i haven't read pynchon's new book yet, but i've read all the others.
gravity's rainbow is indeed a kind of brilliant mad book.
expect to be reading it for a long time. it's slow going but if you make it through, you'll be very happy. looks like they've just published a new, illustrated version of it. crazy.
i've read bryson's 'a short history of nearly everything,' which is a great science primer entertainingly written for folks not up on their scientific knowledge.
currently i'm reading 'The Mind's I.' it's a collection from '80 edited by daniel dennett and douglas hofstadter (who wrote a truly amazing-- though rather challenging-- book called 'goedel escher bach') all about brains, artificial intelligence and what it means to be 'you.' or 'i'. it's less technical than it sounds, with many pieces by philisophers, fiction writers, and so on, all exploring these themes of what it means to have an identity and how artificial intelligence might be realized.
the book that really blew me away recently was Blood Meridian by cormac mccarthy. i'd read All The Pretty Horses a few years back and wasn't all that impressed. but this one is just stunning. it's dark and violent and apocalyptic and the prose is so gorgeous there were times when i had to stop reading just to sit and be amazed by the beauty of a particular sentence. THAT doesn't happen to me often.