Tuesday, 22 March 2011

More than just words...

I'd like to share an extract from a book I'm reading called "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce.
"He wanted to cry. He leaned his elbows on the table and shut and opened the flaps of his ears. Then he heard the noise of the refectory every time he opened the flaps of his ears. It made a roar like a train at night. And when he closed the flaps the roar was shut off like a train going into a tunnel. That night at Dalkey the train had roared like that and then, when it went into the tunnel, the roar stopped. He closed his eyes and the train went on, roaring and then stopping; roaring again, stopping. It was nice to hear it roar and stop and then roar out of the tunnel again and then stop."
This may not seem like an epic tale or a heartfelt poem as the language is so casual (the language in the book develops/matures as the main character grows older - this is closer to the beginning) but it impacted me a lot as I often did this opening and closing of my ears in school, hearing the rushing roar of the noisy room expand and contract. Simply to get away from it all.

Monday, 21 March 2011

I've just finished given up reading James Joyce's 'Finnegan's Wake'. I love the writing; it flows and is very poetic. The trouble is that I don't understand a word of it, having been written by an alcoholic Irishman in the earth 20th century - it's rather difficult to understand by a meer mortal such as myself. This is how the book opens:
" riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passen-core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer’s rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County’s gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all’s fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot a peck of pa’s malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface."
I struggled through this book for several hours but gave up. Apparently it's not meant to be understood, it's meant to be appreciated (to quote a friend). I am now reading his book "A Portrait of the artist as a young man" which is vastly more readable (to me at least) but still has the same breathtaking language.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Manly Books

Just the other day I found this page:

It's a rather long list of books that are essential to the literate man, I have a long way to go as I have barely read half of these! I'm still open suggestions though on books to read though.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Where to begin?

Hopefully, this will be a blog to help me (and other too hopefully!) to get cultured. "Cultured?" I hear your ask... Well, I'd like to be a bit more literate so that i can quote authors and argue concepts like a wise old man would. So, any suggestions on some literature to get me on my way to wisdom?