I don't remember the exact date I finished Ulysses, so I'm not gonna put it in, but it was sometime in the past 6-8 weeks, so we'll say I read it September of 2011. I started it once before (my sophomore or junior year of college) and it has long held the place of the one book that I didn't finish. I am notorious for finishing books even if they are awful. I read rather quickly and figure suffering through doesn't take all that long and overall increases my pain tolerance. But I just didn't get Ulysses at all back then and so put it down for another day.
Now at the advanced age of 34, I felt like I should try again and I did enjoy it. I was surprised often throughout at the sexual (some of it beautifully written even if slightly vague) descriptions, the anti-Semitism (interesting question of whether Joyce himself subscribed to the public view or not. Bloom is a very likable man, even if he is somewhat of a dolt..but then again a lot of men are when they are just trotting through daily life), and the "play" (or dream sequence) that really reminded me of something out of Pink Floyd's THE WALL. I would have loved to take some very interesting drugs and watch a Scorcese film of those 100 pages.
I think the most surprising thing is that this was called a novel. I understand the uniqueness and originality of stream of consciousness writing, but the other modern acclaimed author is Virginia Wolff and she managed to make her book actually like a novel. I felt like Ulysses was much more of an essay (admittedly too long to be a standard essay) on religion, politics, and sexuality.