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Book Marks: Ready Player One

April 24, 2013

I've been reading some pretty cool books lately, so I thought it'd be fun to tell you about them. This new Wednesday column, Book Marks, won't be a “book review” column, but more of a “this is what I'm reading and what I thought of it” column. I hope you try some of the books and see if you like them.

Ready Player OneI'll start with a cool book our friends Darrin and Stephanie loaned us. John and I both read it and loved it! Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, is set in a weird, sad future where the new “tenement housing” is stacks of mobile homes set on top of each other. A tech company has created the OASIS, a video game system that you plug into with a headset and gloves, and a whole rig if you can afford it.

Among other amazing things in the OASIS (like the fact that the main character goes to school there), the creator of the system put in an “Easter egg” – a hidden piece of code. And whoever finds it and solves the puzzles inherits the multi-billion-dollar fortune of the now dead man.

Even though the hero of the story is a teenager, and his two best friends in the OASIS are also teenagers, it doesn't feel like a teen book. (I don't think it was meant to be.) But what's super cool and fun if you're of a certain age and geekiness is that all the clues in the Easter egg are based on 1980s trivia!

You're reading along and there's a reference to Dungeons and Dragons near a reference to the original Apple computer, next to a reference about Pac-Man and another one to Family Ties. It's totally fun! And depending on how good you are at 80s trivia, you find yourself guessing how he could try to solve the puzzles.

Meanwhile, it's also got a real-world problems (not in the OASIS system, but in the character's real life) like poverty, child neglect, corporate espionage, murder, and more. The whole combination is a crazy page-turner! Near the end, I couldn't take the suspense of reading only a chapter at night before I went to bed. I blocked off a few hours one day and finished it in one sitting so I could enjoy the momentum and anticipation. Totally worth it!

The movie version is in development, so maybe we'll get to see it in the next couple years. But don't wait to read the book. I was constantly surprised at how much I was enjoying it. 🙂

5 stars, Loved It!


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