A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man bok cover, emily m keeler bedisde table

Some books should not be read in the Summer time. It’s a fact. I made the mistake of reading James’ Joyces Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man on the beach when I was sixteen. I think I also read Trainspotting that same week. These were not summer books. These were not beach books. These were hardly even books you would read in the park. As a result of not reading The Portrait of the Artist in the right conditions, I think I basically cheated the work out of having much of a lasting impact. Also, I was sunburned and chewed to bits by sand fleas.

These were, however, near perfect conditions for reading Henry Miller’s The Tropic of Cancer, which I think should be read either at the very hottest or possibly coldest time of the year. And only when you are very very hungry.

I began thinking about all of this because, well,  Summer is on the horizon, and because of this essay on reading Tolstoy in Jamaica in August, by David Gilmour, in The Walrus magazine’s archive.  I will probably continue thinking of this until the summer’s bitter end.

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