No one is literate in English if they haven't read Joyce.
Achronos, do yourself a favor.
Toss those reading helps away. Read the Odyssey (I go more with Lattimore) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (you are already reading the Bible). And read Joyce chronologically. Start with Portrait.
And read it aloud when it gets tough. Especially, his later works.
Just the reading of it aloud, will help reveal much of what seems "difficult". (Really this is recommended for all reading, since reading silently is rather a recent notion.)
Forget trying to tie down all the allusions. He was probably one the single greatest minds and artists this planet has even seen, you will fail.
Fall in love with him and he will reward you with a lifetime of re-reading.
As a clever guy once said:
Rejoice! Read Joyce!
A bit of a tangent, but have you read Robert Fagles' translation of Homer? I just bought it, was going to start on it, then my room flooded and I don't know where the workers put it.