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Book Review: The Science of Shakespeare, by Dan Falk

There’s always room for books aimed at the general public examining some obscure element of Shakespeare’s life or thought. Since we don’t know much about his life, or his thought – other than through the plays – there’s plenty of speculation in books like this. Some succeed in being interesting and thought-provoking; and some don’t. […]

DVD Notes: The Forsyte Saga

A few years ago, I watched the 2002 TV adaption of The Forsyte Saga with Damien Lewis. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) I was impressed by this series, which looks at an upper middle-class English family and the events that unfold as people in the family stop conforming to tradition. From a trilogy of novels by the […]

iOS Apps to Discover Great Literature

Back in the early days of personal computing, the promise of interactive, multimedia, hypertext books was exciting, notably with Voyager’s Expanded Books. But in those days, the limits of technology prevented those “books” from gaining a foothold. You could have links and unlimited text content, but the size of videos was just slightly larger than […]

Good Listens: The Leonard Lopate Show Podcast

I don’t have time to listen to a lot of podcasts, but one of the ones I’ve been listening to for ages is the Leonard Lopate Show, a radio show that is broadcast on WNYC in New York City. Mr. Lopate is a fascinating interviewer, and his show features guests in an eclectic range of […]

App Review: James Joyce’s Ulysses, A Guide

What better way to celebrate Bloomsday – June 16, the day on which James Joyce’s Ulysses is set – than by discovering the novel in an interactive iPad app? Naxos, known for its classical music releases and audiobooks, has released the $9 Joyce’s Ulysses: A Guide which gives you Joyce’s great novel, plus a plethora […]

Happy Bloomsday to All!

Once again it’s Bloomsday, the 16th of June, the day on which James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place. If you aren’t familiar with this great work of the early twentieth century, it tells the tale of a modern-day Ulysses (Leopold Bloom) as he wanders the streets of Dublin on June 16, 1904. Closely modeled on the Odyssey, Ulysses is a landmark in modernist literature.

Every year on this day, around the world, people read Ulysses alone or in groups, to themselves or out loud, in performance or simply in sitting on a couch. For this year’s Bloomsday, allow me to recommend a novel way to experience the book. The recently released unabridged audiobook of Ulysses, from Naxos, is a gem. With musical interludes and sound effects, and excellent reading by Jim Norton (and Marcella Riordan for the final chapter, the soliloquy by Molly Bloom), this reading brings the work to life in unexpected ways. At over 27 hours, you won’t be able to listen to the entire book in one day (the novel takes place over a period of “only” 18 hours), but you’ll be drawn into the story in ways you did not expect.

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