NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Thursday, July 2, 2009

A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN

by James Joyce



"Follow along with Stephen Dedalus, an exuberant Irish boy, as he grows into manhood. Throughout his childhood and youth he alternates painfully between the demanding religious beliefs he is taught and troubling periods of doubt. Finally as an adult, firm in his own view of nature and himself, he steps out into the world to take on the solitary life of an artist." (From the CD container.)

When I decided to tackle James Joyce's Ulysses, I chose to listen to the audio version. It turned out to be the perfect way for me to experience that book for the first time. When I moved on to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, I assumed audio would serve my purposes here also. I was wrong.

With the plethora philosophical musings that occur in this little novel, I needed to be reading the physical book. I thought all was going well until I would hear something intriguing and I would suddenly realize I had no idea what was going on or what anyone was talking about. Or even who the people were that were carrying on the conversation! This occurred a number of times, which is not normal for me when listening to books. I don't think it's because the work itself is terribly confusing. How could it be more confusing than Ulysses? I think it's simply that this one did not work in this format for me. There was too much to think about.

I did not consult a reader's guide either, a decision which served to compound my error. I'm sad about that because I really, really liked what I did manage to glean from listening, which lead to my repeatedly pondering one concept at length while missing the next two scenes. I made a mess out of this one, and I have every intention of coming back to it sooner than later -- next time with the book in my hand and the reader's guide close by!



13 comments:

Literary Feline said...

Hopefully you will get more out of it when you read it. :-)

Lezlie said...

Literary Feline ~ Thanks! I don't see how I couldn't! I sure couldn't get any *less*. :-) It's kind of humiliating how this one escaped me.

Lezlie

Rose City Reader said...

I listened to this one too. Unlike you, I was mesmerized, and I don't think I would have gotten as much out of it had I read it with my eyes. That sermon about Hell would be pretty hard to drudge through in print.

By the way -- I just signed up as a follower. I thought I already was one, but apparently not. Sorry for the delay!

Lezlie said...

Rose City Reader ~ I listened to it while I was at work (where I do a ton of audio book listening), so it may be that I would have done better with it in the car. The fact that you liked it so much reinforces my thought that I'll enjoy it much more the next time around.

Thanks for becoming a follower! I don't "follow" any blogs, but I subscribe to over 200 book blogs in my Reader. Including you! :-)

Lezlie

Meghan said...

Amusingly, I really hated this book. I read it in a class and that still didn't really help. I do hope that you like it much more than I did though! =)

Rebecca Reid said...

good to know audio might not work on this one. I think I tend to prefer the hardcopy on most classics like this.

Lezlie said...

Meghan ~ This seems to be one that people either love or hate. I think I might fall on the "love" side, but I won't know for sure until I read it again. It's so silly to have listened to an entire book and know hardly anything about it! It's a weird feeling.

Rebecca ~ I've done really well with classics on audio. I don't know what happened here. Very odd.

Lezlie

Jeane said...

I found it a bit confusing when I read it, too- although that was a long time ago. I liked it because I felt like I was really inside the head of a boy, but half the time I really had little idea of what was going on! I think reading it now as an adult, I would be better able to perceive things...

Lezlie said...

Jeane ~ I think Joyce's writing is just kind of confusing all around. I also gt that "inside the head" feel from it though, which was part of the reason I think I'll like it later on. I can't wait to compare listening v. reading this one.

Lezlie

Trish said...

Oh Lezlie--good luck to you, my dear. I struggled with this one twice with a physical book and still don't quite get it. I've said it probably a million trillion times--I just plain don't like this book. :)

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ I remembered you saying that, and I wondered what you were going to think of my post here. :-) It may be that I won't care for it either. It's so hard to say, because I missed soooo much the first time around.

Lezlie

Nan said...

I've come to the point where I realize that I am just not a Joyce fan. I've tried over the years but I don't get (as the British say) any 'joy' from him. So tata Mr. J. You'll live very well without me. :<)

Lezlie said...

Nan ~ I'll be waiting to pass final judgement for a little while. But I can completely understand why someone would feel the way you do about him.

Lezlie