I’ve long had an obsession with big books — reading them and/or attempting to read them over many months and sometimes years. This began when I was fifteen and tried and failed to read The Sound and the Fury, resulting in nothing but confusion and annoyance at Mr. Faulkner. While I gave up on S&F, I continued on with Middlemarch, Bleak House, Gravity’s Rainbow, Infinite Jest, many other Faulkner books, and, of course, the “Moby Dick project” of 1997-2011.
Something about these big books with their heft makes me feel like I am accomplishing something just at the attempt. And that my brain, in fact, is not atrophying as I creep into middle-age. However, after the never ending task of Moby Dick, almost mirrored by the search for the great white whale itself, I decided I would need help with Ulysses.
I found this help in the form of three other intrepid readers. From April through August 2012 we set ourselves the task of reading, episode by episode, the monster of all masterpieces that is Ulysses.
I began chronicling my own Odyssey here in blog-form, in a slight-stream-of-consciousness fashion that I like to think Joyce would have appreciated. The blog unlike the book is not yet finished as it has spawned a larger non-digital project, a forthcoming “biblio-memoir” (I’m informed this is an actual sub-genre), Looking for Leopold.