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Ready Player One

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag²

I’m freaking out again! Let’s check in and see how my reading and blogging year is going:

Best book you read in 2018 so far

Chosen by my book club, I picked up this book uncertain if I would connect with it. But it grabbed me immediately, and brought up incredibly strong feelings. The compelling audio narration made me reflect on my own troubled childhood, and gave me much food for thought. This family drama set in Alaska in the 1970’s was filled with very real characters,  and this beautifully told story of survival (both physical and emotional) has stayed with me. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Best sequel you’ve read so far 

In the first volume A Well Regulated Militia, Brian Wood first gives us a lengthy portrait of the fictional character Seth Abbott and his journey from farm boy to one of the well respected leaders of the Green Mountain Boys. Then we are given shorter non-linear vignettes of other loyalists and patriots and their contributions to the war. This second historical fiction graphic novel follows suit. In These Free and Independent States, we revisit Vermont to find that Seth’s son John is a boat-making savant. Spanning the years from 1786 to 1816, John comes to age as the new nation faces several threats and a new Navy is commissioned

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I ordered this YA book for my teen department, and it is a summer reading choice for the local high school that my library serves. I have an audio edition on hold and I look forward to listening to this fantasy novel that so many people seem to be raving about.

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Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I look forward to every Walking Dead volume and both the mystery-thriller Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books by John Sandford.

Biggest disappointment

A big fan of Andy Weir’s first book The Martian, I eagerly looked forward to his next book and was pleased to find a heroine in his second novel. Imagine my dismay when my opinion of Artemis  plummeted chapter by chapter. I was hate reading it at the end.

Biggest surprise

Author Michelle McNamara was nearing completion of this true-crime novel when she unexpectedly died. Her husband and two co-writers were able to finish it, and soon after publication with the resulting renewed attention to the crime, the case was solved. It was a bittersweet surprise that McNamara’s book helped bring the killer to justice. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

M.A. Bennett wrote a twisty psychological thriller for teens that I found very appealing. Her debut novel was a strong start, so I’m willing to check out further work from her. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Newest fictional crush

I’ve been devouring graphic novels written by Brian Wood- does that count as a crush?

Newest favourite character

Enna, Sven’s traditional wife, from the Viking saga Northlanders by Brain Wood. In the first volume I hated Sven but loved Enna. She truly redeemed his character.

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Book that made you happy

I love Star Wars! I love short stories! Together this anthology was a win-win for me. From A Certain Point Of View is a must read for all Star Wars fans. It strengthened and filled in gaps in the narrative and this new canon was a treat from beginning to end.

Book that made you sad

What Happened is an apt title, for truly, what happened in the 2016 election? In this book Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what transpired behind the scenes in her election bid to be president. Spanning many years of her life, but concentrating mostly on the two years preceding the election, she shares her thoughts and experiences of what went on. She reflects on what went wrong, she owns up to her mistakes, and she gives the reader a fuller picture of who she is. I cried several times while I listened to the audio while I mourned for a future that did not happen. Read my full review on Goodreads.

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Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year 

Ready Player One was a solid adaptation of the book, but it didn’t knock my socks off. It’s The Hate U Give that is coming out later this year that I think will end of being my favourite film adaptation. It’s first trailer looks fabulous!

Favourite review you have written this year 

Kathleen and I did a fun blog series about who is the best cinematic Chris with bloggers Michael of My Comic Relief and Kalie of Just Dread-full. My choice of Chris Pine was obviously the best, but the whole experience of writing for this series was enjoyable!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Above The Timberline by Gregory Manchess is a unique book, that isn’t quite a graphic novel, instead it is a highly illustrated book, a so-called “painted novel”. Very reminiscent of the Dinotopia book series (minus the dinosaurs but add polar bears) by James Gurney, this large sized book has 240 pages of lush paintings that transport you to another time and place.The artwork is exquisite. He vividly creates a believable tundra landscape, and paints his characters, animals and interior backgrounds with precision.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year? 

I am a member of NetGalley and try to keep my book queue to a minimum so my ratio stays high. Right now the only book I have to get to is Other People by Joff Winterhart.

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Half way through the year and I’m on schedule for my Goodreads challenge of 100 books, as I’m at 54 with a few books almost done this week. So far, so good. Bring on the last half of 2018!

