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!
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!