass to Joyce's controversial look at Edwardian Dublin but 100 years later and his confusing references can be cleared up with a simple click or Google search.