Tag Archives: James Joyce

the last saturday of summer


It’s Saturday again, and you all know what that means… it’s Library Day!

Best snags today– newest Dorothy Cannell mystery; “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”; and “The Hound of the Baskervilles” with Jeremy Brett as Holmes.  (What is that I smell?  A comparison post?  Yummo!)

Check out my sidebar for the rest of my lovely swag.

And yes, coming this evening to a blog near you– Douglas Adams appreciation.  Watch this space.

the nonsense is blowing in the wind

 Why, hello.  Did you do your homework?  Have you listened to or read Aeolus? 

Good, good.

So, let’s review: Aeolus is the section of Ulysses that is roughly set as a newspaper, complete with bold titles and (mostly) uninterested reporting of events. 

this chapter is full of wind bags.

this chapter is full of wind bags.

The wind bags in this section have blown in these random bits of marginalia.

“The hoarse Dublin United Tramway Company’s timekeeper bawled them off”– Reminds me of Cosby’s subway routine called “Incoherency.”

Is the porter a Sontarian in disguise?

is the porter a Sontarian in disguise?

“All his brains are in the nape of his neck, Simon Dedalus says.  Welts of flesh behind him.”– Is that a probic vent I see? 

 “But will he save the circulation?”– He needs Jack, David and the Newsies (Let’s be honest– every one needs Newsies!)

“HOW A GREAT DAILY ORGAN IS TURNED OUT”– ok, that’s dirty.  Even for you, J.J!

“Monkeydoodle the whole thing.”– another excellent phrase that I wish to incorporate into my everyday vocabulary.

“his spellingbee conundrum…”– a cute puzzle.  He should send it to Click & Clack for the Car Talk puzzler.

“Time to get out.”– he knows a lambasting is coming.

“ONLY ONCE MORE THAT SOAP”– I’d forgotten about the soap.

“Wouldn’t it give you heartburn on your arse?”– Um… no?

“The pensive bosom and the overarsing leafage…”– I have to agree with them here; this is ridiculous doggeral.

“The right honorable Hedges Eyre Chatterton”– is he involved in the Eyre Affair?

“SHORT BUT TO THE POINT”– but what was the point?

“The doorknob hit Mr Bloom in the small of the back as the door was pushed in.”– Ouch!

not recommended by your chiropractor

not recommended by your chiropractor

I’ll leave you today with that painful memory.  Tomorrow– more hot air.

in which I regress to childhood



As you all know, I’ve been reading James Joyce’s “Ulysses” along with the Wandering Rocks team. 

Well, we have a new section this week– “Aeolus” [yup, it is full of wind bags]– and a new contributor– Brendan.  With all of this novelty floating about, I figured I would try reading this chapter in a retro way…

“You can read along with me in your book.  You will know it is time to turn the page when you hear the chimes ring, like this.*Ping*  Let’s begin now.” 

{ye olde Disney read-along books on records– anyone?  John–enough with the cricket noises already.  You just don’t know the glory of 45’s.} 

a disney record player-- I totally had one of these.  wonder what happened to it.

a disney record player-- I totally had one of these. wonder what happened to it.

Our Brendan doesn’t have any chimes, but he has read aloud “Ulysses” and made his recordings available as podcasts: the Joycecast.  Please go and have a listen. 

Brendan’s voice is lovely  {I have a thing for men with great reading voices.  Yum.}  His accents are generally quite good (and, as far as I know, he comes by them legitimately), and my favorite bit is that he keeps his little mistakes of pronunciation or inflection in.  Thus, his readings feel comfortable and friendly, instead of formal or stiff.  I put his “Aeolus” on my pretty purple ipod & read along with him in my book.  I managed to figure out when to turn the page all by myself.  I know you are proud.  I also made silly notes in the margins– you have come to expect nothing less, I know.

So, my darlings, go and have a listen; then come back tomorrow, when I will post my first batch of marginalia for this chapter.


my choice of reading material have grown up a bit, but being read to still rocks!

my choice of reading material have grown up a bit, but being read to still rocks!

p.s.  CeCe, my playmate, if you want to come out and play with me at Wandering Rocks, we’ll be jolly friends forever more.  Or, follow the page-by-page shenanigans on Twitter: WanderingRox


Hades is not a cheerful place


Can you believe it?  Two posts in one day– this hasn’t happened in awhile.   For my second trick today, I’m giving you the rest of my marginalia for the Hades section of James Joyce’s Ulysses.  My margins are full to bursting! 

