My Life in 5 Books #3

The book you bought but never read?

It’s a pretty easy one this really  –  a book I must’ve started about three times but never got anywhere near finishing. I think it’s actually okay to just dip into this book and get a taste for it without ever reading it all. Ulysses by James Joyce is more like a long poem in some ways. Another novel like that, and one I did actually finish is La Rayuela (Hopscotch) by Julio Cortázar. He’s one of my favourite writers in the Spanish language, although I read him in English translation sometimes too. Hopscotch is more readable than Ulysses in my opinion although it’s not big on plot either. There is no strict beginning, middle and end (you can actually choose your own order!). When people say that is what they want from a book I am left mystified. Can they not be a bit more specific?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Joyce is worth reading. But I seem to be more into others that cite him as a big influence rather than the man himself: Anthony Burgess and BS Johnson for instance. I did really like The Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man when I read it many years ago. I think I might even have read it twice. I also like the short story collection Dubliners. Will I ever finish Ulysses? You never know but I doubt it. Do I care? I won’t lose any sleep over it. Life is too short and there are so many books out there which deserve a fair crack of the whip.


3 thoughts on “My Life in 5 Books #3

  1. You know, there’s so much stuff that people think they ought to read and you see people’s bookshelves full of them. One Hundred Years Of Solitude is one that comes to mind. And I’m sure James Ellroy’s later stuff is one of em. I love Portrait Of The Artist & Dubliners but I could never get into any of the other stuff by Joyce.

  2. My English lit lecturer at university said she had never heard of anyone who had read Ulysses all the way through. And if they had they were probably lying!

    • I know of folk who claim to have read it but I think your lecturer had a point. Let’s say that perhaps they read some pages qite a bit faster than others!

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