Neal Stephenson: Anathem
- Stephenson's most epic book of epic awesomeness (900 pages?). It's about everything. Specifically, what if scientists devoted their lives to learning with the discipline of a religious order? In the world of the walled maths students preserve learning and information despite the rise and falls of civilization outside. But when an extraterrestrial ship is spotted in orbit everything starts to fall apart and only the super-geniuses within the mathic order can save humanity. You can learn the entirety of western intellectual history (important ideas from Plato to the post-moderns) from this book; unfortunately all the names are slightly off because it takes place in a parallel world that's very much like earth but somewhat different. This is in my top 3 books I've ever read. Simply amazing. Easily Stephenson's best.