I am currently, finally reading a book that most of you who know how much of a geek I am probably already assumed I had read: Geodel- Escher- Bach. I guess I was turned off by how hip the book was when it came out, so I assumed it was some new age goofiness. As many of you know, it turns out to be a very readable book on modern number theory and all sorts of related mathematical topics. I'm really enjoying it.
But I would add that it is a blessing I waited until today to read it. 20 years ago I was way to impatient to really savor and appreciate it. The book is working on 3 or 4 levels at the same time at every turn, and I am not sure I would have been mature enough to appreciate it earlier. I can just see myself screaming, "and what's the deal with this stupid turtle?"
I had a similar reaction after recently reading Les Miserables. I couldn't understand it 30 years ago - a 100 pages in and we are still talking about this freaking priest and haven't met the main characters yet? What gives? Others may have been more mature at 17, but I needed a few decades to really appreciate it. This time around, I thought the book was beautiful. Really enjoyed it.
Next up in this vein? Probably Foucault's Pendulum, which I pick up and give up on every decade or so.