Sunday, 24 July 2011

Aspirational Holiday Reading and the Reading Revolution?

Last year I had a very great deal to discuss. This year it is all a very great Work in Progress!I noticed when I opened Ulysses in Cork that my first and last attempt had managed 150 pages out of its 933. I thought I could read it in the week before arriving in Dublin- I'm up to 100 now, a week after arriving in Dublin! We did that hop on hop off tour of Dublin this day last week, and were right beside the very witty guide who asked if anyone had read Ulysses. Of course I said that I was trying to! He was most encouraging and I could hear him announce incredulously to the bus as we eventually got off, "She's reading Ulysses!!"

It helps if you've been to very Martello Tower which opens the thing, and once even swam in the bay where Daedelus and company swam. That was in a former life though- this trip consisted of rock climbing, if you can spot the scrambling strawberries..

I don't mind the stream of consciousness, even though I do have to have to re-read at least a page every time I pick it back up. I like the falling into and out of thought, place, memory, must-do list, smells, dreams. I find it reassuring that the chaos of unordered thought can be enshrined in literature, as a talisman for all unordered thinkers! And it does include the most fabulous descriptions of the sea for anyone on an Irish beach holiday!

Now. Confession time. When asked what I had wanted for my birthday I had reasonably, I felt, requested the DVD of Fergal Keane's Story of Ireland. Instead I got- here it comes- a Kindle! Oh! Controversial! So all the rest of the books I am either reading or trying to read have been downloaded via Whispernet (oh but you have to LOVE that word) to what officially comes up on my non-reflective screen as Mags' Kindle.

I am loving Robinsoe Crusoe- chose this one a: because the original Crusoe- an adventurer called Sedgwick, set sail on that voyage from Kinsale, and b: out of copyright it can be downloaded free, gratis and for nothing as can many, many other titles, like Pride and Prejudice which was my first ever Whispernet arrival.

Is it possible to impregnate prose with one more charged syllable of dramatic irony? I think not. If you have ever struggled to teach this, as I have, look no further. Chapter 1 of RobCru. Or practically every other sentence in all the chapters I've read so far (these amounting to two and a half..)

When done with that set of voyages and strange islands, I'll be straight into another with Travels into Several remote Nations of the World in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships. To give it its real and very full name. a: Because we were all around St Patrick's Cathedral and the house where it was written and b: because being out of cpoyright.... And to my shame, c: despite having lived and worked in the city of Saints and Scholars, close to Gosford Castle where Swift holidayed, I haven't ever actually read it.

And this is the next on the contemporary list- downwhispered to Mags' Kindle to demonstrate to Cooking Catherine how frighteningly easy it is to spend money when your Kindle already holds all your details in its little Amazon cash register! Also because she highly recommends it, and Cooking Catherine is never wrong about books! She's actually never wrong about anything as far as I can see, but she is very good on books!

So, off to bed for another page of Ulysses, not including the one I'll have to read again... And that will leave only 832 to go!


Pom Pom said...

You are a brainy girl! I'm not sure Joyce speaks Pom Pom. I like my Kindle but I do more clicking for regular books. Come to think of it, I had better charge up my clunky old Kindle. I like seeing the strawberries on the rocks!

Floss said...

Well done! I've had pupils who write streams of consciousness, and sometimes I wonder if it's wrong to train them out of it! It worked for Joyce... The thing is making the choice to do it, I suppose.

I was watching an old Who Do You Think You Are the other day and the actress (was it Orla Kierly?) found out that her poor great grandfather's mis-trial was actually reported in a hallucination in one of Joyce's books - I think it was Ulysses. Quite weird.

Elizabethd said...

Arent these little machines amazing?
My husband has an Ipad, and is reading Travels with a Donkey at the moment, a book that I read at age 12, and now must read again.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Hello! I admire you so for taking on Joyce. I have tried a time or two and given up.

I can't find your email so that I can email you my address. My email is Email me!

I have made my donation, by the way, just so you now I am on the up and up and have earned my apple!


Angela said...

We are very impressed. We understood you had to be drunk to read Ulysses [and we are sure that you aren't!]
Please review it when you are through it!!!