"If you want to get into Iain M. Banks, read Feersum Endjinn first, then ..."
Totally disagree. The phonetic spelling of Feersum Endjinn was a struggle to read and I ended up reading other things instead, and I was already an established reader of Banks' novels, particularly his SF.
The basic premise of your advice is false. Newcomers to Banks should read the books in the order he wrote them if they have a choice; why make this more complicated than it needs to be?
Sometime in the mid 1990s, I went to a book reading by Banks at Waterstones in Leeds where he was reading from his new book "Whit", the main character being a rather delicious and clever, if naive, young women raised in a cult run by her uncle or grandfather and sent Outside on a mission of his devising.
Having just tried and ceased reading Feersum Endjinn I asked him how it was writing all that phonetic stuff. He laughed and said it was hell working with the spelling checker.
Sadly missed and regrettable that the entire Culture civilisation must now remain in stasis instead of moving towards Sublimation....
In case Iain Banks hasn't yet been mentioned in the same text as Christopher Hitchens I would like to do it now. Both impressed me with their erudition and ability to play with ideas. I don't know if they ever met or what they would have thought of each other had they done so, but as someone who knew them thru their writings I was entertained, inspired and provoked by them both in exhilarating ways.