8 James Joyce Facts: A Look at the Artist as a Young Man

By February 2, 2016Authors
book of the month

James Joyce was born on 2nd February 1882 and his ground breaking style of writing and experimental use of language would win him fans that would continue long after his death in 1941. The author of many works, Joyce is considered to be one of the most influential and important authors of the twentieth century.

We know much about Joyce’s books, and most of us are versed in a quote or two, so here are some facts about the author that you may not know.

Bloomsday is a Real Thing

If you’re into obscure dates then 16th June is Bloomsday. The day all events in Joyce’s Ulysses take place. The name comes from Leopold Bloom, the novel’s protagonist.

But Why June 16th?

Well, we know Joyce didn’t just pluck this date out of the air, it was the date he went on the first date with Nora Barnacle, who would become his wife.

They Had Quite the Affair

Today’s teens might think they invented raunchy talk with all their sexting, but when letters from James Joyce to Nora were sold at Sotheby’s in 2004, their contents were quite surprising. “The two parts of your body which do dirty things are the loveliest to me.” Is one of the tamer parts of the letter we will share here.

Joyce had Some Unusual Phobias

Joyce was attacked by a neighbourhood dog when he was a child, leading to lifelong cynophobia, but was also left with keraunophobia after a religious aunt told him that thunder was an angry God sounding his wrath.

Joyce gave us Quark

The word Quark first appeared in Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, as in the cry of a gull. Scientist Murray Gell-Mann had been reading the classic in 1963 when he perfected the unit of measurement ‘Three quarks for Muster Mark.’ Inspired him to take the word.

James Joyce and Virginia Woolf

James Joyce and Virginia Woolf were both groundbreaking authors, but they share many other similarities too. Both authors were born in and died in the same year. Both authors also published landmark modernist novels in the 1920s where the action takes place over a single day (Ulysses and Mrs Dalloway), leading both to be equally considered pioneers in stream of consciousness writing.

The Best Dinner Party of All Time

In 1922, the year that Ulysses was published, Joyce met fellow novelist Marcel Proust for dinner, also present were Pablo Picasso and Igor Stavinsky. The meeting took place in May, before Proust died in the November and much of the meal was spent discussing how ill the pair were, and led to both admitting they hadn’t read each other’s work.

Does Nobody Understand?

These were said to be Joyce’s words when he passed away on January 13th, 1941.

Joyce would in the end be one of Ireland’s greats, as the most influential and groundbreaking author of his day. It may be 134 years since his birth, but his words and influence reverberate through to the present day.

8 books by left-handed authors to celebrate ‘International Left Handers Day’

By | Authors | No Comments
book of the month
Left handers have been mocked and demonised throughout the years, especially from religious people who believe the left hand to be ‘unclean’, or accusing left handers to be ‘consorting with the devil’.

As absurd as those claims may seem now, some of the negativity towards left-handed folk remains to this day. Left handers were still battling in the 20th century against people like American psychoanalyst Abram Blau, who accused all left-handers of being perverts. Even seemingly well-meaning teachers still insist on their student switching hands when they start to learn to write.

If only left handers were just left to be lefties! Some of our favourite writers were left-handed, and it is said that lefties tend to be more creative and arty than right handers.

Here’s a list of 8 of our favourite lefty writers.

Read More

Nobel Prize Winning Author VS Naipaul Dies

By | Authors, News | No Comments
book of the month
Novelist VS Naipaul has died peacefully at home in London just a few days before his 86th birthday. The Nobel Prize winning author of more than thirty books including A Bend in the River and A House for Mr Biswas was born in rural Trinidad in 1932 and went on to become a key figure in British literary heritage.

Sir VS Naipaul had been in ill health for a while and published his final work, the nonfiction The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief in 2010. Today the literary world is in shock. Here are some of the tributes on Twitter today.

Read More

Roots Author Alex Haley Talks of the Horrors of Slavery

By | Authors, Video | No Comments
book of the month
Alex Haley (August 11th, 1921 – February 10th, 1992) was an American author, best known for his 1976 Pulitzer Prize winning book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, adapted to a series a year later in 1977.

While a fantastic story, Roots was not without controversy and its release was marred by accusations of plagiarism (proven to be partly true), and doubts cast on the authenticity of the family ties. Today the book is accepted to be a work of fiction, and controversy aside is still a worthy read with an important message.

Read More

Chinese Crime Writer Who Used His Own Murders as Inspiration for His Stories Sentenced to Death

By | Authors, News | No Comments
book of the month
Last year, we reported the news that the Chinese crime author Liu Yongbiao had been arrested for the decades old murder of four people he and a friend killed after a robbery went wrong. Following his trial a few days ago, the 53-year-old has been sentenced to death for the murders which occurred 23 years ago.

In 1995, Liu Yongbiao and an accomplice named Wang Mouming robbed a hostel. After being discovered, the two killed a family of three as well as another guest by beating them to death him hammers and clubs in order to cover their tracks. Since the crime, Liu became a famed writer and was even a member of the China Writers’ Association.

Read More

A Story Ernest Hemingway Wrote in 1956 Is to Be Published for the First Time

By | Authors, New Releases | No Comments
book of the month
Ernest Hemingway is arguably one of the finest authors to have ever put pen to paper, and his given us many modern classics such as A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea. Fans of Hemingway will be very pleased to learn that, more than 60 years after it was first written, a Hemingway story called A Room at the Garden Side is set to be published for the first time.

For decades, the novel has remained hidden away from scholars and academics, but has finally resurfaced. The story takes place in the Ritz Hotel, Paris, a setting which has appeared in previous Hemingway novels and holds personal significance for the author. The novel is narrated by a character called Robert, who happens to share Hemingway’s own nickname, Papa. Robert and his band of soldiers, who are all due to leave the city the next day, spend their time drinking and debating “the dirty trade of war.”
Read More

4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

By | Authors, Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
book of the month
Leon Uris (3rd August, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Uris was the son of Jewish American parents Wolf William and Anna Uris. His father was a Polish born immigrant, his mother a first generation Russian American.

Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More

Leave a Reply