I've tried reading James Joyce's Ulysses, but I never quite finished it. I've met plenty of people who started it, but only a couple (who say) they finished it. In order to be A Real Intellectual (tm), you need to be able to bluff yourself through a discussion of the novel. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of Ulysses for Dummies.
From Hunger smells an opportunity when we step in it. Herewith, our stripped-down, revved-up version of Joyce's great work, which we, with one eye on the marketplace, have called Ulysses for Dummies. Now you can thrill to the discussion of Shakespeare in chapter 9; weep with Simon Dedalus at Dignam's funeral in chapter 6; frolic with Bloom and Stephen in chapter 15's dreamscape of Nighttown; and join in Molly's optimistic vindication of the world in chapter 18. And it's in color, thanks to the 16-color palette of Windows Paintbox! Those with Netscape Navigator 2.0 have another (quite moving!) surprise.
Very funny. I do feel I should give the book another try..
I just finished Ralp Ellison's Invisible Man in a single day. Yes, all 468 pages of it (with a tiny typeface, I might add). I probably enjoyed reading it more than I will be enjoying writing the essay on it..
Saul Bellow, who rose from writing book reviews for $10 apiece to become one of America's greatest novelists after World War II, passed away on Tuesday at age 89. Friend and lawyer Walter Pozen said Bellow died of natural causes at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife by his side. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, and three National Book Awards, Bellow was the author of such novels as "The Adventures of Augie March," "Herzog," and "Henderson the Rain King."
..The Da Vinci Code. I'm probably one of the 12 literate people in the world who hasn't read the book yet. In a few days that'll be down to 11. The Vatican claims that the novel is "a deliberate attempt to discredit the Roman Catholic Church through absurd and vulgar falsifications". Since I'm feeling slighlty blasphemous, and hey it is Easter, now seems as good a time as any to finally read it.
And that's "important literary figure that passes away" number two:
Hunter S. Thompson, the acerbic counterculture writer who popularized a new form of fictional journalism in books like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," fatally shot himself Sunday night at his Aspen-area home, his son said. He was 67.
Thompson pretty much invented 'Gonzo'-writing and his writing is,even if it is not at its best, always alive and exciting. If you're reading his work it feels like you're almost in the book, and experiencing it as if you were there. That makes sense, because Thompson was there.
These are my selections for good starting points to get into Thompson's writing. I included some of his Gonzo 'fiction', Articles/Essays, as well as his only 'real' novel.
There's a lot more to read, and this really only scratches the surface. For more on Thompson you should check out The Great Thompson Hunt.
AP reports that:
Arthur Miller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose most famous fictional creation, Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman," came to symbolize the American Dream gone awry, has died. He was 89.
Philip Roth's The Human Stain, which I re-read this week, is an amazing book. Roth is of course one of the U.S's leading novelists with an astute sense of style as well as American culture and he succeeds in combining these in one of his best works. The novel interestingly uses the tradition of the Passing Narrative, which is an African American form but now used by a Jewish American writer. Coleman Silk, the story's main character, is a retired classics professor who has been 'passing' for a Jewish American to conceal his African American roots. Ironically, he retired because of an alleged racist comment. I'm not gonna give away too much but Roth's approach to race, as well as the other themes adressed, is complex and makes for a fascinating read. Next up, The Plot Against America.
J.D. Salinger is a strange writer. With The Catcher in the Rye he wrote one of the classics of 20th Century American literature, but after a short period of productivity he more or less vanished into obscurity. The status of 'Catcher' is perhaps detrimental to the attention that is given to his other works (excluding Franny and Zooey which are commonly anthologized), and it is sometimes difficult to find some of his work in a library. "J.D. Salinger. Uncollected Writings", compiles a large collection of his work in web-format. Worth looking into if you are curious about his work. Although it is bit of a pain to read a novel from the screen, some stories are short enough for that.
From BBC News:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has topped Amazon's book chart less than 24 hours after its release date - 16 July - was announced.
Thousands of customers placed pre-orders on the amazon.co.uk website for the sixth book in the series.
Rowling revealed she had completed the novel on Tuesday, ahead of the scheduled announcement on 25 December.
While I liked part 5, I do expect something more from this part. The big question is of course which character will die in this book. And who is the Half-Blood Prince?