I know we’re all supposed to be reading Quicksilver right now, and I certainly look forward to it, but with the term just starting the last thing I need right now is a twenty-hour reading binge, which is what Cryptonomicon triggered in me.
So I’m re-reading Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency instead. Like its companion volume The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, it’s really quite superb: both funny and moving, not really at all reminiscent of the Hitchhiker books, which repay, I think, at most one reading.
If you found the Hitchhiker series too juvenile, and are curious what an Umberto Eco story would sound like as told by Mark Twain with an Oxbridge inflection, I urge you to try the Dirk Gently books. You’ll need to keep your wits about you; an anthology with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan would also be useful.