Sunday, May 25, 2008

Love Lost on Joyce

As we were going through the lists of best books etc a few weeks back, I started making note of the books that I really would like to get around to reading. Since writing and reading go hand in hand, I decided that I would read one book a month for pleasure, and another book that pushed me beyond my comfort zone, both as a reader and a writer.

Dave asked if I would read Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" (or whichever way around the words go - I never get it right). I slipped "The Handmaids Tale" in ahead of it - on the premise that my writing group had suggested it to me as 'research' in formulating the world in which 'Adam and Eve' will live. Then I couldn't buy or borrow a copy of 'The Time Travellers Wife" so reluctantly I went to Joyce.

I struggled for around 30 odd pages with 'The Name of the Rose' before I could no longer stand the verbose, and somewhat pointless descriptives, nor all the other stuff that seemed to be intellctual showmanship, rater than penmanship of an author. I'm not quite sure how far I've suffered Joyce, as I've lost the book.

That says a lot!

I remember having it in my hand last night on the way to bed, but where it ended up ... Goddess only knows (and she's does - she's the one who has taken it from me so I can go back to enjoying reading again) I don't consider myself dumb - but I just didn't get what he was writing about. I was continually lost as to what as going on - what the conversations were about. Perhaps it's a historical, religious and cultural issue - I'm know very little of Irish history or politics from the era in which he was writing and even less about Catholicism in that era (but does it ever really chance?) I expect as a common courtesy (and this is well remembered as a writer) that the writer give me, the reader, a small hint or insight as to what is going on ... I don't need to be treated like an imbecile and spoon fed it - like TV, but just the smallest iota .... you know a little goes a long way.

So Joyce is lost ... and I'm not sad in the least! It's quite serendipidous!

I got my Mercurial Bats: Blithe Spirit from Mystic Medusa yesterday about how best to channel the energy of Mercury going retrograde this cycle - which begins tomorrow (keep an eye out on technology going balls up!) One of the suggestions for Saggittarians was to go back and read the books that you really love. With my night stand clear of reading drudgery - I looked immediately up to the book shelf in our bedroom, where my copy of 'Magician' awaits is next reading. It was January last year that I last read it ... so it's definitely time. 'Magician' is one of those books that I try and read every year. And it never loses its brilliance.

Thinking on books that I really love and would like to read again, 'Charlotte's Web' was the second to spring to mind, followed by 'Mists of Avalon' and 'The Forest House' by Marion Zimmer Bradley. We were near the library this afternoon and I couldn't help but see if there was a copy of either of MZB's books - even though I had decided that it was 'Magician' that I really wanted to read next. Knowing also that it will probably take me three weeks to get through 'Magician' which will basically coast me through the Merc Retro period.

Neither titles were on the shelves, but there was a slim paperback called 'Witch Hill' sitting alone. I couldn't help myself ... and after Joyce it's a joy to comsume ... and consume I am ... it probably will be finished before I lay my head down tonight. It has none of the literary vigour of either 'Mists of Avalon' nor 'The Forest House' but its an easy read. Too bad that witchcraft is cast as evil, dark and full of scarey sex.

So it's an official farewell to Joyce (and do I dare say good riddance!) and tomorrow, hello Feist ... as always, I'm ready to go around for another trip around the block with you!

Who is your least favourite writer, and why? Which writer can you simply not live without?

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