Not to specifically defend Hawking, but isn't there usually a reason "popular" science books become popular
? Do you dislike it b/c it's bad writing or simply b/c it's popular? I thought BHOT was great, the rest of his stuff is pretty much the same thing rehashed (universe in a nutshell, blackholes and baby universes, etc) but I found it pretty easy to read. I can only take so much qualitative stuff though, I was reading Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics
by Martinus Veltman for awhile and then put it down for several months. I came back to it recently after studying more phys in college and it just seems so dry now. I have a QFT textbook at my rents' house I need to pickup though. I got it in a bookclub a few years back thinking it was just another layman book cuz that's all I understood at the time, then was disappointed to find it was an actual QFT textbook. I'm sure it will be much more challenging, I'll let you all know how it goes.