10 Novels That We Dare You to Finish

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Page count: 1,168

Time it took to write the damn thing: about two years

Story: Dwight Garner writes in The New York Times, “Cryptonomicon is so crammed with incident — there are dozens of major characters, multiple plots and subplots, at least three borderline-sentimental love stories and discursive ruminations on everything from Bach’s organ music and Internet start-ups to the best way to eat Cap’n Crunch cereal — that it defies tidy summary.”