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.

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell

Oh, what a treat when a friend of mine showed up the other day with this book in his hands. My husband got first dibs on it, but the second he was done I nabbed it up.

First to preface, I have to say that if you have not watched the cult movie The Room, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. If you’ve never heard of it, The Room is a film that was written, directed, produced, and starring Tommy Wiseau about… well your guess is as good as mine about what it’s about. Love? Betrayal? Drugs? Football in tuxedos? The word ‘hi’? Sex? Death? Rooftops? Red roses? Who the hell knows? Tommy Wiseau knows…I think…

Here’s the trailer, maybe you can tell me what it’s about?

Lost a few brain cells after that? Yeah, I know the feeling.

So, the movie is about Johnny, played by Tommy Wiseau, who has a “perfect life” with his cute blonde fiance Lisa, and job that he’s up for promotion. Enter Mark, his BFF who Lisa finds herself unable to stop having sex with. Thus, hilarity ensues. Lisa and her mother have the same conversation about it about 8 times. Mark seems confused every time Lisa calls him over. Tommy can’t stop saying “oh, hi” to everyone…it’s madness I tell you, madness!

The Disaster Artist is written by the guy that plays Mark, Greg Sestero, about his experiences with Tommy Wiseau and the making of The Room. Turns out, Tommy and Greg met during an acting class and became unlikely friends, and eventually roommates. Greg writes about Tommy’s odd outbursts, accent that can’t quite be placed, mystery surrounding not only his actual age but where he’s really from. Not to mention the unknown origins of the $6 million budget for The Room that Tommy independently financed himself. That’s not a typo… SIX MILLION DOLLARS went into making this movie. Step back for a moment… the budget for Pulp Fiction was $8 million. Granted it was made 9 years before The Room, but it stars some of the biggest actors in Hollywood – John Travolta, Sam Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis…the list goes on!

Ahem, I digress. The point is, Tommy Wiseau is a strange man with strange origins and a strange accent and strange emotions and this book is about Greg’s experiences with his strange friend making the disaster of a movie that The Room is. Actors and crews quit and are replaced. Tommy can’t remember the lines he wrote himself. He refuses to let anyone ad-lib or rework any of their lines to make them even remotely normal for natural conversation. Sets are broken down only for Tommy to decide at the last-minute he’d like to add a new scene there.

The entire production sounded like a fever dream, and let me tell you, this book is a page turner. I couldn’t believe one man could be as strange and intriguing as Tommy is, only to turn the page and find him one-upping himself! He makes Ed Wood seems like Martin Scorsese.

Word on the street is that Seth Rogan is going to produce a movie based on this novel starring James Franco as Tommy and Dave Franco as Greg. It will be interesting to see if the Franco brothers can pull off this madness.

And now for the crochet!

At first I tried to crochet a spoon, but couldn’t quite get it right after three attempts so I gave up. The reason for the spoon you ask? Greg recounts in the story that the set Tommy had ordered to be built for Johnny’s apartment wasn’t dressed at all with any decorations, pictures etc. So he ordered some of his crew to get some picture frames. When they came back wanting to replace the pictures in the frames with actual photographs, Tommy told them to forget it. The stock photos that were in the frames were all spoons. Tommy felt it didn’t matter…

Since the spoon wasn’t working out, I went with a football. I lost count how many times the guys in this movie toss a football around, but it’s a lot. The funny thing is Greg said one day they were all told to put on the tuxedos that were bought for the eventual movie premiere (which no one thought would ever actually happen). The reason for dressing in tuxes? Tommy decided he wanted to film a scene where the guys are tossing a football around in tuxedos. Is this ever explained in the movie why? No, absolutely not. And from Greg’s story, it seemed by that point people stopped trying to question Tommy and just went with his insane ideas.

football_theRoom

Before I tucked all the ends in, I snapped a picture of what I had created and called it a “hot mess”. I thought for a second just leaving it at that, because that really sums up the movie well!

football_Mess

 The pattern I used for the football can be found clicking here.

Read –  February 16th – February 20th
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 5 books down, 45 to go
9gag’s Reading ChallengeA nonfiction book.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Has anyone seen The Room? I’m curious to see what the Francos and Seth Rogan do with this movie adaptation. What are your thoughts?

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

One of the books on this year’s reading challenge is to read a book by an author with your same initials. Luckily I was able to not only find an author with my initials, but with my first name as well…huzzah! I didn’t even have to think twice running to the children’s section of the library to check out Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Actually, I read that and it’s precursor Little House in the Big Woods.

Book.littlehousebigwoodslittlehousePrairie

 

Both books were written in the early to mid 1930’s, about Laura Ingalls childhood living in the woods of Pepin, Wisconsin USA, and then later moving to a prairie in Kansas near the town of Independence. The books are written in the third person and isn’t a literal autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life, but the stories come from her childhood memories.