-Nancy

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Ready Player One Movie

I adored the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, so I have been eagerly looking forward to the adaptation of the movie. But books are always better than the movies and this continued to be the case, although the movie was solid. There were some significant changes between the movie and book and usually I would be in an uproar about this, but the author co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, and thus he himself tweaked some scenes to better fit an action movie. These changes worked, and gave it a better narrative flow.

**In tribute to the premise of the book and movie, I will be sending you on Easter Egg hunts. Follow my links to find other awesome bloggers out there who have a connection to the Ready Player One movie and the word I hyperlink it to. Enjoy their blogs!**

We first meet Wade Watts aka Parzival in 2044 living in a trailer park wasteland.   Much of society is in shambles, but people can escape from their mundane lives by entering the Oasis, an online massive multiplayer simulation game.  The founder James Holloway has died, and he has created a hunt for control of the game and it’s profits, and players need to embark on a journey to find three keys, each that would unlock puzzles or a riddle with a clue to the location of the next key.  Wade is an expert on 80’s nostalgia, as Holloway based the quests off the games of his youth.

The first key was obtained by participating in a huge car race. Right away this is a major change, but much better suited to film than the original fun (but long and drawn out) scene from the book. We begin to truly see pop culture references here, with vehicles and characters  you will recognize from other franchises. Director Steven Spielberg refrains from referencing too many of his own previous film’s but we still see a DeLorean car, King Kong and a T-Rex. We also eventually spot Batman, the robot Gundam, the Iron Giant, and Chucky in future scenes.  Unfortunately, licensing prevents some classics such as Star Wars or the Avengers heroes from being used.

For the second key, Parzival had to reenact word by word the movie WarGames, but this this movie switches up the film he needs to immerse himself in. This new film was actually a nice surprise. If it was going to go off-script from the book, why not give the viewers a chance to experience an iconic horror movie and some key scenes that will give you the chills.

As an evil corporation honcho tries to win at all costs and has endless money and workers at his disposal to win the game. Parzival is helped greatly by a fellow online avatar Art3mis, who is established as a love interest early on, and his best friend Aech.  Yet another change is that the movie shuffles some timelines with Art3mis and other online friends, before they arrive at the final gate. An epic showdown occurs, and (come on, this is no surprise) Parzival wins the game and the girl!

All in all, this was a fun movie and I look forward to watching it again on DVD so I truly can catch all the shout-outs from movies, music and tv that was embedded in scenes. However….this was no blockbuster and it really didn’t do the book justice. If I were watching it with no preconceived notions, I would have enjoyed it even more. Yet on the other hand, the movie was strong enough and made some interesting cinematic choices that let me enjoy it even as it diverged greatly from it’s source material. My advice is to read the book if you truly want the grand adventure!

-Nancy

Ready Player One

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Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One. 2011.

As an avid reader, I’m always excited when a new book vaults to the top of my favorites list, and this book did so! While not a graphic novel (but, God, it would make a great one!), with all the 80’s pop culture references & geek culture throughout…this book was made for me.

The year is 2044 and the world is in shambles, with society choosing to live their lives online, in a massive multiplayer world called OASIS. The creator of this virtual game, James Halliday, has recently died and has left an “easter egg” hunt for players to compete for his estate worth billions. The gamers have to decipher his many layered riddles, having to study pop culture and Dungeons and Dragons mythology to understand the clues. Years have gone by with no one solving the puzzle, so enter Wade Watts, a young man with no real life who spends all his time trying to find the clues to Halliday’s first riddle. Amazingly he figures it out, which puts him on the scoreboard and brings the world’s attention to the hunt for the egg. Wade’s online friendships are tested, and his real family is threatened as professional gamers go to any lengths to beat Wade to the next level. Quests are mounted, battles are fought, betrayals occur; but also, a real romance is brewing between Wade and Art3mis, a competitor of his. You must read to find out how his online and real world’s collide and how things turn out. While at times the story almost veered into ridiculousness, it stayed the course, and was just so flippin’ awesome!

Wil Wheaton (Star Trek TNG) narrates the audio version of the book, and him reading it was a stroke of genius, for it was so meta-he even mentioned himself…swoon, I just had a nerdgasm. This EPIC book should be on everyone’s to-read lists, and I eagerly look forward to the movie based off the book that is being directed by Steven Spielberg and slated for release in 2018.

-Nancy

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