Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready player oneReady Player One by Ernest Cline was on my I-think-I’d-really-like-this list for over 6 months before a good friend gave me a copy for Christmas. Hurray! Then it sat on my bookshelf for another 6 months while I desperately read library books the week they were due. (There’s nothing like a looming due date to get me reading.) Last week, I finally sat myself down and started reading.

Wade Watts, like many of the people living in 2044, spends almost all his time online in a virtual reality simulation known as OASIS. He attends school online, hangs out with his best (and only) friend in a private chat room, and spends hours each day scouring the school’s comprehensive online library since he lacks the digital or real money necessary to travel between the worlds of OASIS.  Continue reading

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

the wild robot The same day I picked up The Wild Robot by Peter Brown at the library, I also checked out My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. It seems strange to me now, but I had no idea the three books were written by the same person. I’d requested the first two based on separate recommendations and picked the last one off the shelf display because the illustrations were so fantastic. While I was busy laughing at myself for not realizing the books were written by the same author, my eight-year old was busy checking out the new books. “A robot can’t be wild,” he announced in that all-knowing way of oldest children everywhere. Normally, I would hand over the book and challenge him to read it and see, but I had other plans for this one. I wanted to read The Wild Robot myself because I’d heard it was beautiful and touching (two words I don’t generally associate with robot stories). As it turns out, those adjectives were not inaccurate.  Continue reading

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

all the birdsI wanted to read All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders the minute I heard the premise: a girl with magical powers and a boy who is a science prodigy are best friends as children, but they lose track of each other as they develop their respective skills. As adults, they must join together to save the world as it falls to pieces around them. The author is one the editor-in-chief of the science fiction blog io9, so I was expecting some a solid system (either magical or scientific or both) to provide a foundation of awesomeness. I was so enthralled that I read the book over a 2-day period, but I was so annoyed through much of it that I wasn’t sure I should bother writing about it at all. In the end, my feelings about the whole thing are just too varied to answer the important question (Would I recommend this to a friend?) with a simple yes or no. Continue reading

Hall of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce

small mammalsI rarely read short story collections. To give you an idea of how rarely, I picked up Hall of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce thinking it would be a good one-day read for the 2016 Reading Challenge. (Turns out the short part doesn’t matter nearly as much as the collection part when it comes to overall page count.) When I finished the first story, I was vaguely irritated. It just ended without answering all of my questions! I am willing to admit that this reaction stemmed from a lifetime of reading novels. Irritation aside, I am trying to broaden my literary scope, so I pressed on. By the third story in, I knew I would finish the entire collection. What I didn’t know is whether I would write about it here, and if I did, what I would say. Ultimately, I knew I needed to write about it when I kept thinking about both the stories and the writing itself days later. Continue reading