Part one comments reside here.  (If you’re new to this game, it’s great fun.  Click on the Ulysses category on my sidebar to find the rest of them.)

Picking up on page 92 of the Vintage edition…

The River Styx just isnt as fun as it used to be. 

The River Styx just isn't as fun as it used to be.

“The devil break the hasp of your back!”– Why is this funny?

“Well, nearly all of us.”– Ouch!

“As decent a little man as ever wore a hat, Mr Dedalus said.”– I like this phrase.  Finally Mr. D is not being a twat.

“Our.  Little.  Beggar.  Baby.”– how awful and sad!

“But the worst of all, Mr Power said, is the man who takes his own life.”– Now listen here.  You leave poor Leo’s dad alone.

“Martin Cunningham drew out his watch briskly, coughed and put it back.”– Take the hint, dude.

 You did WHAT? to the roast beef, Everton?  You shall die for this.

You did WHAT? to the roast beef, Everton? You shall die for this.

“Roast beef for old England.”– Reminds me of that episode of Chef!

“To heaven by water.”– Not one of your best advertising ideas there, Leo.

“Better for ninetynine guilty to escape than for one innocent person to be wrongfully condemned.”– Powers would have this reversed.

“Too many in the world.”– Well that’s depressing.

“I was in mortal agony with you talking of suicide before Bloom.”– You tell him, Mr. C!

“Condole with her…” — I don’t approve on hitting on recent widows, Leo.  At least you thought better of it.

“[Mr Bloom] dropped carefully his unfolded newspaper from his pocket and knelt his right knee upon it.”– cute.

“With a belly on him like a poisoned pup.”– eww!

“Makes them feel more important to be prayed over in Latin.”– well, yes.

“One whiff of that and you’re a goner.”– gruesome.  Sounds like something from Castle of Otranto or Poe.

“Mr Power took his arm.”– Ok- I feel sorry for old Mr. D now.

“The reverend gentleman read the service too quickly, don’t you think?  Mr Kernan said with reproof.”– yes, I do.

“Come forth, Lazarus!  And then he came fifth and lost the job.”– Harde har har

“What? Eh? Corny Kelleher said.”– Is our Corny a bit slow?

“A traveller for blottingpaper.”– Does he know the territory? [Wilson’s The Music Man]

“They tell the story…”– Why are all of their jokes about drunk men?

“Come on out and live in the graveyard.”– Probably not the most successful of chat-up lines.

“In the midst of death we are in life.”– reminds me of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

“Well preserved fat corpse gentleman…” — Listen, Leo.  Not everything is a business opportunity. 

“Nothing to feel on feed on themselves.”– eww!

“Every Friday buries a Thursday if you come to look at it.”– cheesy pun.

“It’s the moment you feel…”– What the moment of death may be like, as a Python sketch.

“Does he ever think of the hole waiting for himself?…”– It is a creepy feeling. 

“the gravediggers rested their spades”– “Tamp it down tight, Charlie.” [Disney’s A Christmas Carol]

“That one day he will come again.”– like King Arthur?  or was that Jesus?

“Eulogy in a country churchyard it ought to be that poem”– a good poem, that.

“Have a gramophone in every grave or keep it in the house.”– What a strange, yet tempting, idea.

“Cremation better…”– God, he is morbid here– yet practical.

“Back to the world again.”– Yes, please.

“that case I read of to get at fresh buried females”– ewww!

“Plenty to see and hear and feel yet.  Feel live warm beings near you.”– Now that’s the Leo that we know and love.

“John Henry Menton stared at him for an instant without moving.”– Ouch!  Cut him dead in true Regency style.

“Thank you.  How grand we are this morning.”– Are we sarcastic, too?


My, this was a cheerful and optimistic chapter!

My, this was a cheerful and optimistic chapter!

Wow!  I’d forgotten how long that section was– and we’ve got a longer one coming up.  I may well break these up into 3 or 4 sections for Aeolus section.

Are you all still enjoying these?  If so, drop me a comment and let me know, or share some of your book graffiti with me.

Wobbly bits– Ulysses section 6 part 1

This is how I felt about this chapter.

This is how I felt about this chapter.

What happened to my Ulysses comments, you may ask. 

