Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Bloomsday, Signing Up

I’ve never finished a book by James Joyce. I’m scared of James Joyce. However, if I’ve learnt anything from my March reading its that books can greatly exceed your expectations. So in June I am going to give myself a chance by taking part in the Bloomsday Readalong.

From o’s sign up post: What is Bloomsday? Bloomsday is on the 16th June (this year it falls on a Saturday) and it marks the day on which James Joyce’s Ulysses is based. As a day of celebration, it began in 1954, the fifty year anniversary of the events in the novel, when John Ryan, Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh, Anthony Cronin, Tom Joyce (Joyce’s cousin) and AJ Leventhal attempted a pilgrimage along the Ulysses route (I say “attempted” because their mission had to be aborted owing to a somewhat impressive intake of alcohol!). Since then in Dublin and all around the world, Bloomsday (the name taken from one of the main characters, Leopold Bloom) has been observed.

Whilst you can sign up to read the whole of Ulysses in a day, scheduled by the hour, I don’t think I’d be able to manage yet! So my intentions are to grab a copy of a James Joyce novel (probably Ulysses, but we’ll see) and read as much as I can.


The Hunger Games

I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.

March has concluded in a whirlwind of battling teenagers, surviving dystopian worlds and rebellion. When I picked up The Hunger Games I thought it would be a treat, some junk reading, something easy. What I wasn’t expecting was that I would love the experience. The hideousness that was Twilight had been holding me back; maybe it was the black covers. Anyway this series served as a very helpful reminder that of course there are excellent books for teenagers, and the girls in them don’t have to be stupid.

Amanda has written a great post about the books we consider guilty pleasures, which got me thinking about how I came to read The Hunger Games.

  • It was a treat for completing a difficult chunk of Clarissa.
  • I was intrigued about how a book for children would feature other children battling to the death.

Reading is my favourite pastime, books make up a substantial part of my life – why not find out what is behind the latest thing? I really like dystopian fiction – The Handmaid’s Tale being my natural point of reference. The worlds created in this type of book are what fascinate me: The absolute abhorrent parts are showing their roots in our modern world (our ancient world too I suppose). Is this our future? The greed, the glorification of violence, the way most of our resources are consumed by a tiny percentage.

These questions are only half of the massive experience that was reading The Hunger Games. The other half is the plot. Gripping, eventful, action packed pages. Pretty different to most of the books I pick up, yet quite a welcome change. Thoroughly enjoyable even in its bleakness, I’d encourage you to give The Hunger Games another look. They aren’t books I would normally read but after doing so I can see that ignoring them would have meant missing out. Reading doesn’t always have to be a worthy struggle after all. (Although now I’m finished it is back to Little Dorrit.)

Let me – because I can’t resist – wrap this post up with the wickedly sinister catch-phrase:

May the odds be ever in your favour.