Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It has been such a long time since I picked up a book I couldn’t put down. This was definitely one of those books!

My friend gave me this book as a birthday gift this year thinking it’d be a good fit for me based on my love of YA novels, dystopians, and all things nerdy. Boy did he hit the nail on the head.

ready-player-one-paperback-cover

Ready Player One is set in the very near future of 2044. The world has basically gone to crap, and the only form of escapism comes from a game console called the OASIS. Not only does the majority of humanity escape the depression of the real world playing in the virtual world, but they also get their education and go to work there as well.

James Halliday was a teenager in the 1980’s, and so was forever obsessed with the video games and pop culture nerdery that defined the decade. He was also the guy that created the OASIS game. When he died, he left a message for the world that there was an Easter egg hidden in the OASIS ready for whoever was worthy to find it, and once they did they would inherit his massive fortune, which includes gaining control of the virtual world itself.

The protagonist, Wade – aka Parzival, has life about as bad as anyone can. His parents are dead and he’s stuck living with an aunt that doesn’t care for him much…I wonder if he ever felt a kinship with Harry Potter? They live in stacks of trailers. The world is so crappy in 2044 that trailers are literally stacked one on top of the other. So like most people living in this bleak dystopian future of ours, he jumped at the chance to try to find the Easter egg and win millions of dollars to make all his dreams come true.

The OASIS is so large that people make real world money and it even has an actual government. Because of this, there is a scary greedy crazy mega corporation that will stop at nothing to find the egg and gain control of the OASIS. They make for some really terrifying antagonists, especially when they blew up Wade’s trailer stack.

This book is full of all sorts of 80’s nostalgia. I was born in 1984 so I don’t remember a whole lot about the 80’s, but some of my favorite movies came from the 80’s. It’s also full of all things video games/sci-fi/and fantasy nerdery. Being a major nerd myself, I couldn’t get enough of all the geeky mentions.

This has been one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time. I’m definitely interested to see how they pull off the movie adaptation. The fun thing is that Stephen Spieberg is set to direct it, and there were several nods to him and his movies throughout the book. How meta!

And now for the crochet!

I knew pretty early on in the book that I absolutely had to crochet Pac-Man. Not only is it up there in video game history, but there is also a scene in the book dedicated to the game.

I found the instructions here, I just didn’t make it 3D.

pacman

Goodreads Reading Challenge – 7 books down, 43 to go
9gag’s Reading Challenge – A book with a number in the title
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Has anyone read this book? What did you think? Looking forward to the movie? Wish I’d stop asking so many questions? Wondering if I’m going to stop after this one? Yeah, I guess I will.

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Raylan by Elmore Leonard

One of the books from the 9gag Reading Challenge is to read a book set in your hometown. I sort of grew up back and forth between two small towns in Kentucky, but I was born in Harlan, Kentucky, and my dad stayed there when my parents divorced so I was in and out of Harlan all through my childhood.

Harlan is a really tiny town with a population of less than 2,000. Really nothing of note happens there other than closing coal mines and a drug problem spiraling out of control. Probably no one outside of the hills of Eastern Kentucky ever heard of Harlan. That is, until the channel FX began airing the show Justified, based on Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole.”

I began watching the show when it first aired in 2010 out of morbid curiosity. Why was there a show on TV about this nowhere town I grew up in hidden away from the rest of society in the “back hollers”, as they say, of the Appalachian Mountains? I admit, I was immediately hooked. Some of the actors portraying the people of Eastern Kentucky were so good I was convinced they actually plucked people out of Harlan itself and put them on TV. Sure, there were issues – for instance they would travel from Harlan to Lexington, Kentucky in about 10 minutes, when in real life that trip would be pushing about 3 hours. Regardless, it was a great show and I’m sad to see it go, as it just recently wrapped it’s final season.

So, yeah yeah stop blabbing about TV, this is supposed to be about a book right? I know, I’m getting to that. So when I saw this challenge I knew immediately I had to read Raylan by Elmore Leonard, which happens to be his last work before he passed away. This is a novel based on the show that was based on his short story. Kind of an odd circle of life.

Raylan_(novel)

Knowing how much I love the show, I was really excited to read this book. It is really nothing more than US Marshall Raylan Givens fighting the crime of Harlan, Kentucky.

The first thing I noticed while reading this was how extremely bored I was with it. I thought maybe I was having a bad day, so I put it down and came back to it the next. I continued to find myself bored with it and essentially put it down and never could bring myself to pick it back up. I made about halfway through at that point, and finally after about a month of this picked it back up and went through a marathon speed reading session to finally put myself out of the misery.

And the weird thing is I really wouldn’t even say the book is bad, per se…. just not very interesting. It might have to do with the fact that the stories were based on episodes of the show, so I really already knew the outcome to most of it. It was also more like three short stories pressed together and made into one, which left me feeling disoriented.

Now, usually I’m pretty favorable on things and go pretty easy on stuff. I liked Twilight for crying out loud, if that tells you anything. So I thought surely if I’m feeling this strongly about it the rest of the world is too. But to my surprise it has received pretty favorable reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. So maybe I’m the odd girl out on this one.

And now for the crochet!

I was so disinterested in the book that I not only had a serious lack of motivation to crochet anything from it, I also had a serious lack of motivation to write this review (I finished reading it over three weeks ago!). But I finally mustered up the nerve to try to make something, anything, just to finally get this book in my past and move on. Well I tried stars for the US Marshall badge, I did several attempts at Raylan’s signature hat… everything was a flop. So I finally give with this final version of the hat, that doesn’t look quite like I’d like it too, and definitely isn’t the right color since I don’t have any light brown yarn.

justified-olyphantpg-vertical-extralarge

raylan_hat

And there you have it. I’m so behind on reading at this point that I really fear my ability to read 50 by the end of the year. Life has been kind of crazy lately, I got a promotion at the company I work for which has come with different hours and time off, for some reason though I know it’s not true, I feel like my free time has vanished somehow! Anyway I hope to be able to make up my lost reading time, especially since my local library has a kick-ass summer reading program that is going to be starting soon.

Read –  I don’t even remember
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 6 books down, 44 to go
9gag’s Reading Challenge – A book that takes place in your hometown
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 Has anyone else experienced this lack of motivation with a book?