Monthly Archives: October 2011

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

If you’re an 80s buff (and even if you aren’t), check out Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.  It’s the year 2044, and Wade Watts’ world is one big video game – it’s where he goes to school, socializes and lives his life.  But in his hunt for an elusive “Easter Egg” hidden deep in one of the games, he may be getting more than he bargained for.

With references to 80s video games like Pacman and Joust, and movies like Wargames, Cline tells a suspenseful and often humorous story of the darker side of virtual reality.  Available here as a book, download or audio CD.

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The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt : a novel in pictures, by Caroline Preston.

In 1920’s New Hampshire, Frankie Pratt begins a scrapbook that will follow her after her high school graduation, through college, to Paris, and back.  Its every page is delightfully illustrated with vintage images (the author thanks 300+ eBay sellers for her materials) of ticket stubs, Sears catalog items, pressed flowers and the like, that tell the story as much as, if not more than, the words do.

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Blue Nights, by Joan Didion.

When we talk about mortality we are talking about our children.” Joan Didion quotes herself then “talks” poetically (in prose) about the death of her daughter (not long after the death of her husband, as mused upon in The Year of Magical Thinking) and  about feeling her own mortality around age 75.

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Forgotten Bookmarks : a bookseller’s collection of odd things lost between the pages, by Michael Popek.

How did a photograph of a marching band end up in a copy of George Orwell’s Animal Farm?  And how appropriate that a metal sign saying ‘EMERGENCY EXIT’ was found in a copy of The Riverdale Shakespeare.  This volume pairs facsimile photos of both book and item found within without comment, leaving the story-making up to you.   See also www.forgottenbookmarks.com and remember to remove whatever you’ve used for a bookmark from your library book before returning it!

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Things To Say To A Dead Man : poems at the end of a marriage and after, by Jane Yolen.

even if you don’t consider yourself a reader of poetry

or consider yourself a poetry-phobe

you’ll find these poems accessible

her pain irrepressible

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You Deserve Nothing, by Alexander Maksik.

At an international high school in Paris, William Silver teaches sophomores literature  and leads a more-exclusive senior seminar that weaves literature and philosophy together in an attempt to get his young students to think about how to live.  (The irony is in how shiny William Silver is living his life.)

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Good Neighbors (but are they?), by Ryan David Jahn.

While residents, each involved in his or her own (hypnotically rendered) drama, watch through apartment windows, a woman is stabbed to death in the complex’s courtyard below.   Yes, Kitty Genovese’s 1964 murder is part of the author’s inspiration for this, his compulsively readable first novel.  Just as the action in this novel unfolds during 2 quite busy early-morning hours, the book itself could be read in 2 (quiet) early-morning, afternoon, or evening hours.

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