Few novels have generated as much controversy and gravitas as “Ulysses” by acclaimed Irish writer James Joyce (1882-1941). In experimental stream-of-consciousness prose, it’s the story of one day (June 16, 1904) in the life of protagonist Leopold Bloom as he journeys through Dublin. Molly Bloom’s soliloquy at the end of the book is still provocative.
Published in 1922, it was banned in many countries and tried for obscenity in various courts, including in the United States in 1933 (verdict: not guilty). Academics have called it the best English-language novel written in the 20th century.
Bloomsday, a global celebration of the book and author, is always June 16. The Sacramento Public Library is participating with festivities that include fiddle and mandolin music by Bob Wrenn, singing by coluratura soprano Robin Fisher, and Molly Bloom’s soliloquy by actress Jan Ahders.
For the fun of it, show up in Edwardian costume, circa 1904. Join the literary escapade at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at the Central Library, 828 I St.; (916) 264-2700, www.saclibrary.org/bloomsday.
The New Yorker magazine has published a newly discovered story by Harlem Renaissance jazz poet and novelist Langston Hughes (1902-67), titled “Seven People Dancing.” Read it at www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/06/06. The Harlem Renaissance was a creative earthquake in the 1920s and early 1930s, when African American artists in all categories forged a cultural rebirth that even influenced the Paris arts scene.
The Nielsen company, in its “2015 U.S. Book Industry Year-End Review,” notes that “sales of traditional print books increased almost 3 percent, while sales of e-books dipped (3 percent).” For the complete report, go to www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights.html.
Jack Parker for “The Valley of Tranquility” and his four-title “Adventure” series, 1 p..m. Saturday, June 11, at the Teen Book Festival at Barnes & Noble, 1256 Galleria Blvd., Roseville, 916-788-4320; and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at Barnes & Noble, 6111 Sunrise Blvd., Citrus Heights, 916-853-1511.
Avid Reader at the Tower continues its authors program at 1600 Broadway, Sacramento; 916-441-4400, www.avidreaderattower.com:
Saturday, June 18: Jennifer Martin for “Psoriasis: A Love Story,” 2 p.m.
Thursday, June 23: Joshua Becker for “The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own,” 6:30 p.m.