I’ve just started reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, which I picked up during my trip to Mexico after exhausting my other reading options with 6 hours of travel time still ahead of me. My selection was limited and my list of Books I Want to Read was not yielding anything useful. Cryptonomicon, on the other hand, has always been one of those Books You Should Read. Well, at least for me, having just enough interest in computers, mathematics, WWII, sci-fi, snarky world views, espionage, and other nerdy and semi-nerdy subjects. Besides the magnitude of the You Need to Read This-ness of this novel, the physical magnitude has always kept me away from it. The paperback edition is a bit shorter than, but otherwise nearly identical to, your average, run-of-the-mill, red brick. Oof.
I’m 91 pages into it at the moment, and if Stephenson can keep this up for the remaining 80-squinjillion, this book may make it to my top ten. It’s a book that’s essentially about its own audience and, as such, hits the target relentlessly. The effort required to navigate his prose is not inconsequential, but the reward far outweighs it.
I probably shouldn’t judge a book by roughly 8% of its total content, but considering that this amount of writing is around 35% of most novels, I don’t feel out of line displaying this much optimism.