One of my favorite things to do as a reader is participate in book club conversations. This month we’re reading Jeannette Walls’s memoir The Glass Castle. I don’t know much about it, honestly. To keep from finding myself in this position again, I thought I’d do a little research about the five books that members of the NFOBC have to choose from for the next two months.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
It’s 2045. The would has essentially destroyed most of itself and people live in vertically stacked trailers. Many of them spend most of their time in this virtual reality world called The Oasis. When the owner of The Oasis dies, it initiates a virtual Easter egg hunt. Gunters (people participating in this hunt) are searching for three keys that open three gates. The winner wins The Oasis.
Now, this is all well and good, but in addition to the Gunters (and Wade Watts, our protagonist), there’s a big internet company who wants to take it over and turn a free world into an elite pay-for-use system.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Auggie’s been home-schooled his entire life. He has a facial deformity and his parents tried to shelter him from the cruelty of the outside world. All he wants is to fit in, but he’s not sure if he’ll be able to – if people will be able to see past what he looks like to who he is.
This middle grade novel tells Auggie’s story, as well as the story of the people in his life (from their own perspectives) and spawned #thewonderofwonder.
The Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynn Jones
This is the second book in the Derkholm series, a YA fantasy about a wizarding world and its university. The high chancellor has stepped down, which means Wizard Corkoran must take his place. Though Wizard Corkoran is obsessed with being the first man on the moon, he decides it would be a good idea to schmooze the parents of the first years to gain support (and maybe he’ll teach them, too). Things don’t turn out the way Wizard Corkoran expects, students get into trouble and it’s uncertain whether or not Corkoran will actually make it to the moon.
Mimus is set in an alternate Middle Ages, amidst a war between two kingdoms. When the two kings meet to sign a peace treaty, one king, Theodo, tricks King Phillip and sends him and his men to the dungeon. King Theodo decides to take the crown prince, the son of King Phillip, and make him into a court jester, trained by the title character, Mimus. There is intrigue and action, interspersed with humor (you know fools are funny, and if this one gives a nod to Shakespeare’s fools, he’ll be the smartest guy in the joint).
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
They say you can never go home again. I’m not sure who “they” is, though. And in the case of our narrator, his house doesn’t exist anymore. He’s gone back to his hometown for a funeral, and while he’s there remembers a magical friend from his youth who helped him deal with the suicide of a man in a car at the end of the lane. It’s both nostalgic and beautiful (can you tell that I’ve read this one already?), and about how lives are shaped by the experiences of our youth.
So, what should the Nerdfighteria Online Book Club read? Or rather, what should I vote for?