Finnegans Wake

For many, Finnegans Wake, is a supreme act of literary pretension. An indulgence of a man who lived too much in his own head, and not enough for his family. A riddle with no solution, a puzzle that is unconquerable and the greatest literary jape of the twentieth century. They may be right. However, there … Continue reading Finnegans Wake

Selected Letters of James Joyce

I finished reading James Joyce's letters last night. The emotional impact they carried is still with me, so I had to write this post now. They are emotional because I have just finished reading the last thing James Joyce ever wrote. And no, it wasn't Finnegans Wake, it was a postcard to his brother, offering … Continue reading Selected Letters of James Joyce

Top 5 books of poetry to read before you die

Samuel Taylor Coleridge once famously said prose is words in their best order, but poetry is the best words in the best order. Through Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes and humorous limericks to narrative poems and Shakespeare, each line a crafted formulation, poetry has always been the highest echelon of expression for me. Today's fashionable preoccupation … Continue reading Top 5 books of poetry to read before you die


Can hate turn to love? That, in a nutshell is the story of me and Ulysses, or Ulysses and I. Not that James Joyce would have cared about such pedantic grammar. "Errors are volitional, and are the portals of discovery." For a book hated by many, it has become for me a relationship which only … Continue reading Ulysses

5 books you must read before you die

Okay so this is my recommendation for the top 5 books to read before the end. I'm not saying these are my 5 favourite books, but these are books I definitely would have regretted not reading. It was impossibly hard to choose these books. Nearly making the cut but losing out were Jane Eyre, Enduring … Continue reading 5 books you must read before you die

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I was fifteen when I first encountered Portrait. It stood on the shelf in my local independent bookshop, back when they existed as one of the few ways to access books. It's pale green spine shone out from the surrounding forbidding black ones as special. A twentieth century classic. The way publishers demarcated the centuries … Continue reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man