Well, I didn’t want to steal Katie Else’s thunder over at Wandering Rocks.  She  is doing such a lovely job of summarizing and discussing the “Hades” section 6 (yes, ok, I know it’s been awhile since I blogged about it, but yes, I am definately still reading!)  Do not abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

But now as she’s well on her way, I think it is about time to share with you some more of my random marginalia for this section.  If you want to see the previous bits of these, click on the Ulysses Category in my sidebar. 

 Off we go! 

“Huggermugger in corners”– like the flower watcher in As Time Goes By?

“Goulding, Collis and Ward he calls the firm”– see Car Talk’s  Dewey, Cheatem and Howe.  Ha!

“He’s in with a lowdown crowd, Mr Dedalus snarled…” — Yikes!  Mr. Dedalus is the Aunt Agatha chewing broken bottles & devouring his young.

“See him grow up.”– This longing is terribly sad.  I like Leo again.

“O jumping Jupiter!”– “Leaping Lizards!”

“It’s as uncertain as a child’s bottom.”– Now that just doesn’t make any sense.

“Blazes Boylan, Mr Power said”– Hello, Blazes, about time!

“Shift stuck between the cheeks behind.”– Eww!  He does like her squidgy, wobbly bits, though.  Cue Bridget Jones, here.


This looks like a good place to end for tonight.   Who’d have imagined Leaping Lizards and wobbly bits gallivanting about in the Underworld– apparently Joyce.

Are you enjoying these wobbly bits of randomness?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

going to town with the randomness


Good morning, all–


Now, you weren’t expecting that, were you!  Neither was I expecting the riches these pages would hold for massive silliness!  Here’s the second part (for part 1, click here) of my scribbling scrawl across the pages of section 5 of Ulysses. 

“Wish I hadn’t met that M’Coy fellow”– dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a plot device!

“Mohammed cut a piece out of his mantel not to wake her”– huh???

“Go further next time…”  —What is going on here? 

“Wonder how they explain it to the heathen Chinese”– a good question, indeed.

“These pots we have to wear.  We ought to have hats modelled on our heads.”– I feel the same way about jeans.

“Cold comfort”– Farm?

“Father Bernard Vaughan’s sermon first.  Christ or Pilate?  Christ, but don’t keep us all night over it.  Music they wanted.”– so, hasn’t changed much, then.

“They had a gay old time while it lasted”– yes, yes they did.

“Penance.  Punish me please.”– oh dear, he IS kinky.

“Squareheaded chaps”– wearing square pants?

“Better be shoving along, Brother Buzz”– To Infinity and Beyond!

“Quest for the philosopher’s stone”– hello, Harry, I hadn’t expected to find you here.

“poppy syrup bad for cough”– Poppies, Poppies will put her to sleep (The Wizard of Oz)

“It certainly did make her skin so delicate white like wax”– ha!  just read a blog on this! Check it!

“Also I think I…”– does this bit mean what I think it does?  Knowing JJ, yes.  Ewww.

“Raffle for a tender turkey”– wait… that was the plot of a Hercule Poriot episode, and I’m fairly certain, a Sherlock Holmes one, too.

Ok– you guys MUST have your own scribbles– let’s hear some!

a lotus snack


Hi, folks– Since Voreblog will begin twreading section 5 of Ulysses today over at Wandering Rocks, I figured I’d post my book graffitti for the first part of this section.  If you want to see my remarks on section four, click here.

So, let the lotus eating begin.

“Too hot to quarrel”– It’s too darn hot! (Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate)

“Flowers of idleness”– seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness (John Keats’s To Autumn)

“Or is it the volume is equal of the weight?”– Yup, that’s me and math, alright.

“Too showy.  That must be why women go after them.  Uniforms”– yes, indeed.

“Hate company when you” — are trying to be sneaky.

“How’s the body?”– So it goes (Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5)

“Women all for caste till you touch the spot”– hmmm. liking Leo a bit less here.

“Dark lady and fair man”– Othello in reverse?

“Poor papa!” — Papa, can you hear me? (Legrand and the Bergman’s Yentl)

That’s enough for today.  Part 2 up soon. 

Leave a comment with some of your book graffitti from this section.

jangling springs


Here’s part 2 of Ulysses episode 4 of my silly book scribblings.  If you haven’t read the first part, you can find it here.  This section didn’t have as many wacky sections, but a few were doozeys!

