Book 533: Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

This is one of those books that has been on my metal list to look into since it came out. For some reason though, I had lumped it into the same sort of release period as Ender’s Game and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and boy was I surprised when I realized it was written and released in 2011. I knew I would get to the book some day, but the movie release in the next few months, preview embedded at the end of the post, my desire to read the book increased dramatically.

I didn’t read it quite as fast as I read some of the recent Jane Austen fan-fiction, but I did get through this one pretty quickly. I found the writing simple enough to breeze through and my vague familiarity with a lot of the 1980s pop culture helped (even if I did have to google quite a few). The strengths, for me at least, were the realistic vision of where we could easily end up as a society within the next few decades if something similar to OASIS actually becomes reality. The OASIS or, “The Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation was a big place.” (48), is in essence an internet/game type situation that could include full or partial body immersion. Cline isn’t the first, nor will he be the last to write something like this. It’s a dystopian vs. utopian, good vs. evil, privacy vs. corporate consumerism story for the ages.

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Books, Personal Project, Professional Development

Book 465: A Truck Full of Money – Tracy Kidder

kidder-tracy-a-truck-full-of-moneyUgh. (Nothing to do with the book, which I quiet enjoyed.)

This is what I get for not responding to my reading of the book in a timely manner. Like the other book published this week (You Will Not Have My Hate), this has been sitting in my queue to be responded to for almost an entire month.

I wish I could say what took me so long to respond but I have no idea. I’ve just been so busy at work and with Thanksgiving that I dropped the ball. Unfortunately that means my normal Opening and Closing Lines at the end aren’t there because this was a book from NetGalley* and by time I went to write this, they’d already archived it 😦

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Book 185: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan

Sloan, Robin - Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreYes! Yes! Yes! If I were ever going to work in/own a bookstore I would want it to be like this!

This is like The Da Vinci Code or some other better written mystery/thriller for book readers and bibliophiles! I definitely need to purchase a copy to add to my permanent shelf. I’m not sure where I came across this book or why I decided to read it, but I’m glad I did and I’m glad I requested it from the library.

There’s so much to talk about I don’t really know where to begin. I want to talk about the secret society, the awesome pop culture and technology references, the hilariously quirky minor characters, the ending, and the bookstore itself among other things. Not to mention that it was a fast and entertaining read. I loved Clay, the protagonist, and all of his friends and people he interacted with made the story that much richer. Throw in the art and culture, museums and games (D&D spin off) and fantasy novels and classics and it’s like a nerd-gasm.

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ARC, Books

Book 125: The Secret Lives of Codebreakers – Sinclair McKay

I stumbled across The Secret Lives of Codebreakers on NetGalley and decided to request a copy as I planned on reading David Leavitt’s The Man Who Knew too Much, and I am glad I did. This book tells the stories of the individuals of Bletchley Park—not just what they were working on, but what they did in their spare time, where they came from and where they went after the war. In essence, it does everything I wanted The Man Who Knew too Much to do about Alan Turing but didn’t.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher. This response to the novel is my honest opinion and I did not receive any compensation for it. Penguin Group USA is releasing The Secret Lives of Codebreakers by Sinclair McKay in September of this year.

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Book 124: The Man Who Knew Too Much – David Leavitt

Overall this book was ‘meh’. I couldn’t get into it and it wasn’t what I thought it would be. With the title and the blurb I assumed the book was about Alan Turing and his life and not the history of inventions which led to modern computers. I was clearly wrong.

The book was interesting, but I just didn’t enjoy it. There was too much math and science (sometimes explained nicely so that a non-mathematician could understand it) and not enough biography. Again, this was apparently my misunderstanding. The one thing I took away from the novel about Turing was that everything that is known about him has to come with a grain of salt. He sounded like someone I would love to talk to and find out more about. What I found most fascinating was that

“Turing had displayed a remarkable degree of self-confidence and comfort in his sexual identity. That he saw his sexuality as part of his identity in the first place put him at odds with the prevalent thinking of his age, and reflected, no doubt, the years that he had spent in the privileged corridors of King’s College.” (195)

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Lunchbreak Interlude VII

Recently on Facebook, I’ve seen this going around:

You are posting on a social network created by an Atheist (Mark Zuckerberg), using an OS created by a Buddhist (Steve Jobs) or an Agnostic (Bill Gates) or maybe an athiest (Linus Torvalds), that is executed through hardware based on the work of an Atheist homosexual (Alan Turing) that works thanks to the electric networks developed by a free thinker (Thomas Edison).

I’m not going to preach or say anything about people’s views or religions (those without preach/proselytize just as much as those with), but I thought it was interesting to think about.  In addition I thought it was pertinent as the next two books I plan to read  Alan Turing, whose 100th birthday is this year.  I plan on reading The Man Who Knew Too Much by David Leavitt, a library book, and The Secret Lives of Codebreakers by by Sinclair McKay, a Net Galley.

I don’t know much about Turing other than he was prosecuted for being gay and took his own life at some point after being chemically castrated.  There are still petitions to the UK Government for an official pardon and apology, but little has come from them.  However, Alan Turing’s legacy in math, codebreaking, computing and artificial-intelligence lives on.  Google recently based on the Turing Machine:

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