Okay...so I read it. It was really slow going. I did listen to the free LibriVox recording at times, when I just couldn't muster the energy to focus. Honestly, listening to an audio-recording made the book more vivid and interesting.
You could spend your whole life studying Ulysses. There are innumerable allusions to everything possible. The text is challenging - bordering on unreadable at times. Sometimes, it was practically poetic...others types erratic and meandering. Practically every topic you can think of is discussed. The few times I did get the allusions, I thought they were brilliant; however, it's hard to read something where you are feeling like the person left out of the loop.
Why is this one of the "greatest books of all time?" I am still pondering why. I think it stands separately from literature as a whole. Is there anything really like Ulysses out there? It's very unique, to say the least, and that's not even a great way to describe it. I concluded that Joyce didn't just sit down and type madly at a typewriter, and put on paper whatever came into his head. This is a cleverly crafted novel. It is just extremely difficult to comprehend what is happening and why. I think that is why it irks many readers. It certainly did to me! At points I was thinking, what am I reading here? I just read 5 pages and I have no recollection of what just happened. Other times I was engrossed.
I can't say that I would necessarily recommend this to someone. But if you are up for a challenge, I don't know what you could read that would be harder.