Brilliant article, and I love your sense of humour.
I read Ulysses when doing my English literature degree and really liked it. I agree that people have the wrong expectations of it and I think that's because the title makes it seem like a Shakespearean work. For anyone wanting an easier James Joyce read then I'd highly recommend Dubliners which is a collection of short stories.
Infinite Jest has got to be one of my favourite books of all time. There's a line from it which is something like 'I do things like get in a taxi and say the library and step on it' which always makes me laugh.
I've read Tolstoy and Gogol but haven't ventured on to other Russian works yet so I'll definitely put The Brothers Karamazov at the top of my list.
Thanks for some great recommendations.