punch him in the face!

…a constant mid-movie refrain of mine. And yet again, as I read,

His hand looking for the where did I put found in his pocket soap… Ah soap  there! Yes. Gate. Safe!

all I can think at the top of my lungs is, “Punch him in the face!” Bloom sees Boylan, the man he knows is giving him the horn, and he’s reduced to the obsequious coward?!

For all my ranting, I’d probably do/be the same…

joyce’s juices

I’m just over a third though Ulysses and I’m struck by Joyce’s preoccupation with bodily fluids and functions. I wager I’ll read about cum before this book ends.

chapbook: on death

There is none now to be for Leopold what Leopold was for Rudolph.

Bloom is the only one left in the trinity, having survived father and son, Rudolph and Rudolph/Rudy.

The man was alive fifteen minutes before he was dead.

the met him pike hoses of milk

Corpse is meat gone bad. So what is cheese? Corpse of milk?

Things that wither express more than things that are immortal.

Sex and Death are irretrievably conflated in Nighttown: Corpse roam the streets along with the vestal not so virgins. Bloom sees Rabi Rudolph behind a crone with a lamp and tries to hide the swine in his coat pocket. Stephen sees his mother’s dead body as the guilt of the cardinal’s son/sin takes hold. Telemachus and Odysseus are united in grief.

Life is many days. This will end.

chapbook: in the spirit of haines’s

Hyperborean: people of the land of perpetual sunshine/of the far north. Jim and Kate

Thought is the thought of thought: Thoughtology

Jejune: dull, lacking…

Mummer: a person who, literally/figuratively, wears a mask of happiness, pantomime. As I was describing this to Galactus, he said, -Like V for Vendetta.

v, a mummer

Peripatetic: Aristotelian walkabouts

A pier is a disappointed bridge.

Shut your eyes and see: Kubric’s last shit movie.


I’ve tried reading Ulysses in the past. It was a spectacular failure. I couldn’t connect with the dialect, the references were too obscure or quick on each others heels, stream of consciousness is a bitch to read, and I felt out of my depth… It was frustrating and I had more accessible books handy, books with women in them! So I moved on quickly.

What’s made the difference this time? Jim Norton.

I’m tempted to say ‘audiobooks’ in general, but most of the time I can’t abide audible swallows. Jim Norton, however, is peerless. He’s blown the book wide open for me with his gift for speech and meticulous direction. And I’ve read and re-read The Odyssey, mostly Walcott’s version.

Generally, I’ll avoid introductions and appendices, but can appreciate their worth in novels like Ulysses.

For my Ulysses entries, I’ll write my own chapbook on some of Joyce’s one-liners, words and ideas that resonate.

…and so it begins.

Here’s how I chose the 52.

six of the 52 novels

White Teeth (Smith, 2004) and Lolita (Nabakov, 1955) were no-brainers. Read them, adored them. At Swim-Two-Birds (O’Brien, 1938) intersected in the critics’ choices, so it’s on the list. It’s already proving a bitch to locate. Like Grossman and Lacayo, I wanted to make this a reading and re-reading adventure, so some books that I read when I was much younger, eg. Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston, 1937), as well as quite a few I’d never heard of but I’m now curious about, eg. Snow Crash (Stephenson 1992) made the list. I wanted representation from the Caribbean, so  A House for Mr. Biswas (Naipaul,1962) made the list, as did an Australian novel, since it’s where I now reside. I wanted to cover as many genres as possible, so I included teen fiction, sci-fi/fantasy and a graphic novel.

And I’m reading Ulysses (Joyce 1922). It was specifically mentioned by the critics as ineligible, even though it is possibly “the greatest novel written in the 20th century”, because it was written a year before TIME. So I’m reading it in December 2010 as a ‘warm-up’ exercise for January 2011. I’ve got some gonads!