This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the modernist novel that forever changed literature, challenged the obscenity laws of its time, and that continues to awe (and frustrate) readers today. Ulysses follows protagonist Leopold Bloom over the course of a single day—June 16, 1904—as he wanders across Dublin. Today, Joyce fans around the world commune on June 16 to commemorate the Irish author in a celebration called Bloomsday. With the centennial of Ulysses’s publication, this year’s Bloomsday takes on special import. Here are six recently published books—and one soon-to-be-published one—geared toward deepening readers’ appreciation for Joyce and his masterwork, or perhaps simply giving the uninitiated a sense of what all the fuss is about.

The Guide to James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’

Patrick Hastings (Johns Hopkins Univ.)

Ulysses Guide creator Hastings walks first-time readers through the intricacies of Ulysses, combining summary, analysis, scholarship, history, and biography to demystify Joyce’s notoriously inaccessible novel.


James Joyce: A Very Short Introduction

Colin MacCabe (Oxford Univ.)

In this characteristically compact installment of OUP’s A Very Short Introduction series, University of Pittsburgh professor MacCabe explores Joyce’s life and work, interweaving the two to tease out their connections and shared themes.


Multiple Joyce: 100 Short Essays About James Joyce’s Cultural Legacy

David Collard (Sagging Meniscus)

Across 100 brief essays, Collard plumbs Joyce’s enduring and ubiquitous cultural impact, finding traces of “the multitude of Joyces” everywhere, including in the novels of Sally Rooney, the music of Cher, and the Star Wars movies.


Nora: A Love Story of Nora and James Joyce

Nuala O’Connor (Harper Perennial)

O’Connor dives into the life of Nora Joyce, James Joyce’s wife and muse, in this fictionalized account of the woman who tirelessly supported the literary success of her partner (and inspired some absolutely filthy love letters from Joyce—look it up).


One Hundred Years of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’

Edited by Colm Tóibín (Penn State Univ.)

Renowned Irish writer Tóibín edits this collection of 10 essays by Joyce scholars and curators, drawing on Joyce’s notebooks, letters, manuscripts, and published works to yield new insights into his life and legacy.

The Paris Bookseller

Kerri Maher (Berkley)

Maher fictionalizes the story of Sylvia Beach, the owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, who took it upon herself to publish Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922 when the novel was banned for obscenity, putting her reputation—and her beloved bookstore—at risk.

Ulysses: An Illustrated Edition

James Joyce, illus. by Eduardo Arroyo (Other Press)

Hundreds of full-color illustrations by the late Spanish painter Arroyo distinguish and enrich this hefty (weighing in at more than seven pounds) new edition of Ulysses, published in collaboration with Spanish publisher Galaxia Gutenberg.