Stephenson's books have gotten worse and worse as he's gotten older. Usually authors improve as they age, not put out dreck like Cryptonomicon.
Dreck? Odd, I thought Cryptonomicon was quite good -- possibly his best, or at least in a close race with Snow Crash. Diamond Age was quite good too, though I wasn't crazy about the ending. Zodiac was very good as well.
Anathem, on the other hand... I was really excited for it to come out, as I'd read every other Stpehenson work at that point. It's literally one of the only books in my entire life that I started but did not finish. I got maybe 30% of the way through, and I just couldn't get into the story at all. The characters didn't give me any reason to be interested in them, at least not enough to slog through the last 4 inches of that monster tome.