James the computer guy will now take a shot at blog post…
I seem to have an odd taste in reading, and don’t get very much reading done. I was told that perhaps my tastes could give some insight into some of our more eclectic readers. I'm only writing on books I have actually finished, because if it was good enough for me to spend my very limited time on, then it must have been good... maybe.
The first I would like to tell about is one that I have finished a while ago, but haven’t found anything quite like in a long time.
Mogworld by Yhatzee Croshaw
This is the book that got me back to reading. It is written by a comedy video game reviewer and I would say he has done quite well.
A young mage named Jim is disappointed by his lack of progress in Mage School, but when his college is destroyed by its neighbor, Jim comes back with a new lease on life. Or so he thought now Jim and his zombie compatriots are complaining to their necromancer about pension plans and dental insurance. Morale for zombies is something that was never considered until a certain undead lord had considered they might be sentient.
Follow Jim in his adventure to figure out what is wrong with this new world, and hopefully, he can die in peace.
Content warning: some profanity, used with class (mostly). Mention of rotting corpses but no descriptions of viscera. No sexual content
Having not read since Mogworld, I was beginning to give up hope until I found this little gem. It is independently published, so it has a few errors, but I thought it was worth the read still. A bit odd, and a foray into a new genre calling itself LITrpg (for literary role play game).
These are books where leveling up as a person and fighting monsters to do so is very much a thing. This book is self-published by the author and it shows. I forgive it because it is so full of humor, I haven’t laughed this hard since reading fool (Christopher Moore).
Dungeon born by Dakota Krout
Our protagonist is CAL, as in calcium. He is a crystal, but he is sentient and can manipulate the world around him. That makes him a dungeon core. When Cal almost dies, he decides to take matters into his own metaphorical hands and become the strongest dungeon there ever was. This means Cal kills adventurers for fun. Oh and he eats them, definitely eats them.
Content warning: very little if any profanity, no sexual content, geek humor
Exploring further into this newfound LITrpg genre, I found this neat little story about a goblin and revenge. If you like video games you may just like this next one. It is a trilogy but comes together really well in the end.
Life Reset (New Era Online Book 1) by Shemer Kuznits
Our protagonist starts out like any other high level character in a video game, bored and apathetic. That is until his entire guild turns on him and transforms him into a level 1 goblin. This is a story of revenge and leveling up. May not be for everyone but I enjoyed it so much I read through all three of them before picking up anything else.
Content Warning: low profanity throughout, anything sexual is ‘fade to black’, ritual sacrifice and dismemberment amongst various battles.
This is not available at the library currently, but can be read on Kindle Unlimited.
The next one started out very interesting with a d list super person that finally found a use for his dumb power, but then something happened. The same tale seemed to be told over and over through the trilogy. I would definitely suggest the first as just the premise alone is worth a look. However, the author seems to retell the rise of power and the sudden attack of Felix more times than there are books in this series. I felt compelled to finish after I had realized this in the second book. If you do make it to the end of the trilogy there is a bit of a lackluster conclusion.
Perhaps I'll just suggest reading the first one then.
Super sales on super heroes by William D. Argand
(The blurb does it best so I’ll just leave that here)
In a world full of super powers, Felix has a pretty crappy one.
He has the ability to modify any item he owns. To upgrade anything.
Sounds great on paper. Almost like a video game.
Except that the amount of power it takes to actually change, modify, or upgrade anything worthwhile is beyond his abilities.
With that in mind, Felix settled into a normal life. A normal job.
His entire world changes when the city he lives in is taken over by a Super Villain. Becoming a country of one city. A city state.
Surprisingly, not a whole lot changed. Politicians were still corrupt. Banks still held onto your money. And criminals still committed crime.
Though the black market has become more readily available.
And in that not so black market, Felix discovers he has a way to make his power useful after all, and grasps a hold of his chance with both hands.
Content warning: This novel contains graphic violence, undefined relationships/partial harem (fade to black), unconventional opinions/beliefs, and a hero who is as tactful as a dog at a cat show. Read at your own risk.
