Here is a detailed obituary that, strangely, omits his powerful, darkly whimsical Against a Dark Background.
Here is another appreciation of his work. Here is another.
Some say you should not start his Culture novels with Consider Phlebas, arguing that it was his first, and he hadn't hit his stride yet. I disagree. The protagonist, Horza, starts with limited understanding of the Culture, which changes in the course of the novel. I think it reads better if the reader starts with similar ignorance. And even the first Banks Culture novel is pretty darned good.