I am a fast reader. Not that I read specially fast, but I read hours and hours, and that way books pile around my bed, under the bathroom's sink, into closets, and on tables, and I have read them.
I hve read the Dune series in a week. The whole works of Heinlein in 20 days. The Lord Of the Rings (and The Hobbit) in a long weekend.
I have been reading Quicksilver for a week now. I am not even 30% done.
Quicksilver is almost 1000 pages long. And they are not the easiest pages, either. I feel like I'm drowning in it, I am being slapped by it, my mind is being raped by a book.
I like it.
My university experience was studying maths, so I am more likely to enjoy this book than most, though.
When you are surrounded by science, if you have even a little of historic sense, you have to wonder: how can it be that I, a reasonably intelligent 20th century guy, have been getting an education for 20 years, and still am quite ignorant, even though I am concentrating on a single field?
Well, after that, if you ever try to do any original scientific work, you have to imagine that those who created modern science were much better than you. Their lifes were shorter, uglier, and they didn't have the books, yet they figured out a huge amount of stuff.
Usually, there's a mitigating factor in that the science they made is simpler than the science to be made now. That doesn't work for one guy. Maybe two.
That one guy is, of course, Newton. And the other is Leibnitz.
If someone invented Leibnitz for a novel, it would be silly. Inventing Newton would be preposterous. So, how come almost noone bothered making them into fictional characters before?
In taking that step, Stephenson shows genius.
I would write all this book brings to mind, but this blog is too small to contain it.