This review brought to you by Book Project 2015.
Yeah, like Ulysses makes you kind of a dick.
Except I do.
I hated it the first time I read it. I found it pointlessly obtuse. Tthe opening few chapters are basically the worst thing ever - there's lots of pointless verbiage about Buck Mulligan and his shaving accoutrements and Stephen Daedalus walking along a beach, being unforgivably pretentious (although I kind of feel more sympathetic with his New Adult internal wrangling these days, because that's basically what they are).
But then Bloom happens and suddenly you realise it's a book about ... humanity, in the broadest sense and the most specific. And that's when it becomes at once readable and fascinating and strangely joyous.
I wouldn't precisely recommend Ulysses. The only reason I progressed from violent antipathy to genuine pleasure because the second read it, I was stuck on a Virgin Train (Virgin, dear Americans, are a train line -- I have no insight into the sexual experience of the train itself) somewhere between Newcastle and Oxford. And it was before Kindles and smartphones and wireless and laptops you could carry ... and holy shit I'm old. So all I had was a book. A paper book. Much abused because I had literally thrown it out of my bedroom on my first attempt to read it.
The book was Ulysses.
It was my companion for the next eight hours of my life.