At his blog Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen has a periodic feature in which he lists which books he has been reading — often economics books that I would never dare try, but also often fiction and other nonfiction. When I saw the latest entry yesterday, I was surprised to see this:
5. James Joyce, Ulysses, always worth a reread, in bits and pieces. Don’t start on p.1. That way, you won’t be discouraged by not knowing what is going on. That is serious advice.
What do you Joyce fans think of that advice? I have been planning to read Ulysses again, but I had planned to start from the beginning. Perhaps I'm wrong.
One more bit about Cowen and reading: In an interview at Vox, Cowen was asked about items that are underrated or overrated, and when Game of Thrones was brought up, he answered:
I've never watched the TV show, but I tried to read the book and found that it's way too much effort for what you're getting in return. So I have to say it's overrated.
I was struck by this, because while I know everyone else loves George R.R. Martin's series, I tried to read one of the books in the series several years ago when it showed up on the Hugo ballot and also abandoned it. In fact, I decided to give up voting on the Hugo awards, at least for a while, and went to the Prometheus Awards instead. So my failure to read the book changed my life, at least in a small way, as I'm very involved with the Prometheus.