Sunday, November 30, 2014

My fervent belief in Finnegans Wake

I have discussed James Joyce's great masterwork Finnegans Wake here before (Ulysses? Feh!). Sure, at first it was the bizarre novelty of it. And to this date I have only, cumulatively, read eleven pages of it. But once one passes through the I-can't-believe-this-is-a-book phase, the this-is-sort-of-good-in-an-unreadable-but-fascinating-way phase, the look-at-me-I'm-reading-Finnegans-Wake phase, and the why,-he's-very-talented-phase, one comes to the ultimate utility of the great Finnegan's Wake: ballast.

Does what you read define you? Well, that's an easy question, because everything defines you. Emerson said “I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”  which isn't exactly "Our cubehouse still rocks as earwitness to the thunder of his arafatas but we hear also through successive ages that shebby choruysh of unkalified muzzlenimiissilehims that would blackguardise the whitestone ever hurtleturtled out of heaven.", but it makes my point better. And that point is that you are what you read. So if you are a bit over fond of rereading old Dick Francis novels, and the first third of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and random YA Fiction featuring talking dinosaurs, and stories where nice people fall in love or fix the universe or whatever, Finnegans Wake will act like condensed mass, it will hold you ship to the water, it will bleed gravity into every sentence you touch.

Here, check out this random reading list:

Ten favorite novels:

1. The Fulfillment by LaVyrle Spencer

2. Bygones by LaVyrle Spencer

3. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

5. Vision in White by Nora Roberts 

6. Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

7. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

9. November of the Heart by LaVyrle Spencer

10. Manhunt by Janet Evanovich 

You cannot judge this list. It is impenetrable unless you have read and fully understood Finnegans Wake, which you haven't. So get off your high horse!

Not that you were on one. 

I mean them. You know, they.

Here's another reading list for you:

1. Clerk Manifesto the blog by Feldenstein Calypso

2. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

I'm just saying, when it comes to your reading, keep everyone confused.

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