The last one for me is a book that I wasn’t sure of after seeing the movie. I was assured and was not disappointed the audiobook of ready player one. If you have seen the movie (or even if you haven't) this is quite a ride. Many artistic liberties were taken with the movie, but the real meat of the whole story seemed to be taken out. I highly suggest going back and listening or reading this book. Especially if you like dungeons and dragons, board games, video games, the 1980s or anything my parents aren’t particularly fond of.
Ready player one by Ernest Cline
Living in a fractured home in a dystopian future isn’t that tough, especially if you have a super awesome virtual reality to lose yourself in every day. Wade was one of the last holdouts of Gunters, one of the Easter egg hunters. Many promises were made to the person that could find all the eggs upon the creator’s death, but it has been five years and no person has even had an idea of how to find any of the eggs. Follow wade as he uses useless 1980s trivia knowledge and l33t nerd skills to find the eggs and leave his sorry life behind. Love and conflict will both be found. By the way, way more licensed properties were used in the book than the movie, making it by far the better media for obscure references.
Content warning: violence and language throughout. Twitterpated relationships only, nerd refrences for the most advanced geeks possible.
Bonus points, if you want to see any of the games mentioned in ready player one, come ask me on game day, I can pull most of them up for you to play :D
I have been trying to learn more of the genres in the adult reading section of the library and something that I did not realize was how many movies actually came from books. I knew of quite a few books to movies that had existed but there are many more like the Circle by Dave Eggers and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell which I will discuss in this post. I always love to read the book because there are always parts of the books that cannot be added to the movie. The following are books that you may want to read, and then check out the movie!
The Circle By David Eggers
David Eggers is very good at getting you hooked with a storyline which flows really well, considering that there are no chapters in this book. This book details a dystopian world where Mae Holland lands a job at the Circle, a major internet company. Mae thinks that she has landed her dream job but then quickly finds out that the Circle wants nothing to be secret and that everything about everyone should be known. With cameras virtually everywhere in the world and the Circle wanting to complete "the circle" Mae must decide whether or not she wants to be a part of their work.
This book does have sexual content in it and swearing.
The movie has none of the sexual content in it but it kept the swearing.
The Help By Kathryn Stockett
This hilarious yet serious telling of what life was like as an African American Maid in the 1960s also discusses maid life before the 1960s. Skeeter has just graduated from college with the dream of becoming a writer. She embarks on this journey by enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who just lost her son and is upset at the world for letting it happen, and Minny who is the best cook in all of Mississippi but has a knack for getting herself in trouble by speaking when she shouldn’t. With Aibileen and Minny’s help Skeeter is able to start writing her book about the help in Mississippi while also enlisting the help of other maids to tell their stories even though it could mean risking their lives. It is pretty funny to read about what happens after the book is published and the town of Jackson, Mississippi starts to talk about who might be who in the stories.
The movie moves right along with the storyline of the book. I saw the movie first and then read the book and they are pretty close to each other.
Ready Player One By Ernest Cline
Set in the year 2045 Wade Watts finds refuge in the virtual game world of the OASIS. Wade studies all of the puzzles within the game to try and find the creators hidden easter eggs within the game. These hidden clues will lead the player to a prize that will change someone’s life. When Wade finds the first clue he also finds himself in trouble with other players who try to kill him in real life so that they can beat him to the next clues and win the prize for themselves. If he wins the prize his life will change forever and he will have control over the OASIS.
This movie is just as action packed as the book as Wade and his friends try to beat the professionals to the keys of the OASIS.
World War Z: An Oral History By Max Brooks
If you like Zombies you need to read this book! The book of World War Z is so different from the movie and I am so glad that I read the book first. The book is about agent Max Brooks, from what I gathered, traveling throughout the world gathering as many accounts as he could of how people survived and what they are doing now to survive the Zombie Apocalypse and report it to the postwar commission. People went to the coldest of regions and to the southern regions to escape the zombie war. This book is listed under scary and gives details as to how the events happened.
The movie is completely different with a storyline being put into place that is easier to follow.
