As always (and perhaps in honour of Joyce) I have some stream of consciousness style blah to say.
The biggest problem with Ulysses is that it's too bloody long. Yes, Joyce's literary tricks are fun and impressive, but they go on and on and on and they start to drag. The first time I read it I thought 'This is a lot like Family Guy. Each chapter is Peter Griffin bashing his knee and repeatedly saying "aahhh, ahhh" until all sense of it being funny has worn off and it decays into self-indulgence, leaving only a sense of resentment in the audience and a loss of that initial joy of discovery.' It's um... it's true.
I will also say that apart from dragging on, there's not too many other problems Ulysses presents to the reader. I would actively encourage skipping: read enough of each chapter to gain a familiarity with the themes and style, then read the last five pages of that chapter and move on. It's not ideal, but this book deserves a bigger audience than it has, even now, and something must be done to overcome Joyce's ego.
Having learned that people who have books 'spoiled' for them by having the plot revealed are then able to focus on other details and gain more from it since their minds are free of the first-time-read guessing game, Ulysses is a perfect candidate for watching the film first.
. Pre-game the book, learn what sparse plot there is, use as much help you can get to understand what you're about to read and then
read it. You won't have any blocks of feeling like you're too stupid to get it, frustration that the references are too subtle, or the worst, feeling like this book isn't for you. Yeah it is, because there's a great deal of depth for you to enjoy, but very few will find it on their own, and it's not their fault.
'Is it, Zombie Joyce?'
'You just wanted us to think you were dead clever didn't you?'
'What are you working on now?'
'Internets Wake. It'll take 500 years to compleeeeeeete.'
'Can we preview a sentence?'
'I look forward to it.'
I also think that Faulkner and was all like 'I'll see your Wasteland and raise you a Finnegans Wake!'
We live in the post-Ulysses era of literature, only some of us don't know it yet (my God you can almost hear me going "Nyah nyah not meeeeee I read it twiiiice hah ha hah ha haaa haaa [Cartman style]). I mean it though.
If you are a reader, you owe it to yourself to recognise that we are in need of new tools and styles to describe our world in order to capture the spirit of the times.
If you are a writer, what once was your entire Bible is now your Old Testament, with many other seminal works down the line to learn from.
Get cracking with it!