“What a time you were, she said”– she is sooo lazy!

“She set the brasses jingling as she raised herself briskly, an elbow on the pillow”– You must meet my wife [Sondheim’s A Little Night Music]

“Saucebox.”– great term!  I will use this!

“Quietly he read, restraining himself…”– ok, this whole section is all just more than I needed to know.  eww!

“Heigho!  Heigho!”– It’s off to work we go [Disney’s Snow White]

Right– section 5 soon.

are you a literary geek? umm, yes.


A Literary Geek Meme

Thanks kindly to House of Duck, who let me borrow it.

1) What author do you own the most books by?

Lillian Jackson Braun– well, she did write over 30!  I think I own 8?  A close runner up would be Elizabeth Peters.  I think I have 6 or 7 of hers.

2) What book do you own the most copies of?

William Shakespeare’s plays– I’ve got 2 “complete” copies, and several versions of individual plays in paperback

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

Yes.  Yes, it does.  I do teach grammar, after all.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Sherlock Holmes– have been since I saw Jeremy Brett playing him; Laurie R. King has just encouraged me

4a) What fictional character would you most like to be?

Anne of Green Gables– who wouldn’t want to live on P.E.I and love Gilbert?

4b) What fictional character do you think most resembles you?

Polly from “The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew”– go on.  read it and see.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?

“The Outlaws of Sherwood” by Robin McKinley– I used to read it every six months when I was in school

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

Ohh.. that’s hard.  I started on adult novels pretty early.  I think by ten I was into Agatha Christies’ s “Tuesday Club Murders”

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

Wow, hmmm… this is difficult b/c I don’t tend to start books that I’m not already pretty sure I’m going to like.  Maybe “Miracle Myx”? (see my review here)

8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

 I think “At Home in Mitford”by Jan Karon– it’s a soft, pastor-in-a-small-town novel.  I laughed, I cried, and I immediately went and read the rest of the series straight through.  Then my dad did as well.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

“Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  It is fabulous, gothic, and about the love of books.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?

JK Rowling. Screw proper “literature” and the snobs.  Anyone who can get my 7th graders to read multiple 400+ page novels deserves this prize in my book!

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

I want to see “The Hobbit” done by the same crew who did such a great job with LotR.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie R. King– one of my favorite books, so I don’t want it spoilt

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

Sometimes when my brothers were little and I had to read “Green Eggs and Ham” to them all of the time, I’d find myself reciting it in my sleep.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?

The Ranma 1/2 mangas

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

“The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Crime and Punishment” are tied here– I had to make charts half-way through just to keep all of the name changes straight;

however, I think “Ulysses” is going to take the cake, once I have finished it.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?

A Winter’s Tale

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

The French: “they don’t care what they do, actually– as long as they pronounce it properly” 🙂 [hint- quotation from the same source as my blog’s name]

18) Roth or Updike?

Updike– I like his rewrite of the Hamlet story: “Gertrude and Claudius”

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

Dave Eggers– who else would have the guts to call his novel/ memoir: “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”?!

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Shakespeare, any day.

21) Austen or Eliot?

Austen– but I actually prefer the film adaptations on these.  I had a bad experience with “Middlemarch” and haven’t yet forgiven Eliot.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Eliot, Austen, Bronte– that sort of thing.

23) What is your favorite novel?

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

24) Play?

“The Pirates of Penzance” by Gilbert and Sullivan– I like musical theatre.

25) Poem?

“Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll

26) Essay?

Mark Twain on the inadequacies of James Fenimore Cooper

27) Short story?

oh, really, any of the Jeeves stories by P. G. Wodehouse

28) Work of non-fiction?

Harold Bloom on Hamlet

29) Who is your favorite writer?

Laurie R. King.  I’ve read, I think, everything she’s written, and they are all exceptional.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Toni Morrison.  I’m sorry, but all of her books are really the same basic characters and themes.

31) What is your desert island book?

“The Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: a five-book trilogy

32) And … what are you reading right now?

I am reading the following. I jump around based on my mood, where the book is in the house, and how much time I’ve got:

“Ulysses” by James Joyce

“Baby, Would I Lie?” by Donald E. Westlake

“A Beautiful Blue Death” by Charles Finch

How did you do?  Are you a literary geek too?  Drop me a comment below.