Book Review | Ready Player One

Ready Player One Movie Poster
Ready Player One Movie Poster

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is the best book I have read in many years.  It may be my new favorite book of all time.  After reading the book I feel like Wade Watts the main character.  I feel like I too have achieved what he did in the book.  Like many 30 somethings, this book really spoke to me.  I grew up in the 80’s.  It was my decade.  The characters in the book study that era to be better able to player Oasis an immersive world that they access via fancy virtual reality (VR) rigs.

Earnest Cline
Ernest Cline

This book reminded me of so many things all at once.  How much I loved growing up watching TV shows like Silver Spoons and Family Ties.  Playing the same video games that the characters mastered in the game: Adventure, Joust, Defender, Zaxxon, etc.

Of course, right now there is a ton of buzz about this book because it has been made into a movie.  A movie with a trailer that is pretty spectacular.  the movie will be released later this month (3/29/18) and the director is none other than Steven Spielberg.  Who better to direct a movie about the 80s than the man who helped make the 80s with his amazing movies.  The amazingly brilliant mind behind E.T. and Raiders of the Ark, both came out in the 80s.

This book also reminded me of Second Life a lot.  That’s the immersive computer simulation where people can make the avatar anyway they want and you can actually make money in the game.  Or Lindens, that can be traded in for real cash.  Or at least that’s how it was years ago when Second Life was a big deal.  I tried Second Life a long time ago, but even after reading this book I have no desire to log back into that virtual world.

Before reading this book I didn’t know anything about Ernest Cline.  Now that I have read one of his books, I can’t wait to read more.  “I love it when a plan comes together!”  5 Stars!!!

Book Review | The Good That Men Do

The Good That Men Do
The Good That Men Do

My first reaction to The Good that Men Do, is that there is very little I can say about this controversial book without it being spoiler-ridden.  So with that in mind, this post will be a spoiler.

Alrightly then last chance to turn back we are going to dive into a spoiler post her.  I don’t do these often so I have given you plenty of warning.  On the show:

In the last episode, when Shran’s former associates track down Enterprise and board the ship, they demand that Archer take them to Shran, but the captain refuses. The aliens are about to kill Archer, so Trip, thinking fast, tells them that he will take them to Shran. When Archer protests, the aliens knock him out. Trip leads the aliens into what appears to be a harmless utility closet — he tells them it is simply a com station and he is going to get Shran to come to them. Trip tells them he just needs to connect a couple of things, but when he brings a pair of conduits together, a massive explosion erupts, taking out both Trip and the aliens. Trip is fatally wounded.

All that is from this Wikipedia entry.  I just didn’t want to write all that out.  So, yeah Trip is dead or at least we all assume he is.  That is where The Good That Men Do is different from that last episode.  It continues to tell the story.  Instead of dying, Trip goes off on a top secret mission to save the galaxy from the Romulans.

Being a fan of the show I think the last episode was all wrong.  And I’m not alone in that.  So, while this was better than the last episode because Trip doesn’t die and I don’t remember it having Johanthan Frakes in it, in that whole strange looking back in time thing they did.  I think Frakes is awesome, but the whole holodeck reliving stuff was lame.

These are the Voyages, Star Trek: Enterprise
These are the Voyages, Star Trek: Enterprise

The book moved slow, too slow.  It was really long for what it was trying to do, 464 pages, maybe the author was trying to give Trip the ending he deserved and felt pressured to do that and he gets carried away with all the verboseness.  The story just dragged.  There was some action in it which was a breath of fresh air during a lot of internal dialogs the characters were having.

I gave this Star Trek novel 4 out of 5 stars because I liked the interactions between T’Pol and Trip mostly.  I also like that the story continued to be told instead of ending.  This was the 11th book in the Enterprise series and the last one that the show actually covered, so I’m very excited to see where things go next in the 12th book Kobayashi Maru.

Book Review | Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I’m glad to have read Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s because I must admit after watching the movie a few times I was still lost as to who Holly was and what was her deal anyway.

The book is narrated by a man named Fred, who later becomes a friend of Holly’s.  Holly is an 18 or 19-year-old young lady who came from a farm simple life.  She put herself in New York City and established her self as a high society girl.  She “spends time with” wealthy men and gets everything she wants from them because they all find her so desirable.

It’s all pretty grey on if she is a prostitute or as Capote puts it an “American Geisha”.  The reader will have to decide for them first.  This is another book that I picked up as a quick win in the summer reading contest, as it weighs in at only 140ish pages.  Again, though I’m glad I read it as it added a lot of detail as to who Holly was.  The movie felt like it was moving along really fast grazing over things that I wish there was more content too.  But that is how the medium works always grazing along the top of things that a book can cover so much better.

I enjoyed reading this and gave it 4/5 stars.  It is one of those few books I think I can go back and re-read at another time.  Maybe things will become even clearer to me a second time around.

Book Review | Being There

Being There
Being There

Another goofy novel similar to The Importance of Being Earnest.  Short and funny.  I think in the 160 pages that Jerzy Koskinski has he does a better job telling the story of Being There than was done in The Importance of Earnest.  Things are clearer but still funny.

I would think may have seen the movie but might not realize that there was a book first as that happens so often now.  The book was first published in 1970 and the bubbling but lovable Peter Sellers does a great job 9 years later portraying Chauncey Gardiner.  Sellers is depicted on most of the covers of the book that you can find now.

Chance or Chauncey as he is later known in the book is a gullible simple-minded man.  The is the gardener of a fancy home near Wall Street.  When his wealthy benefactor dies, Chance has to leave the house.  He runs into a nice young lady that is completely convinced he is a rich businessman of amazing intelligence.

