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.
Cryptonomicon was one of my least-favorite books ever. I bailed on it midway through, after I kept asking Josh over and over again, “Why am I reading this? It’s sucking away my will to live.” Josh finally replied, “You could just stop, you know.” So I did. It felt great. It felt better when I sold the fucker* a year or so ago, thereby freeing up my shelf for more tree porn.
Well, it’s starting to drag for me at points now, but I’m still enjoying it.
did you finish it yet? it is my favorite book ever, if i can be allowed to have more than one favorite book.
i received it in the mail from danny my senior year at cmu – i remember it came on a friday and i had a 1/2″ color model due for molich on tuesday that i was woefully far behind on.
i didn’t work at all on saturday – i literally could not stop reading. i kind of get obsessed with books that are truly that good, and i just got so wrapped up in the characters and storylines i couldn’t leave it alone.
i finished it by sunday afternoon.
yes, i read fast.
but yes, it was that good.
No, I actually put it down for a bit and finished up a few books that I had a few chapters left over in. ‘Cleaning my plate’ so to speak. I’m starting back up today, in fact.
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