6 Reading Guides for James Joyce’s Ulysses

*To hear a discussion of some Ulysses reading guides, check out my interview with Tom O’Leary here.


I love Ulysses, but it can be a beast to get through. It’s a rewarding beast, but it’s nice to have a companion by your side while facing such a beast. It’s not necessary to have a reading guide if you’re reading Ulysses for the first time, but it’s very likely you will encounter references or full passages that are completely inscrutable. I created Blooms and Barnacles in part because I hope it can be a resource for people who need some help making sense of Ulysses’ tough bits.  Googling “Ulysses reading guide” will provide you with a plethora of options, in online, audio and dead-tree formats. If you’re shopping around for just the right guide, I have some suggestions.

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Ep. 1 – Tom O’Leary

T.C. O'Leary's, Portland, pubs, PDX, James Joyce, Ulysses, Bloomsday
Tom and Kelly on Bloomsday 2018

Tom O’Leary is an Irish-born actor and pub owner living in Portland, OR. He and Blooms and Barnacles host Kelly started the Ulysses Support Group (aka Book Club) together in 2017, and it is still going strong today! Kelly and Tom talk about why they love Ulysses, how to start your own Ulysses book club, Ulysses reading guides and why Ulysses helps Tom “go home” every time he reads it.

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