Last week, I finished up the final 2 books I was reading from those nominated for the 2012 Locus Awards Finalists for Best First Novel. The winners were actually announced on Saturday, June 16, 2012, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern won (for Best First Novel) - I ain't mad at that as I really liked it!
Recently Finished Reading
Ready Player One. Ernest Cline. It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world.
This book is like an ode to the 80s - if you grew up in that era and were a gamer - it's practically guaranteed that you'll love it. And yes, I grew up in then (although I lived in Jamaica), but my gaming was limited to Pac-Man ... and I still devoured this book in just a little over a day. Now, you should know that I hate when a book references tons of other past books - if you didn't know that, read my thoughts on The Marriage Plot and Among Others - BUT Ernest Cline did it right with Ready Player One, making it an integral part of the story, and I didn't feel left out even when I wasn't familiar with the reference.
There's lots of adventure, action & mystery throughout - both in the real World of the book, and in the virtual reality - but Cline also delved deeper, exploring online friendships and the downside of a life spent entirely online - that is the one area that I wish he would have gone into a little bit more, particularly at the end.
Overall - this book is aces so read it! My 12 year old step-son grabbed my library copy and read it before I did in about 2 days (yes - he should have been studying). He is NOT a child of the 80s, but he does love his video-games, and that was the appeal for him. (Amazon| Goodreads)
Soft Apocalypse, Will McIntosh. What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang. oft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.
I was scared out of my mind by this bleak, dark, depressing outlook on the future - but I really enjoyed this eye-opening book. It's not a "post-apocalyptic" tale - more "during the apocalypse" and it's a long slow decent into a World that has used up all it's resources and where people & countries are turning on each other. Unemployment is at 40%, government control is loose at best, fire & police-men are more likely to shoot you than help you ... and the picture painted is a very realistic one. It's told from the point of view of Jasper, a relatively normal college grad who, when we meet him, is a homeless nomad traveling with a tribe of other similar individuals - all middle-class, college educated and relatively smart. The book chronicles their circumstances & how they react to an increasingly hostile World around them.
My only wish is that the book would have gone on a bit longer - I wanted to know more about ... well, let's say about whether a new way of living succeeded in making it. Is it too much to ask for a happy ending when the entire book was a bit dark? But seriously - this was an excellent book - there are scenes that are still haunting me - so go read it and let's discuss! (Amazon| Goodreads)
Currently Reading and NextTrying to finish up the last 3 books from my Spring reading list.
Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi. In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. (Amazon| Goodreads)
Graffiti Moon, Cath Crowley. It's the end of Year 12. Lucy's looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about. His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere. Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow's thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls. But the one thing Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes. (Amazon| Goodreads)
Jellicoe Road, Melinda Marchetta. Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, so Taylor is trying work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. (Amazon| Goodreads)
So, what are you reading this week?
- Linked to It's Monday, What Are You Reading @ Book Journey