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.
To start, fantasy is NOT science fiction. Although they are often grouped together, fantasy and science fiction are completely separate genres. Just because you don’t like Star Wars or Star Trek, does not mean that you won’t enjoy fantasy fiction. One very well known example of fantasy fiction is the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Harry Potter novels feature elements that are characteristic of fantasy: magic, magical or fantastical creatures, situations that could never really happen in our non-magical, science-based world, etc.
If you would like to read a book that takes you on an adventure in a world that is full of magic and wonder, fantasy books are a great choice. There is a subsection of the fantasy genre called urban fiction, where fantastical creatures are based in a normal, everyday society. An example of this would be the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. However, for the sake of this post, I will be highlighting the more complete fantasy novels and authors.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson.
Speaking of entering a new world, Brandon Sanderson is an AMAZING writer. He considers even the tiniest details of worlds and how they work. By doing this he creates completely believable realities. Warbreaker is currently a standalone novel, though there is a sequel named Nightblood promised some time in the future.
Warbreaker takes the reader into a world of fantasy where “breath” is a personal power or magic and political alliances have the power to create or destroy societies. Select people are brought back to life because of a noble death, and are deemed gods, though their conduct often contradicts that title. This novel covers the interaction between different classes, and addresses what lengths some will go to for power. Throughout the novel you get to know many different and unique characters by virtue of Sanderson’s powerful writing skills. This novel hints at intimate content, though it is not explicit. It is in our adult section and is a great read for ages 16 and up.
Other awesome novels by Sanderson include the Mistborn series in our adult section, the Steelheart trilogy in the young adult collection, and Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians in our juvenile section.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The joke is that it takes about as long to read the series as it does to actually take the ring to Mordor. This might be true, depending on how fast you read. This is a hefty trilogy that is completely worth the time and effort. Tolkien takes world making to another level, even beyond that which Sanderson does. The trilogy begins by introducing the reader to Bilbo Baggins and his younger cousin(ish) Frodo Baggins. These two hobbits reside happily in the shire where they eat an enviable amount of food every day and enjoy smoking their pipes in peace. However, Bilbo has a secret from his past that threatens his family, the shire, and the entirety of Middle Earth, where the story is based. The complete trilogy follows Frodo and his companions on an amazing adventure to (spoiler) take the ring to Mordor.
Tolkien fills this amazing world with horrible and fantastic creatures alike. Often, Tolkien has even invented an entirely new language for these creatures. I LOVE The Lord of the Rings books and recommend them to all ages, though the length of the books may be intimidating for young readers.
If you aren’t quite ready to commit to this trilogy, the prequel The Hobbit is just as inventive and imaginative, but in much fewer pages.
Sabriel by Garth Nix
This is the first book in one of Nix’s young adult series that keeps the reader on their toes. The title character Sabriel lives in a world of magic and her father is the Abhorsen- someone with power over the dead. This heart-pounding series is full of magic, and power, and choosing the good while trying to vanquish evil. Sabriel is attended by Mogget, a cat with strong powers, and Touchstone, a Charter Mage. One of the wonderful aspects of fantasy that this novel exemplifies is the creation of a new world. This does not mean that there are no laws or that laws can be circumvented at the author’s pleasure. Rather, in fantasy novels, characters are bound by a set of laws unique to that world, including some that are similar to the laws we are familiar with.
Other novels in this series include Lirael, Abhorsen, and Clariel. I would recommend these books for ages 12 and up simply because of the reading level as well as some action and suspense.
The Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix
This is a young adult series, also by Garth Nix, which takes the reader into a world full of mystery. This book might be closer to urban fantasy than just pure fantasy as it begins in the normal world, but travels to another more fantastical one. Arthur is a young man who is supposed to die in the normal world but instead ventures into another world in order to unlock secrets and save himself, and others, through a series of keys. The series starts with Mister Monday, followed by Grim Tuesday, and so on until the seventh book Lord Sunday, which concludes the series and the fight for a kingdom with a surprising twist. Honestly, it is difficult to put these books down!
I would recommend this series to anyone 12 and older. As a side note, teenage boys might be more interested in this series because of the male main character.
To recap, the fantasy genre is its own and not just another Star Trek science fiction genre. Fantasy takes the reader to another world where where the impossible is possible! Fantasy is a great genre to read in order to escape for a few minutes. Other popular fantasy authors include Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, and Patrick Rothfuss (all adult authors). If you are looking for an adventurous book that takes you out of the ordinary and into something extraordinary, I would recommend reading one of the above listed fantasy novels!
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!