What follows is a comical series of events where Chance is basically set for life, even though he is still the simple-minded fool we meet at the beginning of the book.

I found the story entertaining and very telling of society and the way we only see each other, but don’t really know each other.  The book also made me reminisce of when I had seen the movie many years ago as if pulling the memory from the deepest part of my mind so that I could just bearly remember seeing the movie a very long time ago.  The book heaved those memories to the forefront and I was pleasantly surprised that I knew the story, but still needed to be reminded of how everything turned out for Chance.

I happily bestowed 4/5 stars for Being There.

Book Review | Rape: A Love Story

Rape: A Love Story
Rape: A Love Story

This book was very difficult to read.  The title is not misleading.  You are getting exactly what you think with this book.  With that said if you can stomach the awfulness of this Oates writing is very good and this is an important book.  These stories need to be out there.  This specific book Rape: A Love Story is fiction, but so often it is not for many, many others.

Again this is very tough material.  You will cringe you will want to put it down and not pick it back up.  But again, this is worth repeating.  This is some people’s life.  We must learn about this.  Not that we will understand their pain, but so we can at least begin to understand the horridness.

A local woman known to all in the small town takes a shortcut.  She is accosted by some local men and you know what happens.  The story is told in parts with the timeline all mixed up.  You don’t get the whole story until the end.  You will live through the pain with Teena as she fights to maintain her sanity.  And there is one more thing and it’s even worse, her daughter is with her when it happens.

I gave this book four stars, it may have earned more if not for the topic.  It was just so damn hard to get through.  If you want to challenge yourself with a tough read like I did, then you can try this book, but you have been warned, it is not a pleasant read.

Book Review | Library of Souls

Library of Souls
Library of Souls

Library of Souls is the third and final book in the series, Miss Peregrin’s Peculiar Children.  I loved the first two novels very much.  Not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading this final installment.  It is a young adults novel as is the entire series is.  The main character Jacob continues his journey and it is an adventurous one.  While I thought the outcome of everything was pretty clear before this last book began, I did really enjoy the journey.  And most of the good reads community agrees with me.

Library of Souls Rating Goodreads
Library of Souls Rating Goodreads

77% gave it 4 or 5 stars!  That is really good!  I’m one of those 5-star reviews.  This one was as good or better than the first two books.  I don’t see anyone picking this up who hasn’t read the first two books so I’m not going to go into the story, but if you liked the first two you will like this one.

Ransom Riggs
Ransom Riggs

If you enjoyed the movie, then you will love the books.  As I’m sure you know the book is almost always better than the movie. Ransom Riggs is a great writer and I want to explore more of his writing.  It doesn’t look like he has too much else out there at this point, but I can wait and see what he comes up with next.

Book Review | Utopia

Utopia
Utopia

Utopia was a very difficult book for me to read. Every sentence was a run-on. And the writing was at a time so removed from modern writing it was arduous to read. So much of what was written felt like a high schoolers attempt to make a paper longer. Way too much detail that did not propel the story along. I found reading Thomas More’s Wikipedia article much more fascinating. He was a very strange man!

Thomas More
Thomas More

Look at this guy!  He is not a happy man. More wrote Utopia way back in 1516.  It later became the forerunner of the utopian literary genre. After he refused to accept the king as head of the Church of England, he was convicted of treason and beheaded in 1535.  He was canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint in 1935.

I read the book because it was the start of a whole fiction and fantasy genre, but the book is very stale, duh, it was written in 1516.  The book only earned 2 stars with me.  The real interesting story here is the author.  What a character!

Book Review | The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest

An Oscar Wilde classic that was made into at least two films in 1952 and 2002.  I had not read this book before but I am familiar with Wilde’s other works.  The Importance of Being Earnest is a short 76 pages that is a funny one-sitting read.  When I think of this book I have trouble not remembering the 2002 film.  It seemed to be on of those shows that were on TBS or TNT a lot.  While reading the book I remembered a film very much like the book then when researching for this post, I understood why and finally made that connection.

This book earned 5/5 stars with me mostly because it was a quick laugh.  Hard to find something to dislike in such a short and funny little story.

Book Review | Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Ah, Mr. Márquez, how your years of solitude challenged me!  That book with its 457 pages was so drawn out.  But he really did develop those characters and boy can the man write.  His prose is beautiful.  But, Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a different animal altogether.

Its a quick book at only 120 pages, so the story is forced to move quickly.  You still get invested in the characters because the character development doesn’t seem rushed and magical prose is still there in this work just as it was present in One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez from Flickr User: Ver en vivo En Directo

The astonishing part about the story is that everyone sees what is going to happen before it does.  The way that Márquez weaves the story is just amazing.  Following the story from one character to the next without stuttering, so smooth.  This novel earned a 4 out of 5 stars.  Not bad because after Solitude, I wasn’t sure I would read any of his work again.  Márquez is one of those authors that I fear, I just don’t get and there may be so much more to his writing that I’m just not able to grasp.  Lucky for me he as written more.

Book Review | The Five Orange Pips

The Five Orange Pips
The Five Orange Pips

This is the fifth book in the Sherlock Holmes Adventures.  This list from goodreads is the one I’m using to read them in a certain order.  I really enjoy these and they are very short, but I have a hard time remembering to read the next one because I switch around so much on the series that I am reading.

This particular adventure, The Five Orange Pips,  is another fun one.  At 40 pages, it made a great read for the summer reading program because it was a very fast read, but still enjoyable.  I can’t tell you much about this one as it is so short, to talk about it gives away a lot, but it involves the KKK in London.  A good albeit short read.  I recommend it as I do all of the Sherlock Holmes stories.  I rated this story 3\5 stars.