Being children’s books, I know I’m not the target audience, but I actually found myself enjoying the stories. These aren’t my typical go-to for entertainment either, like I’ve said in the past I’m more of a horror/sci-fi/fantasy girl myself. But there was something charming about the simplicity of the writing style, and the life they lived in the late 1800’s.

Little House in the Big Woods was mostly about life during the fall harvest and winter. Their Pa bringing in lots of meat and salting it to store all winter for food. What I found most charming was how wonderful Laura and her sister Mary felt on Christmas morning, because they each got a pair of new mittens. Period. In today’s world of iPhones and Playstations and Black Friday massacres, it’s nice to read about girls just happy with a new pair of warm mittens.

Little House on the Prairie saw the Ingalls family moving from their big woods out west to Kansas into land belonging to Native Americans, because Pa Ingalls got word that the government was opening it up for settlement. What I loved was after traveling they came to a spot that Pa decided was right where he wanted to build a house, then he went and got logs and started to do just that. Imagine people doing that today! I was really taken aback by the amount of racism in this book toward the Native Americans, especially from Ma Ingalls. Both of these books are a good reminder that things haven’t always been as they are here in the crazy 21st century.

 

And now for the crochet!

 I probably got a little too literal with my crochet item for these stories as I did with The Maze Runner, but whatever it’s only my own rules I’m following here!

littlehousechrochet3 littlehousecrochet1 littlehousecrochet2

 

There was no pattern for this “little house”, I just did rows of 15 single crochet in back loops only, at the top I tapered down decreasing at the beginning and end of each row.

 

Read –  February 10th – February 15th
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 4 books down, 46 to go (counting these as one since they were short)
9gag’s Reading ChallengeA book by an author with your same initials.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I’ve never watched the show from the 80s, has anyone else read the books or watched the show? What did you all think?

The Maze Runner – by James Dashner

Well, clearly I’m going to have to start reading faster if I’m ever going to have hope of getting through 50 books by the end of 2015. Admittedly, binge watching the entire run of Dexter with my husband the last few weeks hasn’t helped any… We are near the middle of February and I’ve just finished my 3rd book for the year, The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

I’m a sucker for YA novels. Yes, I’m in my 30s. Yes I like “grown-up” books too. But there’s always something about YA novels. Generally the ones I like are fantasy, sci-fi, or horror which are my three favorite genres. And don’t even get me started on dystopian stuff. Ever since I was 10 and watched Stephen King’s The Stand miniseries on TV I’ve been in love with these post apocalyptic settings.

The_Maze_Runner_cover

So this brings me to The Maze Runner. The main character Thomas finds himself without any memory of who he is, or even how old he is. All he knows is his name. He finds himself in a place called the Glade, a big open space completely surrounded by large walls with openings out into a massive maze. The only inhabitants of the Glade are other young boys, and they all arrived in the Glade the same way he did, missing all their memories.

Out in the maze a group of boys called Runners well, run, all day every day looking for a way to get out of the maze and back to the real world and hopefully their families. There’s also some really horrible creatures out in the maze called Greivers that everyone wants to avoid. Something is odd though, because while Thomas doesn’t remember anything, several things about the Glade seem familiar to him, and some of the other boys seem to think he’s familiar too. Things really begin to break down for the boys when a girl shows up…

I liked the mystery surrounding this story. There was clearly something up with the Glade and the maze, but none of the boys could remember anything. As the story progressed bit by bit Thomas began to piece things together. I also like when books have made up curse words and things like that, the kids here all call each other shuck faces, I may have to steal that one for myself! I’m going to start calling my friends damn muggle shuck faces…at least until someone hits me!

I thought it was a fun read, and definitely recommend to those who like YA or dystopian books.

 

Now, for the crochet!

This was probably too much of an obvious choice… but I decided to crochet a maze for this one.

MazeRunner2 MazeRunner

There was no pattern for this, I just crocheted a square of half double crochet stitches, and then slip stitched the maze free-handed on top of it.

Read – January 18th- February 10th
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 3 books down, 47 to go
9gag’s Reading ChallengeA book by an author you’ve never read before.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

I have been obsessed with the show Gilmore Girls since I first laid eyes on it. I’m not just throwing the word “obsessed” around lightly here, either. I’m talking an I’ve-actually-tried-to-talk-my-husband-into-moving-to-Connecticut level of obsession here. The fact that I’m going to be 32 in a little over a year and don’t have a well-read 16-year-old daughter, a cool wardrobe, a plucky can-do attitude, a quirky best friend named Sookie, and extremely rich parents that I want nothing to do with, is, well, frankly depressing me thinking about it!

