Book of the Month – February 2022

Tell us your favourite book of 2022!

It's that time of year. Journalists, reviewers and cultural pundits are making their selections of the year's best books. But in a year where books have never felt more vital, we want to hear from YOU.

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Ulysses by James Joyce
"The most important expression which the present age has found; it is a book to which we are all indebted, and from which none of us can escape" - T.S. Eliot.

On 2 February 1922, James Joyce's Ulysses was first published in its entirety by bookseller Sylvia Beach, founder of Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris. 100 years on, we're celebrating the modernist masterpiece as our Book of the Month and partnering the world-famous bookshop in a free global read-along. 

Following the events of one single day in Dublin, the 16th of June 1904, and what happens to the characters Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom and his wife Molly, Ulysses is a monument to the human condition. It has survived censorship, controversy and legal action, remaining an undisputed modernist classic: ceaselessly inventive, garrulous, funny, sorrowful, vulgar, lyrical and ultimately redemptive. It confirms Joyce's belief that literature "is the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man."

Read it? Loved it? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #HBOTM.

Buy the book

Join the global read-along

Catch up on the events:

Stephen Fry

Xiaolu Guo, Adam Biles, and John Mitchinson talk to Sinéad Gleeson

Further reading

Literary Hub - When James Joyce Met Sylvia Beach

New Yorker - Books and Their Makers: Sylvia Beach and James Joyce

About the author

James Joyce was born on 2 February 1882 in Dublin. He studied modern languages at University College, Dublin. After graduating, Joyce moved to Paris for a brief period in 1902. In 1904 Joyce met Nora Barnacle, with whom he would spend the rest of his life and they moved to Europe and settled in Trieste where Joyce worked as a teacher. His first published work was a book of poems called Chamber Music (1907). This was followed by Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and the play Exiles (1918). In 1915 the First World War forced Joyce and Nora and their two children to move to Zürich. Joyce's most famous novel, Ulysses, was published in Paris in 1922. In the same year he started work on his last great book, Finnegan's Wake (1939). James Joyce died in Zürich on 13 January 1941.

About Hay Festival's Book of the Month

Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a book we love and think holds particular resonance. This is our chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry year-round.

Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HBOTM and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.

If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please share on social media using #HBOTM.

Happy reading!