Most of us have a certain routine, so it's exciting to pick up a book and end up in another time, place, and situation. To make this experience even more intense, I often try to follow a novel I just read with one that's very different.
'Ulysses' is often seen as a lofty thing, a piece of posturing high modernist literature, one with little relevance to the everyday. Others see it as a book about nothing at all. But these charges couldn't be further from the truth. As a Dubliner abroad, it's like meeting an old friend.
Not that you need to unleash your inner Conan the Barbarian to make a point about literature. But given how intellectuals inevitably harbor well-tended lists of likes and dislikes, not confessing a deep hatred of, say, John Milton's poetry will compel other learned types to view you with suspicion.
The Irish National Library has very quietly taken advantage of the entry this year into the public domain of the works of Irish novelist James Joyce by posting its horde of rare Joyce manuscripts on its online archive.
Poor grammar is ugly. To any lover of the English language who values a correctly constructed sentence, it can signify a lack of intelligence or effort. Are many of us limiting ourselves in terms of potential success by u'sing apo'strophes every time we see an 's?
They were unplanned "Five-Year Plans" for the ages: the amazing proliferation of classic novels published from 1846 to 1851 and from 1922 to 1927. And, believe it or not, one author had a book in both those periods!
Would we have discovered the works of authors like Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Maugham, O'Hara, Fitzgerald, Roth and many other modern masters if we had to come across them through the fragmentation and puzzling pathways of cyberspace?
I am having a hard time coming to grips with whether I will ever read The Unbearable Lightness of Being. In some respects, I believe a good book finds you at the exact moment in your life when you need to read it.
The idea that sides must be chosen in advance of the release of the film Atlas Shrugged feels a little frivolous. With the look of a TV movie, I doubt that the "leftists" will be out in force telling Rand fans how bad this movie it is.
As scientists improve their ability to manipulate the genome, will a market might emerge for people who want to imprint quotes into their own DNA, or even their children's, as a sort of genetic tattoo?