I decided a few months ago to read through James Joyce's major works chronologically. I read Chamber Music first, and I've just finished Dubliners.
It's a strong collection; the last story, "The Dead," is the longest, the most famous and arguably the best. Some of the allusions were difficult to me, as I don't live in the Ireland of about 100 years ago, but the Wikipedia entries for the individual stories helped a lot.
I didn't think of Dubliners as being very controversial when I first read it in high school, or when I re-read it now, so I was interested to read in the Wikipedia article that Joyce struggled for years to get the book into print.
Of course, when I get to Ulysses, I'm going to re-read PQ's posts on the novel. He just put up a new one.