My first Stephenson book was, what I have come to call, a reading accident. [I have reading accidents in which I pick up a book on a whim and find myself trapped into reading an author's collected works.] I picked up his book Cryptonomicon because I had seen a newer title, Anathem for sale at Costco. For a change I decided to read it order and bought Cryptonomicon in paperback.
So far it seems as if Stephenson is a somewhat challenging author. I would recommend his books to strong readers in high school or to adults. But, I definitely recommend him!
Snow Crash is science fiction including high-tech skateboarders, virtual worlds as a social phenomenon, and ethnic conflicts. As with Cryptonomicon it also makes connections to history and current events. It's a book that I will be happy to recommend to a relatively wide range of readers, including my college-aged son.