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Summer Reading

July 13, 2012

This is what I’ve been reading recently. While it may not be some underground guide to awesome books, if you haven’t heard of these they are worth checking out.

First up, Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. This book is basically a love letter to the 80s, but presented in a very compelling way. Essentially, a reclusive billionaire video game designer has no living heir, so when he dies, his will reveals a contest that challenges players to find clues in the virtual world upon which he built his empire. Who ever decodes all the clues and beats the game first, inherits the empire. For years very little progresses was made, until one dedicated player final captured the first key. The story follows the journey of Wade Watts, as he works to unravel the clues and be the first to unlock all the keys and gates before the evil corporation IOI can.

Throughout the book their are references to 80s movies, music, video games, and even D&D. At one point, Wade has his computer programmed to interact with him like Max Headroom, while flying a DeLorean, wielding a lightsaber, and wearing a ring of protection. It’s basically a geek-splosion. It makes for a very nostalgic, entertaining and exciting read!

Next, the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. The first book in this series, The Name of the Wind, has been out since 2007, but if you haven’t read it yet, it’s well worth your time. Rothfuss combines traditional fantasy tropes of magic and coming of age with his own page-turning writing style and richly detailed world. It follows the story of Kvothe, from the perspective of the main character relating his tale to a scribe. Most of the book takes place in the past with occasional interludes in the present. Rothfuss has a very interesting magic system, and magic school, but this is no Harry Potter. This tale is decidedly darker and more varied than ‘boy goes to wizard school.’ I’ve read the second book, The Wise Man’s Fear, and I can’t wait for the third one to be released! Not to be missed if you enjoy a good fantasy book.

Lastly, and perhaps most predictably, George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire. If you haven’t heard, Game of Thrones is kind of a big deal. I’ve really been enjoying the TV series, and readily admit I had not heard of the books before the show. I would recommend watching the show first before reading the book (always a good idea) particularly for this show however, as they faithfully try to hit all the high points of the story, they have to gloss over some things. In reading the book afterwards, it fills in all the details and back stories for minor characters and locations, and brings the world of Westeros alive. I’ve been trying to pace myself with these, as the 3rd season of the show is still in production, and George just recently released the 5th book out of 7. Some long time fans had been waiting years for that 5th book, and it is clear he is an author that will not be rushed. I really enjoy the world he has created with its varied characters and detailed heraldry.

Happy summer reading!

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  1. July 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I’m going to recommend (in addition to the above) Taylor Anderson’s “Destroyermen” series. Book 7 (called Iron Gray Sea) was just released last week, but you really need to start with Into the Storm. It’s alternate history WWII, but explaining what’s different spoils a /major/ part of the first book, so I won’t.

    For those not averse to reading young adult fiction, also check out John Flanagan’s “Ranger’s Apprentice” series and “Brotherband Chronicles.” They have the potential to be a good vehicle to introduce the young proto-gamer in your life to some historical fantasy settings.

    • July 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Yeah! I’ve read the first few of the Ranger’s Apprentice series and enjoyed them quite a bit. I haven’t read the Destroyermen series. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Seventh Son
    July 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Just finished Ready Player One tonight and it was complete and total awesomesauce. Ernest Cline wrote the screenplay to Fanboys and everything in here is this sort of Kevin Smith cult / fanboy love for the usual geek fair plus 80’s music and movies (JohnHughes getting a lot of emphasis here and there.

    It’s made me want to expose my kids to old Atari and NES games, and movies from that era.

    To help your reading, here is a link to a lot of the musical references in the book:

    http://castleanorak.com/ready-player-one-soundtrack/

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