I wanted to read some James Joyce before we embarked for Ireland due to two reasons:
1) I had never read anything by Joyce and
2) there is a James Joyce walk you can take in Dublin.
I didn’t end up doing the walk, but I can now say that I have read some Joyce. My book nerd friend of mine gave me both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Upon doing a survey to see which I should read, I was told if I wanted to be "pretentious" I should read Dubliners and if I wanted something good I should A Portrait.
So, logically, I read Dubliners.
No one is going to tell me I’m pretentious for reading a certain author’s work.
That’s just ridiculous.
Anyway, I actually found Dubliners to be quite entertaining. It’s a collection of short stories about people’s lives in Dublin. None of them really have a happy ending. None of them have an outstanding point. But they are all absorbing.
The Dublin that Joyce painted was dark and dull. It was a place that no one wanted to stay, but no one could leave. Every story in the book dealt in some way with a character who was faced with the choice to leave the city, or to stay, and ultimately they always decide to stay.
It may not have been the BEST choice to read before journeying to Dublin, I was a little weary it would be the dreary city that Joyce painted for (luckily, it was not).
Pretty cool, huh?
If you haven’t read James Joyce, I don’t see anything pretentious about this collection of stories. In fact, it wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to read them just for the fact that you can get a quick taste for his writing style (before you delve into something like Finnigans Wake, or Ulysses, both of which I also want to read).
On to reading!