Procrastination Book Club Finally Finishes First Book After 28 Years!

Some books require perseverance.


A book club in a local library.

(antoniodiaz / 

Did you know that an average novel typically has 60,000 to 100,000 words in total? If your reading speed aligns with the average of 300 words per minute, and you're diving into a novel of about 80,000 words, you can expect to finish it in approximately five hours or even less, according to  Capitalize My Title. But then, maybe it depends on the novel.

 After an astonishing three decades — 28 years, to be precise — a book club has triumphantly completed James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, reported The Irish Star. This literary journey commenced way back in 1995, as a group of readers led by Gerry Fialka, founding director of the Marshall McLuhan Finnegans Wake Reading Club, gathered monthly at the Venice, CA, branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Their unwavering dedication centered on unraveling the intricate and enigmatic language that Joyce masterfully wielded in his celebrated novel.

What’s unusual about the book?
At 627 pages long with 63,924 unique words that make up the vocabulary, Joyce's narrative fuses the realm of reality with the dreamscape, weaving a plot that meanders unpredictably, challenging traditional notions of coherence and reliability. 

Though critics have often labeled it “unintelligible,” Joyce remained steadfast in asserting that each word on the page held purpose and could be deciphered, a belief that spurred literary enthusiasts to devote years in pursuit of comprehension. Finnegans Wake, it seems, remains largely uncharted territory for the wider reading public.

 The book is renowned for its intricate and convoluted plot that weaves together dreams, myths, and a fragmented narrative. The ballad tells the tale of Tim Finnegan, a hod-carrier with a penchant for alcohol. The primary duty of a hod carrier is to transport and supply construction materials like bricks, mortar, and various building supplies to the masons or bricklayers working on a construction site.

After a fall from a ladder that fractures his skull and leads everyone to believe he's dead, his wake takes an unexpected turn. As the mourners revel, they accidentally spill whiskey on Finnegan's lifeless body, miraculously reviving him and turning the somber gathering into a joyous celebration. 

A circular exercise
So, how long did the book club engage in a discussion about a single page?. “Two hours,” Fialka told When curious individuals hear Fialka is part of a book club, they often inquire about the next book on the agenda. But according to Newer, there is no “next book. 

The concluding sentence of Finnegans Wake abruptly halts midstream, only to rekindle at the very start of the book. It's as if the novel itself is an unending, cyclical sentence. A recent Tuesday's gathering was by no means the last. “The same thing will happen next month. We'll revisit Page three once more. Nothing really changes, said Fialka." 

The renowned Irish author celebrated for his works such as Ulysses, the collection of short stories in Dubliners, and the novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, dedicated 17 years to crafting his ultimate literary creation, Finnegans Wake. This novel marked the culmination of Joyce's remarkable career. 

As for the procrastination book club, they’re at it again.

The Power of Book Clubs
Writing Short Life Stories in Six Words
Online Book Clubs are a Thought Provoking New Trend