June 16, 1904 is when Ulysses, that tome that far more people talk about than have actually read it, takes place. It was also the day the author, James Joyce, went on his first date with his wife Nora Barnacle, which resulted in a sexual act immortalized in the book.
Today, people all over the world celebrate June 16th as Bloomsday, in honor of the book’s ravenous protagonist Leopold Bloom. Events include readings in public, pub crawls, and even a marionette adaptation which will be taking place in Wilmington, North Carolina.
James S. Murphy in Vanity Fairreminds us why we should actually read the book. Consider this when selecting your beach reading:
Joyce’s reputation might be entirely tamed, now that his face can be found on Euro coins and his books in high-school classrooms, but reading Ulysses will always be a life-affirming act of savagery.