Books: April Edition

ReadyPlayerOne

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The reputation of this debut preceded me choosing to buy it on sale for Kindle last fall. More recently, this was mentioned on the What Should I Read Next? podcast, which encouraged me to dive in and give it a shot. Little did I realize how much I would enjoy this gamer/tech/futuristic YA novel! There are hints of Ender’s Game, but this is a book that stands on its own.

Brief synopsis: set 30 years in the future, Wade, a teenage gamer, is on a quest to find a hidden fortune left inside the OASIS (virtual reality + Internet) after the death of the OASIS’ legendary web programmer. The book contains many references to various types of games and 1980s pop culture, several of which I understood as a child of the 80s, and are the details that fuel Wade’s passionate quest. Even if you missed out on all things 80s, the references aren’t an inside joke that excludes the reader.

Since The Optometrist is the one who has slowly helped me wade into fantasy/sci-fi movies, TV, and books, I think he would really enjoy this one, too.

Cozy

Cozy: A Stanley Hastings Mystery by Parnell Hall

This spring semester I’ve read a few books, thanks in part to book discussions sponsored by the Oklahoma Humanities Council. I’ve read books in January and February, opted out of March, and this was the April selection.

It’s the 14th sixth book in the Stanley Hastings mystery series, one that is set at a bed & breakfast/inn (the semantics of this are contested by Stanley and his wife all throughout the book) in New England. Typically, I believe other books in this series take place in New York City, and I’m always a sucker for books that take place there, so I might have to pick up another in this cozy mystery series.

I didn’t particularly care for the way Stanley’s wife often belittled and berated him, but I did enjoy the fast-paced and humorous dialogue, which seemed unscripted, and the way actual people have (sometimes confusing) conversations.

kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

This slim self-help book has already challenged me to mindfully think about my possessions and life. It goes beyond seasonal spring cleaning and being well organized to consciously viewing each of your belongings. Kondo suggests using joy as the barometer in how you evaluate clothing, household items, and miscellany.

“It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure. This is the lesson these keepsakes teach us when we sort them. The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”

BRIDGEBOOK

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I read this 1978 Newbery award winner for the first time when I was 13. I remember it resounding so deeply within me, but don’t think I’ve re-read it since then. Enough time has passed that some of the details had grown fuzzy, so I felt it was worth a re-read. Even now as an adult, the same emotions I felt as a pre-teen came rushing back as I read this modern-day classic: how we all long for genuine and sweet friendships, the joy of using one’s imagination, regret, deep sorrow, and looking to the future with hope.

Innocent Man

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

Typically the true crime genre is a bit too gruesome and gory for my liking, but when a good friend spoke highly of and let me borrow this, John Grisham’s first non-fiction book, I figured I could at least try it. I’ve read many Grisham novels over the years, with The Firm being my favorite.

The setting isn’t all that different from the town in Oklahoma where we live, which hit (almost quite literally) close to home. It was a compelling read, not as violent as I thought it might be, and is a startling look at unfortunate legal circumstances – when speculation and assumption are the path of conviction, rather than patience, truth, and ultimately justice.

With May just around the corner and school soon being out, I’ll be able to start my summer reading!

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