Wednesday June 9th, 2010

In the Ether

bloomsday1Bloomsday is a week from today, and that means fans of James Joyce’s Ulysses are planning their celebrations to mark the event. Tablet Magazine is hosting a night at Solas, a very nice bar in New York’s East Village, to celebrate Leopold Bloom’s Jewishness. Novelists Ben Greenman and Joshua Cohen will read, actors from the New Yiddish Repertory Theater will perform a scene from the novel that they have translated into Yiddish, and “Ulysses in Five Minutes” will sum things up for those who haven’t read the book. (Like, somewhat embarrassingly, me.) . . . And WBAI in New York will broadcast a night of readings from the book, featuring Alec Baldwin, Paul Muldoon, Bob Odenkirk, and many others. . . . Nicholas Carr answers a few questions about his new book, and about his writing life in general: “My dream is to disappear for ten years and then reappear, in sandals and a beard, with a strange and wondrous thousand-page manuscript written in longhand. Something tells me that’s not going to happen.” . . . John Eklund advises not to be fooled by the title of The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, which Yale has just republished: “Lurking beneath the bland, academic sounding title is one of the wisest, slyest, wittiest pieces of writing on books and readers I’ve ever encountered.” . . . Austin Ratner considers how and why historical fiction can work: “What matters is not whether a novel or story’s setting precedes the date of writing, but whether the writer’s research into setting has upset the balance of narrative elements so that structure, character, etcetera become subordinate to large hair balls of superfluous detail . . .” . . . Inspired by a book by Henry Houdini, the Caustic Cover Critic went looking for more and found “a number of funky old books intended to draw back the veil and expose the craft [of magic] to the general public.”