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Archive for July, 2012

Kait Galweigh is a diplomat – working to keep the Galweigh Family powerful, honourable and respected. Her particular task is to ensure that the arranged marriage of her flighty cousin, Tippa, is not compromised either by Tippa’s own foolishness or by those who would see the Galweigh’s fortunes founder. At a ball in celebration of the New Year and Tippa’s marriage into the Dokteerak dynasty, Kait overhears the Paraglese of the Dokteerak and a member of the Sabir clan plotting against her Family. That she can hear the two men at all is thanks to a secret that she has kept hidden in fear of her life. Kait is a shape shifter who in moments of crisis will transform into a wolf. In her life as a diplomat this other self is a blessing and a curse – she can, hear, see and smell with an acuity that show up the lies of politicians and kings, but her curse is that should she ever inadvertently reveal her skill, she will doom herself to a vicious death.  (summary courtesy of Fantastic Fiction UK)

We will be discussing this book on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in Meeting Room B.

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We met last night (Wednesday, July 25th) to discuss Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.   As always, I’ll do my best to summarize some of what people had to say (and, as always, will use pseudonyms for those people who have chosen a code name):

  • Burt Macklin, FBI started off our discussion by saying he felt the book was definitely aimed at his demographic, although he wondered how other readers might feel.    Some readers did feel like they knew a lot of the 80’s references, although some were more familiar with the movies mentioned, more than the games.   Furry mentioned that it was nice that you didn’t have to be a gamer to enjoy the story, while another reader said that she really did relate to the gaming aspects, especially the frustration of having to keep leveling-up to be able to accomplish much in a game.    For those readers who might not have grown up in the 1980s, not knowing all of the pop culture references didn’t seem to detract from their enjoyment of the story.
  • As far as the character of Wade was concerned, readers seemed to have mixed reactions.   Pokethulu said that she kept wanting to slap Wade into reality… but she was glad for his epiphany at the end of the story.  Klaupacius said he thought it was interesting that in real life, Wade had such limited opportunities, but in the OASIS, he has a lot of expertise, and a lot more opportunities.  Furry said she liked how it wasn’t just that Wade knew how to play the 1980’s-era games, but that he did a lot of research into Halliday, etc.   Kathleen mentioned that she liked that Wade didn’t automatically discount his virtual friends — that he had occasional blowups with them, and had to sincerely apologize to them.  She felt you could see Wade’s emotional evolution throughout the story.  Haley stated she liked how Wade skated between the fun/fantasy romp of the online world, and the real-life things that affected his day-to-day existence, and how there were the two clear sides to his life.
  • One reader made the comment that it was frustrating how most of the characters in the story had little impact on the real world.    However, Menolly pointed out that the main storyline was about Wade, and how he was trying to escape his miserable life, achieve success, and then face the real world again.  She also stated that she liked that Halliday made the last challenge a cooperative challenge — that individuals can’t solve the challenge alone, but need to have friends (or virtual friends) in OASIS to be able to get to the next stage of the game.
  • The IOI Corporation was also discussed.  Mike pointed out that he wondered about real-life examples of a corporation like this, and wondered what it would be in the next 50-60 years.    Haley made the point that in many dystopias, the story or setting show what people are afraid of — in this story, it’s corporations, and companies, and the fear that they will take over much of our everyday lives.
  • Not all readers were charmed by this book.  One person felt there wasn’t much purpose to the story.    He mentioned he recently read Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson, and compared Gibson’s writing to Cline’s.   He was also frustrated by how many things in the book seemed too easy; all you need to do is play a game, and the games are mostly simple sword/kill types of games.     Burt Macklin, FBI commented that in Cline’s world, that’s the point — that you don’t need to understand how OASIS works, or how a game is constructed and designed; that anyone can play it, and that it’s accessible to anyone.  Mike commented he found it frustrating that Wade seemed to have very few weaknesses as a gamer, and that things came pretty easily to him (which ties into another part of the discussion, below).
  • *spoiler alert ahead! *
  • The other thing that some readers weren’t wild about was the real-life meetings towards the end of the story  — they felt that Cline could have done a lot more with both Aech and Art3mis.   Having Aech turn out to be who she was was pretty much expected by a lot of readers, but a few people mentioned that Cline could have done more with Art3mis than just have her be a little pudgy, with a port-wine birthmark on her face.   As Hola pointed out, Art3mis could have been so much more — she could have been 80 years old, or had more of a physical deformity — and Wade’s feelings about his friendship with her could have really been put to a more strenuous test.    Pohethulu did note that she had been wishing that Aech would turn out to be some kind of evil IOI sleeper agent (which would have made this into a darker, totally different … and interesting.. story).
  • Hola commented that she found that the book wasn’t sentimentally driven, or dialogue driven, but was action-driven.  She found that there certain things in the book that she had to suspend her belief for, but that she liked the story.   However, she had a bit of frustration with how Wade is the typical Chosen One: he’s an orphan, he’s the best gamer, he’s the One, etc.  Mike also noted that he found it a bit annoying that Wade seems to be awfully fortunate in most situations.  However, other readers pointed out that that’s the classic Hero’s Quest, and that Wade isn’t the best in everything, but just the best at what happens in the story.
  • Nicole said that she enjoyed the book purely for its entertainment value, and she didn’t over-analyze the book when she was reading it.   She found it to be a page-turner, as well.   A few people commented on how this story is, as Haley put it, “the ultimate geek fantasy book.”  For readers who were familiar with the 80’s-era games, it seemed to have a special appeal.

