Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Bloomsday!

It's Bloomsday again. June 16th, the day on which--in 1904--the entire action of James Joyce's Ulysses takes place. Ulysses is, of course, considered by many to be the greatest novel of all time (it's number one on the Modern Library board's list of 100 Best Novels and number eleven on their reader's list). It's celebrated the world over, with marathon readings and, this year, a Twitterfest, in which the novel is broken down into 140 character tweets (#BloomsdayBurst). Tales of Brave Ulysses is a Joycean blog on WordPress. This piece on talks with the project's organizer.

Now, not everyone agrees that this work should receive this sort of fevered adoration. My friend and fellow book blogger EnriqueFreeque organized a group reading of the novel several years ago on LibraryThing. The group was enthusiastic, and the discussions were lively. Most readers fell into the fevered adoration category. EnriqueFreeque had this to say about Ulysses, "I loathe Ulysses the way that most sensible folks loathe the very existence of Bernie Madoff. It's an all encompassing and consuming loathing leaving no room for mercy....I hated it." (Read his full review here.) I had read the book years before and liked it, but couldn't endure the snobbery of many of the group members. 

But I still love the hoohah associated with the novel on this date every year. Any book that inspires such strong feelings (even if they're negative feelings, like my friend's) is all right by me.

Happy Bloomsday everyone.


EnriqueFreeque said...

You're too kind to link my review on this terrible day commemorating one terrible book. Thanks!

Rebecca Glenn said...

Thanks for linking me up in the Salon. I'm the frogblogger now. (BTW, I only said that some of them were snobby...and I thought I demonstrated admirable restraint by not calling them effete snobs.)

EnriqueFreeque said...

You did demonstrate remarkable restraint by not giving them the "effete" word!