I'm currently reading Vineland by Thomas Pynchon. It's my first Pynchon novel and I was excited to read what's the big deal with him.
My first impressions, from the 150 or so pages I've read on it:
The novel is witty. I personally don't find it funny, but it tries to be funny and does so well enough for me to find the humour witty. I can't help but feel that Pynchon is mocking his readers. The characters make references to pop culture of the times (A Character whistles a tune from the Flintstones, for example), but does so in what I think is a purely superficial way, as if to say: "If you understand this reference, there's a problem here".
I'm not sure if that was his intention, but I get that impression. The characters act in a manner often reminiscint of Kafka's characters (At least I get a kind of feel of similarity between the character) at times, and at times it seems he's trying to mock us for our narcissism, trying to knock us down a peg through having our characters act serious about absurd things, like how the main character tries to jump off (fake) windows every so often in order to keep his government checks coming in, and all of his friends know this and don't discourage him or comment on it in any deeper manner (From what I've read so far in the book). It reminds me a lot of Catch-22, except there's no Yossarian, or if there is, he's as crazy as the rest.
But hell, Wikipedia pretty much has it down better than I could ever describe it:
In addition, the novel is replete with female ninjas, astrologers, marijuana smokers, television addicts, musical interludes (including the theme song of The Smurfs) and, naturally, metaphors drawn from Star Trek.
That's what to expect in Vineland. I might want to note that the television addict thing is meant to be literally addicted to television like someone is addicted to meth.
Alternatively, I just finished going through EVERYTHING by William Gibson and I could say if you like cyberpunk or even awesome fiction that deals with technology, political intrigue, espionage, conspiracies and so on in an intelligent manner, you should give him a try. Wikipedia has it righter than I could ever say again:
Leonard's review called Idoru a "return to form" for Gibson, while critic Steven Poole asserted that All Tomorrow's Parties marked his development from "science-fiction hotshot to wry sociologist of the near future."
And somewhere, I made a post detailing my top five favorite books, which were Don Quixote, Ulysses, Faust, The Castle and Plato's Symposium. I would recommend those to anyone looking for something that is worth a reading that will engage them in some way.