Cloud Atlas By David Mitchell
This book can get a little confusing while reading so it’s difficult trying to explain it. It’s multiple stories, within one story, that are all interconnected in someway. This story starts out in 1850 with Adam Ewing traveling the world, he befriends a doctor who treats him for a rare brain parasite. The story then flashes forward to 1931 Belgium where Robert Frobisher is a disinherited bisexual composer who creates a plan to get into the home of a maestro with a beautiful and wife and daughter. It then jumps to the West Coast in the 1970s to Lewisa Rey as she finds a corporate web of greed and murder and gets herself into so much trouble that her life is on the line. We finally end up in the present day in England. Korea is the super power with neocapitalism creating a mess. Things then flash forward to the future with a post apocalyptic Iron Age in Hawaii where history will end. Things then start flowing backward through history to the beginning of the story with Adam Ewing. It’s during this return back through history that we find out how all these characters are connected.
There is swearing and violence in this book as well as sexual content.
The movie is Rated R for the same content as the book.
The weird fiction genre is the result you get when you throw books of fantasy, science fiction, and horror into a blender. Often including intense and/or graphic scenes and language, these titles are recommended for older teens and adults.
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville: Sentient, steam-powered robots? Check. A love affair between a scientist and a member of a half-woman, half-insect species? Check. Trans-dimensional spiders that only speak in telepathic, stream-of-consciousness free verse? Double check. Join the throngs of New Crobuzon, an overcrowded city full of mismatched people while this book sucks you into its vortex with a great story and even better world building. While working on his latest project, Isaac, a freelance research scientist, unwittingly unleashes a horror that feeds on dreams. Meanwhile his partner, Lin, is commissioned to sculpt a life-size statue of one of New Crobuzon’s most dangerous criminals.
Monstress by Marjorie Liu, Illustrated by Sana Takeda: What do you do when your inner monster keeps trying to eat your friends? Blending pieces of steampunk with anthropomorphic animals and Lovecraftian creatures, Monstress is a beautifully drawn graphic novel set in an alternate version of Asia. Here, a teenage girl is desperately trying to figure out the truth behind her past and how to control the thing that lives inside of her.
The Southern Reach Trilogy--Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer: In an undisclosed region on the southeast coast, behind a barrier that defies scientific explanation, lies Area X. The first expedition into Area X found ruins of the towns and houses of the people who once lived there, but no signs of the people themselves. Members of the third expedition died at each other’s hands in a free-for-all firefight. Members of the eleventh expedition suddenly returned home unseen with no memory of where they had been only to die months later from a particularly malignant form of cancer. Annihilation is the story of the 12th expedition, a group of 4 female scientists: a psychologist, an anthropologist, a surveyor, and a biologist. Unable to communicate with the outside world, these four women must try to find the secrets behind Area X and make it back alive. Area X, however, has other plans…
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: Think all librarians are quiet and mousey? Try this novel where they are all homicidal psychopaths. In the beginning was the head librarian, Adam Black, and his twelve student librarians—Father and his twelve children. Now Father has gone missing. Many of the librarians suspect David, librarian over the catalogue of war and Father’s once favorite son. Or was is Father’s right-hand general, the ancient tiger Nobununga? Regardless, Carolyn, librarian over the catalogue of languages, has a plan. If only her plan cared more about humans and less about countering attacks from immortal beings made of pure thought or girls that walk the lands of the dead.
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor: Welcome to a town where time doesn’t exist and summoning the secret police is as simple as speaking into the microphone that’s (poorly) hidden above your fridge. Here, the mother of a shape changing boy first glimpses the boy’s father for the first time in years. Then she sees another one of him. Then another. Meanwhile, a girl who doesn’t age and can’t remember where her mother keeps the silverware (a trapdoor under the scalded milk drawer) is handed a slip of paper that she literally cannot put down. Welcome to Night Vale is a humorous addition to your reading list, managing to be both dark- and light-hearted at the same time.
Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos by H. P. Lovecraft and others: No list of the weird can be complete without including one of the genre’s greatest and original author’s: H. P. Lovecraft. Cthulhu, the dreaded tentacled horror, has gone from little-known character to pop culture icon. This anthology of short tales includes Lovecraft’s original legend, The Call of Cthulhu, as well as new stories written by many different authors.
Looking for some inspiration on what to read next? Who better to ask then the people who work around books for a living!? Each month we will post a "staff picks" blog post written by one of our staff members. These posts will vary in genre, theme, age appropriateness, etc. If you have any requests on a genre or age category you would like to see, submit a comment here and we will get it on the list!