Virtual Light by William Gibson (pub. 1993, first of Bridge trilogy)
A cyberpunk book—by cyberpunk's inventor—that plays, fairly effectively, on the uneasiness and fears that people, perhaps in increasing numbers, may have about issues such as computer hacking, erosion of privacy in the information age, and societal decay or disruption. For all it's dark and depressing atmosphere, evoking a rather nasty and brutal near-future, the story and writing feels rather inconsequential (I'm not even sure if there was a proper plot), and provides no useful clues about how to live in our world, if we are persuaded to take it as an analogue of the book's. Reading this book feels like consuming sensationalist news and trash TV for days on end without a break. The atmosphere is unremittingly bleak and the characters are bland, uninteresting, and undeveloped. Their monosyllabic dialogue and their thoughts and attitudes feel like stereotypes taken from the more cynical, sledgehammer-subtle variety of films avidly lapped up by the duller and more annoying members of the human species in between "recreational" drugs binges or online flame wars. Unless you start skipping over their lines, you start to feel pretty depressed and monosyllabic yourself.
William Gibson is a highly successful and acclaimed author, believed by the more credulous of his devotees to have a special knack for predicting the future, but on the basis of this book I can't really see why. The technologies that continually introduced and quickly discarded, a deliberately offhand technique, might appear to be likely near or far future developments, or even seem retrospectively prophetic, but I believe this is due to two things: first, people's tendency to believe, to whatever extent, in the fictional world of the books they read, and second, Gibson's extremely scanty technical exposition.
If I read another Gibson it will be Neuromancer, his best according to just about everyone. It was at its height of popularity during my years at secondary school, so it might give me one route back into my memories of those days, and that is at least one good reason to try it.