LGSomedaySomedayMaybe

Anyway, back to the book at hand. My husband being the awesome guy that he is bought me this book authored by the Lorelai Gilmore herself, Lauren Graham, as a Christmas gift this past year. I’m going to admit, this isn’t generally my type of go-to book. Had I read the premise without the level of love and dedication that I have for Lauren Graham, I may have skipped over it completely. Normally if there isn’t a wizard, or some off planet battle, or historical vampires, or otherworldly beings, or some bleak future where we’ve all destroyed ourselves, I’m not all that interested. I know I may be glossing over what are probably perfectly wonderful books, something I’d really like to change.

Set in 1995 New York City, Someday, Someday, Maybe is the story of wanna-be actress Franny Banks. As we join Franny in her story, she’s 6 months away from the deadline she’s set herself to actually make it as an actress. If she’s not where she thinks she should be, she’s packing it all up and moving back to her simple life with simple goals and a simple career…and things aren’t looking so hot for her.

I really like the fun, fresh voice of Lauren Graham’s writing. Franny reminds me a lot of myself, she suffers from anxiety and self-doubt that I can totally relate to. The book is also broken up with Franny’s filofax entries, which basically becomes a character all its own. There are even a few passages written out as scripts are, and the has-been film student that I am and constant movie geek, I loved that extra flair!

So I’m here to say even if you find yourself leaning more toward horror, sci-fi, and fantasy like I myself do, give this book a try..someday, someday, maybe?  He-he see what I did there?

Now, for the crochet!

At first I fretted that I wouldn’t be able to crochet anything tangible from the book. The major themes of finding inner strength and courage, scripts, acting, etc didn’t really seem to lend itself to my idea of crocheting something inspired by the book. So I had decided if I couldn’t think of anything from the book itself, I’d crochet a little red jacket like the one on the cover. But, then it happened. I found my inspiration. Just as Franny has given up on herself, no job, no prospects, no love interest, no agent, nothing… she sees a red balloon.

But then I see there is a balloon, a single red balloon floating in front of the taxi, its white string just brushing the windshield, before the wind pulls it past us and it drifts up, up, up, and out of sight.
“You see that?” The cab driver says to my reflection in his rear-view mirror.
“Yeah.”
“How’d it get this far and not go pop?”

-Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

This red balloon, as Franny begins to further reflect, is a metaphor for her life…how did she get this far and not pop? I knew the red balloon was a perfect symbol for this story, and I finally had my crochet inspiration.

someday someday maybe Balloon balloon book

For this, I didn’t have a pattern, I just made it up until it looked semi-balloonish to me.

Read – January 4th – January 18th, 2015
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 2 books down, 48 to go
9gag’s Reading ChallengeA book by a female author.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Stephen King’s Revival

Revival is Stephen King’s latest novel. A story full of nostalgia and what it is to get older. It spans several decades, with our narrator Jamie first meeting Rev. Jacobs when he’s 6  years old. The story itself is told as a narrative that Jamie is writing.

revival

Stephen King has always been a master at writing about nothing. I don’t mean that in a bad way by any means. What I mean is he can take simple mundane things like working up the nerve to ask a girl out, or learning how to play the guitar, and make them a complete page turner.

He’s also a master at crafting rich characters. Jamie here is like any old drug addicted guitar playing nobody, and you can’t help but love him from page one on. Jacobs on the other hand goes through a transformation that isn’t quite as lovable. I’m not sure you could say he’s the books villain, that title I’d say probably goes to death itself.  Jacobs goes  from an amazingly generous, sweet and trustworthy minister, to a guy that although he still generally cares about helping people, has a much darker ulterior motive, making him the creator of a lot of destruction that he become completely ambivalent to. Jamie and Jacobs weave in and out of each others lives, from the early 60’s to present day, leading to an ultimate ending that I’m honestly surprised didn’t give me a nightmare the night I finished reading this book.

Speaking of nightmares, Stephen King is of course well-known for his horror. Revival isn’t what I’d call a horror in the classic sense, but it’s definitely sprinkled with enough horror here and there to keep any fan of the genre hooked in my opinion. The end, though, is full on Lovecraftian goodness!

On Goodreads I rated the book 5, because I didn’t want to give it a 4. Truthfully though I’d say this book is more deserving of a 4.5. It’s definitely a good book, but for me the 5 star Stephen King novels are ones like The Stand and The Dark Tower.

Now, for the crochet!

The major theme running through this novel was lightning and electricity. When Jamie was a little boy, Jacobs used electricity as a hobby and a way to teach religion to the kids of his church. As Jacobs aged, though, he became more and more obsessed with electricity and this power he kept referring to as “secret electricity”.  So, without further ado, I give you a cute little blue lightning bolt, as inspired by Stephen King’s Revival

bolt lightning lightning_Revival

The pattern for this little bolt of electricity can be found – here

Read – December 31st, 2014- January 4th, 2015.
Goodreads Reading Challenge – 1 book down, 49 to go.
9gag’s Reading ChallengeA book with a one-word title.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars