I got the same feeling reading Anathem that I got reading Cryptonomicon - that is, after reading 100 pages, I was thrilled that there were 800 more. It's a ripping yarn peppered with mathematical, mechanical, and linguistic nuggets. There's a little odd vocabulary, but it doesn't take long to get used to, and it's fun to look up terms in the glossary, which is interesting in itself. If you are daunted by the fact that there's a glossary and few appendices, then don't bother. This isn't a book to be idly flicked through. But that's not to say it's difficult or tedious; it's driven by an intricate and enthralling plot, and I found myself completely immersed. Stephenson is a freak of a writer, and this book is wholly impressive.