Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tuesday Night Group Conquers Ulysses!

Here’s a picture of tonight’s final meeting for our Tuesday Celtic Knot group.  Don’t they look proud?


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Ulysses “Seen” – Calypso

Ulysses “Seen” recently released a portion of “Calypso.”  It seems they’ve been skipping around a bit, so don’t expect to see “Nestor” or “Proteus.”  You can even subscribe to their blog to get email notifications about posts, including info about recently added material like this.

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I wrote Ulysses, what did you do?

It’s time for a little show-and-tell.  Matt from my Thursday group visited Dublin recently and shared several pictures from his trip.  This is my favorite, taken at the James Joyce Centre.  It’s a reference to the Tom Stoppard play, Travesties.  During an interrogation by the character Henry Carr, James Joyce is asked what he did during the Great War, and this is his reply: “I wrote Ulysses, what did you do?”

What a statement!  Let me pose another question: What did you read in the past year?  Answer: I read Ulysses, what did you read?

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Commemorative Mugs

Just in case you didn’t get the email about our commemorative mugs, here’s the info again.  Please note that mugs are available for anyone to purchase; they’re not limited to those who have finished the program.

Mugs are $10 each, and will be available in limited quantities.  The payment deadline is Friday, May 27, 2011.  If you’re writing a check, please make it out to “Evanston Public Library” and write “Ulysses mug” in the note line.  Feel free to bring your payment and mug_order_form to your discussion group next week, or drop them off at the Reference Desk (third floor).  If you’re mailing your order form and payment, please address it as follows:

Attn: Karen Hansen
Evanston Public Library
1703 Orrington Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

I expect to receive the mugs in time for our Bloomsday Celebration on June 16 (details to come).  If you won’t be celebrating with us, you will be able to pick up your mug at the Reference Desk (third floor) after June 16.  Finally, because I need to estimate how many to order, it would help me if you let me know if you plan to purchase one.  Drop me a quick email at

Below is a preview of the design on mugs we’ll be ordering.  Don’t expect it to look exactly like the preview.

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Final Meetings

I know some of you might want some clarification about our final meetings.  We’re discussing the final episodes – 16, 17, and 18 (see the reading schedule for page ranges).  In terms of dates and places, North Branch group is the only one that deviates from the routine scheduling.

  • Thursday, 5/19, 7pm, North Branch, leader: Nancy Engel
  • Tuesday, 5/24, 6pm, Celtic Knot, leader: Karen Hansen
  • Wednesday, 5/25, 7pm, Small Meeting Room, leader: Lesley Williams
  • Thursday, 5/26, 3pm, Small Meeting Room, leader: Russell Johnson (changed from Tuesday)
  • Thursday, 5/26, 2pm, Celtic Knot, leader: Karen Hansen
  • Thursday, 5/26, 7pm, Small Meeting Room, leader: John Stahl

If you have other questions, please email me at or call 847-448-8643.

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Heading Toward the Finish Line

I am never going to run a marathon.  Even if I changed my mind one day, my knees would never agree to go through with it.  Though I’ll never join their ranks, I certainly admire marathon runners for their ability to power through physical pain and mental exhaustion.

I’ve always likened Mission Impossible: Ulysses to running a marathon for pretty obvious reasons: it’s  difficult (plain and simple), we’re pacing the reading over a relatively long period of time, and it’s easy to feel like giving up.  Plus, if you finish, you’ve won some bragging rights.

But alas, here we are with a few miles left to go on our reading marathon.  You might feel like these folks in the picture here, tired and wondering why you ever started the race in the first place.   I want to encourage you not to give up at this point.  There’s still time to pick up the novel and power through it.  For me, reading Ulysses has always been a discipline, not a warm, fuzzy, feel-good exercise.  My mind has been stretched and challenged.  Themes and ideas have lingered in my thoughts.  I’ve had flashes of joy, sadness, hope, and sheer hilarity.

I know that the only reason I’m 92% done with Ulysses is that I’ve had a lot of reading partners to keep me going.  Group meetings have been the best part of this journey, and the people I see each time are the reason I’ll be 100% done in a little more than a week.  After all, how many people finish a marathon alone?

So, my fellow readers, it’s time to run the last and hardest few miles of our journey.  I hope to see you at the finish line.


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