It looks so tempting: a large, fat, pliable book. The pages are soft, the font is just right; if you carry it around with you, you can wear the term “literary” like a badge on your hat. (Warning: if you are not smart enough, you may have to log on to wikipedia to understand that there are indeed eighteen episodes which are supposed to correspond with The Odyssey. You may have to debase yourself further by reading the explanations and the sketches of what those episodes are trying to chronicle.)
To my credit, I finished the last third of the book on a turbulence-filled plane ride sandwiched between my mother and an unhappy man who was invading the demarcations the barrier between his seat and mine had delineated.
It has become my subsequent goal to read Joyce’s Ulysses at least once every five – or ten – years, and perhaps by the time that I am forty-five I will be able to discern the exact narrative arc and the Circe episode won’t scare me, and eventually I will love it, and throw obtuse references to everyone who asks me. People will ask “Did you like Ulysses?” and I will gush: “I loved it. James Joyce and I – our souls are connected.”