February 2, 1922 was the day Sylvia Beach published James Joyce's Ulysses. Long considered a masterpiece of the twentieth century and the subject of a landmark obscenity trial, Ulysses is a complex novel of several hundred pages set in Dublin on June 16, 1904. Joyce spent eight years writing the novel, completing it in the fall of 1921. He spent the next few months editing and saw it published on his fortieth birthday, his self-imposed deadline.
I have not read Ulysses. I have begun it several times, never reaching beyond the first few pages. I am not afraid of the book. I simply am hesitant to commit to several hundred pages of the same story. I know the book's plot. I understand its place in the literary canon, but I have yet to fully experience its lyrical writing and beautifully disjointed storytelling. Marilyn read it. Countless others have read it.
Ulysses sits near the top of my 2011-to-read list. Some other long classics I have yet to read: Moby Dick, War and Peace, and the second half of The Brothers Karamozov. I do not know if I will read them all this year, but I'll try.
What are classics you have avoided, but might tackle this year?