Books

Book 534: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

After seeing the atrocious adaptation that was the film, I decided I should visit the source material to see if I might actually enjoy the story. I have minimal Stephen King interaction (outside of Cujo and Misery—both read for a Books into Movies book group) so I don’t have too many pre-conceived notions about him as an author.

However, now I’ve processed the book I’m torn. There were parts of this I enjoyed but knowing what’s coming and knowing how many books there are left in the cycle I’m not sure I’ll be able to stick with it. A large part of this had to do with it starting in medias res (Wikipedia link), but not like a bit, but like what felt near the end. Maybe it’s not and I’ll be surprised, but it really feels pretty late in the story.

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Books

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

Book 418: Angel Fire East (Word & Void #3) – Terry Brooks

Brooks, Terry - Angel Fire East (Word & Void #3)And just like that I’m done with my first foray into Terry Brooks’ World of Shannara. I’m not totally finished as I recently stumbled across a short story, Imaginary Friendswhich is technically Word & Void #0.5 so there’s one small story left! I’ll read it in less than an hour and that’ll be the next post later this week.

As far as conclusions go, this was a pretty good end to the story that spanned three books, fifteen years and roughly 9-12 actual days of action in the books. I didn’t pay attention to it in the first two books, but each of these books takes place in less than five days from start to finish. There are plenty of flashbacks and quite a few jumps ahead, but overwhelmingly the entire action of the story takes place in less than a week. Each of these books really are examples of the minuscule moments which can change the world for good (the Word) or for evil (the Void).

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Book 417: A Knight of the Word (Word & Void #2) – Terry Brooks

Brooks, Terry - A Knight of the Word (Word & Void #2)Picking up five years after the action in Running with the DemonA Knight of the Word takes off at a fast pace and keeps going. If you could skip the first book of the Word & Void trilogy I would recommend it. This one was a huge step forward and I think the 80 fewer pages in this book were all description from the first book, making this one better. I mean you should read both, but know if you make it through the first one, you’ve got this great one to look forward to!

I wasn’t sure how I would like this book with the five years between the two stories and taking the action away from Nest and putting it solely on John Ross. Brooks didn’t let me down though, the story moved quickly to include Nest. It was a bit sad hearing about everything that happened since the end of Running with the Demon, but it was great to be back in the world again so quickly.

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Book 416: Running with the Demon (Word & Void #1) – Terry Brooks

Brooks, Terry - Running with the Demon (Word & Void #1)Talk about coincidence! I planned to read the Word & Void trilogy early this year as it’s been on my shelf for far too long and a coworker from my last job (3+ years ago) recommended it. Add that we recently started to watch The Shannara Chronicles (IMDB link) and my interest in Brooks’ work increased. So when I started reading this and found out it’s a distant part of the Shannara universe my mind was blown!

I asked advice on whether to even consider the Shannara super-series and I find out I’ve backed myself into it inadvertently. Again, Mind. Blown. Although this is the eleventh book published connected to Shannara, it is the first in story chronology. I have no idea how many I will read, but I will most definitely finish out this trilogy as I was sucked in within the first few pages!

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Book 387: The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood

Atwood, Margaret - The Heart Goes LastI didn’t quite get this one read before it’s release, but considering how busy I’ve been, having it read and posted within a week of its release, September 29, is pretty impressive! Any time there is a new Atwood, I get excited. Margaret Atwood is the Queen of Speculative Fiction, among other things. So when I had the opportunity to request a copy and the publisher, Nan A. Talese granted it*, I was over the moon.

I still have a few older Atwood’s on my shelf to read, but the last I read was Stone Mattress and I really liked where she was going. This being said, I’ve seen quite a few reviews recently of The Heart Goes Last where I’ve wanted to slap the reviewers and say WHAT ABOUT THE BOOK? Mostly people were complaining they had bought the first few chapters on a website and then had to buy the whole book to find out what happened (Hello, single song releases?! Do we not remember the “old days” of the 1990s – early 2000s?) As this doesn’t affect me and most readers, I don’t see why it’s important so don’t let that impact your judgement!

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Books, The Classics Club

Book 368: Anthem – Ayn Rand

Rand, Ayn - AnthemGoing into Ayn Rand’s Anthem I had very little “real” knowledge of her, her writing or her politics. Everything I know about her is word-of-mouth and I’m sure exaggeration. I have no plans to change that. If I write something incredibly wrong please someone point it out, I’m just writing about my response to this story as a piece of literary fiction. And that response is wow.

I’m not sure why Rand’s masterpieces Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead get all the credit when this is a big piece of work in such a tiny package. I mean Rand was writing about post-apocalyptic dystopias before it was cool. She was contemporaries with Huxley and their bleak views  really must’ve inspired modern-day writers or maybe I’m just seeing connections where I want to see them. Either way, I would be shocked to find that the likes of Atwood, Collins and Orwell to name a few hadn’t read this work.

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