And sorry … forgot to add the codes & rating —     The group rated this an overall 4, and the codes chosen were: QUE, AGE, HIT, UTP, HRO

We really had a good, interesting discussion — but I think we could have talked even more about this book.   So, if you would like to continue the discussion, please add your comments!

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As always, we start our evening discussions by giving people an opportunity to mention what else they’ve been reading — and here’s a list (a bit incomplete, sorry) of what was mentioned last night.   I did not catch all of the titles/authors that were mentioned, so if you do not see a book you talked about, please leave a comment with the information.  Thanks!

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Carnage Road by Gregory Lamberson

The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier (The Dark Mirror, the Blade of Fortriu, and The Well of Shades)

Thirteen Orphans by Jane Lindskold

Strangeness and Charm by Mike Shevdon

Timeless by Gail Carriger

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Welcome to Bordertown – Ellen Kushner, editor

Surfing Samurai Robots by Mel Gilden

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker

Spirits in the Wires by Charles de Lint

Walter Moers’ Kleines Arschloch “Der Film”

Some of these titles are available at our library, but if you would like one of these books, and we do not own it, we can always look into getting you a copy through interlibrary loan — just ask one of our Reference Desk staff!

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Last night, Les mentioned that Ready Player One by Ernest Cline had won the Prometheus Award for 2012 — and I forgot to mention that it also won an Alex Award.

If you’d like to know more about these awards, here are some links:  The Prometheus Award   and  The Alex Award.

 

 

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Every year, when our Summer Reading programs have finished, we have programs and parties to celebrate Summer Read.    This year, the Adult/Teen Summer Read party will be on Friday, August 3rd from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.   There will be a special presentation, plenty of food and fun, and we’ll also be announcing the winners of our 4 raffle prizes.   We’ll also have a special door prize for party attendees, which will include a Nook Simple Touch, and some other goodies.   Winners of the raffle prizes do not need to be present at the party to win, but for the special door prize, winners must be present.
We are happy to announce that there will be a presentation by Kerry Keller, Director of the Bolingbrook School of Metaphysics.  He’s going to talk about dreams, and dream interpretation, and how our perception of dreams can be significant in our lives.

So please mark your calendars and join us for this great presentation, and for our Summer Read party on August 3rd!

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by ~lerms

In anticipation of our discussion on Wednesday night, I’m posting some links and Ready Player One fan art that one of our book group members sent to me.    More fan art here, and here.

By Dana Sciandra

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Our Library’s Summer Read runs until July 27th, so there is still plenty of time to register (if you haven’t already), and log what you’ve been reading this summer.

 

If you log 3 books, you get a nice (and sturdy) shiny black & purple ceramic mug — and each book you log counts as a virtual raffle ticket.   We’ll have 4 big raffle prizes to award at the end of Summer Read, and each will include an iPod shuffle, books, audiobooks, DVDs, and more!!

When you log your books, you also have an opportunity to write a review of that book — and you can see what other readers have reviewed, as well.

For the full information on Summer Read, please visit our website at http://www.lislelibrary.org!

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